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~ Kathy M.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

1927 Old McKenzie Pass Snow Pictures:

This week's Sepia Saturday theme has to do with snow.  A lot of snow, and what to do about it.  The prompt photo shows us a couple of men knee deep in white stuff.  One is taking a break, leaning on his shovel and perhaps thinking, "What a mess.  Sure wish that George would give me a hand."

When I think of Alaska, I think of snow.  The photo below is of my step-mother, Jill Acklen Johnson's grandparents home on the Klondike Highway in Dawson, Alaska.  It was taken in 1899:


In the summer, the Acklens planted a large garden.  But the warm sun would not last for long:


Sure enough, snow showed up, making the work of hunting and fishing more difficult for the Acklen men:


One, two, skipping a few and heading down to the lower 48, where we now end up in Oregon.  These pictures are of men working hard to keep the McKenzie Highway open for traffic in 1927.  The Old McKenzie Highway was built by a few bold men, Donald McKenzie, Felix Scott, Jr. and John Templeton Craig. The pass, on HWY 242, was first opened to the public in 1872.  You can read all about them men and how they forged the way across lava beds to link the cities of Springfield and Sisters. A new, easier pass and alternate route was opened in 1964.  Just "click here" to find out all about that.

Here are some more guys standing around with shovels and poles, ready and willing to help cars and buses get through safely:

They are getting a bit of help from an snowplow ... yep, apparently they had them back in 1927:

Can you imagine?  Did they have chains?  What about heaters? What a cold, long trip.  It takes about 2.5 hours to get from Springfield to Sisters using this old pass during the summer on paved roads.  I wonder how long it took in 1927?

I think that I would be getting a bit claustrophobic if I were in this car.  What if it began to snow again?  Does that front window go up any higher?  I guess they didn't have to worry about sliding off the side of the road, but what if you got a flat tire:

Ah.  Perhaps riding the bus would be a more comfortable way to travel:

These days, they close the old pass during the winter months.  Someday, Cary and I will cross over it in the summer and take pictures of it; it is very beautiful.

So, there you are, my friends.  If you enjoyed this story, please visit my Sepia Saturday friends by "CLICKING HERE" to find other neat photos and stories. To read more about my family and other stories featuring old photos, memories and more, please look for this picture of me and my dad on the left-hand sidebar to read whatever else catches your fancy.  Thanks so much for visiting! 

~ Kathy M.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

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Helen Bauch McHargue said...

Kathy - these are great snow photos! Driving through those snow tunnels would soon drive me nuts - just looking at them makes me a bit claustrophic. The plow was really interesting. I didn't know they had them that far back either. Nice post.

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, those McKenzie pass pics are nuts! It STILL isn't a ton of fun in the snow... not that I've driven it since about 1987 that way, but it can get crummy! Those old open cars though. And I'm sure there was not much tread on those tires! Lots of getting out and pushing I'd imagine, but still faster than horses.

Brett Payne said...

Given the tyres in those days were so narrow, I can imagine it wouldn't have taken much snow for a vehicle to get stuck, and not much ice for it to slide. Driving anywhere would have been quite a mission, but I guess they had tyre chains back then too.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Wow. That's some deep snow. I'm reminded of growing up in New England and the snowdrifts after the plows went through. I have to say, I don't miss it!

Jackie van Bergen said...

Wow, I just can't fathom that amount of snow - and the roads! I grew up in the NW of Victoria, Australia - it NEVER snowed were we were. Very occasionally a little sprinkle in some mountains about an hour away. To get anything to ski on, we would have had to drive over 6 hours. Great pics - think of the person taking the photos!

Wendy said...

Now THAT is snow! I can't think of a good enough reason to venture out on the pass in all that snow. We don't get anything like that here in Virginia. Can't say I'm sorry.

Alan Burnett said...

That is a fabulous collection of photographs - and so much information about them all. A pleasure to read - as always.

Lovely's Blot said...

I can see now why snow in the NW states doesn't stop life going on! You have had so many years of practice! In England all life ceases when it snows!

Little Nell said...

Snow may be lovely, but, as you remind us, it prevents people from fishing and carrying out their work. Thank goodness for that 1927 snow plough eh? What a great machine.

nutschell said...

wow! i love these old pictures. It certainly makes me imagine how people survived in the old days without the conveniences we have now.


Sioux said...

Kathy--I love sepia photos. Those were fascinating to look at.

(By the way, I love your name for the new business venture I am daydreaming about: Gravy to Go.

Since you came up with the name, I'll gladly give you a few free tureens of gravy. ;)

Haddock said...

What a lovely collection of pictures. Really enjoyed going through each one of them. A deluge of snow like that really puts you down.
Like that picture of you with your dad.

Snowbrush said...

I live over in Eugene. My wife and I used to think about skiing over the McKenzie in winter, but we never did.

Peter said...

If I compare your snow there with the inch we have here, I feel dwarfed. When that inch is announced the railroads here go back to an emergency schedule... Is there still a bus to Portland?

Bob Scotney said...

A tremendous set of pictures with snow deeper than I've ever seen. I wouldn't want to shovel that lot out of the way. Bet they were glad of that grand old snowplough.

Postcardy said...

That first cabin is wonderful--right in the middle of the trees, and probably with a good view.

I wouldn't want to get caught in the mountains in the snow.

Mike Burnett said...

Great pictures of Alaska as we don't normally see it. I suppose that back then people had to get on with things, unlike today when the slightest thing seems to upset everything and bring it to a halt.

Joan said...

Your pictures reminded me of how I loved being in the mountains in the snow --- we used to spend nearly every weekend in the winter at the family cabin at Lake of the Woods. The most delightful times were getting "snowed in" -- I would dream of spending a week in the cabin, but there was always some over energetic person(s) who found digging cars out of snow to be fun -- just so we could be back to civilization on Monday.

Anyhow, thanks for the wonderful set of snow pictures.

Pamela said...

I'm shivering, Kathy! We used to get snow like that in Pennsylvania. Indiana hasn't seen too much of it lately. Always love seeing your pictures from times gone by.

barbara and nancy said...

Those were some great snow photos. I can't believe how high the snow got. Those poor workers that had to clear that road. What a job!

Kathy Morales said...

Wow! That's a lot of snow. I'd stay home for sure. The home in Alaska is very interesting. I just noticed all your other blogs. You are a busy woman! I've been thinking of starting a 2nd blog, but I'm having trouble keeping up with just one!

Karen S. said...

Oh my gosh, what a group of snow photos, but I have to admit it's all the automobiles, and the unusual ones (to me) what a great source of information too. First to post too- WooHoo and I'm like nearly the last! Oh well....this was a fun phototo too. I had the intentions at first to write a spooky story- but tossed that idea away!

Eugenia O'Neal said...

The house in the top photo really looks at one with its environment. Great snow pictures! Now that was snow!

Deb Gould said...

Hi, Kathy! I'm blog connection suddenly started working again (I'm not questioning it). LOVED your snow photos! That's what it looks like in Maine right now...more than two feet in my back yard and still coming down!

Kristin said...

That is a huge garden! The house is wonderful. The snow is amazing and would keep me in the house or at least off the road.

tony said...

Wow! Kathy,the snow is so deep .Those were hardy people,having to fight the elements as well as the geography.

Jackie/Jake said...

What a great post and very apt this weekend as my home town of Toronto got hit with snow while we're sitting in sunny (a little chilly) Las Vegas!!

Thanks so much for dropping by and following me!!

Karen said...

Great photos! I don't think I would be venturing outside in those conditions. Some of those cars don't have much room to move!

The Pink Geranium or Jan's Place said...

Terrific post, and wonderful pictures...I would not want to be traveling in those cold cars and vehicles back then during the winter...burrrr!

Jan from Jans Place

KathyB. said...

I think I would prefer the bus trip to the car, but if given the choice I would wait until summer to make the trip !

I have read 'Knit One, Purl Two' and it was pretty good.

Another venture into the history of my original home state, thank-you Kathy.

Anonymous said...

Traveling must have been very difficult in those times, and dangerous too. You've shown us wonderful pictures! Thanks for sharing!

Hazel Ceej said...

They've got to have heaters inside the plow! All that snow is making me go 'brrr....'

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

I just can't imagine what it's like to drive through those walls of snow!

I get the daily dose of spam too but almost all of it seems to go straight into the spam filter, fortunately.


Impressive but I remember seeing pics, from Japan I think, where those snow walls were like a couple of storeys high. Now THAT would be claustrophobic.

I like that bus!!!

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