About Me

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Governor of WV Attends Celebratory Lunch at Park

On October 17, 1930, the three governors of Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania met at the junction of the William Penn Highway (U.S. Route 22) and the Lincoln Highway (U.S. Route 30) in Imperial, PA, for a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of both roads during the Depression. This included the recently completed 3-mile stretch through Chester.

"The gathering of more than 5,000 persons," reported the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on October 18, 1930, “came in automobile caravans from Ohio and West Virginia, met the Pennsylvanians there and weathered the discomfort of a chilling drizzle."

Heading north in Chester the Lincoln Highway turns west at the intersection of Taylor Road and Carolina Avenue (Photograph by Clarence O. Durbin taken atop the Cyclone Roller Coaster; Courtesy of Rich Brooks)

Prior to the ribbon cutting, each governor gave a speech in his home state and then traveled by motorcade to Imperial for the afternoon dedication. Governor Myers Y. Cooper, of Columbus, held a noon meeting in Steubenville, Governor John S. Fisher, of Harrisburg, was entertained at a luncheon in Pittsburgh, Governor William G. Conley, of Charleston, W.Va., was the speaker at a ceremony celebrating the completion of the Lincoln Highway between East Liverpool and Pittsburgh, which was to have been held outdoors at Rock Springs Park, but was moved to City Hall most likely due to the poor weather which dampened overcoats but not spirits that day.

"This event," Governor Fisher declared, "is remarkable as a tri-state celebration forming a closer and more intimate union between three states already closely linked through many respects."

According to an article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, dated October 18, 1930, “Governor Conley and his party were guests at a luncheon at Rock Springs Park, Chester, where the exercises where originally scheduled to be held.”

It is believed that the Governor and his guests dined at the Green Lantern Restaurant constructed in 1927 by then park owner C.C. Macdonald near the lower trolley loop entrance to Rock Springs Park. Arrangements for the Chester celebration were made by a committee representing the East Liverpool chamber of commerce, the Chester board of trade, and Hookstown, Georgetown and Lisbon.

One of the original owners of Rock Springs Park, C.A. Smith (center), was said to have used his political influence to lobby for West Virginia alignment of the Lincoln Highway. (See Images of America: Rock Springs Park p. 65.)

The Lincoln Highway was officially marked and dedicated on September 1, 1928. On that day, at 1:00 p.m., groups of Boy Scouts placed 3,000 concrete markers at sites along the route. They were placed on the outer edge of the right-of-way at each important crossroad and at minor crossings, to assure each motorist that he was on the right road. The signs carried the Lincoln Highway insignia, a bronze medallion, and a directional arrow.

In my youth it was a rite of passage to be tall enough to leapfrog this concrete LH marker with a blue arrow pointing west toward Virginia Avenue. It along with two others remain in a three block stretch in my old neighborhood.

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