Day 5: July 5, 2008
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Even if it maintained a due west course from Philadelphia, the Lincoln Highway would miss my home well to the north. And it doesn't even do that. In the middle of Pennsylvania it starts edging north. The National Road does just about the same thing at just about the same point. Bob, at the Lincoln Motor Court says it's because everybody wanted to go to Michigan. Could be. Whatever the reason for the swing, I've switched from LH to NR more than once just to stay even and I did that today. This time, instead of the convenient I-70, I used mostly PA-136 to move from the Lincoln Highway at Greensburg to the National Road at Washington.

These shots are from the town of Monongahela which sits on the banks of the river by the same name. My path did not quite go by the front of the post office but the soldier's unusual pose caught my eye and pulled me down the side street. As I was photographing the statue, a resident walked by and offered the information that "There are only three like that." The other two, he said, are in New York City and Pittsburgh. This article on the statue in NYC's Tompkinsville Park says there are more than twenty of them but the only other one that a brief web search turned up is indeed in Pittsburgh.

More than once I've driven by an 84 Lumber yard and thought it a strange name for a company. I've even wondered about its origin but I guess the curiosity faded quickly. Today I drove through the place called Eighty Four and thought it a strange name for a town. Then, in a stroke of undeniable brilliance, I thought the two might be connected. They are. The mystery of the lumber company's name is solved but the origin of the town's name remains a little murky. Some Wikipedia editor thinks a story involving the year Grover Cleveland was elected is the "most plausible" but that's not my pick. My vote goes to the story about mail drop #84.

On the campus of Washington and Jefferson College, George & Tom stand arm in arm but it wasn't always so. Jefferson College was chartered in 1802 and Washington College in 1806. It took the hard times of the Civil War to bring them together. In downtown Washington, the town's namesake oversees the work being done on his pedestal (a.k.a. the Washington County Courthouse).

I thought you'd like to see what the well dressed National Road mile marker is wearing this year in western Pennsylvania.

I had unsuccessfully looked for this building in Triadelphia but found it easily once I learned that it's actually in the unincorporated town of Roney's Point. The Heimberger House was built in 1820 and is in much better shape than the newer motel behind it. It even has a DAR plaque. Curiously, the blog that brought the building to my attention ( seems to have gone missing but a blog entry that that blog led me to is still here.

After lunch at Ye Old Alpha (recommended), I drove into downtown Wheeling intending to drive across my favorite bridge and head home. My heart sunk when I saw the yellow tape across the entrance. Had the 150 year old bridge suffered some damage? Nope, I learned when I stopped to ask. Last night's fireworks had been rained out and had been rescheduled for tonight. The suspension bridge was blocked off because it is used as a launching pad for many of the rockets. That was two pieces of good news. First, the bridge was safe and, second, I would get to see some fireworks. And not only could I see fireworks, the Wheeling Suspension Bridge would be part of the show. How cool is that?

I booked a room within walking distance and headed to the riverside just before dusk. A good sized crowd was gathering and it would continue to grow. Boats were tied up along Heritage Port with the early arrivals getting spots barely a couple hundred yards from the bridge. The whole scene was reminiscent of the early years of the WEBN Fireworks in Cincinnati. That event has become so large that it's almost too much for this old man. The crowd in Wheeling was just the right size.

Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Ahhh.

The bridge is still there when the smoke clears and looks quite pretty as the boats head home.

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