This photo of the tunnel at Tooth Rock on what is now I-84 East was taken in 1959. It's from a postcard which bears the legend,
"Columbia River- Bonneville Tunnel: Along the Columbia River Highway which follows the huge gorge made by this mighty river are tunnels cut through mountains to make the motorist's travel a pleasure."
The tunnel still looks much the same, though the hillside around it was burned during the Eagle Creek fire in September.
Tags: Bonneville Columbia_River_Highway I84 Tooth_Rock tunnel
I am curious, if since the Eagle Creek fire, one now has a view like they did in 1959?
L.E. on 5th February 2018 @ 7:48am
while fire damage to todays view will recover in time.....the freeway view damage will take a bit longer.
Arlen Sheldrake on 5th February 2018 @ 7:49am
If I remember correctly Tooth Rock is a massive hunk of Columbia River Basalt that slid down the side of the gorge from above. There are some good pictures of the tunnel.
Longshot on 5th February 2018 @ 8:34am
Graduated from HRHS in 1959. And it is just as I thought. Through my eyes the world looked better to me then than it does today.
Buzz on 5th February 2018 @ 9:17am
Well Buzz, in 1959 your eyes probably had more time to view the world. Now it is viewed at 70+ mph with as few curves as possible.
I think the Pacific Northwest must have some of the most changing landscapes in the world. The coastline goes through dramatic changes as does the Columbia River Gorge. Before the white man arrived, we know there were some dramatic landslides and river changes.
Since the white man has arrived, it has been a continuous process of blasting rock, removing rock, adding rock, building railroads, building dams, building highways, moving the river.......
L.E. on 5th February 2018 @ 9:44am
Never use the passing lane. I had a policeman tell me he had just come from a fatal crash in the tunnel where now there is an exit just east of the tunnel and people try to get on the freeway going west and realize in the tunnel it is one way.going east.
Mary Bartmess Kramer on 5th February 2018 @ 9:46am
This is one of my favorite parts of this highway!
Bill Seaton on 5th February 2018 @ 3:15pm
I never thought about this before but this view shows two old roads...the original above the tunnel and the newer tunnel. Must be some interesting history on why the highway was moved from the original location.
Thanks for the tip Mary....will try to remember on my next trip to Thunder Island Brewing....
Arlen Sheldrake on 5th February 2018 @ 3:35pm
I believe our family used to have picnics somewhere up above the tunnel.
Jeffrey Bryant on 5th February 2018 @ 4:12pm
There is (or at least was before the fire) a nice bumpout on the trail directly above the tunnel where you might have stopped for picnics. It's just west of the steps down to the hatchery.
Arthur on 5th February 2018 @ 5:05pm
And to answer Arlen, the tunnel was originally built in the 1930's to get the highway out of the way of the Bonneville project. Not sure if it was water levels or room for dam construction, but the original alignment wouldn't work anymore. This was the first section of the original road to be abandoned, followed 20 years later by many other sections.
Arthur on 5th February 2018 @ 5:30pm
I’ve always admired the light standard on the south of the road ... seems it’s on 24/7 - Also the wave like curve of the stone work is clearly visible again with the ivy now gone that once hung over it for years.
Stever on 5th February 2018 @ 6:02pm
A horror story of that tunnel. My husband hated that tunnel. He along with Terry Glaze in about 1962 or 1962 were headed from H.R. to Portland. There was on coming traffic and a car passed them in the tunnel going between them and the on coming vehicle.........................if you can imagine 3 wide in that thing. The only thing that probably saved all concerned was the fact that Terry was driving one of those little Mazdas, I think they were called. That gave them a few more inches of lee way.... I don't ever recall going through that tunnel that Dick didn't shake his head.
Charlott on 6th February 2018 @ 7:06am
The tunnel is the third road, Tooth Rock Viaduct above it is the second, the first is above through the notch with access to the top of the tooth ~
Kenn on 6th February 2018 @ 3:44pm
When we entered the old tunnel we would lick three fingers, put them on the car headliner, and honk three times so we would be safe. I'm not sure how that routine got started.
Jeffrey Bryant on 6th February 2018 @ 8:19pm
I recently found a postcard that my Mother-in-law wrote in Feb 1958, and it is this exact postcard, therefore, I know that this postcard was made before 1959, but not sure how much before 1958. I was very excited to find the exact one on here.
Vicki Zumwalt on 2nd December 2019 @ 4:37pm