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Lincoln Highway Association membership plaque
Catalog #: 2003.0040.01, Accession #: 2003.004
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
The Lincoln Highway Association was the brainchild of Carl G. Fisher, a car head light manufacturer, and builder of the Indianapolis Speedway. He proposed the idea that a coast-to-coast paved highway should be built in September 1912, at a meeting of car manufacturers and automotive industry suppliers. Men at the meeting pledged more than $300,000 to the effort. Packard Motor Company President Henry Joy was the first president of the Lincoln Highway Association. It was he who suggested it be named after Abraham Lincoln. The association was founded in 1913, and gave members, who paid $5 a head, this kind of plaque which attached to members' car radiators, and made their cars a mobile advertisement for the drive to build the all-weather, all-year, highway
Physical Description
artifact. 5” w x 3” h, metal, with a head on view of President Abraham Lincoln, and the words: “Of the People, By the People, For the People,” and “Contributor, The Lincoln Highway Association, A Continuous, connecting, improved highway from the Atlantic to the Pacific. National Headquarters Detroit Michigan.”
Date Made:

Some Americans wanted to build roads in the 1900s and 1910s as a response to the rising numbers of cars and trucks in the country. Some of the new roads, such as the Lincoln Higway, were the result of private initiatives. The Lincoln Highway Association, created in 1913 and largley supported by donations from car-related businesses, promoted the building of a paved highway from New York to California. The association marked out a route and funded sample stretches of pavement ("seedling miles") to encourage local governments to build the rest. Road building really took off in the 1920s, however, as federal law and government money encouraged and paid for much of the country's road building.

Related People, Places, and Events
Related Person
Henry Joy
President of Packard Motor Car Company, and first President of the Lincoln Highway Association.

Related Person
Carl Graham Fisher (1939)

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