Pennsylvania has been the site of many firsts, such as the first computer (Philadelphia) and first commercial radio station (Pittsburgh). It was also the site of the first road enthusiast meet (Greensburg). So what a better place to hold the first National Road Enthusiast Meet than where it all began.
The first day was a journey back in time with some aspects of the present. I and four attendees traveled the Lincoln Highway from Robinson to Somerset County. Brian Butko, author of several books on the Lincoln Highway and other road-related products, joined us for part of the trip.
We began our trip by taking PA 60 from the US 22/US 30 cloverleaf in Robinson Township into Pittsburgh, then heading south on PA 837 to the Fort Pitt Bridge. Once across the bridge, we exited at the Boulevard of the Allies and followed that back to the Parkway East. Taking the US 30 exit, we followed it to Greensburg where we then traveled on Toll Gate Road to enter the city, as those who traveled then PA 1 did many times. On the eastern side of the city, we followed old segments near Westmoreland Mall, Hyundai of Greensburg, and a long section known locally as Frye Farm Road.
South of Latrobe, we turned onto PA 981 south to access the old alignment. We spotted a rare Lincoln Highway marker located on the front lawn of a home in Youngstown. Shortly after, the caravan passed Latrobe Country Club, whose proprietor is professional golfer Arnold Palmer. Our cruise continue on the old alignment through the borough and to where it joins the current eastbound lanes.
We stopped at the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor office in Ligonier where a few picked up some Lincoln Highway merchandise. Continuing eastward on US 30 we stopped at the Flight 93 Memorial and the site of the Quecreek Mine Accident.
I offered to show everyone the Sipesville Fire Hall, where the families waited for word of their trapped relatives. While we were waiting, a member of the Sipesville VFD stopped and asked us if we wanted to see inside. It was quite a change from when I was an extra back in 2002 in The Pennsylvania Miners’ Story. Afterward we were privileged to be offered a tour of the new hall which was built as a replacement. Plans were to move the original building to the Quecreek site as part of a display. However, the building can not make the journey in one piece, but rather would have to be cut into four sections. Unfortunately, the choice will probably be to demolish the structure instead.
That marked day one of the first National Road Enthusiast Meet.