GALION — Galion-area residents will have a rare opportunity in two weeks to celebrate the 100th anniversary of a special military convoy. In 1919, to celebrate the victory in World War I, a military convoy traveled across the Lincoln Highway, from the East Coast to the West Coast.
Galion, being located on the Lincoln Highway at that time, was one of the convoy’s stops, as it was in 2009 on the 90th anniversary of this special celebration.
The convoy is expected to be in Galion sometime around mid-morning Saturday, Aug. 17.
The Military Vehicle Preservation Association has invited its members and their various historical military vehicles to participate in this grand convoy re-enactment. It leaves Washington D.C. on Aug. 10. The group will bivouac in Wooster. before coming through Galion about mid-morning on Saturday, Aug. 17.
Expected to participate in the coast-to-coast tour — about 3,200 miles — are more than 50 Historic Military Vehicles. Another 20 or so vehicles will participate in different portions of the trip.
The convoy will follow the original Lincoln Highway route as closely as possible. That route crosses all or part of 11 states from Washington D.C. to San Francisco, joining the Lincoln Highway in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The route begins on the lowlands of the eastern seaboard, traverses the rolling hills of Pennsylvania, travels the lush farmlands of the Midwest, crosses the high plains, dips into the Great Salt Lake Basin in Utah, crosses the Nevada Desert, climbs the Sierra Nevada and descends to Lake Tahoe. It will end in California and the San Francisco Bay area.
This is a Convoy of Historic Military Vehicles — of all eras, from World War I through to current-issue military vehicles. The vehicle roster currently includes old cargo trucks, Harley Davidson WLA motorcycles, staff cars and Jeeps to modern M913 5-ton cargo trucks.
The convoy’s daily stopping points will be many of the same locations as the 1919.
The public to encouraged to come out and witness this historic journey across the U.S. as it travels through their area. As passes through the cities and towns along this highway, the MVPA intends, with the cooperation of the Lincoln Highway Association, to draw attention to this early road system.
The original 1919 convoy was actually designed to test “new” military vehicles and “new” auto roads for the effectiveness of moving troops in America. It left Washington D.C. on July 7 and arrived in San Francisco on Sept. 6, 1919.
At that time, the Lincoln “Highway” was a series of roads with conditions that ranged from poured concrete to tracks across quick sand and alkali mud and across bridges that gave way under the weight of these vehicles. The trip was grueling, and the daily average was 59 miles per day and about 6 miles per hour.
See actual video of the 1919 convoy on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgFiBeq66-E&t=301s
Dwight D. Eisenhower was one of the convoy participants. He later vowed to change the way America built roads, and lived up to his promise by beginning the Federal Highway Administration shortly after being elected president in the early 1950s.
This is a chance for all interested to come out and watch as the convoy follows the original Lincoln Highway, Harding Way, (originally called Main Street and then renamed Lincoln Way in 1913) through town headed west to San Francisco.