Ben Jones
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Volcanoguy
N 44° 46.673 W 124° 04.279
10T E 415238 N 4958834
This history sign is located at the Rocky Creek Bridge Viewpoint.
Waymark Code: WMCY2Z
Location: Oregon, United States
Date Posted: 10/24/2011
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member TheBeanTeam
Views: 2

Marker Name: Ben Jones - Father of Oregon’s Coast Highway
Marker Text: As Oregon entered the 20th century, travel along the coast was a combination of Indian trails, the beach, and a few very muddy roads. In 1892, Ben Jones led a delegation to Corvallis to seek money for road improvements from the County. The county questioned why “a bunch of clam diggers” needed a road, and Jones replied, “With the cooperation . . . of the clam diggers, we are going to create a new county.” A year later, the western portion of Benton County seceded to form Lincoln County -- road improvements were soon underway.
With the approach of World War I, Oregon’s coast was deemed among the weakest links in national defense. Jones, a state legislator at the time, capitalized on this weakness by championing a coast highway as a strategic investment. Funding was granted in 1919 and construction began immediately. By 1931, the Roosevelt Military Highway traveled the entire length of Oregon’s coast, but it wasn’t until 1937 that all the coastal bridges were completed. Today, this road is called US Highway 101 and is the Pacific Coast National Scenic Byway.
Early roads were always muddy, but in the winter they became treacherous quagmires. Pioneers combated the mud by building “corduroy roads” of planks or logs placed in the roadbed -- it was a firm road but a rough ride!
Ben Jones, who once delivered mail between Corvallis and Newport, was sympathetic to the mailman’s plight. Mail contractors drove wagons along the beach facing high tides, rogue waves, and steep headlands.
To dramatize the need for better roads on the coast in 1912, local road boosters drove a Studebaker dubbed “The Pathfinder,” 46 miles from Newport to Siletz Bay. The journey took 22 hours and 14 minutes, at one point they resorted to using a team of horses to pull them from the mud.
The early beginnings of the highway were an incredible improvement for traveling along the coast, but they bore little resemblance to the smooth ride that we take for granted today.

Historic Topic: Modern Age 1900 to date

Group Responsible for placement: State of Oregon

Marker Type: Roadside

Region: Coast

County: Lincoln

State of Oregon Historical Marker "Beaver Board": Not listed

Web link to additional information: Not listed

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Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log User Rating  
WalksfarTX visited Ben Jones 06/18/2015 WalksfarTX visited it
Volcanoguy visited Ben Jones 10/17/2011 Volcanoguy visited it

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