Ruth Roider, Ada resident and newest member of the Ada Village Council, skillfully delivered the speech given by Ohio Governor Frank B. Willis on June 19, 1915 from the balcony of the Lehr Memorial Building on South Main Street, Ada.
This activity in front of the main entrance of Lehr Memorial was the final formal event of the 31 people who recently attended the 13th annual meeting of the Ohio Lincoln Highway League, a part of the Lincoln Highway Association. The event was hosted by Ohio Northern University and the planning of the event was coordinated by Mike Buettner (Lima), President of the Ohio Lincoln Highway League and members of the Ada Community Improvement Corporation.
Ada Mayor David Retterer and ONU President Ken Baker greeted the League members and guests in the McIntosh Center Wishing Well. The morning business meeting included reports from members who had attended the national convention in Iowa last summer as well as summaries of last year's events and activities of two chapters of the league in eastern Ohio.
Following lunch President Mike Buettner presented a chronology of significant events giving information about the Lincoln Highway and Harding Highway in Hardin County and Numbered State Highways in Ada. The Lincoln Highway Association officially proclaimed the route of the Lincoln Highway on September 14, 1913. Cities specifically listed in the published proclamation included Mansfield, Marion, Kenton and Lima. On October 1, 1913, LHA President Henry Joy prepared a letter to the LHA directors announcing a revision to the Lincoln Highway route between Galion and Lima. Locations specifically listed the revised route to include Bucyrus, Upper Sandusky, Forest, Patterson Station and Ada.
On June 19, 1915 the Lincoln Highway movie caravan stopped in Ada on its way from New York to San Francisco. This is when Governor Willis gave his inspiring speech, "Good Roads."
The Lincoln Highway went through Ada from 1913 until its designation was changed to go through Hancock County and Beaverdam in 1919. When the highway went through Ada, it entered the village on what is now State Route 81, North Street, turning south on Main Street through the entire village of Ada. It then turned west on either what is now Reservoir Road or State Route 309 and continued to Lima.
The designation of the route north of Ada in 1919 was made at the insistence of engineers planning the route of the U.S. Army Transcontinental Motor Convoy. The convoy left Washington, D.C. on July 7 and spent July 12-16 traveling across Ohio. This included overnight stops in Bucyrus and Delphos. Among the entourage was Lieutenant Dwight D. Eisenhower.
If any of this history of the Lincoln Highway has caused you to become interested in promoting the Lincoln Highway as a tourist attraction, please contact Norm Rex or Don Traxler for information in becoming a member of the Ohio Lincoln Highway League.