Jump to content
American Road Magazine
Celebrating our two-lane highways of yesteryear…And the joys of driving them today!
Road Warrior

Mystery Of The Missing Switchback Solved!

Recommended Posts

Mystery of the missing switchback solved!

 

The old photo below shows the hairpin curve on the west side of Snoqualmie Pass. I believe it was taken about 1915 when the Sunset Highway/Yellowstone Trail was opened for traffic.

 

In the summer of 2013 my wife Leona and I met up with Dave (King of the Road) and his wife Sheila for a trip up the pass to look for the water trough. While we were there I noticed that the upper switchback near where the trough is didn't quite match the alignment that was in the photo below. I was telling Dave that maybe it was just realigned some time in the past. This has always bothered me and I had to know what happened.

 

While I was sitting by the computer last week. I was doing some research and looking at some old county maps. I noticed on one of them showing 3 switchbacks on the west side of the pass. I thought this missing switchback had to be the one that the old photo was showing.

 

I have some 1915 county survey maps of the pass and they only showed 2 switchbacks. I then realized that one section was missing. So going back to the county website I was able to find a map of the pass from 1926. The highway was realigned in 1926 using the old Milwaukee Road right of way that was abandoned after the tunnel was built. This new alignment bypassed all the switchbacks.

 

As you can see from that survey map below that the old road connects to the new alignment at this 3rd switchback. Looking at a 1958 aerial I was able to confirm that indeed this switchback existed. In the 1930's when the old road was completely bypassed they realigned this section of the old road so it would still be passable. This realignment straightened out this switchback.

 

Following up with a look at the Google Satellite map of the pass I was able to spot the remains of the outer curve. Leona and I drove up there today but there was too much snow to reach the spot. looks like I will have to wait for spring.

 

Now I know just where that old photo was taken. Mystery solved!

 

post-51734-0-40763200-1448933993_thumb.jpg

post-51734-0-58103400-1448934049_thumb.jpg

post-51734-0-34926100-1448934065_thumb.jpg

post-51734-0-31743100-1448934109_thumb.jpg

Edited by Curt C

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that is very very cool! How neat to find the remnants of where the old switchback was! You'll report on your spring trip to see the place, right!?

 

 

Cort :) www.oldcarsstronghearts.com

pigValve, paceMaker, cowValve | 1979 Caprice Classic (awaiting new owner)
"It's the right time to rock the night away" __ Bobby Helms __ 'Jingle Bell Rock'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×