National Register of Historic Places

Lincoln Highway Bridge
(added 1978 - Structure - #78001263)
E. 5th St., Tama
Historic Significance:  Event
Area of Significance:  Transportation
Period of Significance:  1900-1924
Owner:  Local Gov't
Historic Function:  Transportation
Historic Sub-function:  Road-Related
Current Function:  Transportation
Current Sub-function:  Road-Related
King Tower Cafe, located on Lincoln Highway U.S. 30 & 64, Tama, Iowa. The cafe is
part of King-Tower One-Stop. "Located on the Lincoln Highway.  One-half mile East
of Tama." "Halfway between Chicago and Omaha."  "Air-conditioned Cafe - Modern
Heated Cabins - Complete Garage Service." In 2002, Thirty-five years after it closed,
what may be the last of the rural roadside station/eateries that lined the Lincoln
Highway has reopened as a cafe and museum.
Tama is a city in Tama County, Iowa, United States. The population was 2,731 at the
2000 census. Tama is located a few miles from the Mesquakie Indian Settlement,
Iowa's only significant Native American community. Tama was located on the historic
Lincoln Highway and is home to an original Lincoln Highway bridge, listed on the
National Register of Historic Places. Tama is situated two miles south of Toledo, the
county seat. The two towns are close enough to have nearly grown together over the
Answer to Quiz #87 - November 26, 2006
1. What is the name of the town where is this restaurant located?
2. On what significant highway is it located?
3. Just down the highway from the the restaurant is
a structure listed in the National Register of Historic Places. What is it?
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Quiz #87 Results
Thanks to Evan Hindman for submitting this week's picture. Evan is also the photographer.
Click on thumbnail to see larger image.
1. Tama, Iowa
2. The Lincoln Highway
3. The Lincoln Bridge
(We accepted any other building on the Historic Register that was closeby.)
1. Tama, Iowa
2. The Lincoln Highway
3. The Lincoln Bridge
(We accepted any other building on the Historic Register that was closeby.)
Congratulations to our winners!

Rick Mackinney                Rolf Parkes
Pam Rein                Gary Sterne
Donald Schulteis                Emily Aulicino
Nancy Lear           Margaret Waterman
Mike Pfister                Tim Lonis
Debbie Sterbinsky             Gary Sterne        
Mark "Bridging the Gap" Brzys
John Chulick                Lynda Snider
Alan Cullinan                Judy Pfaff
Mary South                Kelly Fetherlin
Anna Farris                Theresa White
Tom Pincince                Carol Phillips
Mary Fraser                Fred Stuart
Stan Read                Jim Berry
Grace Hertz                Jim Kiser
Rick Norman                Bobbie Sims
Sandy Fahrnbruch                Dale Niesen
Tom Tullis                Marty Guidry

If your name has been omitted from our list of winners, please let us know.  It was unintentional.
I felt a little challenged by just doing Internet searches based on the only two real pieces
of information that could be used, that being the sign "King Tower" and the building
saying "Cafe."

King Tower was of no use it lead me to Oregon, but putting the two together revealed
an old post card on a website revealing the cafe when it was active in its hay day.  
Checking more sites revealed the actual address for the place from a hikers web page.  
Then going to the national historical register for Tama, Iowa showed on location on
Hwy 30 only.  So in about 20 minutes I had the quiz solved.                    
Rolf Parkes
Quiz Tip
The townspeople were so proud of being located on the transcontinental highway that
they had a bridge with railings spelling out LINCOLN HIGHWAY erected.  Fascinating
insight into our nation's transportation history...I'd heard of Route 66, but not the
Lincoln Highway...being a Southern Girl and all.                                        
Pam Rein

I first saw this photo I did not think there was a chance it could be identified. These
weekly quizes have certainly sharpened my observation skills. Thanks.
Margaret Waterman

BTW-I have Norwegian ancestors that lived in Tama in the 1880's-1920's.
Gary Sterne

The bridge is really cool since it has "Lincoln Highway" spelled out in cutout letters
along the side of the bridge.  Begun in 1913, the Lincoln Highway went from New York
to San Francisco and orignally crossed through 13 states.  A later adjustment added
West Virginia.                                                                                    
John Chulick
Comments from Our Readers
Tama, Iowa
Tama Facts
View of Tama, Iowa on GoogleEarth
City Limits, Tama, Iowa
Population: (July 2004): 2603
Median resident age: 37.3 years
Median household income: $35,531
Median house value: $58,400

Races in Tama:
White Non-Hispanic (84.0%)
Hispanic (9.6%)
American Indian (6.0%)
Other race (5.2%)
Two or more races (2.1%)

(Total can be greater than 100% because
Hispanics could be counted in other races)

German (23.9%), Irish (13.7%), Czech
(11.1%), English (9.7%), United States
(7.9%), Norwegian (5.5%)

Elevation: 831 feet

Land area: 3.0 square miles


Nearest city with pop. 50,000+: Waterloo,
IA  (39.6 miles, pop. 68,747).

Nearest city with pop. 200,000+: St. Paul,
MN  (210.0 miles, pop. 287,151).

Nearest city with pop. 1,000,000+:
Chicago, IL (336.5 miles, pop 2,896,016)

Nearest cities: Toledo, IA (1.9 miles ),
Montour, IA (9.7 miles ), Garwin, IA
(11.3 miles ), Chelsea, IA  (12.8 miles ),
Vining, IA (13.2 miles) , Le Grand, IA
(14.1 miles ), Clutier, IA (14.1 miles ),
Gilman, IA (15.9 miles ).
Most of U.S. Route 30 and portions of Interstate 80 now travels the same general
corridor from New York to San Francisco. The final (1928) path of the Lincoln
Highway now corresponds roughly to the following roads:

U.S. Route 1, New York to Philadelphia, PA       

U.S. Route 30, Philadelphia to Granger, WY

Interstate 80, Granger to West Wendover, NV       

U.S. Route 93 Alternate and U.S. Route 93, West Wendover to Ely, NV       

U.S. Route 50 and U.S. Route 50 Alternate, Ely to Wadsworth, NV       

Interstate 80, Wadsworth to San Francisco, CA        
To check current weather conditions along the Lincoln Highway, click here.
For current weather conditions in Tama, Iowa, click here.
The Lincoln Highway
The Lincoln Highway was the first road across America. This famed transcontinental
highway was conceived in 1913 by Carl G. Fisher. The Lincoln Highway spanned more
than 3000 miles[1] (5000 km), coast-to-coast, from Times Square in New York City to
Lincoln Park in San Francisco, originally through 13 states: New York, New Jersey,
Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah,
Nevada and California. In 1915, the "Colorado Loop" was removed, and in 1928, a
realignment relocated the Lincoln through the northern tip of West Virginia. Thus, there
are a total of 14 states through which the highway passed.

The Lincoln Highway is one of America's
best-known historical roads. It inspired the
Good Roads Movement and the National
Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956,
which was championed by President Dwight
D. Eisenhower, influenced by his experiences
as a young soldier crossing the country in the
1919 Army Convoy on the Lincoln Highway.

As the first road to link the East and West
Coasts of the United States, the Lincoln
Highway brought great prosperity to hundreds
of cities, towns and villages along the way.
Affectionately, the Lincoln Highway became
known as "The Main Street Across America",
a nickname that, even today, remains
synonymous with the famous old road.

The Lincoln Highway Association, originally
established to plan, promote and sign the highway, is now dedicated to promoting and
preserving it.
The King Tower Cafe and Other Tourist Attractions in Tama
The Lincoln Highway National Museum & Archives
102 Old Lincoln Way West, Galion, Ohio 44833
The famous 1915 Lincoln Highway Bridge
in Tama was put on the National Register
in 1978, and restored in 1987.  The town
of Tama hosts an annual Lincoln Highway
Bridge festival.

The King Tower was built in 1937 by
Wesley Mansfield, who promoted it as one
of the most modern twenty-four-hour
truck stops in the Midwest. It is located
on the Lincoln Highway U.S. 30 & 64,
Tama, Iowa.

The cafe is part of King-Tower One-Stop.
"Located on the Lincoln Highway.  
One-half mile East of Tama." "Halfway
between Chicago and Omaha." It
consisted of a two-story restaurant
building with an adjacent service garage, a
filling station office, and a cabin camp in
back. The cafe was air-conditioned... Both
the filling station and garage were torn
down several years ago [one of the cabins
remains]. A spectacular Indian-head neon
sign was erected in 1950." (Greg
Franzwa, The Lincoln Highway: Iowa, The Patrice Press, 1995)  And the giant neon
Indian head is still out front today. In 2002, Thirty-five years after it closed, what may
be the last of the rural roadside station/eateries that lined the Lincoln Highway has
reopened as a cafe and museum.

(The internet service is new.)
The Lincoln Highway Bridge
Built in 1915, the Lincoln Highway bridge in Tama is the most famous bridge on the
highway. The initial construction was financed by the citizens of Tama to show their
pride in being on the Lincoln Highway, and in the mid-1980's their descendants raised
the money necessary to save it.
This metal Pepsi sign stood for decades before coming down in 1996.   It
marked the Weir family's souvenir shop on the west edge of Tama,
beyond the golf course.  They had the standard fare tourists expect so
close to the Mesquakie indian reservation, including rubber tomahawks.  A
year after the sign was removed, the building was razed as well.  Mr.
Weir always loved to tell the story of the night John Dillinger and his gang
stopped by.
Other Structures in Tama Co. included in the National Register of Historic Places
The King Tower cabin camp sat behind the still-flourishing
restaurant.  If you don't wait too much longer, you can still see
the last cabin in its original location - this photo was taken in 1996
and it hasn't gotten any prettier.  As with many Lincoln Highway
attractions, get there in the spring before foliage overtakes the