The idea of the Lincoln Highway came from Carl Fisher, the man also responsible for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Miami Beach. With help from fellow industrialists Frank Seiberling and Henry Joy, an improved, hard-surfaced road was envisioned that would stretch from coast to coast over the shortest practical route.

The Lincoln Highway Association was created in 1913 to promote the road using private and corporate donations. The idea was embraced by an enthusiastic public, and many other named roads across the country followed. Americans' enthusiasm for good roads led to the involvement of the federal government in building roads and the creation of numbered U.S. routes in the 1920s. The Federal Highway Administration and the Interstate Highway System are the culmination of these efforts.

On October 16, 1926, U.S. Highway 30 was designated at the Lincoln Highway in Iowa, replacing Iowa Highway 6. The following segments were paved when the Lincoln Highway was designated: the segment through Greene County, the segment through Marshall County, a short segment east and north of Belle Plaine, the segment through Linn County, a segment through Mechanicsville, and the segment through Clinton County. The remaining segments of The Lincoln Highway were paved through the 1920s and 1930s:

•1927: Paved from Council Bluffs to Missouri Valley, Woodbine to Dunlap, the Marshall/Tama County line to Montour, Tama to the Benton/Linn County line, and through Cedar County

•1928: Paved from Missouri Valley to Woodbine and Montour to Tama

•1929: Paved from Dunlap to Westside, Carroll to the Carroll/Greene County line, the Greene/Boone County line to the Des Moines River crossing, and Ames to the Story/Marshall County line

•1930: Paved from Westside to Carroll (on a new alignment) and Boone to Ames

•1931: Paved from the Des Moines River crossing through Boone

•1935: Paved between IA 300 (original alignment) and Missouri Valley

•1937: Last segment, between the Missouri River bridge and IA 300, paved


The Lincoln Highway was the first transcontinental hard-surfaced road in the United States, extending nearly 3,400 miles from New York to San Francisco. The success of the improved transportation corridor between centers of commerce led to the involvement of the federal government in building roads. Communities along the route grew and prospered as a result of the people and commerce that were carried across this route.

Recognizing the importance of transportation in the state's economy, the Iowa Department of Transportation has identified U.S. Highway 30 as part of the National Highway System and part of Iowa's Commercial and Industrial Network (CIN). Today, U.S. Highway 30 is the longest route in the State of Iowa running 331 miles from the Mississippi to Missouri River.