By Pat Edwards
In 1913, the first shovelful of dirt was turned by Oregon Governor Oswald West on the Siskiyou Pass to mark the beginning of the construction of the long-dreamed-of Pacific Highway through Oregon. At the time, the whole State of Oregon had only 25 miles of paved road. Even after construction of the highway had begun, it was mainly dirt and gravel for quite some time. Federal money did not pour into the project until 1921. Up to that time, it was up to the individual counties along the route to come up with the funding to build the roads through each of their areas. By its completion in 1926, however, it was adopted as U.S. Highway 99 and was declared the longest improved highway in the country by 1928. Actually, the history of the highway began long before 1913. This book will cover how the route for the Pacific Highway was determined through its use by Native tribes and later by trappers, miners and settlers who used portions of the California and Applegate Trails in their journeys, and eventually by the stage lines and the railroad. It will also show how each of the settlements along its route were formed and grew into prospering cities, small rural communities and some that are now ghost towns. Join us on our journey through these communities as we wend our way north from the California border where the Pacific Highway first started from that shovelful of dirt. You’ll learn about some of the interesting, but lesser-known, aspects of their histories and the people who were instrumental in making them what they are today.