Keep the Show on the Road! Posted March 5, 2013 Report Share Posted March 5, 2013 A 100 year old original section of the Pacific Highway (later US99) has been identified and is pictured in my photos below. I am inclined to say I “discovered” it, but it had been earlier identified as a segment of the Cowlitz Trail, and it is used as an equestrian trail today. It runs through the Lewis and Clark State Park, south of Chehalis, Washington, but according to lead staffers at state park headquarters in Olympia, it had not been identified with the historic Pacific Highway. So far as I can determine, this is the first public declaration. You saw it here!! My identification took a circuitous route. Mid last week I drove to the Park to take another look at the Pacific Highway in the area between Chehalis and Toledo, Washington. I noted an old road I had spotted on Google Earth a few days before, and when I got home I overlaid the 1853 GLO Survey of Township 12N 1W on Google Earth. The Cowlitz Trail, which is also refereed to as the northern branch of the Oregon Trail, clearly passes through the Park north and south along the old road (now equestrian trail) I observed and photographed. The modern road (old US99, Jackson Highway) follows a route considerably west of the old Trail and has a very noticeable curve. It is pictured in the 1922 State Parks report, so it existed before that date. But the question I wondered about was “Did the original Pacific Highway follow the old road bed /equestrian trail I observed, or the modern more westerly route? The answer was revealed by overlaying the 1913-1914 USGS (Chehalis) Topo map on Google Earth. The USGS map was surveyed in 1913-14 and drafted in 1916, and it clearly labels the Pacific Highway. It became quite obvious that the Pacific Highway followed the old road (equaetrian trail) I had photographed, and not the modern route further west. So sweet and simple, here is a newly identified section of the original Pacific Highway! It isn't at all surprising that the then new (early teens) Pacific Highway used the old Cowlitz Trail, which by the early teens had been a north south thoroughfare for many years, first as an Indian trail, trail for Hudson Bay trappers, then as a pioneer route between the Columbia River and the Puget Sound, and then as an important wagon road. It would have been surprising if it had not. I want to thank the staff at the State Parks office in Olympia, Ryan and Alex, for their interest and assistance. They showed a genuine interest in the information, which added immensely to my motivation. I think we might have added a tiny bit of information to our knowledge of the heritage of the Park and of the state. Since the Pacific Highway was the first and most important north south auto road in western America, it is of more than passing interest that our Washington State Parks are preserving that heritage I have copied an image of the map overlay below. The first map shows the approximate area of the overlay map. The red arrow identifies the 1913-14 original Pacific Highway, the white arrow points at white lines I placed over sections of the old road visible in Google Earth, the yellow arrow points to the modern Jackson Highway / old US99, and the blue arrow points to the direction and the location where I took the photo. It is all there! The registration of the overlays are a little off, and you can see if they were corrected (slight up and to the right), the match would be almost perfect. I will add more information in subsequent posts. The photo location in the Park can be viewed on Google Earth at 46.523286, -122.812915. The 1913-14 USGS Chehalis topo map is available at the Perry Castaneda Library at the University of Texas: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/topo/washington/txu-pclmaps-topo-wa-chehalis-1914.jpg and is also available as an overlay on Google Earth using Historic Topographical Maps. Go to: http://www.gelib.com/historic-topographic-maps.htm The 1853 GLO Survey for T12N, R1W is on line at: http://www.blm.gov/or/landrecords/survey/ySrvy1.php Dave Keep the Show on the Road!! Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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