Historic Lincoln Highway Bridge
The Lincoln Highway Bridge, located in Tama, was constructed in 1915 as an early advertisement for the Lincoln Highway. The highway was the first successful effort to mark, promote, and build an automobile highway spanning the width of the United States. Initiated in 1913 as a memorial to former President Abraham Lincoln, the Lincoln Highway linked Iowa to both coasts.
Today you can travel the original route through Tama by following signs that begin at the bridge and continue west on 5th Street. Guardrails spelling the name on both sides make this a unique bridge on the Lincoln Highway. In 1978 the bridge was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It underwent restoration in 1987. According to a sign that marks the significance of the bridge, “it stands as a dramatic reminder of a time when few roads were paved and the campaign to ‘get out of the mud’ had just begun.”
I happened upon the Lincoln Highway Bridge the other day when I was coming back from Cedar Rapids. Tama is about the halfway point back to Ames, so I stopped there for a break. I had read about the bridge in my trusty Iowa travel guide, but I admit that I had forgotten about it. So it was a nice surprise.
I stopped and took some pictures of the bridge — said to be the only Lincoln Highway bridge still in existence — and its accompanying signage, and I also took advantage of the small park just north of the bridge. It was a nice spot to sit and eat my picnic lunch.