Synopses & Reviews
In the 1920s and 1930s, Oregon's legendary bridge engineer Conde B. McCullough designed a first-rate collection of aesthetic bridges on the Oregon Coast Highway to enhance an already dramatic and beautiful landscape. The six largest of these, at Gold Beach, Newport, Waldport, Florence, Reedsport, and Coos Bay, eliminated the last ferries on the Oregon Coast Highway between the Columbia River and California. McCullough planned to build one bridge each year after completion of the Rogue River Bridge at Gold Beach in 1932, but the tightening grip of the Depression threatened his plans. In 1933, McCullough and his staff worked day and night to finish plans for the remaining five bridges, and in early 1934, the Public Works Administration funded simultaneous construction of them. The combined projects provided approximately 630 jobs, but at least six workers perished during construction. After the bridges were complete, Oregon coast tourism increased by a dramatic 72 percent in the first year.
Portland is an inland port city that rose to importance in the mid-19th century as a major shipping point for the Pacific Northwest's wheat, lumber, and other commodities. The Columbia and Willamette Rivers enabled seagoing vessels to reach the port, but they also presented obstacles to local travel and commerce. Willamette River ferry service was available by 1853, but Portlanders had to wait until 1887 for a bridge. The first was the Morrison Bridge, followed by the Steel Bridge in 1888, the Madison Bridge was in 1891, and the Burnside Bridge in 1894. These bridges helped Portland grow from 17,600 residents in 1880 to 90,000 in 1900. Many more bridges were added as Portland grew during the 20th century, and well-known bridge engineers Ralph Modjeski, J.A.L. Waddell, Gustav Lindenthal, David Steinman, and Joseph Strauss each contributed to Portland's world-class collection of bridges.
About the Author
Ray Bottenberg is an Oregon native, a registered professional engineer, and a bridge enthusiast. In this volume, he tells the story of six remarkable bridges through an assortment of photographs gathered from such sources as the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Oregon State Archives in Salem, the Cecil Ager collection, and his own private collection.