The presidential Inauguration Day Parade next Tuesday, January 20, will include a Lincoln Highway-related contingent. Craig Harmon of the Lincoln Highway National Museum & Archives (no longer located at the address on his web site) has gathered historic vehicles to represent the 90th anniversary of the transcontinental Army Motor Transport Convoy that followed much of the Lincoln Highway in 1919. It took some 80 vehicles 63 days to drive from Washington to San Francisco; its most famous participant turned out to be Dwight Eisenhower, then a lieutenant colonel in the Army.
ABOVE: A 1918 Harley-Davidson with Sidecar from the collection at Wheels Through Time will participate in the inaugural parade, as seen on the CAIM site.
One of the groups joining him is the Wheels Through Time American Transportation Museum in Maggie Valley, N.C. The motorcycle museum will bring a small fleet of WWI era motorcycles to Washington, D.C. Harmon has participated in previous inaugural parades, recognizable in his vintage fire truck. Mickey Rooney will again be joining him due to his singing a Lincoln Highway-related song in the 1939 movie Babes In Arms.
Harmon has been diligently researching the convoy for years. According to an article in Classic American Iron Magazine:
During the parade, sons and grandsons of Captain Arthur Herrington and Lt. Ralph Enos, two of the Army motorcycle pilots who completed the 1919 transcontinental convoy, will be riding along. Both Herrington and Enos had a long relationship with the motorcycle and automotive industries. Herrington, an accomplished racer for Harley-Davidson, worked for the Motor Company both before and after the war, and would later partner with Walter Marmon to create the Marmon-Herrington company, of which he would become president in 1931. Herrington would also create the first prototypes of the Marmon-Herrington Calvary Scout Car — what would later become the “Jeep”. Enos’ impact on the motorcycling world would be just as profound as that of his contemporary, as he would later go on to manage the Harley-Davidson factory racing team, contributing largely to Mr. Red Parkhurst’s world’s records at Daytona Beach in 1920. Soon after, he would serve briefly as assistant sales manager for the Excelsior Organization before returning to H-D for almost another 15 years, and by 1942, he would become the head of the Army’s motorcycle and bicycle division during WWII.
Harmon also has WWI-era uniforms being reproduced. An article from CTV in Calgary, Canada, relays the story of Wendy Partridge, who is making the outfits that will march past the Obamas and then will join the parade too. She has been working for the past 3 weeks to design and create the authentic uniforms.
“I’ve been working seven days a week basically 15 to 18 hours a day locked behind a sewing machine or behind the cutting machine trying to pull it off…. I’m just blown away. I think to be a part of this, or to be a witness to this historic event, is just thrilling. There are no words to describe it really.”
Partridge has designed hundreds of costumes for Hollywood. But when the curator of the Lincoln Highway National Museum saw her work in the movie Passchendaele, he contacted her to create authentic World War I army uniforms for the museum’s Inauguration Parade entry…. In total, Partridge has created 37 uniforms and an Abe Lincoln outfit…. Partridge is not being paid to provide the uniforms for the museum’s parade entry. She calculates the cost of her time, the material, and labour at about $40-thousand.