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Boone prepares for military convoy June 22-Original 1919 event has historic ties to Boone community

 
mopar28m
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06/13/2009 04:25 PM

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Boone prepares for military convoy June 22-Original 1919 event has historic ties to Boone community
[link to amestrib.com]

Ninety years ago in 1919, the United States Army executed a motor convoy of various vehicles across the country on the newly-formed Lincoln Highway. The convoy was organized to put the military vehicles through as grueling a trial as could be devised, to study how the varying road conditions affected each branch of the service, to create a transcontinental recruiting drive for the Army, to demonstrate the need for good roads, and, although it was unwritten, to thank the American people for their support during World War I.

Now, on the 90th anniversary of the grueling trip, the Military Vehicle Preservation Association announced a new transcontinental motor convoy, retracing the route of the first one along the Lincoln Highway, complete with a wide array of both historic and modern military vehicles.

The event, which is expecting more than 50 historic military vehicles along with more than 100 other vehicles, will be traveling the entire 3,200 miles coast-to-coast route, starting in Washington, D.C. and ending in San Francisco, with the convoy passing right through Boone.

At a program on the original convoy held at the Boone County Historical Society Thursday, June 11, tentative plans for the group’s pass through Boone were announced. The Iowa Lincoln Highway Association helped assist the MVPA in its trip, as road construction at the intersection of Mamie Eisenhower Avenue and Story Street will prevent the convoy from passing through that area.

The convoy is tentatively scheduled to pass through Boone June 22 sometime between 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. The vehicles will enter Boone on Mamie Eisenhower Avenue from the east, traveling north on Marshall Street, travel west on Seventh Street, travel south on Marian Street, and then continuing west on Mamie Eisenhower Avenue.

Charles Irwin, Director of the Boone County Historical Society, said that this is the route scheduled as of now, however since the MVPA is organizing the convoy, this route could be subject to change.

“That particular day they’re coming, they’re going to be starting in Cedar Rapids, they’re going to have lunch in Marshalltown, then they’re going to go through the various communities up to Boone, and then from Boone through Ogden, Beaver, Grand Junction, and then Jefferson,” Irwin said. “And they’re going to overnight at Jefferson. As of right now, we’re thinking late afternoon, somewhere between 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. they’re going to be coming through Boone.”


The history

During the program held Thursday, Irwin told how the original convoy was the first motor transport convoy ever to cross the U.S. Leaving Washington, D.C. on July 7, 1919, the group did not reach San Francisco until September 6 of that year. The Lincoln Highway at the time was a series of roads with conditions that ranged from poured concrete to tracks across quicksand, tracks across alkali mud and across bridges that gave way under the weight of the vehicles. The terrain was so difficult to maneuver, that the convoy only averaged 59 miles per day for an average speed of six miles per hour.

“It consisted of 81 army vehicles with 37 officers, 258 enlisted men, 46 trucks, five ambulances, 11 passenger cars, nine motorcycles, one Maxwell caterpillar tractor, two ambulance trailers, four kitchen trailers, one pontoon trailer, one mobile searchlight, and a MILITOR, which is a huge recovery vehicle,” Irwin said.

In the video shown of the original convoy during the program, vehicles encountered bridges that were built too small to accommodate the large military vehicles, many vehicles getting stuck, and the convoy carefully navigating roads next to canyons, through quicksand and across roads that consisted of nothing more than ruts on a mud road.

Barbara Moore, a Boone resident, compiled a history of the original 1919 convoy as it passed through Boone from old issues of the Boone News-Republican and the Boone Pioneer. In a paper submitted to the BN-R, she described the event in great detail:

“When the first transcontinental train came to Boone, the town was exhilarated. Many preparations were made to give the soldiers a grand time. This was not long after the United States’ involvement in the World War and people were in a mood to celebrate the men and their thundering vehicles.

“First to arrive early in the morning were the scouts on their motorcycles. They were busy tacking up guide signs to mark the route for the trucks. Next to enter the city was the Lincoln Highway official car with Mr. Osterman aboard. Arriving shortly after were cars of military officials and the advance men. The Goodyear car was an early arrival. Then came the kitchen cars. They stopped east of town at the old Eastern Star Home. Here, the noon meal was prepared and served to scores of soldiers sitting by the roadside and in the grass, picnicking.

“The main body of the convoy drove into town about 1:30 p.m. and were greeted by a loud and joyful crowd. Stores were closed and streets blocked off. Flags were everywhere and banners, such as the one that stretched across the street at 8th and Story were flapping in the breeze, this one put up by the Good Roads Club. Every bell and whistle in town could be heard, along with the roar of the crowd. It was a warm day and the Red Cross passed out cooling drinks and ice cream cones to the convoy personnel. A good crowd gathered at the newspaper office while the official Lincoln Highway car and Mr. Osterman and the party were there. It was quite a reception and included the Goodyear band. The 75-piece band, composed of tire builders and finishers, was reported to be a ‘real’ band and quite good.

“Downtown, a four-block space was roped off for the trucks. It had been hoped that the men and their machines would stay in town for a while, at least long enough for the men to enjoy the warm showers at the YMCA. However, the stay in the heart of town could only be less than half an hour. During that time, however, the crowd thronging around them made them feel as welcome as if they were in their own hometowns.

“One soldier of particular interest to the town was Colonel Dwight Eisenhower. In 1916, the Colonel had married Miss Mamie Doud, who was born in Boone and had many relatives and friends still in the city. Eisenhower came into Boone ahead of the convoy so that he could spend a longer time visiting with his in-laws, including Uncle Joel Carlson and Aunt Eda Carlson. Later, Mamie would meet Eisenhower in North Platte, Neb., and travel with him to Denver where she would remain in her parent’s home while Eisenhower went on to the coast with the convoy.

“Meanwhile, the soldiers and trucks were moving back onto the Lincoln Highway on the road west. Driving toward Ogden, they went down Clay Bank Hill and across the Des Moines river by way of the Rose Ferry Bridge. They had come from a grand reception in Boone and were headed for another in Ogden.

“It had been hoped by the train commanders that the convoy could parade at the fairgrounds in Ogden and the planning was begun. The racetrack would be used for the vehicles to parade, going slowly for close inspection. Fair officials had given their consent for this arrangement and Consul J.B. McHose awaited the decision of the motor train officials.

“Unfortunately, those in charge said their orders were to not leave the Lincoln Highway for so much as a block. Under those conditions, the fairgrounds were not accessible. A number of fairgoers then went to the Lincoln Highway crossing south of the fairgrounds to greet the soldiers and see the big trucks and equipment. One novelty was the huge spotlight, such as the one used in France to spot enemy aircraft.

“From Ogden, the motor train went to Jefferson for an overnight, following the Lincoln Highway. Although they had lobbied heavily, the Des Moines people could not get the orders changed to bring the group through their city. Orders were orders and they stayed the course, along the Lincoln Highway and down the main streets of America.”

Moore also noted that in the book “The Lincoln Highway-Iowa,” author Gregory Franzwa states that when the motor transport train came to Glidden, it actually left the Lincoln Highway so that the men of the train could pay a visit to the home of Merle Hay’s parents. Hay was one of two American soldiers who were the first to be killed in World War I.

The current convoy

For the 2009 MVPA Transcontinental Motor Convoy, the group will be leaving near Washington, D.C. June 10 and arriving in Oakland, Calif., July 8. The group will then stay in Oakland, for two days before disbanding.

For more information on this year’s convoy, visit www.mvpaconvoy.org. For more information on the convoy passing through Boone, visit www.lincolnhighwayassoc.org/ia/.
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Phuck

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06/13/2009 04:27 PM
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Re: Boone prepares for military convoy June 22-Original 1919 event has historic ties to Boone community
what boone is this?

i live in boone, nc
Phuck
You
mopar28m (OP)
John 10:22-23

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06/13/2009 04:27 PM

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Re: Boone prepares for military convoy June 22-Original 1919 event has historic ties to Boone community
what boone is this?

i live in boone, nc
 Quoting: Phuck

Boone, IA
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06/13/2009 04:29 PM
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Re: Boone prepares for military convoy June 22-Original 1919 event has historic ties to Boone community
what is iowa?
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Re: Boone prepares for military convoy June 22-Original 1919 event has historic ties to Boone community
what is iowa?
Von Liceman
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06/13/2009 04:30 PM
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Re: Boone prepares for military convoy June 22-Original 1919 event has historic ties to Boone community
what is iowa?
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 701942


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