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Extra info for Asphalt and Politics: A History of the American Highway System
Work had to be done. The LHA sought ways to get additional mileage, graveled or paved, in as many places as possible, as quickly as possible. The ﬁrst step was Joy’s ingenious idea known as seedling miles. Interested towns could request LHA approval of their plan including location, drainage, sub-surface work, and a promise of future maintenance of one 34 Asphalt and Politics mile of sixteen-foot (changed to eighteen in 1918) highway. The town — or county — would perform the labor and provide equipment, frequently state-owned.
42 FOUR—THE MILITARY COMPLEX 43 The father of this plan for a transcontinental military expedition was the one-time circus roustabout, rancher, and automobile dealer Henry C. Ostermann, ﬁeld secretary and vice president of the Lincoln Highway Association. Labeled a “genius in several ways” by the association’s own history, Ostermann was also consul-at-large, chief contact between the association and the public. Unlike the better-known car executives promoting the Lincoln Highway, Ostermann lacked high-proﬁle business experience and was not called to Washington to serve in an executive capacity during the war years.
Joliet, Illinois, was fouled by factory smoke. She found the National Road to be in bad shape, but did not explain how she got through the mud or rock roads that everyone else encountered. Drivers were paying 18 to 45 cents a gallon for gas and getting ten or more miles per gallon, but using enormous amounts of oil, as much as two gallons a day in the soft going. 7 Emily Post, deprived of her usual European trip by the war, was driven cross country by her son in a magniﬁcent Mercedes, so long that it frequently had to make several attempts to get around the narrow turns of the Rockies.