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The Lincoln Highway McMarker LbNA #50293

Plant date:Sep 12, 2009
City:Shingle Springs
County:El Dorado
Planted by:Zippy Turtle
Found by: handy trackers
Last found:Nov 9, 2013
Last edited:Sep 12, 2009
Location: Historic site along the old Lincoln Highway at Cutty Sark Court, Shingle Springs, El Dorado County, California

Distance: drive by

Difficulty: Easy. Short, 100-foot walk on dirt path and footbridge.

To get to the box, take Exit 37 for Ponderosa Road off Highway 50 in El Dorado County between Sacramento and Placerville. Heading west off the highway, merge on to Mother Lode Drive. Heading east off the highway, turn left on to Ponderosa Road, and then left again on to Mother Lode Drive. Cutty Sark Court (also called Lane on some maps) will be about two miles ahead on your right.

Turn right on to Cutty Sark, and park on the shoulder. To your right is a small rest area with a bench and bulletin board. Cross the beautiful little footbridge to get to the bench. Face north, and look for a depression in the ground just to the left of the bench. You should see a small, square concrete post, with one side marked with a "C". The box is in that same depression, buried under dried leaves. The "C Marker" post is an old surveyor's reference point indicating the beginning of the curve in the highway. Finding them is part of the fun of studying the old Lincoln.

Please stay outside the gate and fence while visiting the letterbox. (If members of the McKinney family are present, and you would like to walk the old highway, you may ask their permission to do so. They're quite patient with visiting history buffs.) If you stand by the bench, and face south, the old Lincoln is the broken pavement to your right, heading south-southeast through the property for about 500 feet, and then veering to the east/left. The old highway continues through private property, eventually connecting with Old French Town Road.

If you're interested in more information about the old highway alignments, visit the Lincoln Highway Association site linked below. Detailed driving maps are available, as well as tours and other events.

About the Lincoln Highway --

In 1912, there were almost no good roads to speak of in the United States. The relatively few miles of improved road were only around towns and cities. A road was "improved" if it was graded; one was lucky to have gravel or brick. Asphalt and concrete were yet to come. Most of the 2.5 million miles of roads were just dirt: bumpy and dusty in dry weather, impassable in wet weather. Worse yet, the roads didn't really lead anywhere. They spread out aimlessly from the center of the settlement. To get from one settlement to another, it was much easier to take the train.

The idea of the Lincoln Highway came from the fertile mind of 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 almost 3400 miles from coast to coast, New York to San Francisco, over the shortest practical route.

The Lincoln Highway Association was created in 1913 to promote the roadusing 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 is the culmination of these efforts.

About Cutty Sark Court and this special rest area --

Cutty Sark Court? Sounds like a distillery or someplace in a seafaring town. Nope, it's a driveway in the El Dorado County foothills, and the only access to a primo piece of the old Lincoln Highway on private property. The road was originally the Placerville Stage Road. It became part of the State Road in 1896, part of the Lincoln Highway in 1913, U.S. 50 in 1926, and replaced by Mother Lode Drive by the State of California in 1940. Cutty Sark Court was created by the State at that point to provide access to property landlocked by the Mother Lode project. Cutty Sark Court is now owned by Steve McKinney. Steve suggested to Will McKinney, son of Steve's cousin, that he build a Lincoln Highway roadside rest here as his Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout project. The project was successfully completed, and dedicated July 11, 2009, at a joint ceremony with Scout Troops 550 and 700, members of the McKinney family, and the California Chapter of the Lincoln Highway Association.


Box notes by Norm Root, James Lin, Zippy Turtle and the Lincoln Highway Association. Thanks to the McKinney family for hosting this rest area and letterbox.

More Lincoln Highway History is available here:, or visit the Lincoln Highway Association site at: