The Oregon Trunk Railroad Bridge
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Volcanoguy
N 44° 23.460 W 121° 11.717
10T E 643738 N 4916885
The Oregon Trunk Railroad Bridge Sign at Peter Skene Ogden Scenic Wayside.
Waymark Code: WMK9A
Location: Oregon, United States
Date Posted: 08/06/2006
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member silverquill
Views: 27

Sign is located at the Peter Skene Ogden Scenic Wayside.


Marker Name: The Oregon Trunk Railroad Bridge
Marker Text: The Oregon Trunk Railroad Bridge, constructed in 1911, was the first structure to cross this spectacular gorge. Prior to construction, the only crossing of the Crooked River in this region was located about a mile upstream, where the canyon’s sheer basalt walls begin tapering gradually into the surrounding landscape.

In the early 1900s, railroad tycoons James J. Hill of the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway (SP&S) and Edward Harriman of the Union Pacific began a fierce battle for the rights to open central Oregon to rail traffic. This battle, one of the greatest in railroad history, played out in the courts, where the SP&S triumphed. In the field, however, where night raids, dynamite, gunfire, and fistfights were common, neither railroad triumphed. The Oregon Trunk Railway, a subsidiary of the SP&S, ran from Celilo Falls on the Columbia River to Bend -- James Hill was on hand in Bend on October 5, 1911 to drive a “Golden Spike” celebrating the line’s official opening.

Bridge construction began in November 1910, and the first work train crossed on September 17, 1911. In their haste to open the bridge and push toward Bend, workers installed only 50% of the bridge’s required rivets -- the remaining 21,500 rivets were driven over the following five weeks while trains crossed overhead.

The bridge spans 460 feet, perched on its abutments 320 feet above the river. It is among the nation’s highest railway bridges. Designed by Ralph Modjeski, a noted civil engineer, the bridge is constructed to support two 188.5-ton locomotives pulling loads of 5,000 lbs per lineal foot of track.

With no way to get from one side tof the gorge to the other, workers climbed rope ladders and they waded or swam across the river. As the bridge neared completion, workers could “walk the plank” to cross from one side of the gorge to the other, with the river more than 300 feet below.

Historic Topic: Modern Age 1900 to date

Group Responsible for placement: State of Oregon

Marker Type: Roadside

Region: Central Oregon

County: Jefferson

Web link to additional information: [Web Link]

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

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Recent Visits/Logs:
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NW_history_buff visited The Oregon Trunk Railroad Bridge 06/21/2015 NW_history_buff visited it
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