More than a half-year after moving and losing track of just about everything, I’m down to the last few boxes to open, and there in one of them was The Lincoln Highway around Chicago by Cynthia Ogorek. The 128-page book was published by Arcadia earlier this year — my review was to be a preview when I started this post in March! Since then many reviews have appeared favorably recapping the highlights. My best compliment about it is that it is unlike other LH books; it is not just a retelling of existing information, it is a grand amalgamation of numerous sources, some familiar to LH fans, others dug out from local archives. The introduction and captions bespeak of a solid familiarity with local history and geography. Although a few images from the LHA collection may be familiar to fans, nearly every page brings new and interesting vintage views.
Chapter 1 explores the original route and the people behind its improvement. Chapter 2 is all about the Ideal Section. Chapter 3 highlights roadside businesses, including some great gas station shots. Chapter 4 looks at the connection to the many electric interurban lines that served Chicago. (One of my favorite photos is found here — an aerial view of snowbound motorists astride the Park Forest neighborhood of Lincolnwoods, with an impending development across the road. It is also the source of the photo below that shows the Lincoln Theater in Chicago Heights, a 1960s shopping center in Matteson, and the fabulous Northgate Shopping Center Sign near Aurora — and I’m glad to report that Cynthia says this has been designated a local landmark.) Chapter 5 examines the inevitable bypasses. Chapter 6 reviews recent events, from restoration of the Ideal Section monument to Art Schweitzer’s efforts to document and salvage part part os that section; from Lincoln Highway Lady Lyn Protteau visiting the area to Mad Mac’s March across Illinois.
All of Arcadia Books leave me wanting more — more text, better quality on many photos, a break from the monotonous crammed design — but some authors rise above that to present well-researched, insightful books. This is one of them. $19.95 or $14.95 from Amazon.