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“The largest aggregation of motor vehicles ever started on a trip of such length:” Coast to coast with the U.S. Army in 1919

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Any student of the U.S. Interstate Highway System can tell you that the seeds for that network of roads were planted in the summer of 1919, when Dwight Eisenhower participated in a U.S. Army Motor Transport Corps convoy from Washington, DC, to San Francisco, California, over much of the Lincoln Highway. Thanks to the Lincoln Highway Association, we were recently pointed to this 25-minute video (silent, so put on your favorite driving music in the background) of the convoy, which the U.S. National Archives digitized and uploaded.

From the National Archives description of the film:

On the Army transcontinental trip in 1919. Reel 1, Sec. of War Baker and Rep. Julius Kahn dedicate the Zero Milestone In Washington, D.C. Trucks leave Camp Meigs, Md.; cross the Juniata River at Chambersburg, Pa.; climb the Blue Ridge Mts.; pass through East Palestine, Ohio; and traverse the Lincoln Highway in Ill. and Ind. An overturned truck is righted near Fulton, Ill. The Mississippi is crossed at Clinton, Iowa. Trucks are pulled from mud in Nebraska. Reel 2, trucks are winched from quicksand near North Platte, Neb. The Continental Divide Is crossed In Wyoming. Trucks pass through alkali dust in Wyo. A truck breaks through a wooden bridge and is extricated. The convoy departs from Fort Bridger, Wyo., and halts for a meal in Utah. Sagebrush is chopped and used to fill wheel ruts in the alkali road bed. Reel 3, the Great Salt Lake Desert is entered at Granite Point, Utah. A meal is prepared in the trailmobile kitchen. Trucks are pulled through wet sand in Nevada, climb the Sierra Nevadas, stop in Kybury, Calif., for dinner, parade through Sacramento, and ride from Oakland to San Francisco on ferries. Mayor Rolph greets Army officials.