Oregon Bridges

Bridges of the Oregon Coast

by Ray Bottenberg, published 2006, Arcadia Publishing. Bridges of the Oregon Coast cvr

In the 1920s and 1930s, Oregon’s legendary bridge engineer Conde B. McCullough designed a series of bridges on the Oregon Coast Highway. 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.

Intended to enhance an already dramatic and beautiful landscape, as well as connect Oregon’s coastal cities by direct, any-time highways (the ferries ran on schedules designed around tides and sometimes shut down in inclement weather), McCullough planned to build one bridge each year after completion of the Rogue River Bridge at Gold Beach in 1932. However the tightened financial environment 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.

In 2007 we decided to make the drive on the Oregon coast, border-to-border, and as we did we crossed each of these bridges. I bought the book and took it on the trip, reading about each of the six bridges as we approached it.

The book is one of the Images of America series, published by Arcadia Publishing.

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6 Responses to Oregon Bridges

  1. Drongo says:

    Because of all the drinking that happens there, we used to refer to Coos Bay as Booze Bay.

    I’m kind of ambivalent about books like this one. I hope to God that the coast does not get over-developed. It’s long been a fear of many Oregonians that the state will one day turn into California North.

    No offense to the many fine Californians such as yourself.

  2. Drongo says:

    Btw, “Drongo” is Australian slang for moron. I didn’t find that out until later!

  3. Richard says:

    I don’t think you need worry about the book resulting in hordes of people moving north so they can look at or live near the bridges. Of course, now that it’s been featured here… Yeah, right.

    I did a serious hunt to find a book on the coast and bridges, and Powell’s was the only place that had a copy. I got it there before we drove to Grant’s Pass, across to Crescent City and began our leisurely drive up the coast. It would have been a great trip if I hadn’t come down with a terrible chest cold/flu.

  4. Drongo says:

    Rick, any day now, you and your site will become an internet sensation! Hordes will move!

    I used to go to Powells as a young whelp. I think it one of those places that every bibliophile has to visit at least once in their lives.

  5. Richard says:

    No question, Powell’s is a Great book store!

  6. This publisher has created an amazing number of inexpensive album books focusing on local history and written by folks who are specialists in that area and topic. In my case, the California RR books have been quite a treat. Usually images and captions and not too much text.

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