Tag Archives: lincoln highway

A Tale of Two Roads (Pt 1)

 

Allegheny front on the Lincoln HighwayThe predominate geological feature of Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands region is the chain of mountains known as the Alleghenies. As a part of the great Appalachian Mountain Range, the Alleghenies are oriented in a northeast to southwest direction and run for roughly 400 miles from north central Pennsylvania to south western Virginia. The eastern edge of this range rises sharply and in colonial days posed a formidable barrier to trade and travel with the region west of the mountains known as the Ohio Country. This economically important territory was claimed by both Great Britain and France and precipitated the French and Indian War, the colonist’s name for the North American theater of the Seven Years’ War.

 

Fort Duquense at The Forks of the OhioThe preeminent strategic location controlling access to the Ohio Country was The Forks of The Ohio, a triangle of land where the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers form the Ohio River. To control the rivers, in 1754 the French built Fort Duquense on this point of land (now Point State Park in Pittsburgh). To take this fort from the French, two expeditions were launched by the British, the result of which are two major east to west routes through the Allegheny Mountains.

 

The first of these two roads was begun in the spring of 1755 in reaction to the construction of Fort Duquense. The British army, commanded by General James Edward Braddock, along with Virginia militia, led by George Washington, constructed a road roughly along the route of Nemacolin’s Path, an old Indian trading trail. Starting at Fort Cumberland (present day Cumberland, Maryland), it wound through the mountains in a north westerly direction for 110 miles towards Fort Duquenese. On July 9, 1755 Braddock’s force of 1300 men crossed the  Monongahela and ran into a force of French and Indians estimated to number between 300 and 900 men. The outnumbered French with their Indian allies, fighting from the cover of the woods, steadily picked off the British who insisted on trying to form battle lines as if they were fighting on the plains of Europe. After several hours of battle, Braddock was shot off of his horse and the resistance collapsed. The British then retreated back along the road where Braddock died four days later. He was buried in the middle of the road, to keep the Indians from desecrating his body, not far from Fort Necessity where George Washington had been defeated the previous summer.

 

For the next several years, the main theater of war was in the north, but by 1758 the British were ready for another attempt at taking Fort Duquense. Under the command of Brigadier John Forbes, a new route was begun starting this time in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Forbes took the route of an earlier road (Burd’s Road) to the town of Bedford, where he veered to the north, following another old trading route known as the Raystown Path. Unlike Braddock, Forbes built several forts along the road to act as supply depots and garrisons. After one failed attempt to take Fort Duquense in September of 1758, Forbes finally took possession in November of that year when the French abandoned the fort. Forbes named the site Pittsburgh after Secretary of State William Pitt.

 

For the next 180 years, these two roads remained the major routes through the Laurel Highlands region. The Forbes Road became US RT 30, the famous Lincoln Highway and the Braddock Road the National Road or US RT 40. And although the construction of the Pennsylvania Turnpike lessened the importance of theses roads, they continue to offer a wealth of history, sights and food missed by those who take the super highway route.

 

 

 

The Alley-Central City, PA-Wing Wars

The Alley, located on the historic Lincoln Highway at the intersection with Route 160, was the next battle scene of the Wing Wars.The Alley gets its name from the fact that the building originally housed a bowling alley, and although the lanes are long gone, the sports theme remains. The huge building houses numerous pool tables, game machines and one of the few golf simulators you’ll see in the area. The bar was fairly crowded, mostly with wing eaters, but I managed to find a seat between two lovely ladies named Wendy and Wanda. And no, they weren’t twins, nor had they met prior to that evening. With no Labatt on tap, I ordered a 20 ounce Yuengling for $3. The friendly bartender quickly brought the beer, but unfortunately it was served in a flimsy plastic cup. I was a bit puzzled as there were numerous glasses on the bar, including one in front of Wendy. The bartender was a bit vague as to why this was, but it boiled down to that they “were busy”. If a bar wants to serve in plastic, that is their option. However, they shouldn’t pick and choose who gets served glass and who gets plastic. The Alley-signAnyway, along with the beer I was given a menu and informed it was wing night. Wing night at The Alley means half off the menu price of wings. Since the regular price is $5 for 6 wings and $9 for 12, this made the price of 6 FULL wings $2.50! Celery sticks and dressing are available for 50 cents each. Another pleasant surprise is that they have no minimum order. You can order 1 wing (for 50 cents) or six different varieties to get the half-dozen price. From the 16 choices on the menu, I ordered 3 each of cayenne and Alley BBQ. The wings arrived quickly, and I dug in. The skin betrayed the fact that they had been “double dipped”, but not to the point of turning the meat into jerky. The sauces were both good, though not remarkable in any way. I would have expected more heat from the cayenne and the Alley BBQ had well-balanced sweet and sour but had no real depth of flavor. Over all, these were very good wings at a super price. Getting to Reels Corners is a bit of a drive for me, but I wouldn’t hesitate in the future for this wing night.

THE RATING

Cooking: Very well cooked even though they had been “double dipped”. 9

Varieties: 16 varieties is a bit above average and the descriptions are good for extra points. 7.5

Value: $2.50 for 6 full wings is fantastic. Adding another buck for veggies and dressing drops it a bit to “very good”. 9.5

Enjoyment: Over all, very good wings and great service. Lost points for the plastic cups though. 8

OVERALL: 8.6

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