The Lincoln Highway

"Main Street Across America" The Lincoln Highway

“We were motorists as far west as Chicago, then we became pioneers.”- Participant in the 1911 Automobile Train from New York to Los Angeles

Until the development of modern transportation systems, California remained one of the most isolated areas in North America. Outside of the railroads, cross-country travel was nearly impossible. The nation’s 2.2 million miles of roads were “the worst roads in the civilized world.”

With the automobile, new demands for a long-distance, national highway became even more pronounced. Daring drivers made difficult journeys across the country to bring attention to this need for a “Coast-to-Coast Rock Highway.”

The 3,300 mile Lincoln Highway and other “National Auto Trails” grew out of the late 19th century’s “Good Roads Movement.” The “Broadway of America” later served as the inspiration for the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956

lincoln highway

California State Capitol Museum – The Road Ahead Exhibit

This is a website specifically for the “The Road Ahead: The Automobile’s Impact on California” Exhibit. Dates: May 23, 2018 – April 29, 2019 at the California State Capitol Museum.

For Museum-related information such as contacts, hours and location: Visit