The Journey That Spanned Three Generations


 FLORHAM PARK, NJ- In 1939, seven 16 year-old school-mates drove across the country to visit the Golden Gate Bridge during the World’s Fair.  None of them could have known that two generations later that same journey would be recreated.

Lauren Herbine had heard the story through out her childhood, from her mom Nancy. Her grandfather, Bill Browne, along with his buddies traveled across the country, in a vehicle they built from combining a bus and an ice truck. The month long journey had its share of breakdowns, injuries and delays, but they made it to the Worlds Fair. It took them more than a month to get there and about the same to get back. No modern conveniences, no cell phones, telegrams, however a double-dose of determination combined with support from family and friends powered this miraculous journey. It is recorded with great detail in the book Spirit of 39.

Herbine knew one day she would take that same journey. A Monroe Scholar and geology major at William and Mary, she presented the story to the scholarship committee in 2016. Her history adviser loved the idea, and the money was allotted for the trip, which in 1939 only cost her grandfather and six of his friends, $212.00.

Sign Up for E-News

Keeping in mind the lack of modern conveniences, Herbine, and friend, Elizabeth Schneider kicked off the journey in Florham Park, and traveled the Lincoln Highway, using only a map as the the young boys did in 1939. She didn’t spend nights in hotels but in campgrounds and with the intense heat sometimes just slept outside.

Herbine was pleasantly surprised at the well-signed Lincoln Highway & Route 66 as well. However, the trip led down many small town back roads.  One time a gravel road led right into a cornfield. It took them half the time it did in 1939 and when they arrived at Golden Gate State Park, the first stop was Treasure Island; the island created for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition and World’s Fair.  The girls found an island of abandoned buildings targeted for redevelopment. It was nothing like the site Bill Browne and his friends traveled across the country to attend.

The trip home did not include Elizabeth Schneider, but,  was made better by a surprise visit from her father Rick, while  Herbine was staying in the Grand Canyon. They hiked to the bottom before they returned home.

The endpoint was, in 1939 the high school for Florham Park and Madison residents. Today, it is the home of the middle school in Madison. Herbine and her father Rick; sometimes known as Brick, were greeted by her mom Nancy, Florham Park Mayor Mark Taylor, and local historian and long time Florham Park resident Marie Northridge. Her son, Mike researched the entire original journey and enhanced the authenticity of the road trip.

After a short rest home Lauren will return to school with a great story and an even greater adventure to share.   A copy of Spirit of '39 is available at the Morris County Library and the Florham Park Library upon request. The entire journey has been chronicled at Spirit of '39 on Instagram

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

East Hanover/Florham Park

Important Message for Florham Park Residents Regarding the Fourth of July

Important July 4th Celebration Reminder - Please be advised in the interest of safety and security, the entire parade route will be CLOSED TO ALL TRAFFIC beginning at 8:30am on July 4, 2018. This will impact residents who live along the parade route and all of the side streets that connect to the parade route. (Please see the map attached to this post)

Please ensure that you plan accordingly ...

DevCo is building a new version of Rutgers "The Yard." You may be surprised to see where.

June 8, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - In 2016, Rutgers University proudly opened “The Yard,” a student housing and retail complex along College Avenue built under the direction of the New Brunswick Development Corp.

Now the corporation, the non-profit development arm for the City of New Brunswick and commonly known as DevCo, is replicating the housing and commercial construction more than two hours ...

Shore Travel Idea - Visit the Debut of Belmar Arts’ Sculpture Garden and Labyrinth - June 2

BELMAR, NJ — Need an excuse to visit Belmar this weekend?  Curious about the eclectic collection of sculpture and other objects that occupies a small corner outside the Belmar Arts Center on River Road?  Why not solve both needs at once?

The public is invited to learn more about the Belmar Arts Sculpture Garden and Labyrinth during its official opening on Saturday, June 2 ...


AtlantiCast Episode 17

On this week’s AtlantiCast, it’s National Men’s Health Month, so check out important health tips for you or the men in your life, learn about groundbreaking research into breast cancer treatment that could mean an end to chemotherapy for some patients, meet a local sports hero who’s living his baseball dreams thanks to Goryeb Children’s Hospital and much ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, June 24, 11:00 AM

Mountain Lakes

Art at the Esplanade

Arts & Entertainment


Sun, June 24, 11:00 AM


MakerFest 2018

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM


Kids' Critter Camp


The End of Jets Mini-Camp

After a week of crystal clear cerulean skies over 1 Jets Drive, the New York Jets just wrapped up their mandatory full squad mini-camp.

New York Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles held press conferences after practices last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Jets fans have lots of questions at this time of year on what to expect from their team this fall. The press questions covered a wide ...

1896 Miles Away But Hanover Park Stands with Sante Fe

June 16, 2018

EAST HANOVER, N.J.- After the awful events at Santa Fe High School last month, students at Hanover Park organized support. Under the supervision of Kim Lurz, and staff assistance, the students created a banner and put together giftbags for the victims of the attack. Recently students from Santa Fe High were featured on the  TODAY show and brought along the banner. 

Hornets ...


Beverly Jean (Charlton) Weimar, of Ship Bottom, and Florham Park, New Jersey passed away on March ...
Read more

The Community is Invited to the Madison Area YMCA’s Celebration of Impact Barbecue 

June 20, 2018

Come celebrate! The Madison Area YMCA invites the community to its Celebration of Impact Barbecue on the grounds of the Madison Area YMCA's Family Center, located at 111 Kings Road in Madison on Sunday, June 24, from 1-3 p.m.

This FREE family-friendly event celebrates our members, families, donors and friends, and the Y’s impact on our community. With food, music and games, ...