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Author Topic: 1962 Harbor Drive Photo with Signage + Analysis  (Read 10981 times)

JasonOfORoads

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1962 Harbor Drive Photo with Signage + Analysis
« on: November 15, 2012, 03:04:27 AM »


(1962, City of Portland Archives, shamelessly stolen from Vintage Portland, click for larger version)

I found this photo on the Vintage Portland photoblog tonight, taken along US-99W/Harbor Drive looking northbound in 1962 as evidenced by the '62 Ford billboard in the background.  The first thing that I noticed -- as I hope all of you have -- is the signage.  Old-style US highway shields, small suffixed "99W", ALL CAPS, no arrows, even button copy... the works.  Other signage that can be better seen in the full-size photo is the "Form One Line" signs on the rightmost ramp.  I'm not sure when the "Lane Ends" graphical sign was added to the MUTCD (if it wasn't in from the beginning), but there you go.

I thought it was odd that the ramp to US-26 was exiting in the center, but a quick look at my maps revealed that the left 99W ramp was from Barbur Blvd. and the right ramp was from the Baldock Expressway/I-5.  Therefore, the center exit was actually a right-hand exit from Barbur and a left-hand exit from the Baldock.

Being that this is from 1962, it actually helps me pinpoint some interesting aspects of Oregon's highways and routes.  In my 1961 Gousha Map of Oregon, US-99W technically ends at this merge, with US-99 continuing north to meet US-99E near the present-day Expo Center.  However, my 1963 Gousha Map of Oregon shows US-99W continuing along Harbor Drive to meet US-99E, continuing as US-99 into Vancouver; the Baldock was labelled as I-5.  Because this image shows US-99W, not US-99, on the BGSs in 1962, I can reasonably assume that 1961 was the last year that US-99 was fully signed border-to-border, and the last year that there were three US-99 branches in Oregon.  I can also reasonably assume that this coincided with I-5 being signed along the Baldock.  Finally, because I don't see any vestige of this in the sign, I can also reasonably assume that US-99W wasn't signed as "Temporary I-5", or at least along Harbor Drive.

I also found this photo:


(1964, City of Portland Archives, shamelessly stolen from Vintage Portland, click for larger version)

This is from 1964, looking north towards downtown.  You can easily see that I-405 is under construction in the foreground.  However, if you look at the full-size photo, you will see these:



Those sure look like MUTCD-style BGSs to me!  Each gantry has a sign that says "US-26 WEST / City Center" (right sign on left roadway/Barbur, left sign on right roadway/I-5 ramp) and one that appears to say "US-99W NORTH / Seattle / SW Harbor Dr. N", though I can't make it out for certain due to blur.  Also, the gantry in the 1962 photo appears to have been removed earlier, possibly as early as 1962.

Still, I love these old photos.  Vintage Portland has quite a few old photos, including one with an old-school white sign that shows both OR-2 and OR-6 on Jefferson Street (with arrows going through the shields, no less).  Since most are from the City of Portland archives, I imagine that they're free to reproduce.  I think I need to contact them to see if I can get bigger/better scans, additional metadata, etc. and post them here and on my next iteration of ORoads.  That 1962 photo is so awesome, though... it might be tough to beat. (Paging Michael Summa...)

Edit: That word "ruminations"... it does not mean what you think it means.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2012, 02:17:51 AM by JasonOfORoads »
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Re: 1962 Harbor Drive Photo with Signage + Ruminations
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2012, 03:36:16 AM »

The I-405 construction photo answers the question of whether Harbor Drive was a full freeway (I've only seen a few maps that show the ramps, and they weren't clear). Good riddance, but it's a shame it took a wider freeway on the other shore and another one cutting just west of downtown to replace it.
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agentsteel53

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Re: 1962 Harbor Drive Photo with Signage + Ruminations
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2012, 10:25:02 AM »

I found this photo on the Vintage Portland photoblog tonight, taken along US-99W/Harbor Drive looking northbound in 1962 as evidenced by the '62 Ford billboard in the background.  The first thing that I noticed -- as I hope all of you have -- is the signage.  Old-style US highway shields, small suffixed "99W", ALL CAPS, no arrows, even button copy... the works.  Other signage that can be better seen in the full-size photo is the "Form One Line" signs on the rightmost ramp.  I'm not sure when the "Lane Ends" graphical sign was added to the MUTCD (if it wasn't in from the beginning), but there you go.

I actually wonder if the left two signs are black.  my guess is, that the right one is retroreflective green with white legend - as it has no buttons.  the other two are possibly green or black, and are most likely not with a reflective background. 

Quote
Those sure look like MUTCD-style BGSs to me!  Each gantry has a sign that says "US-26 WEST / City Center" (right sign on left roadway/Barbur, left sign on right roadway/I-5 ramp) and one that appears to say "US-99W NORTH / Seattle / SW Harbor Dr. N", though I can't make it out for certain due to blur. 

do you know if those were state-named OREGON US shields, or just the simple style with the number?  I do not know when Oregon switched over for green-sign use, although I do know they dropped the state-named cutouts in general in 1974. 

Quote
one with an old-school white sign that shows both OR-2 and OR-6 on Jefferson Street (with arrows going through the shields, no less). 

I'd like to see that one for sure!

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JasonOfORoads

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Re: 1962 Harbor Drive Photo with Signage + Ruminations
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2012, 11:56:41 AM »

one with an old-school white sign that shows both OR-2 and OR-6 on Jefferson Street (with arrows going through the shields, no less). 

I'd like to see that one for sure!

Ask and ye shall receive!



The sign in question is on the left-hand side in the vertical middle:



I wish it was clearer, but beggars can't be choosers.

Also, here's one from SW 6th Ave. and Washington in 1946 that has "Route 2" on a black-on-white fingerboard:



The fingerboards themselves:

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Re: 1962 Harbor Drive Photo with Signage + Ruminations
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2012, 12:07:16 PM »

awesome!  any idea when that 2/6 photo was taken?  it uses federal round fonts, which were invented in 1945 and made a standard in 1948, as opposed to the Oregon custom round font which I think came about in 1941 or 1942, and is visible on the photo with the "route 30", "route 2", and US shield.

in the 2/6 photo, I believe the left guide sign on the bridge (below the Journal buildings) has a US outline shield, but cannot tell for sure.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2012, 12:15:26 PM by agentsteel53 »
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JasonOfORoads

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Re: 1962 Harbor Drive Photo with Signage + Ruminations
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2012, 02:43:40 PM »

awesome!  any idea when that 2/6 photo was taken?  it uses federal round fonts, which were invented in 1945 and made a standard in 1948, as opposed to the Oregon custom round font which I think came about in 1941 or 1942, and is visible on the photo with the "route 30", "route 2", and US shield.

Sorry, that photo is from 1949.

in the 2/6 photo, I believe the left guide sign on the bridge (below the Journal buildings) has a US outline shield, but cannot tell for sure.

If it is, it would be for US-99W.  The most accurate information I have says that Harbor Drive wasn't US-99W until 1950, but it's not that accurate.  The HSHO doesn't mention a switchover at all, and in fact seems to point to the highway (not US-99W) running down Front rather than Harbor in the late 1940s (though this could be the portion of Front that leads to Harbor, now that I think about it...).  That said, it later mentions the Harbor Drive section being abandoned by the state officially on June 30, 1975.  I plan on asking about Harbor Drive in a future email to ODOT.  (Given I have two email ideas already on my brain, I imagine they are going to love me in the coming weeks :P)
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Re: 1962 Harbor Drive Photo with Signage + Ruminations
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2012, 07:19:25 PM »

I  have been doing some research on this, and I noted that in the late 40's 99W followed a 4thAve/6th Ave couplet.  Harbor Drive was not only abandoned, it was demolished
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JasonOfORoads

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Re: 1962 Harbor Drive Photo with Signage + Ruminations
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2012, 09:32:20 PM »

Harbor Drive was not only abandoned, it was demolished

True.  However, I was referring to ODOT's terminology.  Regardless of what happens to the roadway, ODOT abandons it maintenance-wise.

That said, I mis-read the 6/30/1975 entry in the HSHO.  Neither Harbor Drive's creation nor destruction is documented there.  Instead, what was abandonned was SW Harbor Way, a small side street nearby the old Harbor Drive that was a frontage road at the time.  From the HSHO, p. 1W-17:

Quote
June 30, 1975
Pacific Highway West
SW Harbor Way (Frontage Road) Section
Multnomah County
The Highway Commission adopted a resolution abandoning a portion of the highway.
See Abandonment and Retention Resolution No. 552.
See also Miscellaneous Contract and Agreements No. 4372.

I just thought that ODOT was a little behind the times w/r/t highway abandonment, but I was just wrong.
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JasonOfORoads

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Re: 1962 Harbor Drive Photo with Signage + Ruminations
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2012, 12:12:47 PM »

Found one more with signage, from 1960:



This is when they were building the offramp from Harbor Drive south to meet future I-5 south, and this view is north near SW Montgomery.  Let's zoom into the upper middle third a little bit:



First of all: Hello, button copy outlined US shields!!  Both the left and middle signs use California-style shield outlines (though more proportional than the one I linked to).  If their other signs use California's sign specs, it bolsters the theory that the signs were originally white on black or perhaps a very dark green.

Secondly, the rightmost sign simply says "Harbor Drive" with no US shield to speak of.  This would be replaced in the next two years by the sign seen in the first photo.  The ramp to US-26 west is a center exit in this pic, but I imagine this was temporary while they built the connections to the Baldock.

Thirdly, Harbor Drive is signed as "US-99" with no route suffix.  This matches my map collection and contradicts when most people say US-99 existed.

Finally, take note of the US-99 and US-26 cutout shields mounted on the light pole.  No directional banner, likely state name shields, probably with US-99 on top since US-26 will soon head eastward across the Ross Island Bridge.

Also, for those of you keeping score, that's two sets of BGSs or BKSs (Big blacK Signs) with three types of route shields over a four year period.
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Bickendan

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Re: 1962 Harbor Drive Photo with Signage + Analysis
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2012, 03:19:31 AM »

Here's a map from I'd guess the late 50's with the proposed routes for the Stadium Freeway and Marquam Bridge. I wish I'd written the date on it when I found this during my research back in 2007; I did draw in the constructed routes in pencil.
http://bickenland.lonaf.com/Maps/Stadium1.gif

Note Harbor Drive's lack of interchange with Market/Clay or with the Hawthorne Bridge. At the end of Harbor Drive's freeway life, there was a ramp that split from northbound Harbor to the Hawthorne Bridge just north of Clay, arcing over the river and back over Harbor to merge with the ramp that came off of southbound Front Ave (which is also closed now).
« Last Edit: November 18, 2012, 03:21:59 AM by Bickendan »
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JasonOfORoads

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Re: 1962 Harbor Drive Photo with Signage + Analysis
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2012, 06:01:05 AM »

With regard to when Harbor Drive officially became signed as US-99W, my collection of official Oregon highway maps is able to help out.  Take a look at these:

1951 Official Map
1952 Official Map

A lot of changes happened in 1952.  The most prominent is that yes, US-99W was moved to Harbor Drive at some point in 1951.  It also was moved from the Broadway Bridge to the Steel Bridge, as well as a southern extension of Interstate Avenue.  Also, OR-2 and OR-50 became US-26 through Portland.  I'm not sure if OR-6 remained on the section after OR-2 was dropped, but I'm guessing that the answer is yes, at least until the Wilson River Highway was completed.  Finally, the configuration of the west approaches to/from the Ross Island Bridge shows a little bit more complicated junction with US-99W and OR-43.  I think other maps from the era show the configuration more clearly.
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Re: 1962 Harbor Drive Photo with Signage + Analysis
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2015, 07:34:06 PM »

Digging up an old thread here, I recently came across a 1965 photo of the Harbor Drive in Portland, thanks to the Facebook group Vintage Portland. Vintage Portland will sometimes feature a photo of a road from the days of yore, which I am happy to provide the link...

https://vintageportland.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/harbor-drive-circa-1965/

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Re: 1962 Harbor Drive Photo with Signage + Analysis
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2015, 09:59:01 PM »

https://vintageportland.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/harbor-drive-circa-1965/

I can't be absolutely sure, but it looks like the sign in the foreground (the one with the dual route markers) might actually say "TEMPORARY" I-5.
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Re: 1962 Harbor Drive Photo with Signage + Analysis
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2015, 06:40:12 AM »

https://vintageportland.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/harbor-drive-circa-1965/

I can't be absolutely sure, but it looks like the sign in the foreground (the one with the dual route markers) might actually say "TEMPORARY" I-5.

Zooming into the photo far enough, I think I am seeing Temporary I-5 on the sign as well.

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Re: 1962 Harbor Drive Photo with Signage + Analysis
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2015, 05:28:14 PM »

Here's a map from I'd guess the late 50's with the proposed routes for the Stadium Freeway and Marquam Bridge. I wish I'd written the date on it when I found this during my research back in 2007; I did draw in the constructed routes in pencil.
http://bickenland.lonaf.com/Maps/Stadium1.gif

This is from the "Sunset Freeway Report", prepared by Downtown Portland, Inc. (likely an economic development agency). I managed to find it in PSU's stacks just last week when doing research. It was presented to the Portland City Council, the State Highway Commission and the US Bureau of Public Roads on January 10, 1960 to determine the final leg of the Sunset from the east end of the Vista Ridge Tunnel to the Marquam Bridge. Of the two routes considered, the agency proposed the "Market-Clay" route for the Sunset. As we know, the OSHC decided instead to build the "Foothills" route around Portland, which is now the southernmost portion of I-405.

I took a photo of this map in color. The Market-Clay route is in red and the Foothills route is in green. The rest is in grayscale.

On a side note, while the report was heavily slanted in favor of the Market-Clay route, it acknowledged that one benefit of the Foothills route is that it would (and did) eliminate the Glencullen Tunnel. It would have been a second freeway tunnel under the West Hills that connected the Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy. near SW 45th Ave. to the Marquam Bridge. My guess is that OR-10 would have been rerouted through the tunnel.

Note Harbor Drive's lack of interchange with Market/Clay or with the Hawthorne Bridge. At the end of Harbor Drive's freeway life, there was a ramp that split from northbound Harbor to the Hawthorne Bridge just north of Clay, arcing over the river and back over Harbor to merge with the ramp that came off of southbound Front Ave (which is also closed now).

I managed to take photos of the details of each proposed routing. For the Market-Clay route, the connection to Harbor Drive was indirect. There was a partial interchange (west off, east on) at SW 2nd and 3rd Aves., and another (east off, west on) at SW 4th and 5th Aves. The eastbound offramp split to SW 4th Ave. and SW Market St. for easy connection to Harbor Dr. However, if coming from Harbor Dr. to get on the Sunset westbound, you'd have needed to take a right on SW 6th Ave., then SW Columbia St. to reach the ramp. And that is the connection from Harbor Dr. northbound -- the connection from southbound Harbor Dr. involves more turns.

The Foothills route was built mostly as proposed, though the on/offramps were built tighter and with less weaving.

I also managed to take photos of the on/offramp descriptions in the report. I can transcribe them and post them if anyone's curious.

https://vintageportland.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/harbor-drive-circa-1965/

I can't be absolutely sure, but it looks like the sign in the foreground (the one with the dual route markers) might actually say "TEMPORARY" I-5.

Zooming into the photo far enough, I think I am seeing Temporary I-5 on the sign as well.

I concur. Fascinating. It was likely routed along Denver and Interstate Aves. north of the Steel Bridge., getting removed as sections of the Minnesota/East Bank Freeways were built. More research is needed, of course.

Edit: Lol that image apparently also proved me wrong.

I can also reasonably assume that US-99W wasn't signed as "Temporary I-5", or at least along Harbor Drive.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2015, 05:34:03 PM by JasonOfORoads »
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Re: 1962 Harbor Drive Photo with Signage + Analysis
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2015, 03:38:48 AM »

This is from the "Sunset Freeway Report", prepared by Downtown Portland, Inc. (likely an economic development agency). I managed to find it in PSU's stacks just last week when doing research. It was presented to the Portland City Council, the State Highway Commission and the US Bureau of Public Roads on January 10, 1960 to determine the final leg of the Sunset from the east end of the Vista Ridge Tunnel to the Marquam Bridge. Of the two routes considered, the agency proposed the "Market-Clay" route for the Sunset. As we know, the OSHC decided instead to build the "Foothills" route around Portland, which is now the southernmost portion of I-405.

I took a photo of this map in color. The Market-Clay route is in red and the Foothills route is in green. The rest is in grayscale.

On a side note, while the report was heavily slanted in favor of the Market-Clay route, it acknowledged that one benefit of the Foothills route is that it would (and did) eliminate the Glencullen Tunnel. It would have been a second freeway tunnel under the West Hills that connected the Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy. near SW 45th Ave. to the Marquam Bridge. My guess is that OR-10 would have been rerouted through the tunnel.

Were they still calling the north leg the "Stadium Freeway"?  Seem to recall they continued to use that term for quite a while.  Somewhere on the internet I found a copy of the truly fascinating Technical Report 55-5, from 1955; it seems to be gone now, but I downloaded a copy, and here's here's a copy for those interested.  What became I-405 was two discrete entities in the Report, the Sunset leg followed the Market/Clay route and met the Stadium at a 90 degree angle.  The Glencullen Tunnel was just one of the truly grandiose ideas the OSHD had on the books.  The Sunset was to be mostly below grade or underground from Front to 14th aves; the Fremont Freeway would have two tunnels punched through Rocky Butte; the Sellwood Freeway would have its own bridge just north of the existing S. Bridge, etc.  Quite a read. 

I'd love to see some excerpts from what you've found at PSU, Jason.  I'd really like to know how the Foothills route did away with the need for that tunnel, there still isn't a straight shot to the Beaverton-Hillsdale highway at 48th ave. by any sense of the word, if you aren't a bird, or flying a helicopter; did they propose building another dedicated road in its stead?
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Re: 1962 Harbor Drive Photo with Signage + Analysis
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2016, 11:46:42 PM »



I was once doing a large book project on US 99. I have all kinds of resources that I haven't used in years. I gave up on the US 99 project after seeing nearly half the route was in non-preservable shape from Calexico to Sacramento. It was a great experience to drive old US 99, but any hope of it ever becoming another Route 66 is pipe dream. But seeing this, I did obtain one scanned image from the Oregon Department of Transportation's archives that shows the entire Harbor Drive from the Morrison Bridge to the Steel Bridge. The street on the left is the road current traffic uses; Naito Parkway (then called Front Street). Hope this helps somehow.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2016, 11:48:49 PM by 707 »
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