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Columbia River Highway

From Academic Kids

 and , seen from a lookout along the Columbia River Highway.
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Columbia River Gorge and Crown Point, seen from a lookout along the Columbia River Highway.

The Columbia River Highway was built in Oregon along the Columbia River between 1913 and 1922. When the Multnomah County portion was first paved in 1916, it was the first major paved highway in the Pacific Northwest. Once completed, it ran from Astoria to The Dalles, a total of 196 miles. It was one of the routes in the National Auto Trail system and is an All-American Road.

The original highway was promoted by lawyer and entrepreneur, Sam Hill, and engineer, Samuel Lancaster, to be modeled after the great scenic roads of Europe. From the very beginning, the roadway was envisioned not just as means of traveling by the then popular Model T, but designed with an elegance that took full advantage of all the natural beauty along the route.

When the United States highway system was officially established in 1926, the highway became the first and then westernmost segment of what became U.S. Highway 30.

Modern highways, including I-84, and other developments have resulted in the abandonment of major sections of the historic original highway. In the interest of tourism and historical preservation, seventy-four miles of the original road—from Troutdale to The Dalles—have been established as the Historic Columbia River Highway (HCRH). Forty miles of the route are open to motor vehicles:

The remaining portions of the HCRH designated for non-motorized use are now known as the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. These are being developed as money becomes available.

The Columbia River Highway is the nation's oldest scenic highway. In 1984 it was recognized as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

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