We're fortunate to have relatively soft rock around here, but it still must have been a monumental undertaking to bore a tunnel through Mitchell Point. This is of course the Columbia River Highway tunnel, viewed from the east portal. Construction started here 100 years ago this month.
Here's an account from the tunnel engineer, John Elliot, explaining how these carts, men and horse constructed the east portal:
The trap tunnel was 6’ x 6’ in cross—section, and was timbered through the mixed material, the roof timbers being placed without fastening. A track was built into the tunnel, on which a one-yard car was run. When the trap tunnel was ready for use, a few of the roof timbers were pulled and others placed longitudinal, forming a small hole through which the material fell into the car below. One man with a wide board guarded the hole and stopped the flow of material when the car was loaded. The car ran out onto the dump by gravity, and a horse was used to pull it back. Two men worked up on the slope loosening the material around the hole in the shape of a half funnel. Even the horse learned to perform his act without direction. After pulling one car back with sufficient momentum to carry it into the trap tunnel, he would walk back to the dump, turn around and wait to be hooked onto the second car to come back.
It looks like they have those sleds set up to tilt and dump? Which would suggest that we are looking West?
Rawhyde on 18th March 2015 @ 8:11am
I thought they might be reversing the horse to pull the load back out of the tunnel, but I don't see how you hitch the horse to the wagon.
Looks like the wagons could easily come off of those tracks. Especially where that jog is.
L.E. on 18th March 2015 @ 8:33am
This is the same tunnel as shown here
I don't think it is the Mitchell Point Tunnel. The Mitchell Point Tunnel was cut very close to the cliff face which this one it not and the rock above the east portal of the Mitchell Point Tunnel rises very steeply which the rock here does not.
A careful look at this picture of the East Portal of the Mosier tunnel shows a similar protruding ridge in the basalt so I would guess they are both picture of the east portal to the Mosier Tunnel.
Longshot on 18th March 2015 @ 9:06am
@Longshot, Scott Cook and I went back and forth on which tunnel this was until he provided this photo: https://curiousgorgeblog.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/img020.jpg
It clearly shows the multiple portals of the Mitchell Point tunnel, and the rock face matches this photo.
Arthur on 18th March 2015 @ 10:28am
I am being a bit facetious here, but looks to me like that could be the end of any tunnel here in the gorge, east or west.
Maybe a geologist can tell the difference, but you could have told me it was a tunnel on Highway 14 and I wouldn't know the difference.
L.E. on 18th March 2015 @ 2:47pm
This time around I would just have to say that Scott is wrong, that this looks nothing like the eastern portal of the Mitchell Point Tunnel. You can see how it slopes down as does the Mosier Tunnel and the basalt is correct for the Mosier Tunnel and not the Mitchell Point Tunnel. It is easy enough to access the site of the old eastern portal to the Mitchell Point Tunnel and nothing you see there looks like the http://historichoodriver.com/index.php?showimage=26 image.
Longshot on 18th March 2015 @ 7:35pm
The east portal wasn't the most photogenic, but I found a photo of it from the 50's. Go to page 28 in this ODOT oral history of the highway. You can see some of the same basalt as this photo. http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CB8QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.oregon.gov%2FODOT%2FTD%2FTP_RES%2Fdocs%2Freports%2F2009%2Fhcrh_oral_history.pdf&ei=GuUKVdS9PMqpogT34oG4CA&usg=AFQjCNEExDJ1EnIsWmwQ9HL7WwTS0O7BRw&sig2=A-Cfn08Duo8BCkDwbYSvlQ&bvm=bv.88528373,d.cGU
Arthur on 19th March 2015 @ 8:12am
I also added a quote from John Elliot explaining how this portal was constructed. Apparently the horse just pulled the empty carts back to the tunnel.
Arthur on 19th March 2015 @ 8:25am
Well that last photo link does make me agree that it is the eastern portal to the Mitchell Point Tunnel.
Longshot on 19th March 2015 @ 7:05pm
I too have an excellent photo of the east portal of Mitchell Pt tunnel, taken on the day of Hwy 30 dedication ceremony at Multnomah Falls. The picture (i have the negative) was taken by my great-uncle Albert, with his Ansco #10 folding camera. A CarterCar with 5 passengers aboard is parked just off the south edge of the road. This group was returning to Hood River from the ceremony at Multnomah Falls. There are many rock formations that are exact replications of the rock formations observable in this construction photo. Albert inscribed on the bottom of his negative "MITCHELL'S POINT TUNNEL".
PK on 27th March 2015 @ 10:27am