Our friends at ODOT provided this image of Tooth Rock tunnel and Bonneville Dam. It was taken on September 28, 1937, and shows President Franklin Roosevelt (with Eleanor) on his way to Eagle Creek overlook to dedicate Bonneville Dam, which you can see in the background. I'll give the full photo credit for posterity: “Columbia River Highway, Oregon Forest Highway Project 28-AUS, US Bureau of Public Roads.”
There are several things to note in this image. Tooth Rock tunnel was built as part of the realignment required by the construction of Bonneville Dam. You can see how it disconnected a piece of the original highway which passes above the tunnel. This was the "beginning of the end" for the original Columbia River Highway. This piece has now been reconnected as a non-moto trail, including a controversial set of stairs to descend to Eagle Creek hatchery. Along with the auto tunnel there was a short rail tunnel, which is now hidden under the viaduct for westbound I-84.
You can also see one of the airway light beacons which helped guide aircraft through the Gorge, especially on grey days like in this photo. We have one of these beacons at WAAAM (relocated from Mitchell Point, if I recall correctly).
And finally, this photo brings up a sore point for Matt and me. Through all the scanning we did over 5 years, we haven't found a single image of FDR's drive through downtown Hood River. Where was Alva Day? I believe he was a staunch Republican, and the only photos he took that month seem to document the new garage he added to his house on June Street. If you have a family album with a picture of FDR's motorcade, please share with us!
Tags: 1930s automobile Bonneville_Dam Columbia_River_Highway dam FDR Roosevelt Tooth_Rock tunnel
Arthur, your memory is spot on about the navigation beacon, now located outside of WAAAM's main entrance.
Dale Nicol on 3rd October 2016 @ 7:07am
THE BEACON AT WAAAM I BELIEVE CAME FROM JUST WEST OF WYETH (ALDRICH POINT?) AND BROUGHT OUT BY A PRIVATE PARTY TO DONATE TO THE MUSEUM. IF MEMORY IS CORRECT IT WAS A HELICOPTER MOVE.
Kenn on 3rd October 2016 @ 8:03am
Great picture! I am confused (normal), the "old" highway is higher than the new, so why did the dam require a rebuild? No pictures of FDR in HR....amazing but I don't remember seeing any pictures from my parents or grandparents either....maybe Roger has. at least they painted the stairway brown in an attempt to have it "fit" in...... At least they kept the west portal when building the freeway.......I like the portal light/stone work.
Arlen Sheldrake on 3rd October 2016 @ 8:14am
Arlen, I wondered why the old highway route was abandoned also. I think you have to look at the entire project: highway, railroad, dam, transmission lines. Fitting them all in the narrow corridor probably forced a re-engineering. If adding tunnels to rail and highway allowed them to be straighter at Tooth Rock that was probably a side benefit, but the cause was to make room for the Dam and its infrastructure west of there.
Arthur on 3rd October 2016 @ 9:39am
Squeezing I84 into this pile of rock must not have been easy.
Somewhere, in an earlier HHR photo we discussed the Mona Bell home, built by Sam Hill, which must have been in this area?
Interesting about Alva Day. I am curious now, what his thoughts were about Bonneville Dam and the huge metal towers.
L.E. on 3rd October 2016 @ 10:04am
The link gives some mention of the tunnel construction. Sounds like the tunnel was the major first step in a circa 1930 plan to modernize transportation through the gorge. Seems that while the tunnel's construction was concurrent with that of Bonneville Dam it was independent from it.
Longshot on 3rd October 2016 @ 10:09am
Good question LE. Alva Day worked for Pacific Power and spent much of his life selling people on the need for electric appliances, but I suspect his personal politics weren't completely aligned with "big government" projects like Bonneville.
We have an audio recording of Alva Day from about 1950 which I am hoping to be able to transcribe from a wire recording. I hope it will add another dimension to our view of him.
Arthur on 3rd October 2016 @ 12:07pm
I know exactly where Mona Bell's home was. Quite close to where you go down into the dip where you turn off into Bonneville. Her long drive way left the old highway and went to her house, but when they put I-84 in it cut right through her drive. Have always wished to go to where her house set, but can't due to a ton of poison oak. A friend suggested I put on an outfit like the orchardists use when spraying, then peel out of it as soon as I returned from my exploring.....Not a bad idea....;...
Charlott on 3rd October 2016 @ 7:42pm
The foundation of Mona Bell's home remains and some of the flowers still bloom. I have seen no poison oak going up her driveway on the east side of what remains of the point. The book "A Woman Alone" came out about two years ago with the complete history and many photos.
Kenn on 4th October 2016 @ 4:59pm
No memory of FDR pictures in Hood River Arlen. However I do have a colorized post card of this scene from a few steps north over the berm. Shows 7 towers on the dam. Reverse reads: Cost $42,000,000. Spillway 1,600,000 cubic feet per second. Canal locks for ocean vessels make navigation possible as far as The Dalles--187 miles inland
Roger Sheldrake on 4th October 2016 @ 5:02pm
Charlott, if you don't trust Kenn's word their is no poison oak, you can buy disposable Tyvek coveralls at places like Home Depot for about $10. I think the hard part is learning how to take them off and put them in the trash bag without contaminating yourself.
Arthur on 4th October 2016 @ 7:56pm
I have a couple thousand pictures that belonged to my grandpa Alva. I'll soon Be giving all of them to the History Museum.
Dennis Day on 20th October 2018 @ 10:43pm
Thank you Dennis for your contribution and for your comments about you Grandma and Grandpa Day.
Even though you are 80, I hope you keep adding stories to this collection.
L.E. on 21st October 2018 @ 3:43am
So, Arthur, you have a wire recorder there. Did Lois Talbot the piano teacher happen to donate her musical wire recordings to your museum?. I know she recorded a lot of her students' music. She had me listen to selections played by her star student Edith Kilbuck-- I am sure she was giving me something to shoot for. (What a hope!) And somewhere, on some dusty spool, there is probably a recording of Gary Samuel and me playing a duet of "Amaryllis" for our recital piece. But the real treasure, if it still exists, would be Dicky Fenwick, our elementary school boy soprano, singing " O Holy Night" , his solo from the annual Christmas cantata at HRHS. In his short white choir robe with a black, flowing bow around his neck, with his big eyes and sweet, innocent face, he looked every bit an angel. And sounded like one. When he sang the lines, "Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother/And in His name all oppression shall cease," I believed it. If only I could hear it once again, to offset these terrible times, I would be so happy.
Barbara Parsons on 13th December 2020 @ 2:46pm
Barbara-- we do have a wire recorder/player at the museum, and rebuilding it is on my "to do" list. Unfortunately I have not seen any Lois Talbot recordings in our small inventory. We do have several history lectures from a 1950's museum series, including Arline Moore and several other folks whose voices I am anxious to hear.
ArthurB on 13th December 2020 @ 3:24pm