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Us 99, Pacific Highway Follows Trappers Trail


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#21 mobilene

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 05:15 PM

I think there are more wood frame houses on the Michigan Road than my photos give credit for -- it wasn't until I met up with the dude in Plymouth who gave me some pointers on how to recognize older houses that I started seeing some of the older frame homes.

And it's entirely possible that there were many wooden bridges -- probably covered -- along the route, but that they have all since been replaced with cement bridges.

Perhaps it's safe to say that stone was not in the mix where you are, while it was where I am!



#22 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 06:46 PM

Until 1938 US 99 and the Pacific Highway followed the route described above, south on Capitol Way, right (west) on Cleveland, and down Custer Way, and across the 1915 concrete bridge. The bridge’s upper structure was tastefully replaced in 2004, but the 1915 arch and substructure remains. The highway then went south along Deschutes Way. South of E Street today the old road is buried under the freeway, but a short section exists as 2nd Ave south of Linwood Avenue.

In 1938 US 99 was rerouted to go to the east of the brewery, across the Senator P. H. Carlyron Bridge, which I prefer to call the Totem Pole Bridge because of the prominent totem poles on each end. Probably at the same time, the highway cut diagonally across Custer Way to align with the new bridge.

The 360 degree panorama below provides a view of the bridge and the now closed former Olympia Brewery, as seen from the south end of the bridge.

Java version http://www.pair.com/...otemBridge.html

(If Java doesn’t work for you, let me know and I will load it on a different server and format for Apple Quick Time)

Using my 1915/16 Automobile Blue Book as a guide, it appears that the route of the old Pacific Highway went along the present Capitol Way (Blvd) alignment as far south as Israel Road and the current Olympia Airport (orange line) But then it went south along Tilley Road (blue line), not along Old 99, which at the airport swings off left (south eastward) to follow the Cowlitz Trail through Tenino.






The airport has wiped out any vestige of the old 1915/16 road, but modern Tilley Road past the airport southbound remains a two lane route through South Union and beyond.

It isn’t immediately evident when the Pacific Highway switched from following Tilley Road and begin following the route now called Old 99 (and the Cowlitz Trail). The 1919 Automobile Blue Book Pacific Highway section description follows the current (old US 99) route to Tenino, so it was between 1915 and 1919..

One of the more interesting stories of early settlement along the 1919 route is commemorated by a kiosk at the intersection of Old Highway 99 and 88th Avenue.

George Bush, a black man, and his family came across the Oregon Trail with the Michael Simmons party in 1844. Upon their arrival in the northwest they learned that blacks were not welcome in Oregon. In fact they were so unwelcome that the Oregon Territory law required they receive a public whipping every 6 months if they stayed! To the credit of the Simmons party, they stood by the Bush family and together sought a place to settle in the area north of the Columbia which was under the control of the English of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

The long and short of the story is that in 1845 they traveled the Cowlitz Trail north to the falls on the Deschutes at Tumwater, and there established that pioneer settlement (then named New Market). It truly took an act of Congress for Bush to get his land. The new Washington State legislature of 1854 petitioned Congress and Bush was granted his section of land by act of Congress, February 10, 1855.

The Bush farm fields (blue in the 1853 overlay) are cut through by Old Highway 99. To my surprise, the field Bush cultivated, through which the Cowlitz Trail (yellow line) and Pacific Highway and US99 passed, is still undeveloped! It is for lease, so that may not be the situation much longer. The red arrows show the angle taken in with the panorama below, looking north and east at 84th Avenue and Old Highway 99. I was standing on the Cowlitz Trail at 46.966320, -122.885412 when I took the photo.





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#23 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 07:05 PM

QUOTE (mobilene @ Sep 8 2008, 02:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think there are more wood frame houses on the Michigan Road than my photos give credit for -- it wasn't until I met up with the dude in Plymouth who gave me some pointers on how to recognize older houses that I started seeing some of the older frame homes.

And it's entirely possible that there were many wooden bridges -- probably covered -- along the route, but that they have all since been replaced with cement bridges.

Perhaps it's safe to say that stone was not in the mix where you are, while it was where I am!


Jim,

It's that I'm envious of all the great roadside stuff along the Michigan Road in your photos. Gees....I'm photographing empty fields...see above post!

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Dave

#24 mobilene

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 08:59 AM

Looking at Tumwater and the airport on Google Maps, it looks to me like the original road (or at least a road on the original corridor) is there through most of the airport - the road that becomes Tilley Rd. south of the airport, anyway.

What an interesting way to discourage settlers you don't want -- promises of public floggings. Wow.

The Totem Pole bridge is really cool. You don't see many bridges like that... certainly not on the Michigan Road!



#25 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 12:30 PM

Ezra Meeker wasn’t the King of the Road, but he came darned near. Ezra was an Oregon Trail pioneer who settled in Puyallup, Washington, east of Tacoma, and did well raising hops.

In his later years he looked back on his Oregon Trail days, and like a lot of old guys, decided that the youngins just didn’t appreciate the old days as they should. He didn’t have the internet and the American Road Forum to share his stories and he hadn’t taken old 8mm movies of the trip across the country by wagon, so he decided to do it again…this time going west to east.

This is relevant here because in 1906 at 76 he started off along the Pacific Highway south of Olympia in a covered wagon pulled by two oxen..…well it wasn’t yet the Pacific Highway, it was the Cowlitz Trail…and of course he called it the Oregon Trail! And believe it or not, he convinced others that it was the northern branch of the Oregon Trail…and they still believe that today around here.

A word about the “Northern Branch” of the Oregon Trail and the Pacific Highway may be in order…just my opinion. The premise that there is a northern branch of the Oregon Trail that leads up to Olympia from the Columbia River is based on the fact that some who came across the Oregon Trail, after arriving in Oregon, decided to settle in the Puget Sound area, and they followed the existing Cowlitz Trail route to get there. I have yet to see a single individual at the time say that they followed the Oregon Trail to the Puget Sound. I believe it was Ezra’s invention. (Correct me if you know better!)

And more power to him!! Folks around here name roads “Old Oregon Trail” and put up monuments, and have celebrations of “Old Oregon Trail Days.” I don’t want to spoil their fun. Even the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1916 put up several markers in Washington that still stand commemorating the Oregon Trail. How can a guy who invented the Hypotenuse Trail, call a guy who labeled the Cowlitz Trail the northern branch of the Oregon Trail a snake oil salesman? I can’t. He was a great promoter.

Ezra’s story could go on for pages. Even his two oxen live on, stuffed and displayed in a museum in Tacoma! Heck, it is the classic American Road story, and I haven’t told even a hundredth of it. This guy was the real Paul Bunyon, and one of his oxen was named Dave…but not after me!

So as we travel the Oregon Trail / Pacific Highway/ Cowlitz Trail south from Olympia to Tenino, we won’t be amazed to find beside the old highway the very first Oregon Trail Marker placed by Ezra! There it is, standing beside the road. Enjoy it in 3D if you like. The Oregon Trail – 1845 -1853. Ezra encouraged, cajoled, and pushed communities to place such markers along his route….and they did. Most of the communities were at least close to the old Oregon Trail, and many wanted the tie to such a famous old road.







Of course Erza sold post cards and booklets, and I bet would have sold mugs, T Shirts, and CD’s if they had been available. Of course as an old Washington roadie, I have some of his stuff in my old roads collection. They are not very rare…because Ezra sold a lot of them!



And BTW, Ezra made it, met the President, and lived on to drive and fly the route…but the big story was the 1906 trip across the Oregon Trail by oxen and wagon! He definitely left his mark!

Just though you’d like to know…. biggrin.gif

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#26 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 01:56 PM

This post is for Mobilene…Mr. Alignment Pro….and anyone else who tracks the old alignments.

Old 99 / Pacific Highway/ Cowlitz Trail/ Northern Branch Oregon Trail went over what is known today as Chain Hill, but was really named Chein Hill originally. No matter, that happens a lot. But what is interesting is that the 1916 road still exists! Or at least half of it.

Below is a 1916 USGS map segment showing Chein Hill just north of Tenino on the Pacific Highway. Note the two instances where the road splits in half. (BTW, for map geeks, if you use old USGS topos in sid files, I have a sid to tif converter that is golden, and I will send on request.)

The series of images should be almost self explanatory. The old segment on the west of the upper (northern) split still exists! And the lower split east segment is where I said earlier I thought I might have found an old segment of the Cowlitz Trail. The 1853 plat map places the Cowlitz Trail where the eastern segment of the lower (southern) split is located.

I am going to do a little photo exploration there this afternoon. The problem is that both segments are on private property so I will have to limit my scouting.

It is difficult to say why the splits exist. You don’t see that often on maps. It may be that it was easier to go up hill on one of the segments and down on the other. Or they may have been used in different seasons.

When I have traveled old 99 there, I have often noted the upper (northern) split and wondered if the western segment was the old road. It follows the contour of the hill better and drops down sooner to level ground, but it may have been more muddy in the winter. If I don’t get chased off, maybe I will discover something this afternoon!














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#27 mobilene

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 09:52 PM

Now THAT, my friend, is worth waking up in the morning for!!

What I wonder now is what happened to the rest of that road? When did it fade away? Why was it allowed to fade away?

I can see I need to get some old Indiana USGS maps and so some comparing along the Michigan Road. There are probably some variances in route in the South Bend - Michigan City portion of the route.

Edited by mobilene, 12 September 2008 - 05:24 AM.


#28 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 11:35 PM

It isn’t often that an abandoned 1916 dirt alignment of an historic road like the Pacific Highway is so evident, but I think I found one. Dirt roads have a habit of disappearing pretty fast, either through erosion or plant and tree growth.

A few days ago I did an overlay of the 1916 USGS Centralia quad topo on Google Earth, and was again surprised how the Pacific Highway followed today’s Old 99 Highway south from Olympia, Washington through Tumwater, over Chaen Hill, and through Tenino and westward toward Grand Mound.

The overlay below shows the 1916 road in red, and the following image is without the overlay. There is no question but what that is the 1916 roadbed (red arrow) and a part of the Pacific Highway at that time.







I turned off on the north south private road that leads to the gravel pit in the images. The gate was open, and since I am always in the market for nice gravel, rolleyes.gif I figured an open gate was an invitation to enter….which I did. I was surprised and delighted to discover the 1916 road, right there where the 1916 map showed it! And this time, it looked like an old road. The photo is looking west from the base of the red arrow. (N46.843214, W122.875884)



I suppose it is obvious that the road has been used more recently than 1916, but it still has the feel and probably the roadbed of 1916. I stepped to the other (east) side of the pit access road and there the road was grown over, even though aerial photos show it more or less clearly.

One more matter of interest. When you look at the aerial photos of the old road, note what appear to be hundreds of pock marks in the field. Those are the Mima Mounds. They cover tens of thousands of acres and are very rare, perhaps existing no where else.

When you look at them from the ground, they rise perhaps 2 to 5 feet and vary in diameter, but I would say they are typically 20 feet across. They are evident in the last photo on the right. They have been identified as everything from Indian burial mounds, to ancient fish nests, with no evidence whatsoever to support most theories. The most likely cause is related to ancient glaciers that ended here.

I wonder how the travelers on the Cowlitz Trail felt about them. You wouldn’t want to walk over them, and you didn’t grade a road through them in those days, so you walked around one after another for mile upon mile!


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#29 mobilene

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 12:53 PM

Dave, finding that 1916 road sure is the stuff, isn't it? This is the kind of thing I always hope to find, and when I do, well, roadgeeking just doesn't get much better. Your photo of the old road is great, and it's too bad the road goes behind that fence.

Your posts are seriously pushing me toward doing this map overlay thing. Who knows what great juicy stuff I'll find?

jim

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 10:08 PM

QUOTE (mobilene @ Sep 14 2008, 10:53 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Dave, finding that 1916 road sure is the stuff, isn't it? This is the kind of thing I always hope to find, and when I do, well, roadgeeking just doesn't get much better. Your photo of the old road is great, and it's too bad the road goes behind that fence.

Your posts are seriously pushing me toward doing this map overlay thing. Who knows what great juicy stuff I'll find?

jim


Jim,

I think I can assure you that doing overlays will produce some real surprises, especially on a road like the Michigan. The biggest technical issue for me was getting the overlay maps into a colored high contrast transparent format.

I have quite a bit more of the Cowlitz Trail/ Pacific Highway to study. I recognize it isn’t the stuff of the popular press, although I would hope at least the Meeker stuff catches the interest of a few viewers.

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#31 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 02:36 PM

I haven’t updated this thread in a couple of weeks. Sorry!

If you can piece together the starts and stops so far, you have the route of the Pacific Highway through Olympia and Tumwater, Washington. In 1915 the Pacific Highway went south on Main St (now Capitol Way/ Blvd) in Olympia to Cleveland Ave., turned west on what is now Custer Way, down and across the Boston Street bridge to Deschutes Way, and turned left on Deschutes Way.

Going south on Deschutes Way the road passed what is now Tumwater Falls Park. South of E Street the old road would have continued under what is now the freeway and would probably have appeared again along S 2nd Ave for a short distance, before following modern Capitol Blvd (Old US 99) to the airport.

South of the airport the Pacific Highway followed different routes depending on the year. In 1915 it would have taken Tilley Road south through South Union and then through Grand Mound to Centralia. But by 1917, and at least through 1921, it took the route through Plumb, over Chean Hill (Not “Chain” Hill!), into Tenino, then down through Bucoda to Centralia. By 1925 it still went through Tenino but then turned west to Grand Mound and south to Centralia along the current “Old Highway 99.”

And these routes were apparently interchangeable (or often changed) depending on weather and road construction. For example a Road Conditions note in the September, 1915 official publication of the Pacific Highway Association recommends the route from to Tenino through Grand Mound to Centralia, even though the “official” route appears to have been through South Union.

So to summarize, early in its history (1915-16) the Pacific Highway went south through the site of the modern Olympia airport following Tilley Road, then after intersecting the road from Tenino westbound, it went west to Grand Mound and then south to Centralia. Later (by 1917) it went along the route of modern (Old Highway 99), through Plumb, over Chaen Hill, through Tenino and then south through Bucoda to Centralia.

By 1925 it still went to Tenino along the 1917 route, but then went west along what is now “Old Highway 99” to Grand Mound. The 1925 Pacific Highway route follows almost exactly the Cowlitz Trail between Olympia and Centralia.


In this thread I have noted some “interesting “ parallel roads over Chaen Hill north of Tenino and the Ezra Meeker stone monument placed in Tenino to commemorate the Oregon Trail. So next let’s travel south out of Tenino to Bucoda (the 1917 – 1921 route, and possibly as late as 1924)

Leaving Tenino headed south in 1917 the road passed under the tracks as it does now, and made an abrupt turn to the south (left) almost as it does now, but a little sharper. It traveled along the west side of the tracks about .8 miles and then crossed to the east side of the tracks, and turned south.

Today there is a terrific old section of this alignment you can drive, and other than the fact it has a thin asphalt pavement, it looks just like an early 20th century road. The 1917 road jogged east at what is now 184th St. and almost immediately turned south. To reach it follow the modern Bucoda Highway (507) south from Tenino and at DJ’s Country Store turn left (east) on 184th St. The first road on the right is the old highway. Turn right and enjoy a 1917 alignment.



North is to the right on this Google Earth image



Looking South along old Pacific Highway Alignment

Travel as far as you can, and then park. Look through the gate southward and imagine what this alignment looked like in 1917. It isn’t hard to imagine, because it probably looked very much the same.

Backtrack to the Bucoda Highway and turn south (left). After about a mile and a half, turn east (left) toward Bucoda and cross the busy railroad tracks. As you can guess, Main Street is the old highway, with its aged concrete pavement. If you like, you can turn north and follow Main until the pavement ends and you are briefly on the 1917 – 21 alignment.

Returning to where you crossed the tracks, continue going south on Main. On the left you will pass Joe’s Place, in the same family for 110 years! Even if you don’t like taverns, this one is worth a visit.



Going south on Main, turn west (right) on 11th St. Note that the inside of the turn has been reinforced with concrete to provide a hard surface. The road ahead is the old alignment, which wanders a bit off to the left (southwest) to cross the tracks and continue on to intersect the modern road that runs between Bucoda and Centralia, as it makes a turn west.



Looking southwest along old 11th St alignment of 1917 Pacific Highway.



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#32 mobilene

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 05:18 PM

This is just too cool. I'm almost drooling over the two-track goodness of the 11th St. alignment and the paved one-lane. Where did that paved segment go, northbound, from where it ends today? Did it once cross that river/creek? Any ideas?

The old Nash Met is a nice surprise, too.

#33 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 06:57 PM

QUOTE (mobilene @ Sep 30 2008, 02:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This is just too cool. I'm almost drooling over the two-track goodness of the 11th St. alignment and the paved one-lane. Where did that paved segment go, northbound, from where it ends today? Did it once cross that river/creek? Any ideas?

The old Nash Met is a nice surprise, too.


Going south it stayed to the right (west) of the creek and east of the railroad all the way to Bucoda. You can more or less see the alignment southward in the Google Earth image (remember right is north).

To the north, the alignment jogged west then north to follow what is now Crowder Rd.. The 1916 map shows it actually cutting diagonally across the vegetation on the southeast corner of Crowder Rd and 184th.

I have marked the likely alignment in blue.



I have added a photo looking beyond the fence line along the violet line on the map. It must look a lot like the old road looked before it was paved and used as access to the home visible in the Google Earth image.



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#34 mobilene

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 05:31 AM

I can see how a road might once have gone through there. How much you want to bet that tree just left of the violet line stands in the middle of the roadway!




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