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Painted gas pumps will line historic Lincoln Highway across the state

Sunday, June 15, 2003

By The Associated Press

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- They won't do anything for your empty tank, but promoters are hoping the vintage gasoline pumps about to line Route 30 may fuel tourism in the state.

Artists across the state have painted nearly two dozen reproductions that will be displayed in several counties along U.S. 30, the historic Lincoln Highway.

The pumps will be in place by August in Westmoreland, Somerset, Franklin, Adams, Fulton and Bedford counties.

The Lincoln Highway Pump Parade coincides with the 90th anniversary of its designation as Route 30 and is part of ongoing tourism efforts.

Reproductions of the red and green pumps that lined the highway during its heyday in the 1940s have been artistically transformed to depict life in the region.

"My Way -- The Lincoln Highway" by Brian Zoeller will be located at The Ice Cream Station, 105 Lincoln Way West, just off Memorial Square in Chambersburg.

Zoeller, of Chambersburg, learned about the contest just a month before the deadline for submitting drawings. An art education student at Penn State University's main campus in State College, Zoeller had to come home on weekends to work on the pump. He will be a junior this fall.

"I spent a lot of long nights in the garage to get it done," said Zoeller, who used acrylic spray paint to illustrate the pump.

"It's a transition of Pennsylvania license plates and a transition of decades of autos from the 1930s, 1950s and 1970s," including his Dad's 1970 red VW Bug, he said.

Zoeller said he tried to show the transition and growth of the highway and the changes it's seen.

"I depicted a typical scene of Pennsylvania countryside."

Visitors can see "Just Peachy" by Anne Finucane at Shatzer Fruit Market, 2197 Lincoln Way West, in Chambersburg.

Finucane was asked to get the word out to local artists. She contacted the Franklin County Art Alliance, to which she belongs, the Waynesboro Studio Club and Valley Art Association, Hagerstown.

"They told us some of the locations where the pumps would be, and that helped us choose a theme," she said.

It took Finucane two months to transform the all-white pump into "Just Peachy."

"It's a wonderful opportunity to have your work out where the general public can see it," said Finucane.

Travelers on the Lincoln Highway also may look for "Diners and Drive-ins" by Morgan Ostra of Newburg at Dodie's Restaurant, 2019 Lincoln Way East, in Chambersburg.

Morgan, who graduated last week from Chambersburg Area Senior High School, will attend High Point University in North Carolina this fall. Morgan's artwork took about four months to complete, and it depicts roadside scenes of fruit and vegetable stands and diner signs.

"Nellie Fox" by David Tisdale of Chambersburg will be on display at the New Oak Forest Restaurant, 6097 Lincoln Way West, in St. Thomas.

Other pumps include "Remembering Our Native American Past," "Gettysburg Square and Monuments, "McConnellsburg's Best Kept Secret" and "Summer Day in Somerset County."

The artists were paid $500 to paint the 7 1/2-foot-tall Fiberglas pumps, which will be on display for 10 years.

Not only are the pumps public art, but they are a way to educate the public about the history of the region, according to Olga Herbert, executive director of the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor in Ligonier.

The pumps will never stand alone, Herbert said.

"They're always going to be next to an interpretative exhibit."

The Lincoln Highway is significantly underappreciated, Herbert said.

"A lot of people don't know it was the first road across America that stretches from New York City to San Francisco," she said.

The campaign also included the placement of 150 signs in a six-county area identifying the route as the Lincoln Highway.

"For the most part, people in Pennsylvania refer to it as Route 30. We felt we needed to do more, so we came up with the road signs," Herbert said.

In addition to the pumps and signs, the tourism effort also will feature a combination of wall plaques and waysides containing historical information, murals and Picture Yourself on the Lincoln Highway stops where travelers can have their pictures taken behind a life-size display. The closest Picture Yourself, the only one in Franklin County, will be located on the square in Chambersburg.

"It's two tourists, a man and a woman from the early 1900s, carrying suitcases," Herbert said.

Many years ago, communities along the route had seven or eight hotels, officials learned during their research.

"Because of the turnpike, now some of them don't have any," Herbert said.

"So part of the purpose of this campaign is to promote the historical significance of the Lincoln Highway and revitalize the communities along the Route 30 corridor. We hope this will attract tourists to the downtown community."

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