Road Trip – A Snapshot from the Lincoln Highway in Illinois

Preserved original stretch of the Lincoln Highway, between Rochelle and Geneva, Illinois. RL Fifield, 2005.

First designated in 1913, the Lincoln Highway was the first transcontinental highway across the United States, stretching from Times Square in New York City to Golden Gate Park and the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco. In 2005, I drove the section from Dixon, Illinois to Philadelphia. I had no plans except to follow the road, and to sleep and eat when the time seemed right. I ran into a number of formerly known landmarks, whose meaning is now obscure.

Riverbank Laboratories, RL Fifield, 2005.

Consider the Riverbank Laboratories in Geneva, Illinois, home of a lot of codebreaking activity in World War I and acoustical research afterward. I drove up to it, thinking it looked like a neat house. My interest was piqued when I found the word “SCIENCE” chiseled in stone over a window, so I went home and looked it up.

RL Fifield, 2005.

 

Here are some road notes from that day:

5/22/2005 – Geneva IL

South Bend, Ye Old Colonial Pancake House for breakfast of sausage gravy and biscuit. Horrified Lizzie, titillated her father. Good 60s sign. Indiana Toll Road jammed with light pick-up carfire annihilation. Skimmed across Indiana into Illinois. We were an hour away from the Iowa border but enough farms and flat lands. Onto 26 North to Dixon. Swinging west definitely worth it. Just enough taste of the Lincoln west of Chicago. Dixon Arch and lunch (late) at Alley Loop. Good bar with everyone looking at you when you walk in. Roast beef and swiss with mustard on rye and a Bud. Shooting back east following Lincoln Highway signs pulling us across at-grade rail crossings (yikes as I saw the light of one train, ack!) Little turns through towns, driving through great dust storms. Hope the pics turn out. Mexican dinner in Geneva after shooting some fun architecture.  Tonight at the somewhat worn Geneva Motel.

Preserved Standard Oil Gas Station in Rochelle, IL. RL Fifield, 2005.

About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.