NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 3, 2006) — Bridgestone/Firestone will participate in an effort to recreate then Lt. Col. Dwight Eisenhower's truck trip across the country in 1919.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials plans to retrace the route in June, during the 50th anniversary of the interstate highway system. BFS said it is a sponsor of the effort and also will host one of the convoy's stops, June 26 in Akron. A BFS spokesman said the event will include Ohio officials, Andrew Firestone and Mr. Eisenhower's great-grandson, Merrill Eisenhower Atwater.
BFS said it is interested in the trip because of its connection to Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. founder Harvey Firestone.
The tire maker said Mr. Eisenhower—who as president in 1956 created the interstate highway system—wanted to learn whether troops could effectively cross the country by truck. A week into the trip, he dined with Mr. Firestone, who offered two trucks with pneumatic tires to join the group.
The convoy, which used mostly solid rubber tires, reached San Francisco from Washington, D.C. in 55 days averaging 6 mph. BFS said Mr. Eisenhower was sold on the idea of pneumatic tires and the need for a highway system.