Saturday, December 16, 2023

2021-06-21: Driving Through History Along the Lincoln Highway in West Virginia and Pennsylvania

Welcome back family, friends, RV'ers, Jeepers, Geocachers, and fellow travelers. On this Day 2 of our little road trip in the GeoJeep while the motorhome is getting serviced, we're continuing eastbound on the Lincoln Highway / US-30 through West Virginia and Pennsylvania. We're picking up new geocaching counties to complete our map. And made an unexpected and unplanned stop when we passed the entrance of the September 11th Flight 93 National Memorial. So join us as we drive through history.

Leaving Ohio this morning and crossing over the Ohio River, we entered the northern tip of West Virginia and a needed geocaching county. Located in Hancock County was the World's Largest Teapot (GC21926). You can read the full history of the Tea Pot on the geocaching page, but here's a summary. It was originally constructed as a hogshead barrel for Hires Root Beer in Pennsylvania. In 1938, a pottery store owner named William Devon purchased it and moved it to Chester, WV. Here he added the handle, spout, a tin exterior, and a glass ball knob for a lid. Several ownership changes and locations later, it was last restored in 1990 and placed at it's current location at US-30 and Highway 2. Now whether or not it really is the largest teapot, I couldn't tell ya. Because I've also seen one in Texas making a similar claim.

Crossing over into Beaver County, Pennsylvania now and getting closer to Pittsburg, I had no interest in driving through the big city. And US-30 just happens to go through the middle of it.

So in the town of Harshaville I turned south on Highway 18 and headed towards the Racoon Creek State Park. There we went on a short hike for a virtual geocache (GCFF06) at some old CCC buildings and an earthcache at the Frankfort Mineral Springs and Falls (GC1K7NZ). Those copper color stains on the rocks are where the spring waters come out through the rocks.

With all the trees, shade, and spring water, I think the temperature down here was probably 10-15 degrees cooler. It was a beautiful area. This is Candy and her granddaughter taking pics of each other.

I continued south down to I-70 east to bypass the big city. I then pick back up on the Lincoln Highway southeast of the city in Westmoreland County. The next geocache was called the Giants of the Lincoln Highway (GC2XHWZ). The "Giants" are the oversized roadside attractions created to advertise businesses to the numerous automobiles traveling the Lincoln Highway, such as the giant teapot I wrote about earlier. This one here was an oversized gas pump statue. The 1940's Bennett Gas Pump is 25 foot high and weighs over 4900 pounds. This Giant was installed at the future site of the Lincoln Highway Experience. The students chose the gas pump design because the installation site is the former home of Donato’s Filling Station (1930s-1940s).

Continuing our way eastbound, the original plane was to drive non-stop through Somerset County as I had already had that one completed on my geocaching counties map. But as we were driving along there's a sign that says "Flight 93 National Memorial." Two seconds later as we passed by the entrance it finally hit me to the significance of Flight 93. U-Turn!

I'm sure we're all familiar with the tragedy that happened on September 11, 2001. So I'll just describe the photos. Above is the view from the memorial looking out towards the crash site.

The next photo below is from the crash site looking back towards the memorial at the top of the hill.

Next photo highlights the panel of names of the passengers down the one side of the sidewalk. Todd Beamer is the passenger who spoke those famous words "Let's Roll" before they took on the hijackers.

A closer look up the hill towards the memorial.

Below: The Tower of Voices is a 93-foot-tall musical monument about halfway between the Lincoln Highway and the landscaped memorial of Flight 93. Forty chimes represent the voices of the 40 courageous passengers and crewmembers who took a vote to come together and fight terrorism on that flight. There is no other wind chime tower in the world like the Tower of Voices.

After an hour and a half at the Flight 93 Memorial, it was time to get back on the road.

Bedford County is next down the road and the town of Schellsburg is on the list. Centuries before the Lincoln Highway, this old trading route passing through here was used by the Indians crossing the rugged mountains. As settlers began pushing west, the British Army made improvements to the trail in 1758 during the French-Indian War and it became the Forbes Road.

A German immigrant named John Schell settled in the valley in 1798. A few years later in 1806 the old Historic Church (GC8XJ1E) was built and the first burial outside the church. It wasn't until 1860 when Peter Schell, the son of John Schell, formed the Chestnut Ridge and Schellsburg Union Cemetery (GC8XJ11) was created. The town of Schellsburg was chartered and became official in 1908.

A few miles down the road and we turned north on I-99 heading towards Connecticut. The next county to the north is Blair County. My last geocache of the day was in Altoona, PA. Out in front of the Veterans Administration building is the Vietnam War Memorial which also includes a replica of the Wall. The Wall was also a virtual geocache (GCG5X5).

Well it's just after 7 PM and it has been a long day. Time to go find some dinner and a place to crash for the night. It was a great day with that historical unexpected stop. Time to get some rest and looking forward to tomorrow.

To follow along on our travels and keep up with my latest blogs, you may do so here of course by clicking the "Follow" button to the right. And there's also my main website at AwayWeGo.US for the complete index of my traveling adventures going back to 2005. But also by using one or more of your favorite of these social media platforms: FacebookMeWeGabRedditTwitterGETTRInstagram, and TruthSocial. These all link directly to my profiles. Again, please feel free to comment and / or share.

No comments:

Post a Comment