The Lincoln Highway Monument
Just west of Reno on I-80 is a Lincoln Highway monument worth stopping for. I include it here because it serves a a kind of gateway to west 4th Street, Reno’s Lincoln Highway route for the most part.
After leaving Verdi eastbound on I-80, this will be a pulloff on the right shoulder, accessible only to eastbound travelers. Westbound traffic should exit at Verdi, go around the roundabout, and come back onto eastbound I-80.
It is here: ( 39° 30.568’N 119° 56.254’W)
And across the road, the other half:
Here is the plaque which describes the monument:
The 1916 guide to the Lincoln Highway says this in part about Reno,
Pop. 14,000. Alt. 4,499 feet. On the Truckee River. Seventeen hotels, 5 garages. Local speed limit 12 miles per hour, enforced. Route marked through town, signs at town limits. Five banks, 3 railroads, 1 express company, 2 telegraph companies, telephone, 2 newspapers, 8 public schools, electric lights, trolly, water works. Automobile Club. Commercial Club. Camp site.
For the most part, not entirely, the LHW was on Fourth Street all the way from one end of the city to the other and still can be driven without interruption. This takes you through a less desirable part of town but there is a nice country road on the west side. Need I mention there are plenty of hotels in Reno?
Directions Eastbound: from the LHW monument (above) on I-80 take the second exit for 4th Street, not the Mogul exit. You may return to I-80 eastbound at McCarren.
Directions Westbound: I’d take the McCarren exit north to Lincoln Way, turn left and left again where Lincoln Way bumps into Prater Way. Continue west on Prater and this becomes East 4th Street.
Although Reno has changed a great deal in the years since 1913, the flavor of the road is still there, even downtown. I wouldn’t bother trying to find all the old 1913 alignment further east since much of it has disappeared, especially true in neighboring Sparks. In fact at the time of the dedication of the LHW, Sparks was just a rural place not even mentioned in the first guidebook.
Here are some gps waypoints:
West 4th Street eastbound exit off I-80: 39° 30.846’N 119° 54.816’W
Lincoln Way at Prater in Sparks: 39° 32.342’N 119° 45.585’W (Prater becomes 4th St.)
McCarran exit in Sparks: 39° 31.868’N 119° 44.001’W (north to Lincoln Way the turn west)
Reno’s National Auto Museum
The National Auto Museum in Reno is not to be missed. It is just south of the Truckee River off S. Wells Ave. which crosses 4th St.
A Note for Model T Drivers and Fellow Slow-Car Travelers
I was hoping to find a freeway- less route on the old LHW but there is going to be about a one-mile trip on I-80 to get from Verdi to 4th Street. I’ve tried to find an alternative but it doesn’t exist, no matter what Google Earth might hint.