Nashville, Tenn. (June 12, 2006) – The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has invited Andrew Firestone to be the Official Launch Master, sending off the caravan that is recreating, in reverse, the historic Transcontinental Motor Train of 1919. The convoy will be embarking on its coast-to-coast journey to Washington, D.C. on June 16 from Lincoln Park in downtown San Francisco, where the 1919 trek ended.
The Transcontinental Motor Train was a test to see if troops and supplies could travel across the country. They could, but slowly. Leaving Washington, D.C. on July 7, 1919, the army followed the original Lincoln Highway, taking 62 days to drive 3,250 miles to San Francisco.
AASHTO is organizing the event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Interstate System.
Firestone is the great-grandson of Harvey S. Firestone, founder of the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, who was an enthusiastic supporter of paved, connected roads. In June 1919, Mr. Firestone invited the original participants – including the young Lt. Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower – to stop at his farm in Columbiana, Ohio for a chicken dinner. The next morning, Mr. Firestone added two of his own trucks, both equipped with his innovative pneumatic tires.
Andrew Firestone will fly to Akron, Ohio so he can greet the caravan – which includes two Firestone-branded tractor-trailers – as it arrives at the Bridgestone Firestone Technical Center on June 26. Merrill Eisenhower Atwater, great-grandson of President Eisenhower, will also participate in the cross-country convoy.
The convoy is scheduled to reach Washington, D.C. on June 29. For a complete route and schedule of celebrations planned along the way, visit www.interstate50th.org.
About Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC:
Nashville-based Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC (BFNT) is a subsidiary of Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc., whose parent company, Bridgestone Corporation, is the world’s largest tire and rubber company. BFNT develops, manufactures and markets Bridgestone, Firestone, Dayton and associate brand tires. The company is focused on wholesale and original equipment markets, supplying passenger, light truck, commercial vehicle, off-road, motorcycle, agricultural and other tires to its customers in North America.