Centennial of the 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy Through Placerville

by Placerville Newswire / Aug 15, 2019 / comments

[Staff, Img: "Harrington mounted on Harley. Sheridan's Ranch - Utah-Nevada line" 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy. Capt. Arthur W. Harrington sits on a Harley motorcycle in front of the Owen Sheridan General Store at Sheridan's Ranch." Eisenhower Collection]

Retracing the route of the first US ARMY Transcontinental Motor Convoy across the United States, along the LINCOLN HIGHWAY.  Convoy 1919: Centennial of the 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy – August 29, through October 6, 2019. The route begins on the lowlands of the eastern seaboard, traverses the hills of Pennsylvania, travels the farmlands of the Midwest, crosses the high plains, dips into the Great Salt Lake Basin in Utah, crosses the Nevada Desert, climbs the Sierra Nevada and descends to Lake Tahoe, over the Summit to Camino, onto Placerville, and ends in the San Francisco Bay area.

On Facebook Weston DeWalt wrote, "On September 2, 1919, the U.S. Army's Transcontinental Motor Convoy came through my village of Camino, California on its way to San Francisco from Washington, D.C. Army personnel road Harley-Davidson motorcycles to scout the road ahead."  Weston posted this picture of a bike on the "U.S. Army's Transcontinental Motor Convoy."  

This year marks the centennial anniversary of the first U. S. Army Transcontinental Motor Convoy across the country following the Lincoln Highway. This convoy started in Washington, DC, and traveled west to San Francisco. The object of the mission was to test military vehicles and encourage construction of highways. The original convoy took 56 days to complete the journey at an average speed of 5 mph. One of the most well-known participants in this convoy was Dwight D. Eisenhower.

On July 7, 1919, a transcontinental motor convoy organized by the U.S. Army departed Washington, D.C. for San Francisco, California to demonstrate the motorized capability of the armed forces in the shadow of World War I. The convoy – consisting of 81 vehicles, including 31 heavy cargo trucks, 4 kitchen trailers, a wrecker, 4 motorcycles and 5 ambulances – made its way westward over long stretches of roads that were often little more than dirt tracks. On the evening of September 2, 1919, the convoy, motoring on the Lincoln Highway through El Dorado County, reached Placerville, California to cheers from the welcoming crowd. That evening more than 200 troops were treated to “a huge barbecue, a revival of the ‘Days of Forty-nine” and a street dance. CONVOY 1919 will be an exhibition of photographs and a series of public lectures to celebrate the convoy’s journey through El Dorado County and  to remember Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Dwight D. Eisenhower, who traveled the distance and, later as President, drew upon his experiences to encourage the building of the Interstate Highway System.

The objectives were:

Encourage "construction of through-route and transcontinental highways". The Ordnance Department notes "great interest in the Good Roads Movement was aroused by the passage of the Convoy".

Procure "recruits for ... the Motor Transport Corps": enlistment through the convoy was sparse[citation needed]

Exhibit "to the public ... the motor vehicle for military purposes": In the course of the journey, the convoy "passed through 350 communities, and it was estimated that more than 3,000,000 people (perhaps 3,250,000)[28] witnessed it along the route."[29]

Study & observe "the terrain and standard army vehicles": . The Tank Corps noted that "the light truck is so far superior to the heavy [which] should be confined to ... hard surfaced roads; and ... short hauls."

The MVPA https://www.mvpa.org/ Transcontinental Motor Convoy will leave Fallon on the morning of Thursday, September 12. Then, the convoy will continue to Placerville, California, for the evening. http://nvculture.org/nevadastaterailroadmuseumcarsoncity/events/2019-mvp...


Exhibition - Convoy 1919: Centennial Of The 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy
Saturday, Oct 5, 2019 at 11:00am

Additional Dates:

Sunday, Sep 29, 2019 at 11:00am https://local.aarp.org/event/exhibition-convoy-1919-centennial-of-the-19...
Thursday, Oct 3, 2019 at 11:00am https://local.aarp.org/event/exhibition-convoy-1919-centennial-of-the-19...
Friday, Oct 4, 2019 at 11:00am https://local.aarp.org/event/exhibition-convoy-1919-centennial-of-the-19...
Sunday, Oct 6, 2019 at 11:00am https://local.aarp.org/event/exhibition-convoy-1919-centennial-of-the-19...

Convoy 1919 runs from Thursday, August 29, through Sunday, October 6. 
Confidence Gallery is open Thursday through Sunday, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. 
Admission is free.
Confidence Gallery
489 Main Street,
Placerville, CA 95667