8. Old Oregon Trail Highway


The road didn't end at the Pendleton city limits, it continued on as the Old Oregon Trail Highway.  I am not going to be diving into much detail on this road, but I do have a few things to add here and there, especially if the relate to the CRH.

At the Summit of Cabbage Hill; On the Old Oregon Trail east of Pendleton
Booth, R. A, J. B. Yeon, W. B. Barratt, E. E. Kiddle, Herbert Nunn. Fifth Biennial Report of the Oregon State Highway Commission Covering the Period December 1, 1920 to November 30, 1922. Salem: State Printing Department. 1922.


Essentially, the same plan as with The Dalles-California Highway... There's some cool stuff out there, some stuff that is very reminiscent of the old CRH, some artifacts that have survived in the dryer, and quieter, environment that has been lost along the CRH...

Bridge over the Grand Ronde River on the Old Oregon Trail, near Perry
Booth, R. A, J. B. Yeon, W. B. Barratt, E. E. Kiddle, Herbert Nunn. Fifth Biennial Report of the Oregon State Highway Commission Covering the Period December 1, 1920 to November 30, 1922. Salem: State Printing Department. 1922.

I am not going all in, of course, not "Recreating" this old highway.  But a page worth of interesting, somewhat topical material should be a nice addition to the site.

The Old Oregon Trail Highway was an auto trail roughly following the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri to Seaside, Oregon and Olympia, Washington. In the U.S. Highway system, it became:

The name is still used in Oregon for Interstate 84 east of U.S. Route 730, which is named the Old Oregon Trail Highway No. 6 (see Oregon highways and routes).

Old Oregon Trail Highway. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Oregon_Trail_Highway


Where does the CRH end and the Old Oregon Trail Highway begin?

This is a tricky question and, it appears, that it is really more of a when question than a where question.

Originally, Route 2, the Columbia River Highway, was meant to run from Astoria to Pendleton.  While, some sources, including Samuel Lancaster himself, seem to indicate the western terminus of the highway was in Seaside, I have yet to find any official records showing that any roads from Astoria west to the ocean were ever considered to be a part of Route 2, and I think this is more of a sentimental addition to the highway rather than an official designation, extending the road all the way west to meet the ocean's waves at the Seaside roundabout.

On the eastern end, there seems to be confusion as well.  Many old photo post cards from the 1920s indicate that the highway east of The Dalles was called the Old Oregon Trail Highway, not the Columbia River Highway, but earlier Oregon Highway Commission reports clearly indicate that Route 2 was the intended designation of the highway being built between The Dalles and Pendleton.

The OHC's 3rd Biennium Report clearly reports this: 

No. 2. Columbia River Highway—
From Astoria east via Rainier, Portland, Hood River, The Dalles, Arlington and Umatilla, to Pendleton.

No. 6. The Old Oregon Trail—
From a junction with Highway No. 2, at Pendleton, southeasterly through La Grande, Baker and Huntington to a junction with Highway No. 5 at or near Ontario.

S. Benson, W. L. Thompson, R. A. Booth, Herbert Nunn. Third Biennial Report of the Oregon State Highway Commission Covering the Period December 1st, 1916 to November 30th, 1918 http://www.gutenberg.org/files/35344/35344-h/35344-h.htm

However, by the 5th Biennial Report, it is starting to look like the highway between The Dalles and Pendleton was re-designated as being part of the Old Oregon Trail Highway, and not the CRH.  So far, I've only seen one or two photos from that route from the report with captions calling the eastern section of the highway the Old Oregon Trail, and no text on when or why, or even if, this road was re-designated as part of Route 6, but I've yet to really dive into the 5th report at this point in time.

But, ultimately, we have to pick a time, and for a time, the road to Pendleton was clearly considered part of the CRH, so this project will treat it as such.  Even today, ODOT still has a marker on an old bridge in Rufus indicating that it is a part of Route 2, so even the state highway department seems to have never completely adopted this re-designation, if it actually occurred.

Eastbound:
CLICK HERE to continue exploring the highway

Westbound:
CLICK HERE to continue exploring the highway

Links

American Road Magazine: Old Oregon Trail Highway

There are some great images of old maps and guides, and some great photos in this piece!  This is just part one of his explorations, and I need to find a few minutes later on to track down the rest of his trip reports.

I followed the route in Oregon last week (July 24-26, 2007) from the Snake River on the Idaho border to the Columbia River along the Washington border, over the Blue Mountains. As my guides I used the 1926 Old Oregon Trail Highway Guide, a 1919 Automobile Blue Book, a 1935 Gousha Guide, and the 1939 WPA Oregon Trail Guide..

http://americanroadmagazine.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=490

Old Oregon Trail Highway #6: 1917 to Present

Comments