Day 4: November 8, 2004
An Empty Spot



I passed it yesterday in the dusk so made it my first stop today. It is the giant coffee pot that Bert Koontz built in 1927. The former sandwich shop was empty and deteriorating until recently saved through the efforts of the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor. I didn't see it when it was new but I can't imagine that it looked any better than it does now. Nice job LHHC.

I visited several other places in and around Bedford and am placing the pictures in the sequence they were taken which does not match their geographic arrangement. These two sites are actually a few miles beyond the east edge of town. The first is the Jean Bonnet Tavern. Built in the 1760s (Butko says 1762, LHHC says 1769) travelers can still eat, drink, and sleep here. The tavern is mentioned in the journals of missionary John Heckewelder who stopped by on his way to and from the Monrovian villages in Ohio. Today I verified that Ohioans are still welcome. The second two shots are of the Lincoln Motor Lodge. I have heard good thing about the lodge and had semi-planned to stay there last night. I did not realize that it was well beyond the Bedford city limits but that is just part of the wrong thinking that prevented me from finding it yesterday.

I then returned to Bedford proper and photographed King's Garage and the Graystone Hotel. The garage dates from the Lincoln Highway's heyday and served to store the cars of patrons of the towns many hotels. Some of those hotels were there long before the LH or automobiles. The Graystone was built in 1768. The other pictures are of buildings just a bit off of the LH. The first is the 1916 Fort Bedford Inn. This one time "Pride of the Lincoln Highway" still looks inviting but is now an apartments for seniors. Last is the incredible Bedford Springs Hotel. Native Americans valued the curative powers of the springs long before the hotel opened in 1806. The hotel has long been closed and the vast complex is rapidly decaying. It is an amazing place to look at empty and must have been even more impressive when filled with well to do guests including six presidents.

This is part of the reason for my disjointed travels around Bedford. Running on empty, I had just filled my tank when I passed the station last night. I cursed my bad timing but decided to at least give current owner Jack Dunkle as much business as I could and make this my last stop in Bedford. Jack's father, Dick, opened the station in 1933 and it's still his name above the door. This station is a real LH treasure and I certainly felt guilty that my business was a measly $2.40.

How about this for variety? A 1775 tavern that is current used by the Shawnee Sleepy Hollow Campground as an office and arcade. Mixing business & pleasure just as it most likely did in the 18th century. Next is the Pied Piper blowing his horn to attract visitors to the long closed Storyland amusement park. This Storyland structure in the woods is no match for the Haines house but is still a big shoe. In Schellsburg, the Lincoln Highway Garage is still in operation as, oddly enough, a garage. The pump sculpture in front, "Vincent van Gas", is probably my favorite. I also liked the blue 427 roadster parked next to the garage.

Sitting in the middle of a cemetery, this 1806 church contains the original pews and pulpit. I would have loved to go inside but had to settle for peering through windows. Both mural and pump sculpture are at the Bison Corral Gift Shop.

Once again, it's time to climb. Near the top, there is a pull off next to what is possible the most viewed empty spot on the Lincoln Highway. This is the site of the Ship Hotel; Built in 1932 and burned in 2001. I never saw it and its destruction is a vivid reminder of why any chance to see points of interest should be grabbed. Click here for a sense of what the view is like.

This pump is the LHHC Pump Parade People's Choice Award. Unfortunately, it's tough to photograph behind that concrete barrier but you can still see just how big the burning of the mountain side hotel was.

This is my picture of the "Seven Mile Stretch". The books are full of them. The books also suggest you make your own measurement. I did and got something around five miles. The GPS, which knows nothing about curves, hills, or valleys, got 4.86 miles. I think that seven mile number came from a wayward husband whose girlfriend lived one mile off the highway.

The Flight 93 Memorial is only a few miles south of US-30. I felt a connection to my visit to the Oklahoma City bombing site on my first Route 66 outing in 1999. There are, indeed, some similarities but there are lots of differences. I won't describe the pictures. You know what they are.

The site is staffed by volunteers and today Paula was on duty. She described the site and answered questions. When I got ready to leave, Paula mentioned a shorter way back to US-30. I told her I would probably retrace my path since I was following the Lincoln Highway. She then told me that, when her children take her out on Mother's Day, she has a single request. "We have to go on some road I've never been on before," she said. I liked Paula.

A nice mural and pump sculpture in Stoystown and some of the old route near Ligonier.

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