Building the Columbia River Highway: They Said It Couldn't Be Done

Building the Columbia River Highway: They Said It Couldn't Be Done

by Peg Willis


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Building the Columbia River Highway: They Said It Couldn't Be Done by Peg Willis

When nine-hundred-foot ice age floods carved the Columbia River Gorge through the Cascade Mountains to the sea, little space was left for man to form a highway of his own. It took an artist-poet-engineer extraordinaire to conquer this reluctant piece of real estate and produce the nation's first scenic highway. Meet Sam Hill, the mover and shaker, and Samuel Lancaster, the polio survivor, who turned modern engineering on its ear to create a "poem in stone." Today, Oregon's historic Columbia River Highway is hidden among the trees, where it meanders past spectacular waterfalls and dramatic views. Ride along with Peg Willis as she explores the beginnings of this miracle highway and the men who created it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626192713
Publisher: The History Press
Publication date: 03/18/2014
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 631,180
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Peg Willis, a life-long resident of the Pacific Northwest, grew up loving the Columbia River Highway. More than just a way to get from one place to another, it was a playground, an adventure! Since retirement from teaching, Peg has pursued a long-time dream of becoming more intimately acquainted with this historic beauty, its origins and its secrets. Her search has led her to volunteer with the Vista House and the Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway.

Table of Contents

Preface 11

Introduction: The Gorge of the Columbia 13

Part 1 The People

1 Larger Than Life Sam Hill 23

2 Heart, Soul and Engineer Samuel Lancaster 28

3 The Portland Oregonian Henry Pittock 33

4 The Journal Man Sam Jackson 35

5 Timber Baron Simon Benson 39

6 Prince of the Woods John B. Yeon 45

7 Eager Automobile Owner Henry Wemme 48

8 Hostess Extraordinaire Margaret E. Henderson 51

9 "Major" Henry L. Bowlby 53

10 A Future Governor Oswald West 55

11 Lawyer, Merchant, Another Future Governor Julius Meier 57

Part 2 On Your Mark, Get Sethellip; 61

12 Lives Intersecting 61

Part 3 Go! Constructing the Highway

13 1913 69

14 Multnomah County: Cliffs and Waterfalls 72

15 Hood River County: Crest of the Cascades 96

16 Wasco County: Sunshine and Dry Air 112

17 Paving the Highway 117

18 Not All Sweetness and Light 120

Part 4 What Came After

19 Vista House 125

20 Signs and Lines 134

21 Other Roadhouses in the Gorge 136

22 Highway Maintenance and Evolution 143

23 What Happened to the People? 160

24 The Highway Today: What Is Past Is Prologue 168

Notes 171

Bibliography 177

Index 183

About the Author 187

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Building the Columbia River Highway: They Said It Couldn't Be Done 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this. I didn't realize what interesting people we had in the old Northwest that made this road possible. They had a vision and made it happen. Using the tools at hand at the time and the engineering feat is a marvel. I have driven the old highway several times and even now it is amazing. If you like history give this a try.