I grew up not too far off of Highway 30 which is the current number for most of what used to be the Lincoln Highway, so I’ve always known about it. Friends from other parts of the country haven’t, but the Lincoln Highway is right up there with Route 66 in highway/travel legends. It was the first coast to coast highway and was the first to be paved the entire way (although that took a long time). Watch an introduction about the Lincoln Highway in my previous post here:
As these kind of major roads got started, roadside businesses sprung up. Sometimes they were cafes/gas stations, sometimes they added in functions like hotels, dance halls, and even grocery stores. These were the sort of places you see in 1930s and 1940s movies where the heroine meets the male lead. They serviced the needs of locals, tourists and truck drivers without
requiring a stop in an urban center along the route. These businesses developed into a sort of roadside architecture and many have been torn down or remade and repurposed over the years. Other remnants have been reclaimed and restored by local groups. One of these that I’ve watched most of my life is the Youngville Cafe.
Youngville Restored Near Vinton, Iowa
The Youngville Cafe is located on modern Highway 30 right before the Vinton, Iowa turn off, so if you’re coming from the south to visit the Iowa School for the Blind, you’ll drive right by it. I was thrilled when I heard they were restoring it, not as a museum, but as an honest to goodness cafe where during their (admittedly short) open hours, they’re volunteer run, you can go in and eat a meal just like the people who drove the Lincoln Highway in its heyday could.
Stop in For a Bite
It’s open Tuesday and Thursdays for lunch during the summer and Friday evening when they hold a farmers market so even though it’s been open a long time, it never fit with my schedule. Then a bit of luck and I just happened to be driving by on a Thursday (on my way to a program if you couldn’t guess from my prairie dress) and it was open so I stopped in. It was just basic food, but it was well worth the experience.
Learn more about the cafe and find its current schedule:
Find the menu:
UPDATED Aug 27 2016: I’ve added my current siganture block. I didn’t need to edit anything else. The menu link works fine, but the full website link isn’t working. It still looks like it’s the valid one so hopefully it’s still working.
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.