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Mount Vernon in Linn County, Iowa — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

The Lincoln Highway

A Highway of Main Streets

 
 
The Lincoln Highway Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, June 27, 2021
1. The Lincoln Highway Marker
Inscription.  The Lincoln Highway ran through the central business districts of hundreds of small towns and cities across the U.S., giving substance to slogans proclaiming the highway as the "Nation's Main Street."

To small-town merchants, the Lincoln Highway meant more customers and trade. They formed organizations to boost the virtues of their towns and attract travelers to local businesses. In Iowa, the route took travelers through nearly 50 towns and down about 45 Main Streets, including Mt. Vernon's First Street.

New kinds of businesses catering to auto travelers sprang up along the route. In Mt. Vernon these included a garage, a gas station, and a tourist camp.

The Lincoln Highway went by many colleges and universities, such as Rutgers and Princeton in New Jersey; Iowa State College in Ames, and the Davis branch of the University of California. Also on the route were the campuses of Cornell College in Mt. Vernon and Coe College in Cedar Rapids.

In Iowa, the highway often crossed railroad tracks, but this small bridge, built circa 1910, eliminated this hazard in Mt. Vernon. Closed to cars in the 1980s but left open for
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pedestrians, the bridge was restored to its original design in 2001. The brick street leading to the bridge is a remnant of the original highway.

Economic trends have undermined many small-town Main Streets, but Mt. Vernon's First Street remains vibrant, looking much as it did when it was part of the Lincoln Highway. The two main blocks of First Street are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Cornell College campus, which graced five blocks of the Lincoln Highway, is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, virtually unchanged in its appearance over the past one hundred years.

This is one of eight exhibits created by the Linn County Historic Preservation Commission for the purpose of interpreting the historical importance of the Lincoln Highway in Linn County. The interpretive themes and sites of these exhibits (also located by numbers on this map) are as follows:
1. A Highway to Honor Lincoln (Lisbon)
2. A Highway of Main Streets (Mt. Vernon)
3. "Seedling Miles" (Abbe Creek School)
4. Engineering the Highway (Squaw Creek)
5. The Highway through Marion (Thomas Park)
6. Accommodating the Motorist (Lincoln Heights)
7. Promoting the Highway (Haskell Park)
8. The Enduring Lincoln Highway (State Patrol Station)

Few other locations today capture so well the authentic look of a
Marker detail: Lincoln Highway, Mount Vernon, Iowa image. Click for full size.
2. Marker detail: Lincoln Highway, Mount Vernon, Iowa
town on the old Lincoln Highway or the meaning of that highway's claim to have been the "Main Street" of both Iowa and America.

[marker illustrations]
• The Lincoln Highway in Iowa — 358.3 miles from Clinton to Omaha
• The Lincoln Highway in Linn County

Exhibit panel prepared by Armadillo Arts, Iowa City
Construction and Installation of this sign mount was provided by
Peter Deitrich, Eagle Scout Project, Troop 40

 
Erected by Linn County Historic Preservation Commission. (Marker Number 2.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceRoads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the Lincoln Highway series list.
 
Location. 41° 55.744′ N, 91° 25.764′ W. Marker is in Mount Vernon, Iowa, in Linn County. Marker is at the intersection of 1st Street Southwest and Old Lincoln Highway (10th Avenue Southwest), on the left when traveling east on 1st Street Southwest. Marker is located in Prairie Park, overlooking the Old Lincoln Highway and bridge. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Mount Vernon IA 52314, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. South Hall (approx. half a mile away); The Old Military Road
Marker detail: Stearns Garage, Mount Vernon, Iowa image. Click for full size.
Courtesy Mt. Vernon Historic Preservation Commission
3. Marker detail: Stearns Garage, Mount Vernon, Iowa
(approx. 0.9 miles away); a different marker also named The Lincoln Highway (approx. 1.4 miles away); Uranus (approx. 1.4 miles away); William Abbe (approx. 1.4 miles away); History of Our Town Lisbon, Iowa (approx. 2.3 miles away); a different marker also named The Lincoln Highway (approx. 2.3 miles away); Seedling Mile (approx. 4.6 miles away).
 
Marker detail: Bridge over Railroad Tracks image. Click for full size.
Courtesy Mt. Vernon Historic Preservation Commission
4. Marker detail: Bridge over Railroad Tracks
Marker detail: Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa image. Click for full size.
5. Marker detail: Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Marker detail: Cornell College, Mount Vernon, Iowa image. Click for full size.
Courtesy Cornell College
6. Marker detail: Cornell College, Mount Vernon, Iowa
Marker detail: Iowa’s Main Street of America • US 30 image. Click for full size.
7. Marker detail: Iowa’s Main Street of America • US 30
Shortest and most direct route between New York and San Francisco
The Lincoln Highway Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, June 27, 2021
8. The Lincoln Highway Marker
(looking east • Prairie Park & Old Lincoln Highway in background)
Original Lincoln Highway Bricks & Restored Bridge image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, June 27, 2021
9. Original Lincoln Highway Bricks & Restored Bridge
(located just east of marker)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 28, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 28, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 358 times since then and 56 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on October 28, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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Jun. 17, 2024