October 18, 2019
Retracing Lena Huppler Bevers’ Travel Log
The Bevers family had a late start on Friday, October 18. Lena’s daughter Florence explains in her travel log that they “were waiting for an answer to our telegram from Edgar.”1 Herbert and Lena’s son Edgar had enlisted in the military on July 21, 1918 and would be discharged on Oct. 25, 1919.2
The drive for this day was one of the longest they made during their 27-day trip. Lena says they had fine roads all the way from Sioux City to Council Bluffs, Iowa. Route 1021 of The Official Automobile Blue Book describes the condition of the road as: “Dirt practically all of the way.”3 By following this route the distance between the cities was calculated at 106 miles.4 The 1917 Blue Book included instructions on how to use the book most effectively5:
Our motel happened to be on Lakeport Avenue, so when we set out at 10:00 AM we just needed to make a couple turns to get on Old Lakeport Avenue (at mile 4.1 in Route 1021 above), which became Old Highway 75 (K45). Fifteen minutes later we were in Salix, the first town that Lena mentions in her travel log and 15 minutes after that we were at the second town, Sloan. Both of these towns are still small, as well as all of the towns we went through until we got to Missouri Valley.
As we were driving south on Highway K45, to our left we could see wooded hills a few miles away and to the right, Interstate 29 was nearly always in sight. In Lena’s travel log, this was the first day that she mentioned the landscape they were traveling through: “Followed the Bluffs around for a long way.”6 At Mondamin we turned east for about five miles, then turned south and skirted the bluffs for the next thirty miles or so.
The town of Missouri Valley was the largest town we went through today until we came to Council Bluffs. In this town we began driving on the historic Lincoln Highway, which is another transcontinental highway.
The first transcontinental highway across the United States was the Lincoln Highway, named after Abraham Lincoln. The idea of creating this transcontinental was Carl Fisher’s, who had also built the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.8 In 1912 Carl Fisher enlisted communities to build connecting roads from San Francisco to New York City. The project would cost $10,000,000 and Fisher raised funds for the project by asking for donations from auto manufacturers and accessory companies. In 1913 the Lincoln Highway Association was established; the public could be members of the organization by paying a $5.00 membership fee. The Lincoln Highway was marked by painted signs, mainly on telephone posts: red, white and blue bands with a blue capital L. For about 25 miles between Missouri Valley and Council Bluffs, the King of Trails Highway and the Lincoln Highway traveled the same roads.
Today was a very breezy day, so after we checked into our motel at 1:30 PM, we stayed indoors, rather than go to the River Front. We decided it was a good day to do our laundry at the laundromat across the street from the motel. This evening, making sure our devices were all charged was a priority. The Bluetooth was plugged into a bathroom socket, the camera battery charger was plugged into the entryway socket, a phone was plugged into the outlet near the bureau, and the I-pad and laptop were plugged into the wall outlet by the desk.
- B. Winkelmann, Our Trip to Texas [Transcription of Our Trip to Texas by Florence Bevers, 1919] (unpublished, n. d.): 2.
- C. M. Bevers, personal communication with E. J. Jones (October 17, 2019).
- Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, Official Automobile Blue Book 1917, vol. 5 (New York: Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, 1917): 1077-78, https://ia800405.us.archive.org/15/items/case_gv1024_a92_1917_vol_5/case_gv1024_a92_1917_vol_5.pdf.
- Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, Official Automobile Blue Book 1917, vol. 5: 1013-14 & 1077-78.
- Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, Official Automobile Blue Book 1917, vol. 5: 11.
- Lena Bevers, Our Trip to Texas (unpublished, 1919): 2A.
- The Kenyon Company, Map of Iowa showing principal automobile routes (Des Moines, Iowa: The Kenyon Company, 1919), https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Map_of_Iowa_Showing_Principal_Automobile_Routes.jpg.
- James Lin, A Brief History of the Lincoln Highway, https://www.lincolnhighwayassoc.org/history/.
- Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, Official Automobile Blue Book 1917, vol. 5: 1012.