September 12, 1912
Plan for transcontinental highway is unveiled
They called it the Coast-to-Coast Rock Highway–3,000 and some miles of graveled road that would stretch from New York to San Francisco. Carl G. Fisher and James A. Allison announced their vision to the world on this day, a plan for America’s first transcontinental highway. The new highway was to be finished in time for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco at a cost of a mere $10,000,000, collected from private sources. However, Fisher and Allison’s plan began to go awry when they failed to win Henry Ford’s support for the project, putting their fund-raising efforts in jeopardy. Henry Joy, president of Packard and a supporter of the highway project, came up with the idea of naming the road after Abraham Lincoln–an idea that would garner $1.7 million in federal funds for the project. The highway was eventually completed as a memorial to Abraham Lincoln, paved in concrete rather than gravel, and christened the Lincoln Highway. It was to become an American icon, the predecessor to Route 66.