Before 1913, travel by car was both an adventure and a challenge due to the poor quality of dirt roads. The Lincoln Highway was the first coast-to-coast road made for driving: instead of dirt, the highway was paved with concrete or gravel. The New York to San Francisco route made it possible for anyone with a car to drive across the country. The highway’s construction was an early sign that cars would transform American society.
A hundred years of highway travel and Nebraska’s 500th highway historical marker will be celebrated this Saturday, June 29 at a free public event. Cars from 1913 will be on exhibit to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the Lincoln Highway as part of the event sponsored by the Nebraska State Historical Society.
One of the participants in the centennial event is Clyde William “Bill” Wilcox, Jr., a native of Broken Bow and 1955 graduate of Broken Bow High School. His parents, Clyde and Ethelyn Wilcox, lived in the Ansley and Broken Bow area, where Clyde served as doctor for Broken Bow in the 1940s and 50s.
Bill now resides in Virginia Beach, Va., and is retired from radiology. He has been interested in antique cars for many years, and owns a fully restored 1941 Lincoln Continental and a previously restored 1932 Packard convertible sedan. The Packard is named “Sophie” after Sophie Tucker.
Bill and a friend and former radiology partner, Bob Woolfitt, drove their antique cars in celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Lincoln Highway in 2003, and will be doing it again for the centennial.
The pair left Tidewater, Va., June 20 and traveled to New Jersey, where they started their trip to Nebraska June 21. They are due to arrive in Kearaney Sunday, June 30, for a 3-day stay.
During his visit to Nebraska, Wilcox plans to take a side trip to his home town of Broken Bow Tuesday, July 2. He says while here he plans to take a walk around the town square, stop in at the Custer County Historical Museum and enjoy lunch at the Bonfire Grill.
“I hope folks from BBHS in the mid-50s, as well as folks who knew my parents, will join us for the stroll, lunch or both!,” says Wilcox.
For more information on the Lincoln Highway centennial celebration, visit www.lincolnhighwayassoc.org . And welcome home Dr. Wilcox!