My Pittsburgh visit lasted all of one-and-a-half days. It wasn’t long enough for me to really come to understand the city. I met a lot of nice and interesting people, but the city itself seemed to be in the middle of shaking off a long-time migraine. I think 2001 signaled the year when Pittsburgh was ready to move away from the idea that it would ever be Steel City again, and at the same time, the realization set in that all the chasms where coke and cobalt were removed would start to tighten into the Rust Belt.
The Lincoln Highway is one of the nation’s first cross-country highways. It still starts and ends on the east and west coasts of the nation. In Ohio, the Lincoln Highway is the main strap of the Rust Belt, and driving across it lets road-trippers know how the loss of manufacturing has created the moniker Rust Belt.
…and see the debris of The Rust Belt.
Mansfield, Ohio’s Carousel Park. But head down the Lincoln Highway a bit…
The names of the town echo the past of the settlers of Ohio—Findlay, Massillon, Canton, Lima, Mansfield—and most of these towns have quaint yet quiet downtowns where the business of civic life keeps them busy. Some towns, like Mansfield, have reminders of the past on the Lincoln Highway that have been maintained and/or preserved by locals. But keep traveling east and you’ll see the debris of factories, crumbling buildings and decaying homes that belie the truth of what’s going on in our country.