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Iowa center interprets historic Lincoln Highway and Loess Hills

Courtesy Iowa Division of Tourism

MISSOURI VALLEY, Iowa — The new Lincoln Highway/Loess Hills Interpretive Center, which opened in September along Highway 30 in west central Iowa, provides informative displays on both the historic Lincoln Highway and the Loess Hills.

The center uses an original portion of the Lincoln Highway, the nation’s first transcontinental road in 1913, to demonstrate its surface evolution: trail, dirt, rock, brick, asphalt and concrete.

Two new films, one showcasing the Iowa Loess Hills and another showcasing the Lincoln Highway and its importance to the development of the transportation system, are shown in an indoor 35-seat auditorium that was constructed within the main museum building.

The indoor auditorium also houses a display of Loess Hills photos and historic Lincoln Highway photos.

Outside, a large United States map shows the route of the Lincoln Highway across the country, while at the end of the surface demonstration area a large outline of the state of Iowa shows the road’s route through the state.

Two open shelters with facades depicting canopy gas stations and cabin courts — classic Lincoln Highway icons — were built along the Lincoln Highway road demonstration area.

Construction on a one-mile walking trail with interpretation through 14 acres of re-established Loess Hills prairie is scheduled to start this spring.

In addition to the interpretive center, the site is also home to the Harrison County Historical Village, which includes five buildings housing more than 10,000 artifacts, and a state certified Iowa Welcome Center.