September 30th, 2010

MONUMENTAL AWARD

Uncategorized, by Catherine Higgins.

A history buff who worked with UDOT and others to build a monument to the Lincoln Highway was recently recognized for his efforts.

A Ford Model A is parked near the monument at the dedication event. A car like the one above traveled the Lincoln Highway in 1924 commemorating the 10-millionth Ford to roll off the assembly line.

Retired shop teacher Rollin Southwell says he “should have been a historian” because of his interest in the old Lincoln Highway and his admiration for its “flamboyant promoter” Carl Fisher. Rollin was recently presented with an Outstanding Achievement Award by Utah State History for 10 years of work to plan, build and place a monument to Fisher and the Lincoln Highway.

The monument, on Utah State Route 199 at milepost 12, marks what is now known as Fisher Pass and is part of Utah’s portion of the Lincoln Highway. Carl Fisher funded this part of the Lincoln Highway a century ago during a time when most roads were not suitable for the newly invented automobiles.

Jack Mason stands in front of a rock that was moved and placed near the monument.

Rollin worked closely with UDOT Region 2 Area Supervisor Jack Mason.  ”Jack is an excellent supervisor of his people,” says Rollin. UDOT employees assisted in the effort by moving a large rock and paving near the monument. Jerry Timmins, also of Region two helped resolve a right-of-way issue. Most of the effort was paid for with private funds.

The monument plaque has a picture of a lighthouse — a strange image in landlocked Utah.  A lighthouse lit by Prest-O-lite gas, a product championed by Carl Fisher, was once proposed  as a way to provide light for Lincoln Highway travelers driving between Wendover and Tooele.  Plans for the lighthouse were found, but the structure was never built.

A solar-powered beacon turns on automatically after dark.  A Lincoln Highway Marker is placed next to the monument.

The Lincoln Highway, Carl Fishers brain child, was the nation’s first transcontinental road built exclusively for automobiles, and was planned to extend from San Francisco to New York City. Many routes for the Utah’s section of the Lincoln Highway were proposed. The final route crossed northern Utah from Wendover, Nevada, through Salt Lake and on to Evanston, Wyoming.

Utah State History Division Director Phil Notarianni, left, and Rollin Southwell at the award ceremony

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Responses to “MONUMENTAL AWARD”

  1. Lately, I’ve been researching the advent of the Interstate Highway system to Utah. While I’ve learned a lot, I can’t seem to find any photos of Interstate construction or how the roads looked when they first opened (from the mid 1960s to early 1970s). Do you think you could post some of those on the blog if they’re available?

    Stephen Malyn at October 11, 2010 9:26 pm
  2. Stephen,

    I used a Utah State History historic photo on a post about a new rest stop (http://www.udot.utah.gov/blog/?p=1458). During my search, I saw photos from the 1960s and 70s. You should visit http://www.history.utah.gov. Be forewarned; looking at transportation photos can be very addictive…but you probably know that already.

    Catherine Higgins at October 13, 2010 12:10 am
  3. It is a 1924 Model T Ford

    Michael Littman at June 21, 2013 6:42 am
  1. Tweets that mention MONUMENTAL AWARD ­ UDOT Transportation Blog -- Topsy.com (,September 30, 2010)

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Utah.gov, Utah DOT. Utah DOT said: RT @UtahGov: Monument dedicated on the Lincoln Highway http://go.usa.gov/xeS (@UtahDOT blog) [...]

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