Day 4: July 4, 2008
1 Flag, 3 Fires, & Some Magic Springs
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This place was closed and not looking very healthy when I took a look in 2004. Turns out a 120 million dollar refurbishing was starting up about that time. Bedford Springs Resort reopened last year and it looks marvelous. This story of a spring based luxury resort's rebirth is very similar to that of Indiana's West Baden Springs Hotel that I visited last year.

The town of Bedford grew from Fort Bedford which was a supply depot for Forbes 1758 march on Fort Duquesne. This replica of one of the block houses was built in 1958 for use as a museum. Inside is a model of the whole fort and a flag that once hung there. In 1958 the flag was thumb tacked to a wall in the new museum. Before that, it was displayed in a similar manner in the library, a bank, etc. At best it was thought to be a reproduction from the 1858 centennial; at worst, a piece of someone's drapery with a funny looking union jack sewed on. Eventually someone pushed and paid for scientifically dating the flag and the word came back that "What you have is not just a state treasure but a national treasure." This is the very flag that hung in a Fort Bedford's officer's quarters in 1758.

There's plenty more at the museum and I got to look inside a Conestoga Wagon and found an Ohio connection. It was Annie Oakley who dented that disk. Annie and I were born just a few miles and eight decades apart. Plus, if you thought Washington's wooden teeth were bad, look at this. I think the buttons are made of wood, too.

I had half planned on following a downtown walking tour but the continuing rain canceled that. I told myself I didn't need another picture of the Coffee Pot but it still perked me up* to take a drive-by shot as I left town.

Up the road, in Schellsburg, some big doings are planned to celebrate the town's 250th birthday but those are for Saturday and Sunday. Not much today. I checked out the museum which is right across the street from the Lincoln Highway Auto Center and its Vincent Van Gas pump. Storyland remains closed but the piper at the entrance has a new paint job, possibly for the birthday party, that includes stars on his trousers.

* Laurel made me do it.

I don't recall ever actually seeing bison at the Bison Corral but this small herd was pretty obvious today. I saw them as I passed then immediately turned back and turned up the bordering side road. There were several cars parked in a graveled area and several people standing on the bridge crossing a small stream. A dance was in progress in which the bison would cautiously approach the stream until some sound or motion would spook them then they would mill about the field until enough courage had returned to try again. At last one brave soul splashed into the stream and passed under the road. I thought this would trigger wholesale bison bravery but that wasn't the case. The next round of milling covered more ground than usual but ended with the standard approach and retreat. More people arrived and I moved on.

I have many pictures of the spot where the Ship Hotel burned and it was raining. But, like the Coffee Pot, I just had to stop briefly and poke the camera from the car window.

A nice stretch of the old road near Jennerstown.

The Sleepy Hollow Tavern burned last February and a man has since been charged with setting the fire. The remains of some of the trademark dormers are lined up like charred dog houses and the inside is pretty much gone but the flag still flies. A rebuild is planned and those dormers will be used. Brian Butko's Lincoln Highway News contains several entries on the fire along with links to newspaper and other coverage.

Yet another panel on a Lincoln Highway fire. In December, passing police officers spotted smoke from a fire at the Mountain View Inn. The fire had just started and quick action meant very little damage. Even immediately following the fire, there was no damage visible from outside and there was certainly none today.

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