Towns Named Lewis Don’t Exist

I am reading the current bestseller called Lincoln Highway. On page 52 the author talks about the “city” of Lewis, Nebraska, on the Lincoln Highway. It does not exist. This must be dramatic license. Amor Towles says on this page, “When I was about your age, I lived for a stretch on the outskirts of a little city called Lewis.” He goes on to identify Lewis as being on the Lincoln Highway between here and Omaha. Here is never explained.

There is a Lewiston in Nebraska. It is a tiny town near the much larger town of Beatrice. There are, in fact, 16 towns named Lewiston in the US. The largest Lewiston is in the state of Maine. There are more than 36,000 people living there north of Portland, ME. The 2nd largest Lewiston is in Idaho closer to where I live. I have been to this Lewiston several times. Ruth had a relative named Aunt Ollie who lived in the state of Washington not too far from Lewiston. Aunt Ollie had 13 children and lived to be over 100. She gave up her driver’s license when she became 100-years-old and climbed onto a motorcycle. Many of the Lewistons are now unincorporated. The Lewiston in Vermont has gone completely out of business. It is listed as a “former” village.

There are said to be Lewistons in Cuba, Australia, and the United Kingdom. But there are no Lewises in these 3 countries. You would think over time that someone would name their town “Lewis” after a famous or accomplished local, but that has never happened. There is a Lewisdale in Maryland. It is a town of more than 3,000. In the United States, 7 states have named counties Lewis. They are Idaho, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, Tennessee, Washington, and West Virginia. There are Lewistowns in Illinois, Montana, and Pennsylvania. The largest of these is the Lewistown in Pennsylvania. There are Lewisvilles in Texas that is a suburb of Dallas and another in North Carolina near Winston-Salem. There are 2 town named Lewisburg. One is in Ohio and the other is in Pennsylvania. This original colony could have been the only state with 2 towns named Lewis, but that never happened except in fiction.

Perhaps the problem is that there has never been a famous enough Lewis. The Lewiston in New York was named for Morgan Lewis, a former Governor of this state. Lewiston, ID, was named for Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

The Lincoln Highway was the first major road to cross America. This transcontinental route stretched from New York City to San Francisco and went through important cities like Chicago, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, and Reno long before Interstates happened.


About roads-rus

Since the beginning, I've had to avoid writing about the downside of travel in order to sell more than 100 articles. Just because something negative happened doesn't mean your trip was ruined. But tell that to publishers who are into 5-star cruise and tropical beach fantasies. I want to tell what happened on my way to the beach, and it may not have been all that pleasant. My number one rule of the road's disaster is tomorrow's great story. My travel experiences have appeared in about twenty magazines and newspapers. I've been in all 50 states more than once and more than 50 countries. Ruth and I love to travel internationally--Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, etc. Within the next 2 years we will have visited all of the European countries. But our favorite destination is Australia. Ruth and I have been there 9 times. I've written a book about Australia's Outback, ALONE NEAR ALICE, which is available through both Amazon & Barnes & Noble. My first fictional work, MOVING FORWARD, GETTING NOWHERE, has recently been posted on Amazon. It's a contemporary, hopefully funny re-telling of The Odyssey. View all posts by roads-rus

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