The Historic Pacific Highway
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The Original 1915 Route
Starting in Vancouver the Hwy went North on Main St. to Hazel Dell Ave. Then continued North on Hazel Dell Ave for about 3 miles and veers to the right onto 117th. St.
Then continues East on 117th St. to Klineline Ave. The Hwy turned left and continued North on Klineline Ave. Hazel Dell Ave. is directly on the Old Military Road of 1860 to Ft. Steilacoom.
The road crossed over the Newer Hwy and veered to the left and went across Salmon Creek. The old bridge was called the Marble Bridge and was just to the right of the existing bridge.
You can still see the abutment on the North end. After crossing the creek the old road went North just to the East of the current alignment and passed by the old church which is on the right side. The new church parking lot has obliterated the old hwy as it passed by the old church.
From what the 1889 and 1911 maps say, the road after it crossed Salmon creek and passed by the old church went Northwest to meet up with NE Clark Rd. and then North on NE 10th Ave. (This was also part of the Old Military Road) The road continued North on NE 10th Ave. to Timmen Rd. The stretch of road from Salmon Creek to NE Clark Rd. is long gone.
The 1922 map shows the Hwy crossing Salmon Creek and then north on NE 20th Ave also called NE Strand Ave. Then North on NE 20th Ave. as it veers to the left and turns into NE 15th Ave. also called NE Union Rd. At the top of the hill before 15th veers to the right, the original Hwy crossed over I-5 and turned right onto NE 10th Ave.
The Hwy continued North on NE 10th Ave. where it turns into Timmen Rd. Then turned onto what is now Pollock Rd. and went down the hill. This area is referred to as the "figure eight".
On Timmen Rd. just before Spencer Rd. (Spencer Rd. is on the left side as your heading North.) There is the old wagon road that veers to the right onto what is now a driveway. It then continued down the hill. At the bottom of the hill it connects to Pollock Rd.
On the map of 1911 it shows the old wagon road still in use going down the hill. I believe that when Pollock road was paved in the early 20s the old wagon road down the hill was abandoned.
Pollock Rd. is still in it's original state. You can still see the original guard rail posts. Because there is no buildings as you continue down the hill you get the feel of how it was back then.
The road dead ends today because of NW La Center Rd. The original bridge across the river has been replaced. I think this is one of the best places to view the old highway.
At the bottom of the hill the guard rail posts are painted and well preserved. You can also visit the John Pollock Grave who was an early pioneer of the area and passed away in 1868.
At La Center the Hwy follows NW Pacific Hwy and continues North to Woodland. Along this route it is on the original alignment. Except for a small part just North of La Center the 1911 map shows the road turning left on NW Bolen St. then veering to the right to cross the creek and connect with NW Wellman Rd. then back to Old Pacific Hwy.
The Hwy then continued North and turned left at the C C St. Bridge. This bridge was completed in 1913 but has been replaced in the early 2000s. The road crossed the bridge and continued West to Goenig St. (This part of the old road has been obliterated by the interstate)
Here is an excerpt from "The Automobile Road Book of Western Washington 1913" "At Woodland a new bridge has been built across the Lewis River the past year, doing away with the old ferry. The road runs now through La Center, and is easy to follow."
The Hwy then turned right onto Goenig St. Then followed Goenig St North and turned right onto Green Mountain Rd. Just before the hill the old road turned left and continued West back to the Old Pacific Hwy. (This part of the old road is long gone.)
The hwy turned right onto the Old Pacific Hwy and continued North and connected to where S. Cloverdale Rd. ends. (The Interstate is on the old alignment and has obliterated this stretch of the original road.)
The original hwy continued North on S. Cloverdale Rd. all the way into Kalama. Cloverdale Rd. is part of the Old Military Road.
In Kalama the Hwy followed S.1st St. North to Meeker Dr. Then continued North on Meeker Dr. At the Kalama River the old 1911 map shows the Hwy veering to the right just before the river and going East about an 1/8 of a mile and then crossing the river turning right then left and going North to meet up with the Old Pacific Hwy.
I believe the current route North across the river was realigned about 1917. Here is an excerpt from the "Cowlitz Corridor 1953"
"Up to April 1, 1917, a total of $676,309 had been spent on the whole Pacific Highway in the State of Washington. Approximately one half of the total length had been hard surfaced by the counties through which the highway passed.
That year $254,017 was appropriated for work on the route between Chehalis and Vancouver, including the Kalama River Bridge, $45,000, and the Coweeman River Bridge, both still in use in 1953."
The current bridge across the Kalama river was built in 1952 or 53. Today the Hwy continues North across the river to Kalama River Rd. Turns left and then at the next right turns onto the Old Pacific Hwy.
At Carrolls Bluff there is an old and new alignment. They made a cut in the earth to make the curve smoother. The Hwy then goes down the hill past the Carrolls store.
At the bottom of the hill the old road turned left onto Maples Rd. then connected back to the Pacific Hwy. In the 1920s I believe the road rounded this curve as it does today. The Hwy then continued North to where it turns into Kelso Dr.
The original hwy continued North on Kelso Dr. then to Grade St. The Interstate has obliterated the original alignment as the Hwy lined up in a straight line from Kelso Dr. to Grade St. (Grade St. also has been severed due to the building of I-5.) The Hwy then continued North on Grade St. into Kelso.
In Kelso the original route turned left onto Ash St, then right onto N. Pacific Ave. The Hwy continued North and went around the rock then turned left onto Pacific Ave. Spur. This part of the Hwy has been lost due to I-5.
I have discovered on a 1909 map that shows the road going up and over the railroad at about the South end of the tunnel then veering to the left and going over the rock to meet up with the Hwy at about where Pacific Spur ends.
The old road then continued North where it crossed over where I-5 is and just before Ostrander Ave. Then it crossed back over the freeway and then connected with Pleasant Hill Rd. (In this area the original alignment has been obliterated. Check the map above to see how the old alignment was.)
The Hwy then continued North to Castle Rock on Pleasant Hill Rd.. The 1911 map shows that Huntington Ave. is on the old Northern Pacific Grade. I believe the railroad realigned the route in 1915.
After the railroad realigned the grade Huntington Ave. became the Hwy through town. The older Hwy was just to the East of Huntington Ave. and connected to Front Ave SW. and continued North on Front St. through town. (The original road from where Huntington Ave. crosses the tracks to Front St. is long gone.)
Alignments and Alternates to the Original Route
The 1913 Automobile Road Book of Western Washington shows an alternate route from Kelso to Castle Rock that goes along the West Side of the river. (See map above for details.)
The 1915 Automobile Blue Book shows an alternate route from Vancouver to Woodland. (See map above for details.)
Around 1917 the Hwy crossed the Kalama River as it does today and then turns left onto Kalama River Rd. Then the next left onto Old Pacific Hwy.
In the early 1920s the Hwy bypassed NW Wellman Rd. near La Center and along the curve at Bolen Rd. as it does today.
In 1923 on Cloverdale Rd. just after Martin's Bluff Rd. The Hwy veered to the left crossed over I-5 and connected to DuPont Rd. It followed DuPont Rd. to Pacific Hwy and into Kalama. DuPont Rd. is much as it was back then and a great place to view the old Hwy.
By the mid 1930's the Hwy bypassed Hazel Dell Ave. and continued straight on Main St. all the way to NE 20th St.
By the mid 1930s, Washington St. one block west of Main, was used as US 99 in the downtown Vancouver area.
In 1940 the Hwy continued North on Main St. / Hwy 99 out of downtown Vancouver and connected to I-5 from Exit 7 at Salmon Creek and continued all the way to Woodland.
In the 1940s The Hwy continued North from Martins Bluff to the Kalama River on the current I-5 alignment.
In the 1940s the Hwy continued North from the Kalama River to Kelso Dr. on the current I-5 alignment.
In the 1940s Kelso Dr. became the realigned New Pacific Hwy. Kelso Dr continued North along the current I-5 freeway (Northbound lanes) starting at S.13th Ave. to Huntington Ave. Kelso Dr. is on the old Portland and Puget Sound Railroad grade.
In 1954 after the hwy crossed the Columbia it follows the current I-5 alignment and continued North to Exit 3 at Main St. Then follows Main St. North.
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