The 1920s was a period of dramatic economic growth in our country. Prices for cars actually fell during the decade as the assembly-line techniques permitted faster production.
Early in the decade, about 90% of all the world’s cars were made in the United States. By 1930, more than 20 million cars were registered in the United States, nearly three times the number during the previous decade.
As the interest in car travel grew, so did the number and variety of roadside services available in the United States. It was during the 1920s that many of the modern conveniences for motorists sprang up along highways and major roads.
These new roadside businesses catering to the motorist included diners, hamburger stands, and drive-in restaurants.
Many of the earliest suppliers of food on the Lincoln Highway started out selling gas before diversifying into food, snacks, drinks and other amenities. Other highway caterers, however, became more adventurous and enterprising from the beginning, including many family-run roadside stands, diners, and drive-ins.
These small businesses were successful until larger franchises and chains began competing with them for the traveling customer.
In addition to the businesses that catered to the ravenous needs of the traveling public, there were also entrepreneurs who saw the need to help provide shelter for the road-weary motorist.
Some provided open-air locations that resembled makeshift campgrounds and offered little to the overnight guest besides a place to park the automobile and pitch a tent.
These spartan facilities were soon superseded by sites providing individual huts containing beds. They were, in turn, the forerunners of the typical “tourist court,” a semi-circular layout of cabins around a manager’s office.
Soon, most courts had running water in their rooms, and over the years, air conditioning, radio and eventually televisions were introduced. The evolution into the modern motel premises was completed when rooms, offices, and parking spaces were all brought together under the same roof in a single contiguous structure.
A Lincoln Highway roadside haven, designed to be automobile friendly, was the Pilgrims Rest Motor Court Motel. Located just east of Wolf Road on
Route 30, the Valley View Farm and Restaurant in Frankfort was a favorite spot for locals or Lincoln Highway tourists who wanted good food and a relaxing environment. Although the majority of food served in the restaurant was raised on the farm, Valley View Farm was best remembered for its numerous dining rooms including the Sun-Air Room and the Lean-To Lounge with its piano bar.
Tourists who needed to stay the evening could find accommodations in the Vacation Center, which included a motel and swimming pool.