Thursday, June 29, 2017

(36) A Highway of History

Tuesday June 27
A Highway of History

"World's Largest Teapot",  Chester West Virginia

I was relieved that it did not take us long to find the highway from Beaver Creek State Park as I worried it might. It turned out we had taken the long, long and winding way around from the city of Lisbon. In the morning, I could hear traffic from the highway and it appeared that the road passing by the campground travelled in the direction of the sound.

"Grab a chair, I'll pour you a cup."
After enjoying a cup of coffee at our campsite and taking in our spectacular surroundings we broke camp and drove towards the sound which quickly brought us to Ohio Route 7 which took us to the Lincoln Highway. Once on the Lincoln, it was a simple matter to drive to East Liverpool, Ohio.

East Liverpool was once the pottery capital of America. We were overwhelmed by its rich architectural history. It was obvious that East Liverpool had enjoyed an extended period of prosperity. Sadly that period had long passed and while the architecture was still beautiful it was clear that it was now experiencing a long period of neglect and decay. Still it didn't take much to imagine what this grand city must have looked like in its heyday.

Museum of Ceramics, East Liverpool
Church in East Liverpool

Sturgis House, where the body of  Pretty
Boy Floyd was taken after his shootout
with the FBI
Pretty Boy Floyd was not a Rotarian, he could never pass the 4
way test! Rotarysimply paid for the historical markers downtown.

Very near to where we parked our car we came upon the Sturgis house. The Sturgis house is a beautiful structure which in its past had served as a funeral parlor. In October, 1934 the owner of the funeral parlor, Mr. Dawson, was brought the body of the gangster Pretty Boy Floyd. In our travels through the Midwest and into the East on the Lincoln Highway we have come across many sites where gangland activity of the 1920s and 1930s is in evidence. In Iowa we learned the bootleggers. In Indiana and Illinois we heard about the gangsters of the 1920s and the 1930s. Today we came across it again in East Liverpool.

Newell Bridge over the Ohio River
After walking through downtown East Liverpool, we left town, crossing the Ohio River on the Newell Bridge to West Virginia. I had just been thinking were making good time. Actually, we were on schedule. We came across the Newell Bridge and turned right to go to the factory where they make Fiesta Ware. That is where we got off schedule. The Homer Laughlin Co. includes the old factory buildings, the factory outlet store and a backroom of "seconds" has outstanding deals. 

Homer Laughlin Co. Factory Store
Linda digging through for the
best plate!

What took me ten minutes to take in, took Linda a considerably longer period of time. I spent the rest of the morning in the car watching Fiesta Ware dispose of dishes that did not meet the high standards of the Homer Laughlin Company.

The end of the road for this batch of Fiesta Ware

I watched them use a forklift to pick up large pallets of Fiesta Ware and send the dishes crashing into the back of the dump truck where it all would be taken to the dump. 

Not the World's Largest according to Texans!
From the Fiesta Ware factory we drove to Chester, West Virginia to view the world's largest teapot. As I finished snapping the picture and was re-crossing the street a car from Texas stopped and the driver told me I was a sucker. He said that the teapot in Chester was not the world's largest. That the world's largest teapot was in, where else, Texas. The huge teapot honors the pottery industry of this area. It is the rich deposits of local clay and the Ohio River to transport their goods that created this pottery industry here.

Pittsburgh, Pa.

From Chester we made our way towards Pittsburgh. Navigating Pittsburgh traffic was not fun for me. I understand some easterners dread driving across the western deserts. I dread traffic and crowded cities. After the passage of a considerable amount of time we emerged from the Pittsburgh congestion and continued our trip across Pennsylvania.

A Sobering lesson from recent history
We drove south of the Lincoln Highway near Shanksville Pennsylvania to view the memorial Flight 93. On September 11, 2001 some brave passengers on Flight 93 stormed the cockpit where hijackers had taken over the controls of the plane. The airplane crashed in the Pennsylvania Hills saving many lives and probably the White House. The visit to the memorial was a sobering moment that hit me much harder than I thought it would.
Where Flight 93 crashed.
 I am thankful that our country possesses brave and exceptional people such as the passengers who stormed the cockpit of flight 93. But I always find myself wondering why we have to lose such good and exceptional people to eliminate such very bad people.

We drove from the memorial to Mann's Choice, Pa. On the way, we passed the ruins of the Ship Hotel

Ruins of the Ship Hotel

The Ship Hotel, as it once stood.

We would spend our night at the Lincoln motor Court in Mann's Choice. The Lincoln motor Court was built in the 1930s and is maintained in much the same condition as it was in in the 1930s and 1940s. As we traveled the Lincoln Highway we are looking not only to see things, to experience things from the past to the extent that is possible. 

Bob and Debbie, owners and conservators of the Lincoln Motor Court
Places like the Lincoln Motor Court and the Virginian hotel helped to make this possible. Certainly we have to give up some of the amenities of say a Best Western, but the experience and glimpse into the past is well worth it.

Bob and Debbie own and maintain the Lincoln Motor Court. We have met a lot of people on this trip whose love for the Highway has helped to bring it to life for us. Bob and Debbie are certainly at the top of that list.

Jean Bonnet Tavern and Inn

Gabrielle, our waitress with Linda

After checking into the motel we had dinner at the Jean Bonnet Inn, which dates back to the 1760s. Our meal was served on pewter plates and was delicious. Our waitress, Gabrielle took extra good care of us and answered questions about the tavern and Inn.

Tomorrow we will continue east to Gettysburg, York and Lancaster. The first half of the trip is nearing an end. But it has been the experience of a lifetime.


  1. Did you tell the Texan that Texas Tea is something different?

  2. Has the Fiesta Ware visit impacted your packing? It makes me think of the film "The Long Trailer" - just with dishes instead of rocks.

  3. I love how "The Long, Long Trailer" has made your blog/comments a few times. I will usually hang with it if I come across while flipping channels and enjoy some Lucy and Dezi.

    I was reading and laughing along with today's entry when I scrolled down and saw the Flight 93 Memorial. I want to visit there.

    Still puts a lump in my throat when I think about what those people did that day to win our first battle. I have as much respect for them as I do for those that signed on the line and joined our great country's armed forces throughout the years.