Last summer, we honored Bernie Queneau here at the Heinz History Center with a proclamation from the mayor of Pittsburgh and the LHA. That same day, PBS producer Rick Sebak launched the filming of his LH special by capturing Bernie’s remarks about traveling the Lincoln Highway in 1928 (below, in front of his 16-year-old self holding the CA flag).
Bernie — now 96 years old — is the Lincoln Highway’s most prestigious ambassador, having been on the Boy Scout safety tour of 1928, which also served to promote the Lincoln Highway and the forthcoming marking of the coast-to-coast road with concrete posts/markers.
Yesterday, Rick and crew met Bernie and wife Esther, herself a former president of the LHA. It was 80 years to the day that Boy Scouts across the US fanned out to plant the concrete posts into the ground at corners and main intersections along the Lincoln. Rick recounts it best himself….
We had a great day on the Lincoln Highway with Esther and Bernie Queneau. I realized it was 80 years since Bernie made his cross-country promotional tour for the Lincoln Highway. Meanwhile, we tried to agree on a day when we could go for a ride, and today, Monday, Labor Day, was the only day when Bob and Glenn and I were all available as well as Esther and Bernie.
Then in Hanoverton, when we pulled to look at the replica marker, Esther mentioned that the markers had been erected on the same day, September 1, 1928. That was 80 years ago today! By chance, we were observing the 80th anniversary of the concrete posts with a drive into Ohio. It was glorious.
We actually had great luck all day. We met Bernie and Esther at the Teapot in Chester, WV, at 10 AM, and while getting a few shots, a car pulled over and Susan Badgley who helps take care of the landmark got out and offered to show us inside. How could we pass up the opportunity? Susan’s mother remembered the pot back 65 years.
Susan’s husband Tom is a toll taker on the Newell Bridge, and she offered us some free tickets to make several crossings, trying to get some shots of Esther and Bernie crossing the river into Ohio. [That’s Bernie below driving his Buick.]
We ended the day driving back and forth on Baywood Street west of Minerva. What a beautiful old stretch of red brick road! We thought we had driven into an Edward Hopper painting. Several nice old painted markers on telephone poles, and two quick interviews with our subjects. They are amazing.
Above: Rick Sebak photographed Bernie Queneau driving the LH via Baywood Street in eastern Ohio – CLICK to see it larger.