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Keep the Show on the Road!

Warning! Us 10 Swallowed By Lake!

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Driving west on old US 10 in the middle of the night, perhaps a little sleepy, you might find yourself suddenly afloat, or sinking fast, as the road disappears into Wanapum Lake east of Vantage, Washington. There may be a warning sign (I didn’t see it), but there are no barriers, just a clear path into the dark waters of the lake.

 

I have known of this road for 60 years, and traveled it when you could drive under the lake here…well lets be honest……drive across the Vantage Bridge across the Columbia River here, before the lake existed, and the road was drowned. My Dad took a picture of me and my sister with his old Kodak on Kodachrome slide film in 1948, as we stopped to look back to the river and the old Vantage Bridge.

 

The two shots below are taken from close to the same place. The modern shot was taken yesterday, about 100 yards up the road from the 1948 shot, with a wider angle lens, and on a cloudy day….but there is no mistaking the place.

 

ARVantageLike1948Old.jpg

 

ARVantageLike1948Now.jpg

 

I have marked on the third photo an approximation of where the road today goes under water, and the old Vantage Bridge in the background.

 

ARVantageLike1948OldMarked.jpg

 

If you wonder what color Washington safety cable posts were painted in 1948, now you know….yellow with a black top. The old cable and brackets are still in use, and most of the posts are still intact. Those that have been replaced are not as nicely trimmed as the old ones.

 

The end of the road today is a boat ramp, but just to the right of the boat ramp, the old yellow and white lines lead into a drowned history when this was the only crossing of the Columbia for many miles in either direction.

 

ARVantageBoatRamp.jpg

 

ARVantageYellowLine.jpg

 

ARVantageBirdsEye.jpg

 

I will have more of the “famed” US Highway a Lake Swallowed. so stay tuned!

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

 

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This is totally wicked!

 

But you know I love this stuff.

 

It's very interesting that the aerial map suggests that the road is still there, underwater. I don't have too much experience with man-made lakes swallowing roads, but in the case of the one near me (US 36 in Parke Co., IN), it looks like the road may have been removed.

 

And of course the spot-on before and after shots are really the icing on the cake!

 

Do you think the bridge is still there?

 

jim

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Phenomenal! That sort of then & now shot cannot be beat. And we know it's authentic because you can't fake those pants cuffs. :)

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Phenomenal! That sort of then & now shot cannot be beat. And we know it's authentic because you can't fake those pants cuffs. :)

 

Gees, I didn't notice the cuffs! I think they were in the Redwood tree photo also. Of course, they were a fashion statement in those days! :rolleyes:

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

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You're feeding the savage beast in us with these pics, Dave! :ready2eat: More, more, more!! This is a perfect example why we love our abandoned alignments.

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You're feeding the savage beast in us with these pics, Dave! :ready2eat: More, more, more!! This is a perfect example why we love our abandoned alignments.

 

 

 

I love this kind of stuff! On a related note, check another "road under water" from Tombstone's site. We have walked and explored both sides of the lake with Steve and others....Bliss

 

http://www.ilrt66.com/sub66.htm

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Gees, I didn't notice the cuffs! I think they were in the Redwood tree photo also. Of course, they were a fashion statement in those days! :rolleyes:

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

 

Dave,

I have know that you are always on top of all the fashion trends...but now I know you have been a fashion leader for years. Thanks for sharing.

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You're feeding the savage beast in us with these pics, Dave! :ready2eat: More, more, more!! This is a perfect example why we love our abandoned alignments.

 

Pat,

 

Thanks! This is a extra special alignment in that the approach is along a cliff face, which I will post later.

 

I wish Dad had been more expansive in his use of film, but in 1948 35mm color slides were kind of expensive and not popular yet. We never had a projector, only a backlit hand held viewer.

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

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Thanks for the very interesting shots! I've always been intrigued by stories of lakes being built over roads and even towns -- brings to mind the end of Deliverance... I remember my dad telling me a story of a high school friend who met his end due to this exact phenomenon. Sometime in the mid 1970s, speeding down the road at probably 120-150mph in a new Datsun 280Z, he came across Toledo Bend, a huge reservoir that had recently been built on the LA/TX line. Apparently water is like a concrete wall at that speed.

 

From what I understand, entire towns were submerged for this reservoir -- it would be quite interesting to dive there...

 

Wes

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I don't have too much experience with man-made lakes swallowing roads, but in the case of the one near me (US 36 in Parke Co., IN), it looks like the road may have been removed.

Jim,

 

I spotted this old bridge on the abandoned Traders Lane alignment at Eagle Creek Park at 39.882431,-86.3063. Maybe we should figure out how to visit it someday. Would we need to get a canoe?

 

Birds eye view

 

I know I have walked on some of the old road a little further north from there but south of Wilson Road. There's some access from a public park along Wilson.

 

Chris

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Hey, wow, that's not too far away from me, Chris. I guess I need to look into the history of that area a little more closely. Now I want a map from before they created the reservoir! We could get to it, it looks like, by driving up Raceway Rd. (Hendricks co. line) to 65th St. and (probably) hoofing it from there. Sounds like fun.

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I think there may be some truth to the notion that the lake “swallowed” old Vantage. When we traveled old US10 going east toward Spokane in 1948, there was a “town” just to the west of the old Vantage bridge. Being 8, I didn’t pay any attention, but odds are that was Vantage. It wasn’t much, just a service station and some other buildings.

 

Here is an old post card image of the west end of the bridge. Traveling east you would have passed these buildings, crossed the bridge, then turned left (north) along the river for about 3 miles before starting up out of the river canyon on the section I featured.

 

ARVantageBridgeWest.jpg

 

I have been on the west side of the lake and observed where the road disappears on that side (46.9572, -119.987), but we didn’t go there on this trip. Vantage now is high on a bluff above the river.

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

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Wow! I wonder if any of those buildings are still there? I can see how they'd tear down the bridge, but who knows if they would have spared the buildings... I guess you could look at topo maps to see how deep it would be there... Might make for an interesting boating trip with a fishfinder? :)

 

Wes

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Wow! I wonder if any of those buildings are still there? I can see how they'd tear down the bridge, but who knows if they would have spared the buildings... I guess you could look at topo maps to see how deep it would be there... Might make for an interesting boating trip with a fishfinder? :)

 

Wes

 

Wes,

 

I think (I'm not positive) that the site of the buildings is not far offshore. I have an old photo that shows the west cliff edge, which could be matched with a modern photo to estimate the distance from the water's edge.

 

I have to assume, however, that the buildings were razed, as I believe the road provides recreational boating access, and you wouldn’t want your motor boat to hit the top of an old Texaco sign!

 

As a complete and unrelated comment, the last time I was on the west side at that site, there was a family of mountain sheep or goats on the cliff face…..quite a surprise!

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

 

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Great pictures (as usual).

 

It reminds me of my family's hometown. My great grandmother (and her parents and grandparents) grew up in Kensico, New York, which in the 1910s was flooded to become the Kensico Reservoir, part of New York City's water supply. Some of the buildings (I know of a least a church and some houses) were moved to a neighboring town (Valhalla), but most of the buildings were razed. (There are myths that when the water level is very low you can see an old church steeple, but I found a copy of the old engineering reports and they confirmed that not only were the buildings removed, but all organic matter (trees and topsoil) was removed to improve the water quality, since to this day it remains unfiltered drinking water.) I have pictures of the old family home and store, but I'm pretty sure those buildings weren't moved. The main road in the area, which on a new alignment would later become US 7 and is now NY 22, ran through the town. Although the town was drowned, just north of town the road climbed to higher ground and traversed what is now a 2-mile long peninsula in the middle of the reservoir. In my youth (about 20 years ago), a friend and I conveniently didn't see the hundreds of no trespassing signs and went exploring on the peninsula armed with an 1899 USGS topographic map and a very detailed 1869 map. The buildings were all gone, but the road was easy to find and the foundations, stairs, and fence posts for the old homes, barns, and according to the maps a school, were still there. Eventually though, the old dirt road disappeared under the water.

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Great pictures (as usual).

 

It reminds me of my family's hometown. My great grandmother (and her parents and grandparents) grew up in Kensico, New York, which in the 1910s was flooded to become the Kensico Reservoir, part of New York City's water supply. Some of the buildings (I know of a least a church and some houses) were moved to a neighboring town (Valhalla), but most of the buildings were razed. (There are myths that when the water level is very low you can see an old church steeple, but I found a copy of the old engineering reports and they confirmed that not only were the buildings removed, but all organic matter (trees and topsoil) was removed to improve the water quality, since to this day it remains unfiltered drinking water.) I have pictures of the old family home and store, but I'm pretty sure those buildings weren't moved. The main road in the area, which on a new alignment would later become US 7 and is now NY 22, ran through the town. Although the town was drowned, just north of town the road climbed to higher ground and traversed what is now a 2-mile long peninsula in the middle of the reservoir. In my youth (about 20 years ago), a friend and I conveniently didn't see the hundreds of no trespassing signs and went exploring on the peninsula armed with an 1899 USGS topographic map and a very detailed 1869 map. The buildings were all gone, but the road was easy to find and the foundations, stairs, and fence posts for the old homes, barns, and according to the maps a school, were still there. Eventually though, the old dirt road disappeared under the water.

 

usroadman,

 

Terrific story, and what a memory!

 

This particular alignment is not well known, but has some exciting vistas. The 3D photos below show the approach from the east headed west as you start down the cliff face to reach the Columbia.

 

I have included a cross eyed and an animated gif version that provides a little 3D effect without crossing your eyes (for Jim and Hutch).

 

ARVantageCliff3D.jpg

 

 

ARVantageCliff3DNewWobble.gif

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

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Phenomenal! That sort of then & now shot cannot be beat. And we know it's authentic because you can't fake those pants cuffs. :)

 

The National Road/US 40 used to suffer from a similar phenomena in Somerfield, Pa..... I've seen pics of the old bridge that crossed Youghigheny Lake. It was underwater on some occasions. The newer bridge is built on a hillside and crosses the lake at a higher point. Did stop on one trip west, but it was night time and I couldn't see the old bridge's remnants of the old bridge...too dark.

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usroadman,

 

Terrific story, and what a memory!

 

This particular alignment is not well known, but has some exciting vistas. The 3D photos below show the approach from the east headed west as you start down the cliff face to reach the Columbia.

 

I have included a cross eyed and an animated gif version that provides a little 3D effect without crossing your eyes (for Jim and Hutch).

 

ARVantageCliff3D.jpg

 

 

ARVantageCliff3DNewWobble.gif

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

 

I wonder how many places there are in the US where US highways (interstates don't count here) were re-aligned due to recurring flooding? I guess engineers made their best guesses about water levels in the 1930's, 1940's or what have you.

And perhaps they had to save money and took the shortest alignments and knew they were subject to flooding.

 

We have US 10 and US 40. And my example at Youghigheny Lake might not be the only one on 40. Frank and Denny may know of others....

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Is the Youghigheny Lake example fairly recent? Live Search Maps shows two bridges while Google Maps shows the old bridge with the new one under construction.

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