Long before Interstate 5 was built, Pacific Highway, later designated U.S. Highway 99, became our "Main Street" not only through the State of Oregon, but from Mexico to Canada. Unlike I-5, U.S. Highway 99 went through towns and small communities along its path, bringing them the means to connect with the rest of the state and nation.
Jo-Brew takes us on a trip, south to north, beginning at the California-Oregon border, as the highway continues its climb through the Siskiyou Mountains. We then go down through the connected valleys where economies were built on orchards, forests, farm lands, recreation and businesses built to support the growing reliance on the automobile and commercial truck traffic that used it daily to deliver people and products to their destinations.
OREGON'S MAIN STREET: U.S. Highway 99 "The Stories" takes us along this route today, but it is filled with the stories of those who grew up, worked, played and raised their families in the communities along its path. Over 150 individuals shared their stories, some in the form of old letters and diaries, but most in first-person accounts through interviews, letters, email and even phone calls all done personally by Jo-Brew.
Nearing completion is her companion book, "The History" which she is allowing me to co-author. It will contain more stories and insights into these same communities along the route of U.S. Highway 99 that connect with their earlier histories. For those who love old pictures, you will be treated to many more than we were able to include in "The Stories," too.
So, climb on-board Jo's little red Rambler and let's take a ride up Oregon's "Gut," or, if you're too young to remember driving "the Gut" in your own hometown, let's take a drive on "Main Street Oregon."
Pat Edwards, author
Sawdust and Cider; A History of Lorane, Oregon and the Siuslaw Valley (1987 & 2006)
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About the Author
Her memories of life along U.S. Highway 99 and her interest in Oregon history pushed her to write the story of the importance of the road and of the people affected by its presence through the state, but it is the stories of the people who tell it best. These stories don't tell every facet of life along its path, but sketch a lifestyle that others will color in with their own memories.