By Bob Logan
FRANKLIN GROVE — On Thursday, March 28, Franklin Grove became the latest recipient of a Lincoln Highway Coalition Highway Mural funded by the Lincoln Highway Coalition. The mural was installed on the north side of the Rooney Building, the second oldest building in downtown Franklin Grove, built in 1868.
The mural depicts the H.I. Lincoln Building, Franklin Grove’s oldest downtown building, built in 1860 and home to the National Lincoln Highway Association Headquarters.
The mural also memorializes the Feb. 14, 1914 meeting of the Lincoln Highway Boosters in the upstairs hall of the H.I. Lincoln Building where the very first Lincoln Highway pins were sold to support the first transcontinental improved highway that ran between New York, Franklin Grove and San Francisco.
Henry C. Ostermann, the first Lincoln Highway Field Secretary and avid promoter of the new highway, is credited with launching the fund raising campaign that led to the building of the highway with voluntary donations.
Ostermann is said to have made 121 transcontinental trips, the most famous of which was the 1919 military caravan that traveled the highway with then Lieutenant Dwight Eisenhower. As President of the United States, following his role as the Commanding General of Allied Forces in Europe and being exposed to the value of Germany’s Autobahn roadway system across Germany, Eisenhower promoted the U. S. Interstate Highway System that is named after him.