HISTORIC COLUMBIA RIVER HIGHWAY

 

 

PHOTOGRAPHS

 

         Shepperd's Dell Bridge

         Multnomah Falls Lodge

         Mosier Twin Tunnels (West Portal) 1935/1995

         Mosier Tunnels (West Portal) 1998

         Mosier Tunnels (Interior) 1921

         Parapet Railing, near Mosier Tunnels

         Oneonta Tunnel (1920/1995)

         Railing, West Multnomah Falls Viaduct

         Eagle Creek - Tanner Project

         Vista House, Crown Point

 


Young Creek (Shepperd's Dell) Bridge

Crown Point Highway, Latourell Vicinity

Multnomah County, 1914

 

Young Creek (Shepperd's Dell) Bridge

 

 

 

This graceful reinforced concrete deck arch has a main arch span of 100 feet and consists of two parabolic arch ribs with open spandrels. Designed by K.R. Billner, under the supervision of Samuel C. Lancaster, the structure was constructed by the Pacific Bridge Company, Portland, at a cost of $10,800. A stairwell and trail to the falls originates at the east end of the bridge. The structure is located in Shepperd's Dell State Park. Shepperd's Dell was donated as parkland by the owner, George Shepperd, a local farmer of modest means, in memory of his wife. Click here for a map showing the location of Shepperd's Dell Bridge. - map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top of Page

Next Page

 


Multnomah Falls Lodge

Old Columbia River Highway, Bridal Veil Vicinity

Multnomah County, 1925

 

 

 

 

Designed by prominent Portland architect A.E. Doyle, the Multnomah Falls Lodge was constructed in 1925 by the city of Portland. The area around Multnomah Falls, including the Lodge site, was donated to the city of Portland in 1915 by wealthy Oregon businessman Simon Benson, a major promoter and benefactor of the original Columbia River Highway. The lodge was intended to capitalize on the booming tourist trade through the Columbia Gorge and remains a very active recreation area. Designed in the Cascadia style, the lodge was constructed by the Waale-Shattuck Company for a cost of 40,000 dollars. The Multnomah Falls Lodge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Previous Page

Top of Page

Next Page


Mosier Twin Tunnels

Old Columbia River Highway, Mosier Vicinity

Wasco County, 1921

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mosier Twin Tunnels were designed by Conde B. McCullough, State Bridge Engineer for the Highway Department. The tunnels were jointly constructed by A.D. Kern of Portland and the State Highway Division in 1921. The tunnels were originally lined with timber for support and stretched 350-feet in distance. In addition, a finish of stone masonry protected all four portals. There were also "adits" (view openings in the tunnel walls which looked out over the river), and an observation gallery between the tunnels with access to a "cliff walk" - a pedestrian walkway along the outside of the tunnels built onto the face of the cliff. The photographs on this page portray the appearance of the west portal entrance in 1935 and in 1995. The tunnels were closed and filled with rubble in the early 1950's. Oregon Department of Transportation policy states that "preserving and restoring the scenic and unique characteristics, and historic integrity" of the remaining segments of the Old Columbia River Highway is of great importance. For this reason, the Mosier Twin Tunnels, along with a several-mile long segment of the old highway between Hood River and Mosier, have recently been restored and re-opened for use by pedestrians and bicyclists. The picturesque cliff-walk and adits have also been restored, but there is no longer any pedestrian access to the cliff-walk, for safety reasons. Please see the link for the 1998 photograph of the rehabilitated west portal entrance to the Mosier Twin Tunnels.

 

 

 

Previous Page

Top of Page

Next Page


Mosier Twin Tunnels, West Portal

Old Columbia River Highway, Mosier Vicinity

Wasco County, 1998 Rehabilitation

 

 

 

 

Oregon Department of Transportation policy regarding sections of the Old Columbia River Highway encourages the restoration of "scenic and unique characteristics" of the highway, and the maintenance of the historic integrity of resources along the roadway. The Mosier Twin Tunnels, which have been filled in with rubble and closed to traffic since the 1950s, were recently reopened and rehabilitated, and significant portions of the original design elements remain intact. Today, the Mosier Twin Tunnels and a several-mile long segment of the old highway between Hood River and Mosier, are undergoing a major restoration effort for use by pedestrians and bicyclists. Evident in this photo is the reconstructed "cliff-walk" which spectacular, if a bit scary, views of the magnificent Columbia River Gorge. Refer to the link to the Mosier Twin Tunnels for a historic view of the portal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Previous Page

Top of Page

Next Page


Mosier Tunnel

Near Mosier

Wasco County, 1921

 

 

 

 

The Mosier Twin Tunnels were cut into solid basalt and are 350 feet in length. The tunnels were designed by J.A. Elliott, the locating engineer for the Hood River to Mosier section of the Columbia River Highway or C.B. McCullough, the Oregon State Bridge Engineer. The structure was constructed in 1921 by the A.D. Kern, Portland at a cost of $219,340. The tunnels were difficult to construct and maintain due to the unstable columnar basalt and were bypassed and abandoned in 1954, when the highway was realigned to run next to the Columbia River. The tunnels were partially reclaimed by rock slides and were backfilled with rubble, but restored in 1998 as a capstone for the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Previous Page

Top of Page

Next Page


Parapet Wall at Mosier Tunnels

Old Columbia River Highway, Mosier Vicinity

Wasco County, 1921

 

Samuel Lancaster imported and hired Italian masons and craftsman to build the arched parapet guard walls along the Old Columbia River Highway. Most of the building stone came directly off the highway construction sites. To shape the larger stones, the masons used feathers and wedges to gently split the rocks apart. Smaller rocks were shaped with stone hammers and bushing hammers. The random rubble pattern of the guard wall near the Mosier Twin Tunnels reveals the individual style of the mason and his preference for larger stones. Semi-elliptical arches are the repeating pattern in this 30" high guard wall. The concrete grout has been recessed 1" to 1 and 1/2" from the rock face. The walls have been topped with a concrete cap screed flush and covered in sand mortar. Recently, the Oregon Department of Transportation has undertaken an extensive restoration program to repair damaged sections of the historic parapet railings. The damaged railing shown above has been fully reconstructed as part of the re-opening of the Mosier Twin Tunnels.

 

 

 

 

Previous Page

Top of Page

Next Page


Oneonta Tunnel

Old Columbia River Highway, West of Multnomah Falls

Multnomah County, 1914

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Oneonta Tunnel, built in 1914, is 125-feet from portal to portal. Because of the natural conditions, only 18-feet of rock was left to support the side of the mountain (205-feet thick) next to the railroad. In order to prevent thousands of tons of rock from cascading down onto the adjacent railroad tracks when blasting began, it was necessary to go to considerable lengths to strengthen the cliff before digging into the tunnel. The weaker sections of rock were plugged with concrete before the blasting started. Continuous rockfall, both inside and outside the tunnel, forced the Highway Department to re-route the highway. The 1920 photograph illustrates the original west portal entrance of the Oneonta Tunnel before it was abandoned and filled with rubble in the late 1940's. The 1995 photograph depicts current conditions, where the original portal is obscured by vegetation at the end of the Oneonta Gorge Creek Bridge (directly west of the portal).

 

 

 

Previous Page

Top of Page

Next Page


West Multnomah Falls Viaduct Railing

Old Columbia River Highway, Multnomah Falls

Multnomah County, 1914

 

 

 

 

Both east and west of Multnomah Falls are long "half-viaducts" or "side-hill viaducts" built to carry the roadway in the narrow area between the steep hillside and the adjacent railroad. With the uphill side of the viaduct resting on the slope and the downhill side elevated on columns, these viaducts are successful alternatives to cutting into the unstable slopes to excavate a roadbed. The West Multnomah Falls Viaduct is 400 feet long and consists of twenty 20-foot slab spans. It was designed by K.R. Billner, under the supervision of S.C. Lancaster, and was built by the Pacific Bridge Company, Portland. The railing in this contemporary photograph consists of graceful concrete semi-elliptical arches supported by pour concrete posts with tapered tops connected by a thin horizontal concrete railing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Previous Page

Top of Page

Next Page


Eagle Creek-Tanner Creek Project

Old Columbia River Highway, Eagle Creek-Tanner Creek

Multnomah County, 1998 Rehabilitation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the Interstate Highway system was re-routed beginning in the 1950s, portions of the old Columbia River Highway were demolished, abandoned, or bypassed. Recent restoration efforts on the Eagle Creek-Tanner Project opened up a section of the original Columbia River Highway extending from Tanner Creek, up and over the Toothrock Tunnel, and down to the Eagle Creek Bridge. This bypassed segment of the original highway is now open for pedestrian and bicycle access.

 

 

 


Vista House

Old Columbia River Highway, Crown Point

Multnomah County, 1918

 

 

 

 

 

Constructed between 1916 and 1918 on Crown Point, the Vista House has served as an observatory and rest stop for Columbia River Gorge travelers since that date. The building, which has achieved National Landmark status, was designed in the German Jugendstill style by Portland architect Edgar Lazarus, and constructed of reinforced concrete. It was dedicated to early Oregon pioneers in ceremonies in May 1918. In 1938, the Vista House and Crown Point site were donated to the state as a park by the city of Portland and Multnomah County.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historic Columbia River Highway Home

Geo-Environmental Services Home

Oregon Department of Transportation Home

 

Please email James Norman for more information.