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The Roadtrip-'62 ™ Blog

I'm heading down a new road, so to speak. Instead of the long articles relating a roadtrip down a complete highway, I'll now be posting much shorter articles. And the scope will be wider, covering just about everything from the year 1962. This should allow me to post more often, and allow you to have more fun reading. I'm not sure just how often I will post something, but this page will always show the five most recent articles, with the newest at the top. Older articles will be archived at the Blog Archives page. I may even include articles from other people, so if you have something to say about 1962, please let me know. Topics will cover:

  • 1962 News of the World
  • 1962 News of the Nation
  • 1962 Local News
  • 1962 in Sports
  • 1962 in Entertainment and the Arts (including movies, TV, music, art, fashion, architecture, design, books, comics, and more)
  • 1962 in Science
  • Cars of 1962
  • Consumer Products and Retail in 1962 (including just about anything you could buy, plus the stores you could buy it in)
  • On the Road in 1962 (road and roadtrip topics, including things I typically covered on my long journeys)
  • More Fun From 1962! (everything else that sounds like fun, like special events and more pop culture)
 
 

Roadtrip Highlights Along US-30, The Lincoln Highway

January 12, 2021

This week, Roadtrip-'62 ™ travels US-30 and the Lincoln Highway. Route US-30 is the third longest US-numbered route, after US-20 and US-6. It runs 3073 miles from Atlantic City, New Jersey to Astoria, Oregon: ocean to ocean. While the east end has always been in Atlantic City, the west end was originally intended to be in Salt Lake City, Utah when the US system was planned. However, the states of Oregon and Idaho protested their proposed route of US-20 because it went through Yellowstone National Park, which charged a toll and was closed in winter. To provide those states with an all-season, toll-free coast-to-coast highway, US-30 was relocated during final planning in 1927. You can read more about the route planning at my US Highway Systems page. It became the first route to be paved from coast to coast, in 1935.

 
Lincoln Highway marker
Lincoln Highway marker (by Matthew Bisanz, from Wikimedia Commons, licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version.)

The route’s association with the Lincoln Highway also goes back to that original planning, and as a consequence, US-30 from Atlantic City to Granger, Wyoming follows that route. The Lincoln Highway continues southwest from there to San Francisco, California instead of following US-30. We have crossed US-30 on our US-23 trip in mid Ohio at Upper Sandusky and Marion. We also crossed it twice on our US-6 trip. Once at Joliet, Illinois and once beginning at Council Bluffs, Iowa through Omaha, Nebraska.

 
Atlantic City, New Jersey 1962 postcard
Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1962 (postcard from an online auction)

If you’re looking for history in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the famous board game of Monopoly was designed around the streets of Atlantic City. Highway US-30 begins near the Boardwalk and you can see other well-known streets nearby, including Tennessee Avenue, Vermont Avenue, other streets named after states, Atlantic Avenue, Mediterranean Avenue, and the railroads that once came here like Reading Railroad and B&O Railroad. If you’re looking for 1962 history here, look no further than the Ash Wednesday Storm, a violent and destructive storm of March 7, 1962. It affected the coast from Florida to New England, smashing 45,000 buildings and killing 32 people in New Jersey alone. Most of the hotels in Atlantic City were flooded and it even destroyed the weather recording equipment on the Steel Pier! I have more information on the storm in the Front Page News of March 10, 1962 page.

 
The Gates of Hell”, Rodin Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Detail from “The Gates of Hell”, Rodin Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Photo by bobistraveling at Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.)

The Lincoln Highway and US-30 run through the center of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, crossing the tree-lined Benjamin Franklin Parkway. This street is the home of some of Philadelphia’s best cultural tourist attractions and I spent several days there on one vacation. The star attraction is The Franklin Institute, one of the oldest centers of science education and development in the country. It was founded in 1824 and has become the most visited museum in Pennsylvania! The current science museum building dates from 1934, so we could have seen it on a 1962 roadtrip. There have since been several remodelings and additions, and the institute now contains more than 400,000 square feet of exhibit space, the Tuttleman IMAX Theater, the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial, and the Fels Planetarium, the second oldest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere. You can easily spend a whole day at the science and technology exhibits. Other places to visit line the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from City Hall to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, including Swann Memorial Fountain, Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, the Rodin Gardens and Museum, and the Parkway Central Library. You can even make your own run up the “Rocky” steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art! Besides The Franklin Institute, my favorite is the Rodin Museum and Gardens. The museum opened in 1929. The entire museum is a tribute to the late 19th-century French sculptor Auguste Rodin and includes nearly 150 bronze, marble, and plaster statues, such as The Thinker, and related materials such as studies for them. The adjacent Rodin Gardens provide a lovely and calm distraction from the stress of the city.

 
Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Photo by Wally Gobetz at Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License.)

As US-30 is a transcontinental highway, many of my other roadtrip pages have mentioned cities and attractions along the route. Gettysburg National Military Park, at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was covered when I discussed highway US-15. The Fort Pitt Bridge, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was discussed when my US-22 trip went through that city. And I also wrote about the Andy Warhol Museum of the same city after I made a visit there. Artist Andy Warhol is uniquely tied to 1962 as he had his first showing of his Campbell's Soup Cans on July 9, 1962. More notably, we crossed two parts of US-30 on our US-23 roadtrip: US-30N at Upper Sandusky, Ohio and US-30S at Marion, Ohio. Upper Sandusky still has a section of the Lincoln Highway paved in brick, only 16-feet wide. In 1962, US-30 traveled two paths through much of Ohio, but has since been reduced to a single route approximately along old US-30N. Sometimes several cities wanted to be on a particular numbered route, even though they were located along two parallel roads. The solution adopted was to split routes, creating for such roads as US-30N and US-30S. These divided routes were not popular even after adoption though, as AASHTO (the organization governing US highway route numbers) has been trying to eliminate them since 1934.

 
Grave of Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman), Fort Wayne, Indiana
Grave of Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman), Fort Wayne, Indiana (postcard from an online auction)

If you’re driving across Indiana on US-30, a pleasant afternoon can be spent at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo. This zoo had its beginning in 1952 as a nature preserve, but in 1962 planning began to turn it into a full-fledged zoo. I opened three years later and has been expanded since. Today it has everything from a Canadian lynx to a Sumatran orangutan to a Madagascar giant tortoise. Also in Fort Wayne is the grave of Johnny Appleseed. Born John Chapman, he spent nearly 48 years planting apple orchards throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana. At the time of his death in 1845, near Fort Wayne, one of his orchards contained 15,000 apple trees! He is buried in Johnny Appleseed Memorial Park in a fenced-in plot. Continuing west into Illinois, though US-30 never enters Chicago, it gets close enough that it was also given an alternate route, US-30ALT, to connect to the city. This no route longer exists, and US-30 uses its old route through Joliet, Illinois. There, it crosses the most famous US-numbered highway of all, Route 66. It also crosses US-6, so I covered Joliet on two pages of that roadtrip.

 
Viewing area, Palisades-Kepler State Park, Iowa
Viewing area, Palisades-Kepler State Park, Iowa (Photo by Iowa Department of Natural Resources at Flickr.)

A wonderful spot to hike along US-30 in Iowa is Palisades-Kepler State Park. The park was established in 1922 and is home to the oldest trees in Iowa, the Eastern Red Cedar. Many can be found clinging to the limestone bluffs above the Cedar River. The trees in this area are estimated to be over 400 years old, with one dating back to 1523, according to core samples taken in the 1960s! You can see the trees and more along Cedar Cliff Trail, which is part of the 6-mile trail system. You will also see dramatic river bluffs, deep ravines, Indian mounds, and a large variety of wildflowers and wildlife. For non-hikers, the Cedar River offers excellent fishing for a variety of species, including channel catfish, bass and bluegills.

Highway US-30 used to split again as it left Iowa, with a US-30ALT heading south to Omaha, Nebraska, while the main route crossed into Nebraska at Blair. Since 1969, only the main route remains. Speaking of Omaha, Nebraska in 1962, Roadtrip-'62 spends the entire day there for Day 25 of our US-6 trip. What's left in Omaha from 1962? As usual, quite a bit, but quite a bit has been lost. We saw museums, a zoo, former industrial sites, and even a cathedral. Leaving Omaha, the Lincoln Highway and US-30 bumps up against The Platte River at Fremont, Nebraska for a long trip west along this broad, shallow, meandering river with a sandy bottom and many islands. The Platte River was one of the most significant rivers in the westward expansion of the United States, as it provided the route for several major emigrant trails, including the Oregon, California, Mormon, and Bozeman trails. The Pony Express mail route also used this river corridor. It seems a fitting route for a major transcontinental highway like the Lincoln Highway. Today, the I-80 freeway also travels this river route all the way west to Ogallala, Nebraska. Among several State Recreation Areas and State Historic Parks along the river, Fort Kearny State Recreation Area offers 186 acres of river bottom lands dotted with eight sandpit lakes. In the spring, the world's largest concentration of sandhill cranes and waterfowl gathers in the central Platte River valley. You can see them from the nature trails, along with some 100-year old cottonwood trees. And visit the historical exhibits at nearby Fort Kearny State Historical Park.

 
Sandhill Crane Migration on the Platte River, Nebraska
Sandhill Crane Migration on the Platte River, Nebraska (Photo by Larry Crist, US Fish and Wildlife Service, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.)

At Ogallala, US-26 heads northwest and you can read about that route and its journey to the Pacific Ocean, where US-30 will meet it again. In Wyoming, US-30 crosses through the Great Divide Basin, an area that does not drain either to the Atlantic Ocean or Pacific Ocean. The basin is a high, dry desert with sand dunes in its central western part. A monument to Henry B. Joy, the first president of the Lincoln Highway Association, was placed here, at what was once thought to be a crossing of the Continental Divide, but was later moved to nearby Sherman Summit. Antelope are all over the Red Desert, which is one of the most important pronghorn antelope ranges in the state. Near the west edge of Wyoming, US-30 again splits into two parts. The old US-30S went southerly to Ogden, Utah, while US-30N headed northwesterly to Pocatello, Idaho. They rejoined near Burley, Idaho, but US-30S has been decommissioned and replaced by the I-84 freeway.

 
Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls, Idaho
Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls, Idaho (Photo by Frank Schulenburg via Wikimedia Commons, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.)

Through Idaho, US-30 largely follows the Snake River, and passes by several waterfalls. First up was American Falls, at the city of the same name. Unfortunately, this falls no longer exists, as it was obliterated in 1925 when the American Falls Dam was constructed to provide power for the area. This dam also inundated to city of American Falls, which was moved. The old townsite sits at the bottom of the reservoir, northwest of the present city. Only the Oneida Milling and Elevator Company’s grain elevator remains in its original location, with part of it above water. At the city of Twin Falls, Idaho, Shoshone Falls still exists, and at 212 feet high it’s 45 feet higher than Niagara Falls. That makes it high enough to form the upper limit of fish migration, including salmon, in the Snake River. In summer months, you will see a much smaller flow than historically, because a dam above the falls diverts most of the water to irrigation uses.

In Oregon, US-30 travels through the Columbia River Gorge, providing roadtrip travelers with spectacular scenery of cliffs, waterfalls, dense vegetation, and beautiful old concrete arch bridges. Emerging from the gorge at Astoria, Oregon, the landmark Astoria Column is a fitting endpoint for the highway. This historic column provides a panoramic view from the top of the splendor of the Pacific Ocean, the Columbia River, and the Coast Range of mountains. The monument was dedicated in 1926, and is located just a few blocks from the end of US-30, so we could have visited in 1962. The Astoria Column is one of a planned group of monuments along the highway, of which few were built. The monument stands 600 feet above sea level and was modeled after the Trajan Column in Rome. It features a hand-painted spiral frieze on the exterior, and a spiral staircase on the interior. Italian artist Attilio Pusterla created the exterior decorations using a method called sgraffito, commemorating the historic events that occurred at the mouth of the Columbia River. That brings us to the end of US-30, so I’ll see you soon on another Roadtrip-'62 ™ journey.

 
Astoria Column, Astoria, Oregon
Astoria Column, Astoria, Oregon (Photo by Another Believer at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.)
 
 

Camping in 1962 - What it Was Really Like

December 22, 2020

by David Gray

Today, I welcome another guest post to Roadtrip-'62 ™. David Gray of the “Best Tent for You” blog compares old style camping to today’s. If you have something to say about 1962, drop me a line and maybe you can appear here next.

 
The Golden Book of Camping and Camp Crafts
The Golden Book of Camping and Camp Crafts, 1959 (photo from an online auction)

The way that we used to camp years ago was a completely different experience than it is in today’s day and age. There wasn’t an overwhelming amount of technology causing distractions and it was all about being completely in the moment and surrounded by nature. You had no choice but to bond with those you camped with, be it family or friends. The more technology we seem to have, the more it seems like we want to escape and get away from all the buzz. It's nostalgic for some, which is understandable when camping was, and still is, used as a way to destress and disconnect with the world while reconnecting with others we care about.

Gathering wood for a fire was a must for everyone, as well as getting water from a pump and sleeping in extremely small tents. There were no high tech portable gadgets like water filters and purifier which can be used to clean water now: back then they had to filter water through clean clothing or do things like boiling water to help remove the impurities and bacteria. Tents had to be small and light to walk into a campsite. That means that it was impossible to stand up, or even sit up, inside them. Since tent pegs were often wooden, and not plastic like nowadays, a hammer was a must to bring along on camping trips. There was no way of getting those stakes into the ground otherwise. When it came to finding a place to camp, word of mouth was the best method. Eventually, you’d hear about a particular field, probably on the outskirts of town, that people were using to camp. Some small communities still operate their own tourist camps.

 
Boy Scouts camping at 11th World Jamboree, 1962
Boy Scouts camping at 11th World Jamboree, 1962 (from my copy of October 1962 Boys’ Life magazine)

Since their establishment in 1910, Boy Scouts went on camping trips every year. The Girl Scouts were established in 1912, and they too would learn wilderness survival, such as learning to cook meals on an open fire. Fun fact; the first official mention of s’mores appeared in a Girl Scouts manual in 1927. Following the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides movement, patrol tents became a thing which were usually 8 feet long, 6 feet wide, and 3 feet high, providing plenty of room for campers to move around in – an absolute luxury. It was also made of heavy-duty waterproof canvas, so it was pretty durable and reliable: surprisingly not too much different from the best canvas tents today. Campers would bring along things from home to make things more comfortable such as books and even furniture. Some even brought along porcelain plates and teacups; I guess that’s what glamping was like.

Later on, in the 1960s, campers started taking their RVs with them, or the famous Volkswagen Westfalia Camper instead. Camper vans meant being able to bring even more things along with you, and thus making camping easier and more comfortable. Camping in the winter wasn’t really an option. Though there wasn’t much snow on the east coast, there were long periods of sub-zero temperatures.

 
1962 Volkswagen Westfalia Camper
1962 Volkswagen Westfalia Camper (photo from an online auction)
 

It was more work and hassle to camp back then, much more manual labor was involved, but surely it made it even more enjoyable, satisfying, and worth it. Camping started long ago, and it is still very popular today. With the pandemic still going on, and everybody’s holiday plans hitting the fan, there is no better time than now to get into camping. It is a type of vacation after all and is guaranteed to have positive effects on you. A couple of campgrounds Roadtrip-'62 ™ journeys have passed include Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, just off US-2 at Nashua, Montana, and Jenny Riley State Resort Park, on US-23 at Prestonsburg, Kentucky.

 
 

News of November 17, 1962

November 17, 2020

Instead of going out on the road today, Roadtrip-'62 ™ reports some of the news headlines from the United States of November 17, 1962. This day was a Saturday, so as a kid I would have been watching cartoons in the morning and playing in the afternoon, and not have been aware of the news. The calendar for 1962 was last the same in 2018 and will next be the same as 1962 in the year 2029! You can find a lot of calendars and view the entire year on the Calendars of 1962 page.

 
1962 Girl Scouts Calendar
1962 Girl Scouts Calendar cover (from an online auction)

President John F. Kennedy dedicated the brand new Dulles International Airport today. The need for a second airport near the capital was identified shortly after the end of World War II and Congress passed the Washington Airport Act in 1950, and amended it in 1958, to provide for construction. The site is 26 miles from Washington, D.C. and was the first airport in the country to be designed specifically for commercial jets. Construction began in September 1958. Architect Eero Saarinen wanted to create something more than just another airport, by expressing "the soul of the airport." He designed the Terminal Building and the control tower in that spirit and declared it was the best thing he had ever done. The airport was named after the late US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. A unique feature was the specially-designed Mobile Lounges. These somewhat bus-like vehicles were designed by the Chrysler Corporation in association with the Budd Company, were 54-feet long, and capable of carrying 102 passengers, 71 of them seated. At the terminal, you would board the Mobile Lounge and it would take you directly to your aircraft protected from weather, jet noise and blast, all without walking long walking distances.

 

President John F. Kennedy’s Remarks at the Dedication of Dulles International Airport, November 17, 1962.

Also on this day, Arthur Vining Davis died at age 95. He was known as the third-richest person in the world at the time, with assets of $400 million (comparable to $3.2 billion in 2017). He had acquired his fortune as the CEO and chairman of the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa). Even today, we see the effects of his money, as he left the majority to several trusts. The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations he had established in 1952 continue to provide financial assistance to educational, religious, cultural, and scientific institutions. If you watch anything on the PBS network, you have undoubtedly heard opening credits state that some of the funding comes from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation.

 
Amethyst crystals
Senator Edward Brooke (Public domain photo from United States Congress.)

Looking over headlines from the Jackson Advocate newspaper of Jackson, Mississippi, it appears that 1962 was a good year for the movement of black people into mainstream political positions. The newspaper is known as “The Voice of Black Mississippians”, has been published since 1938, and is still in business. It is Mississippi’s oldest continuously published member of the nation’s black press. Headlines for November 17, 1962 include: “Negro Congressman Elected in California”, “Negro Elected to Michigan Supreme Court”, “Negro Elected Massachusetts Attorney General,” “Negro Elected State Treasurer of Connecticut.” These refer to the following elections. Augustus F. Hawkins in California, where he served 56 years in both the California Assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives. He was the first black politician west of the Mississippi River elected to the House. Also, the election of Justice Otis M. Smith, who was first appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court in 1961 and had just won re-election. He was the first black justice on any state supreme court since reconstruction. Also, Edward Brooke became the first African-American to be elected attorney general of any state. In 1966, he became the first African-American popularly to be elected to the United States Senate, where he represented Massachusetts in the Senate from 1967 to 1979. And finally, Gerald A. Lamb was elected Connecticut State Treasurer and served from 1963 through 1970.

 
Amethyst crystals
Semipalatinsk Test Site overview map, showing its position in Kazahkstan (Map by Finlay McWalter via Wikimedia Commons, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.)

Though a nuclear bomb test occurred in Semipalitinsk, Soviet Union this day and not in the United States, tests were major news here anyway. It had been less than two weeks since the Soviet Union had agreed to remove their nuclear missiles from Cuba, and confirmation would not be announced by the United States until November 20th. Semipalitinsk, in Eastern Kazakhstan, was the primary testing site for the Soviet Union's nuclear weapons. The Soviet Union conducted 456 nuclear tests at Semipalatinsk between 1949 and 1989 and closed the site in 1991.

 
Macy’s Department Store, New York City, postcard circa 1962
Macy’s Department Store, New York City, postcard circa 1962 (from an online auction)

Much bigger news was the FBI’s foiling of a bombing plot in New York City. Three Cuban agents: Suero, Garcia, and Santiesteban were apprehended just about a week before their planned attack on Macy’s, Gimbels, and Bloomingdale’s department stores and Manhattan’s Grand Central Station. The blasts were to involve 500 kilos of TNT, which is five times the amount used in 2004 by al Qaeda’s 10-location attack on the Madrid, Spain subway system! The plan was to have the bombs explode on the day after Thanksgiving, when the biggest department stores on earth would be packed with shoppers on the year’s biggest shopping day. Macy’s got 50,000 shoppers that day. The conspirators were members of the Cuban mission to the United Nations working in concert with members of the Fair Play For Cuba Committee, an outfit that became much better known a year later when member Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President Kennedy. Some analysts believe the plot was hatched because the Soviet Union had decided to remove their nuclear missiles from Cuba, and that Cuba’s plans to attack the United States were actually a bigger factor in Khrushchev's decision to remove the missiles than President Kennedy's naval blockade. After all, Cuban leader Che Guevara told the London Daily Worker, “If the missiles had remained, we would have shot them against the very heart of the U.S., including New York City.”

 

"Big Girls Don't Cry" by The Four Seasons, 1962

In entertainment news, the number one song in the US on November 17, 1962 was "Big Girls Don't Cry" by The Four Seasons. Bill Anderson had the number one country song with “Mama Sang a Song”. It was both football and basketball season in November. The Alabama Crimson Tide lost a game to the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets 7–6. Though Alabama was the #1 ranked college football team, this loss brought an end to a 19-game winning streak. And the Los Angeles Lakers squeaked out a win over the Chicago Zephyrs, 110-109. I hope you’re enjoying 1962: next week Roadtrip-'62 ™ will get back on the road for more fun!

 
 

5 Roadtrip Highlights Along US-29

October 21, 2020

This week we look at highway US-29. This route runs about 1,036 miles today, from Ellicott City, Maryland, a western suburb of Baltimore, to Pensacola, Florida. This is the same route it had in 1962. Strangely, the portion from Ellicott City to Culpeper, Virgina was intended to only be temporary when it was extended in 1933. At the time, it was expected that US-29 would eventually end up on a by-pass around Washington and Baltimore and then probably be extended via Philadelphia to New York City. Instead, the road still goes right through the historic center of Washington, D.C., where US-29 crosses the Potomac River on the Francis Scott Key Bridge. This beautiful concrete arch bridge was completed in 1923 and is Washington's oldest surviving bridge across the Potomac River. Farther south, quite a bit of US-29 now parallels the I-85 freeway between Greensborough, North Carolina and Greenville, South Carolina and from Atlanta, Georgia to Tuskegee, Alabama. Otherwise, you can drive pretty much the same route as in 1962.

 
B&O RR Mount Clare Station, Ellicott City, Maryland
B&O RR Mount Clare Station, Ellicott City, Maryland (Photo © James G. Howes, via Wikimedia Commons, used by permission.)

My first recommendation to visit on this five-site road trip is the B&O Railroad Museum, right near the highway’s beginning in Ellicott City, Maryland. The museum opened in 1953 and was originally named the Baltimore & Ohio Transportation Museum. As with most museums, it has expanded and rebuilt over the years so I’m certain we can see much more today then back in 1962. The museum is located in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's old Mount Clare Station and adjacent roundhouse. These date to 1829, making the complex the oldest railroad manufacturing site in the United States. It is also the site of the first regular railroad passenger service in the country, in 1830, and the first telegraph message, by inventor Samuel F. B. Morse in 1844. The railroad equipment and artifacts here span the entire history of railroading, with 250 pieces of railroad rolling stock, 15,000 artifacts, four 19th-century buildings, and even a mile of railroad track. They offer train rides on that track, and also display both an outdoor G-scale model railroad layout and an indoor HO scale model. The museum and station were designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1961.

 
Interior of Thomas Jefferson Building, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Interior of Thomas Jefferson Building, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

The last time I visited Washington, D.C., I toured all the usual tourist sites, both new and places we could have seen in 1962. One of my favorites was the Library of Congress. I love books, maps and libraries in general and the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library is the grandest I’ve seen. The ornamentation, artwork, and sculpture keeps you looking in every direction as you tour the building. A number of historical exhibits complement the building and it is therefore also a museum. When I visited, there was an exhibit of historical maps and an exhibit on Bob Hope, giving a bit of a 1962 connection through photos. There are also tours of the other two buildings, the James Madison and John Adams Buildings. The James Madison Building is too new for our Roadtrip-’62, as it was only opened in 1980. If you can’t make it to Washington, there is even an online tour of the Thomas Jefferson Building. If you’re interested in other sites, you might try The White House. Tours were offered in 1962 and are again available, but only by reservation today. And more of Washington is covered at my road trip overview of highway US-1.

 
Exterior of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, Charlottesville, Virginia
Exterior of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, Charlottesville, Virginia

More history of our government is just down the road in Charlottesville, Virginia, the home of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Built on a family plantation, Monticello was Jefferson’s home beginning in 1770, while it was only partly completed. He continually redesigned and rebuilt the home for more than forty years, from 1769 through 1809. From 1784 to 1789 he moved to Paris, France as the United States Minister Plenipotentiary for Negotiating Treaties. When he returned, he continued to live here until he became the third president of the United States, from 1801 to 1809. The house we see today still contains about 60 percent items that may be original to Thomas Jefferson. Other items are period pieces or reproductions. The original pieces had to be reunited with the house, as they had been sold off to pay debts upon Jefferson’s death. The house itself was sold several times until donated to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns Monticello today, in 1923. The Uriah P. Levy family owned and preserved the home for many of the years between. My favorite rooms are the library and the service corridor under the house. Jefferson’s own bed chamber, with silk curtains, marble-topped tables, and armchairs brought from his house in Paris, is also an interesting room.

 
Pink Sundew, Conecuh National Forest, Alabama
Pink Sundew, Conecuh National Forest, Alabama (Public domain photo from "Carnivorous plants of Conecuh National Forest" (1995), US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Region.)

Route US-29 crosses our US-23 trip in Atlanta, Georgia. I cover a lot of tourist sites in two pages about Atlanta, so I won’t repeat here. Breezing through Georgia and Alabama, we find the Conecuh National Forest, near Dixie, Alabama. Except for crossing a tiny corner of the Tuskegee National Forest, also in Alabama, this is the only National Forest on US-29. Conecuh National Forest was created in 1936 after the area was clear-cut for lumber. It was reforested with slash pine, which created a different type of forest than the native longleaf pine that was lumbered off. Species such as the red-cockaded woodpecker were nearly wiped out, but are now on the rise as the area is reforested with longleaf pine. There are still two forest lookout towers standing in the National Forest here, built about 1938. The main stop for tourists is Open Pond Recreation Area, with facilities also built about 1938. A picnic shelter, fishing piers, and trails are here around a small, natural sinkhole lake. The south loop of the Conecuh Trail leads to Blue Springs, a large natural spring of clear blue water.

 
Pensacola Lighthouse, Pensacola, Florida
Pensacola Lighthouse, Pensacola, Florida (Public domain photo by Henri Le Paite, US Coast Guard, from Historic American Buildings Survey)

Pensacola, Florida is the end of US-29, downtown at US-98. The city is nicknamed "The City of Five Flags", because five governments have ruled it during its history: Spain (Castile), France, Great Britain, the United States of America, and the Confederate States of America. Pensacola Bay has been a desireable ocean harbor since the Spanish arrived in 1559. Fort San Carlos de Barrancas was built by Spanish forces in 1797. It was later rebuilt after United States forces took the area, and Pensacola Navy Yard was added in 1825. The first Pensacola Lighthouse was built the year before and the current light in 1859. Today the fort and lighthouse are open to the public but they were not in 1962. The US Army deactived it after World War II but it was not transferred to the National Park Service until 1971. After extensive restoration, Fort Barrancas was opened to the public 10 years later. The Navy Yard was eventually renamed Pensacola Naval Air Station and today it is the base of the Blue Angels flight demonstration team (the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron) and the National Naval Aviation Museum. You can sometimes see the squadron practicing overhead! The National Naval Aviation Museum is the world’s largest Naval Aviation museum. First proposed in 1955 by Captain Magruder H. Tuttle, the project was finally approved on December 14, 1962. Opened in 1963, it has been expanded many times and now encompasses 350,000 square feet of exhibit space and 37-acres of grounds. There are more than 150 beautifully restored aircraft representing Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Aviation, along with uniforms, flight gear, weaponry, medals and decorations.

 
1962 ad for Pensacola Beach Pier, Florida
1962 ad for Pensacola Beach Pier, Florida (from an online auction)
 

In 1962, the city advertised the Pensacola Beach Pier as “The World’s Longest Fishing Pier”. This 1,471 feet long pier is conveniently located on Casino Beach near entertainment and restaurants. If you do not arrive with fishing equipment, you can rent everything from fishing rods and baits down to coolers. During the summer might catch Bluefish, Pompano, Redfish, Spanish Mackeral, spotted Seatrout, or even Flounder, Cobia, or Tarpon. I’ll just enjoy a walk along the pier to try to catch a glimpse of manatees, cow rays, dolphins or other sea creatures. As the city is frequently subject to hurricane damage, I’ll also keep my ear on a radio, ready to take a quick Roadtrip-'62 ™ out of here if one threatens.

 
 

Polio, Measles, Influenza, and More – 1962 Had More Problems than a COVID Epidemic

September 8, 2020

So 2020 is the year of the Coronavirus, but 1962 had its share of virus problems too. Roadtrip-'62 ™ will take a look at them, ranging from the most dangerous, polio, to chicken pox. New viruses were being discovered and studied by electron microscopy in the early 1960s, but there was no way to classify them for study. Several scientists suggested a comprehensive scheme for classifying all viruses in 1962, based on the long-accepted system of classifying plants and animals. This resulted in viruses being classified by family, genus, and species, giving us groupings such as coronaviruses, rhinoviruses, and enteroviruses.

 
Virus information poster for pharmacies, 1962
Virus information poster for display at pharmacies in 1962 (Photo from an online auction.)

The development of vaccines is one of the most important advancements in medicine. And a 1962 breakthrough in vaccine development is now estimated to have prevented over 4.5 billion cases of disease and saved 10 million lives. Prior to then, many cell cultures for growing vaccines had been grown in monkey cells, but these sometimes became contaminated with potentially dangerous monkey viruses. In 1962, Leonard Hayflick and Paul Moorhead isolated a clean cell strain from an aborted human fetus, which, along with its derivatives, is now the standard used in production of more than 10 disease vaccines. Interestingly, the source is one of the arguments used by anti-vaccing proponents, who largely also believe abortions are evil. It is ironic that the very people who deny protection to their children are healthy or alive today because they were vaccinated.

Polio  

Poliomyelitis, also called polio or infantile paralysis, is an infectious disease caused by a virus that can result in paralysis or death. It primarily strikes children. During the 1950s, approximately 38,000 cases were reported in the United States each year. Dr. James Luby, who was an infectious diseases specialist and professor at UT Southwestern, noted that, “Polio was the biggest public health problem in the United States at midcentury. It was fortunate that the vaccine came along in 1955.” That year, Dr. Jonas Salk developed a dead polio virus that could be used to vaccinate people and vaccinations began immediately. A few years later, in 1961, Dr. Albert Sabin developed an oral version, using a live virus weakened in the laboratory, that proved more effective, easier to administer, and provided longer-lasting immunization. Again, vaccinations began immediately but on an even larger scale. The method of administering the oral vaccine helped ensure its success, especially with children, as it was dripped onto sugar cubes that were swallowed. In the Cleveland, Ohio area, approximately 1.5 million people received the vaccine.

 
Children taking Salk vaccine, ca. 1963
Children taking Salk vaccine, ca. 1963 (Photo for educational purposes from Hauck Center for the Albert B. Sabin Archives, Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio.)

Perhaps the most massive vaccination campaign in the country in 1962 was in the Dallas, Texas area. Dallas County determined to get every man, woman and child the necessary doses in one sweeping effort by using area schools and calling the people in at once. The mass immunizations were scheduled for two summer Sundays in a row so that those who couldn’t make it the first Sunday had another chance. It was a peacetime mobilization that required a mutual trust among government officials, the public and the medical community of a kind we could never see today. Over 4,500 people volunteered to help organize things! At least 500 cars on loan from new car dealers cruised Dallas neighborhoods to give free rides to the vaccination sites! The event was amazingly successful: out of a population of nearly 1 million in Dallas County, 590,000 residents received vaccine on the first Sunday, with a final number of around 950,000! I strongly suspect that if we get a vaccine in 2020 or 2021 for COVID-19, we will not be anywhere near as successful. The disease virtually disappeared here by 1979 and today, polio is one of the routine immunizations given to children in the United States.

And after similar massive efforts in Nigeria and Somalia, in August 2020, the entire continent of Africa was declared free of wild cases of polio! The vaccination campaign in Nigeria involved a heroic effort to reach remote places. In places under threat from militant violence, some health workers were even killed in the process. Only Afghanistan and Pakistan still suffer from natural polio cases.

Measles  

Measles was still a real concern as a health problem for children in 1962. My whole family of 6 kids had various strains of measles in the years around 1962, though fortunately without any long-term consequence. But from 1958 to 1962, the US averaged 432 deaths associated with measles each year, so it could be a serious disease. And virtually all children acquired measles at that time, so the number of measles cases is estimated to have been 3.5 to 5 million per year. The low number of deaths was a result of antibiotics to treat complications, modern sanitation methods, and improved nutrition, compared to earlier times. In Hawaii, their first outbreak in 1848 killed up to a third of the population! By 1958, a live virus measles vaccine was tested, but the virus in the vaccine wasn’t weak enough. Most children developed high fevers and rashes similar to mild measles. Researchers came up with a way to grow the vaccine safely in eggs and administer the vaccine with a simultaneous shot of measles antibodies. This reduced side effects and the new vaccine was licensed by the FDA in March, 1963.

 
Doctor giving measles vaccination to boy, Fernbank School, Atlanta, Georgia, 1962
Doctor giving a measles vaccination to a young boy at Fernbank School in Atlanta, Georgia, 1962 (Public domain photo from Centers for Disease Control /Smith Collection.)

Though measles was finally eliminated in 2000, meeting the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) definition of an absence of continuous transmission for 12 months or more, it has since experienced a small resurgence. In 2019, the CDC reported 69 cases; the highest since 1994, when 958 cases were reported. They believe the current anti-vaccing sentiments among parts of the public are a significant factor contributing to the outbreaks. HHS Secretary Alex Azar notes, "The suffering we are seeing is avoidable. The measles vaccines are among the most extensively studied medical products we have, and their safety has been firmly established over many years in some of the largest vaccine studies ever undertaken."

Rubella  

This disease is also known as German Measles and it was particularly dangerous to unborn babies. From 1962 to 1965, a global pandemic wreaked havoc on fetuses, causing miscarriages and birth defects. Work on a vaccine was in progress, but one would not become available until 1969. Congenital rubella syndrome is contracted when the pregnant woman has rubella and it causes deafness, blindness, heart conditions, intellectual impairment, and even miscarriages for up to 85 percent of babies with the syndrome. Though the fear of rubella has largely faded from public memory, the recent zika virus has had a similar impact in areas where it is a problem. The zika virus appears to cause microcephaly, a birth defect where a baby is born with an abnormally small head and is often disabled. There is no vaccine for Zika and researchers believe it may take up to a decade to create one.

 
Anti-Rubella button from early 1960s campaign
Anti-Rubella button from early 1960s campaign (Photo from an online auction)
Smallpox  

Though the last smallpox cases in Canada and the US were seen in the 1940s, an outbreak nearly occurred in 1962. In mid-August, a family returned from Brazil to Toronto, Canada and their 14-year old boy felt ill and had developed the first characteristic pockmarks of smallpox on his face. Three days later a diagnosis of smallpox was confirmed and a desperate effort to prevent a potential smallpox epidemic began. An international effort to track down and vaccinate all of Jimmie’s possible contacts was undertaken. Other countries realized the danger due to this and other events. Wales, Great Britain suffered an outbreak that saw 19 people die when a traveler from Pakistan was diagnosed with smallpox in 1962. They vaccinated 900,000 that year and Ireland decided to do the same, using local druggists to perform the task. The rest of the world soon stepped up efforts and the World Health Organization oversaw an intensive vaccination plan to eradicate smallpox. The last natural case occured in Somalia in 1977. Smallpox was declared eradicated from nature in 1980.

Chicken Pox  

I had chicken pox, probably a couple of years before 1962. There was no vaccine for this either in 1962, as it is made in cells replicated from the lungs of a fetus aborted in London in 1966. As I had mentioned previously, many vaccines are grown on cells replicated from aborted fetuses. The only vaccine for rubella is made from replicated cells from the lungs of a fetus aborted in Sweden in 1962. The chickenpox vaccine has been widely available since 1995, and the death rate of chicken pox and its related disease shingles has dropped 94 percent. Also as I mentioned previously, this source is one of the arguments used by anti-vaccing proponents, who largely also believe abortions are evil. Partly as a consequence of this, chicken pox is making a comeback in the United States. In 2020, an outbreak raged through a Catholic school in Kentucky, infecting over 30 students.

Mumps  

Cases of mumps have dropped by 99% in the United States since the introduction of a vaccine in 1967. Though I had both chicken pox and measles, I never had mumps as a kid. The disease usually has mild symptoms of a low-grade fever and respiratory problems. Its most obvious symptom, a swelling of the salivary glands below the ear, is only present in about 30-40% of cases. Unlike measles and rubella, however, mumps has not been eliminated in the United States. Recent large outbreaks have occurred among college students in 2006 and in a tradition-observant Jewish community in 2009. Since 1971, the mumps vaccine is administered in combination with measles and rubella vaccines as the MMR vaccine. The rubella component was changed in 1979, but in the United States the other components have remained the same since 1971.

 
History of West Nile Virus Slide
History of West Nile Virus (Slide from paper by Dalhatu Saidu, Kursk State Medical University, 2014)
Enterovirus  

Enterovirus was discovered in 1962 in four children in California. It produces rather mundane symptoms of fever, coughing and sneezing, as well as body and muscle aches. It also occasionally has more serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing. But it is related to polio and known for its tendency to affect children and teenagers. Because it largely disappeared without doing much damage, no vaccine was developed. However, enterovirus bounced back in 2014, killing four people in the United States. Another 38 cases were recorded in the United Kingdom. This and the slide above show that viruses can hang around in the environment for a long time and perhaps we should monitor them more closely. One wonders what the current COVID situation would look like if China would have been more careful, and what future problems we are ignoring now.

Influenza  

First, just what is influenza, or the flu? We have traditionally used the name for several different and even unrelated afflictions. Influenza is a respiratory infection that causes symptoms similar to, but more severe than, the common cold. Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, runny or stuffy nose and severe malaise. Probably because the flu can also sometimes cause vomiting, diarrhea and nausea, we often confuse it with a stomach or intestinal disease. Most people recover from influenza within 2 weeks without medical treatment, but sometimes causes serious complications, including pneumonia, bronchitis and sinus and ear infections. During recent years in the United States, between 12,000 and 56,000 people have died annually from the flu and its complications, particularly pneumonia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Actually, the CDC and many states bundle disease statistics for the flu together with pneumonia because the clinical diagnosis of influenza on an individual basis is often difficult. This makes it difficult to determine just how dangerous the flu is.

 
Vial of Influenza Virus Vaccine Connaught Laboratories 1957
Vial of Influenza Virus Vaccine, Type A, Asian 57, Formalin-Inactivated, Connaught Laboratories, 1957. (Photo from Sanofi Pasteur Canada Archives)

Researchers first isolated the virus that causes flu from pigs in 1931, and from humans in 1933. Four types of the virus exist: A and B, which are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics in people; C, which is relatively rare, causes a mild respiratory illness, and is not thought to cause epidemics; and D, which primarily infects cattle and isn’t known to affect people. Influenza A virus also infects birds, swine, horses, and other animals, giving rise to the names popular for flue epidemics in recent years such as Swine Flu and Avian Flu. Influenza is a constantly evolving virus, mutating the properties of its H and N antigens. Due to these changes, acquiring immunity to a subtype such as H1N1 one year will not necessarily mean a person is immune to a slightly different virus in later years. This changing nature has made vaccination difficult, as scientists “guess” what strain to produce vaccines against in any given year. Some years, the vaccine has been less than 50% effective. Also, they have begun to package several vaccines together, to protect against different virus strains at the same time. Despite a quadrivalent flu vaccine in 2012 protecting against four different strains, the effectiveness is low. The 2004–2005 vaccine was only 10 percent effective in the United States, while the 2018–2019 flu vaccine was 29 percent effective against Influenza A and B and 44 percent effective in preventing influenza A (H1N1) viruses.

If you’re interested, you can read more about Medical Progress in 1962 at this Roadtrip-'62 ™ page. I’m not waiting around for a COVID vaccine but will be back on the road next week. That’s the real road, not the virtual road! This review has shown me that things were far worse in the past, but note that people still traveled and businesses did not shut down. Given the variety of viruses and history of vaccines, at some point you just have to take your chances. I hope you all stay well, whether you travel or stay home!

 
 

US-28 (US-126) – A Scenic Road Trip through the Cascade Range

August 25, 2020

This week, Roadtrip-'62 ™ travels along US-28, a number that was already gone by 1962! When it did exist, it was only 462 miles long and located completely in Oregon. It followed what is now US-26 about halfway across Oregon, from Ontario to Prineville. We already covered that section from Ontario to Prineville as US-26. From Prineville to Eugene, it was already renumbered US-126 by 1962. Even that number was eliminated in 1972 and that portion is now OR-126. But let’s take a look at that final 131 miles as it existed as US-126 in 1962.

 
Map of US-numbered routes US-26, US-28, and US-126
Map of US-numbered routes US-26, US-28, and US-126 (Custom map by Milne Enterprises, Inc.)

That 131 miles mostly travels across the Cascade Range of mountains and as such is very scenic. Leaving Prineville, we immediately pass Ochoco Wayside State Park, which includes the Ochoco View Point, giving panoramic views of the area from a rock hill. We’re still in the dry country here, with no mountains in sight, but we begin climbing soon after. As we get higher, we pass through some farm country around the settlement of Powell Butte. We continue climbing through ranch pasturelands on the way to Redmond, Oregon. The Redmond area sits on some ancient lava flows from volcanic mountains in the nearby Cascade Range. Redmond Caves Recreation Area is a great introduction to the lava and the caves it has left behind. There are five caves where you can learn about geology, wildlife and past human use over the last 6,000 years. During the 1960s, the caves were considered for fallout shelters! The three largest caves were reviewed and rated to have a capacity up to 450 people. These caves are part of the large Horse Lava Tube System and extend south to near the city of Bend. Overall, there are 122 known caves in the system with one having a walkable length of nearly 4,000 feet.

 
Cline Falls, Oregon
Cline Falls, Oregon (Public domain photo by Bonnie Moreland at Flickr.)

Highway US-126 continues westerly through the high desert and range, where you might see a truck hauling hay in front of you. The first foothills of the mountains loom in the distance, and we’ll get there soon. First, we’ll stop at Cline Falls State Park, which is strangely NOT at the falls. The park is south of US-126 and was originally bought by the Highway Commission in 1936 for a gravel pit, but the falls are a short distance north of the highway, not even within the park boundary. However, you can see the Deschutes River as it descends through some small rapids and pools around some very large boulders. The scenery changes little as we roll into Sisters, Oregon, a city founded on lumbering the pine forests of the nearby hills. Driving through in 1962 we would have been near the end of the lumbering, as the last sawmill closed in 1963 and was soon dismantled. At the east edge of town is Sisters State Park, which was established in 1939. It is mostly open conifer forest: a large stand of old-growth Ponderosa pine. It’s a small park split by the highway but adjacent to two city parks and connected by a covered walking bridge. Sisters is also a great place to stop for ice cream, at the Sno Cap Drive In. Sno Cap was opened in 1952 and makes old fashioned milkshakes and burgers, with some flavors of ice cream made right on the premises!

At Sisters, we join US-20 and travel together to about 10 miles west of Santiam Pass. The sign at the west edge of town announces that we are now on the McKenzie Pass / Santiam Pass Oregon Scenic Byway, so we know we are getting close to the mountains. The pine tree landscape we saw as we entered town continues here and we enter the Deschutes National Forest. For my tastes, this is where the great scenery begins. Though we begin in a sparse Ponderosa pine forest, the National Forest spans a variety of landscapes, ecosystems, and elevations. The lowest point is only 1,950 feet above sea level, while the highest, at South Sister’s summit, is 10,358 feet. We will eventually cross the mountains at Santiam Pass at 4,817 feet and catch views of Mt. Washington at 7,794 feet. Deschutes National Forest has changed names and size several times over its history, starting in 1908 as parts of the Blue Mountains, Cascade, and Fremont National Forests. Though the sawmill in Sisters closed, there are plenty of logging trucks on US-126 taking the lumber longer distances to other mills.

 
Santiam Pass sign, Willamette National Forest, Oregon
Santiam Pass sign, Willamette National Forest, Oregon (Photo by Kirt Edblom at Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.)

Beautiful Suttle Lake is below us and reachable from a short side road. It has a day use beach area. We pass numerous signs pointing to wilderness hiking in the backcountry. Even nearby Elliot R. Corbett State Park is accessible only by hiking in, so it doesn’t have as many visitors as other state parks in the area. It sits above the south shore of Blue Lake, which consists of three craters overlapping each other. The park was acquired as a gift to the state of Oregon in 1952 from Henry L. Corbett and his wife Gretchen, on condition that the lands remain a wilderness area. The Mt. Washington Observation Site turnout is nearby, giving us great views of that and other mountains from near our highest point. Though we now cross the Cascades through Santiam Pass, in 1962 the route was changed. Early in that year, it used McKenzie Pass, which is now OR-242. The current route was paved that year and US-126 moved. McKenzie Pass is about 500 feet higher than the current highway, so was a more difficult route. Route OR-242 is not plowed or sanded in the winter and is closed the, so stick with US-126 from November through the end of June.

You can see plenty of snow-covered mountain tops from here. There are side roads to several ski areas that take advantage of all that snow. Depending on what time of year you drive here, you may see Lost Lake on the north side of the highway…or not. This shallow lake has two hollow lava tubes beneath it that drain the water just like a bathtub. In the rainy fall through spring months, the lake has water. But during the drier summer and fall, these tubes are large enough to drain the lake dry, leaving a meadow behind. The lake is only about 9 feet deep when full and has no natural streams to drain it. The eventual outlet of the tubes is not known. As we saw back at Redmond, Oregon has many lava tubes from old volcanic activity. When lava streams flow, the outside crust cools as it makes contact with air but the hot lava continues to flow under the hardened crust. These can later collapse, leaving us tubes, caves, and holes in the bottom of lakes.

  (YouTube video goes here)

Drone view of Lost Lake draining down one of its lava tubes. (video by Ryan Brennecke)

Across the pass, US-20 leaves us and heads northwest to Newport, Oregon. We also cross into Willamette National Forest but we are not out of the Cascade Mountains yet, as there are plenty of peaks visible ahead. Piles of lava boulders are added to the forest landscape as we travel a bit southwest and pass Sahalie Falls and Koosah Falls, on the McKenzie River. A loop trail through an old growth conifer forest takes you to the falls and a bridge across the river. Close up views of the wild McKenzie River are all around as it passes over cascades between the 100-foot high Sahalie Falls and its shorter neighbor. There are interpretive panels that tell the story of area geology along the way. After the falls, the riverbed is dry for three miles because a lava flow buried the river about 1,600 years ago! The river flows under it now and resurfaces at Tamolitch Pool. A short ways down the road is Belknap Hot Springs, a private resort. There are two mineral hot spring pools at the resort, which has been open since the 1870s. There is also a Secret Garden, which is free to visit! The garden includes fountains, architectural elements, and of course the plantings that hide it away from the rest of the resort.

Views of the river continue as it runs adjacent to the highway down to Mackenzie Bridge, Oregon. This is where we leave the Willamette National Forest. McKenzie General Store was established here in 1932: today it is both a store and a restaurant. I’m stopping for souvenirs. From here west, our former US-28 follows the wild and scenic McKenzie River as it drains down from the Cascade Mountains toward Eugene. By the time we get to the settlement of Blue River, we have descended to the 1000-foot elevation mark but are still in the forest and there are various county parks along the way where you can enjoy the river. Back in 1962 the H. J. Morton State Park was on a bend of the river here, but it has been demoted to just a roadside rest area. Likewise, the Ben and Kay Dorris County Park was once a state park. Both offer river access. While driving, we can still see the river crashing over rapids next to the road, and even a couple of waterfalls down the rock adjacent to the road.

 
Goodpasture Covered Bridge, Vida, Oregon
Goodpasture Covered Bridge, Vida, Oregon (Photo from Orygun at Wikipedia Commons, licensed under licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.)

From this point we see farms along the road again, mostly orchards and vineyards. We are entering the fringes of the Willamette Valley, one of the most agriculturally diverse areas in Oregon. The soils here can be up to ½ mile deep, due to massive flooding that occurred at the end of the last ice age. The good soils probably contributed to the name of an area south of the McKenzie River and the bridge to it. The Goodpasture Bridge in Vida crosses the McKenzie River and is located just off US-126. It was built in 1938 and is the second longest covered bridge in Oregon. It was completely renovated in 1987 and in 2010 it was again improved, restoring its 40-Ton weight limit so it can still handle logging trucks, which you will see on the road. Lane County today has more covered bridges than any other county west of the Mississippi River. Of its 17 bridges, 14 are still open to traffic.

Just across the river at the next bridge is the Leaburg Trout Hatchery. The bridge crosses the Leaburg Dam, which creates a water supply for cities in the area. At the dam you can view salmon and steel-head climbing a fish ladder, while at the hatchery you can view mostly rainbow trout. The hatchery raises these for release into various Oregon rivers. Children can also feed the fish. The adjacent EWEB Water Board Park features picnic sites overlooking the McKenzie River and plenty of play equipment and sports fields. Fishing in Leaburg Lake is also popular.

 
Hazelnut orchard, Ioka Farms, Oregon
Hazelnut orchard, Ioka Farms, Oregon (Public domain photo from United States Department of Agriculture.)

The valley broadens as we approach Walterville, where we cross the river for our last time. Just before we cross is Hendricks Bridge County Park, which, as we have seen before, was a state park in 1962. Looks like the state unloaded a bunch of these smaller parks to the counties; perhaps a cost-saving measure? Hendricks has a swimming and wading pool marked out with stones, though it’s rather shallow in summer, just when you would want to use it. By the time we get to Springfield, Oregon there are no mountains and any hills are off in the distance. Many of the orchards we have seen are hazelnut (filbert) orchards. Hazelnuts are my 2nd favorite raw nuts. Though we import a lot from Europe, 98% of American filbert production is harvested here in the Willamette Valley.

 

And that’s the end of this scenic drive. It’s about 9 miles from the edge of Springfield to the end of modern US-126 in downtown Eugene, the same place former US-28 ended. I’ll deal with Eugene attractions someday when investigating US-99. But while we’re traveling highways that are no longer around, I’ll mention US-32 today. The east end was originally in Chicago, Illinois and the west end of US-32 was originally in Council Bluffs, Nebraska. The total length was 511 miles. It existed for only seven years and was gone before 1962. We already traveled this as US-6, and it’s covered on Days 19-24 of that trip, beginning in Joliet, Illinois. That gets a couple of short, long retired highways out of the way. Next time, Roadtrip-'62 ™ will look at a longer road that is still around, US-29.

 
US-28 and US-32 signs, ca. 1962
US-28 and US-32 signs, ca. 1962

 

All photos by the author and Copyright © 2020 - Milne Enterprises, Inc., except as noted.

All other content Copyright © 2020 - Milne Enterprises, Inc.

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What's the weather in 1962?

Weather on February 22, 1962 for Adrian, MI, from the National Climatic Data Center:

  • Low = 30°F
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  • Mean Wind Speed = 13mph

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Smokey Bear is the longest running public service ad campaign in Ad Council history, running since 1944. At the beginning, Walt Disney loaned Bambi for use on a poster for one year, but that image proved so popular that it is still being used. The original message was slightly different, as "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires." I hope you enjoy this ad, similar to what you might have seen in 1962, and heed Smokey's message.

Smokey Bear Ad

Discover  Heritage Route 23 in northern Michigan U.S. Route 6 Tourist Association Historic US Route 20 Association