Papa Report #2


Papa Was A Boy in Gray Book Tour

with Prize-Winning author Mary w. Schaller


Report #2 from Abe:  June 3, 2001

Greetings from Illinois -- the Land of Lincoln!!!

Pennsylvania Turnpike and First Official Road Trip Photo:
Abe: Robert E., Ulysses, and I arrived in Belleville, Illinois, ten days ago after a two day car trip from our new home in Burke, Virginia. It took all three of us several days to recover from yet another time change. We are now living in Central Daylight Time, which means an hour earlier.

Robert E.: Which means we get to sleep in an hour later!

Abe: On our trip we drove across Pennsylvania on the Turnpike, which was the first of America's "superhighways," built in 1940. Here is our photo taken with Mary when we stopped at one of the earliest Comfort Stations on the Turnpike. Lots of people gaped at us while we posed for our First Official Road Trip Photo at a Comfort Station on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Ulysses: I was so em--bear--essed!

Abe: The sign says, "PENNSYLVANIA TURNPIKE. This is one of the original service plazas for the nation's first long-distance superhighway. On October 1, 1940, the Turnpike opened, stretching 160 miles from Carlisle to Irwin. The Turnpike Commission had been created in 1937; construction utilized the old South Pennsylvania Railroad's right-of-way and tunnels. By 1957, the Turnpike spanned 360 miles across the state and extended 110 miles north to Scranton."

Side Trip to Ottawa, Illinois (Site of First Lincoln-Douglas Debate):
This past weekend, Mary and her husband, Marty, made a side trip up to northern Illinois -- and they took only me with them. I was so honored, I could "bearly" sit still in the back seat of the car.

First, we spent the night in a quaint little town named Ottawa. It was here in Washington Park, Ottawa's town square, that the first of the famous debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas took place in August, 1858. Lincoln ran for a seat in the United States Senate against Douglas. The big boulder behind us in the photo marks the very spot where Lincoln uttered the immortal words against the institution of slavery: "A house divided against itself cannot stand." Lincoln lost that particular election, but today, nobody remembers anything Douglas said at this debate. I was so very proud to be there!

The sign says, "LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATE. On August 21, 1858, the first of the famous joint debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas was held in this park. At this site 10,000 people heard the two candidates for the United States Senate discuss the question of slavery. Lincoln rebuffed attemp[t]s to paint him as an abolitionist, one opposing the immediate end to slavery. Lincoln maintained that slavery was morally wrong. Douglas, however, refused to address the morality of slavery. He insisted that the people in the individual states should be left to decide the question. Slavery remained an issue throughout the campaign."

Robert E.: And Abe hasn't stopped talking about his trip ever since!

Springfield, Illinois:
Abe: Our next stop was Springfield, Illinois, where Lincoln rose to prominence as a lawyer and where he lived for over 16 years. In my next report, I will tell you all about visiting his home in Springfield -- the only home Lincoln ever owned.