Submitted to : Oregon Department of Transportation

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Submitted to :

Oregon Department of Transportation

455 Airport Road, SE

Salem, OR 97309

Submitted by :


111 SW Columbia Avenue, Suite 1500

Portland, OR 97201

February 2, 2015


US 101 Coast Highway

Historic Context

Prepared by :

Leesa Gratreak, M.S.

Patience Stuart, M.S.

Shoshana Jones, J.D., MA

Anisa Becker, M.A.

Senior Reviewer:

Kirk Ranzetta, Ph.D.




6.0 Geographic Regions 8

7.0 Chronological Periods and Historic Themes 28







Appendix A US 101 Coast Highway Resources in the Oregon Historic Sites Database

Appendix B US 101 Historic Photos

Appendix C Oregon State Highway Commission Biennial Maps

Appendix D Acreage & Acquisitions in Coastal State Parks

Appendix E Jurisdictional Transfers of Portions of US 101


This document, the US 101 Coast Highway Historic Context, was made possible by an Oregon Forest Highway Enhancement Grant through the Western Federal Lands Highway Division. The grant emerged from an effort to rehabilitate the Sea Lion Point Rock Wall, located nine-miles north of Florence, Oregon along the U.S. 101 Coast Highway (“US 101”). The grant project was intended to facilitate future work and historic asset management along the US 101 corridor, and to create prospective grant opportunities. This project resulted from collaboration between the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), the United States Forest Service (USFS), the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD), and the project contractor AECOM.1

Along with providing extensive historical information, the context defines historic property types, delineates character-defining property features, and develops a framework for evaluating the property types consistent with the National Register of Historic Place’s Criteria for Evaluation. This framework provides the basis for a Multiple Property Document Form (MPDF) to be compiled at a future date.

This document includes the following sections:

  • Purpose, Research Methods, and Field work;

  • Geographic Locations and Regions;

  • Chronological Periods, divided by Government, Transportation, Community Development, and Recreation historical themes;

  • Historic Property Types;

  • Registration Requirements and Evaluation Criteria for potential National Register Listing;

  • Recommendations for Resource Management, Avoidance and Minimization Measures, and Treatments to address local, state, and federal regulatory requirements;

  • Appendices including Previously Recorded Resources associated with US 101 in Oregon, Historic Photographs, Historic Biennial Maps, Coastal State Park Acquisitions and Acreage, and Jurisdictional Transfers of Highway Segments.


The purpose of the US 101 Coast Highway Historic Context was to explore the chronological periods, geographic areas, historic themes, and property types specific to the US 101 corridor, with focus on the period of significance from 1914 to 1956. The important historical resources associated with the highway, including the corridor itself, design elements, bridges, viewpoints, rock walls, and associated recreation areas, together convey the significant historic value of Oregon’s Coast Highway.2 To enhance management practices for these historical resources, the historic context provides a comprehensive assessment of the corridor’s historical development, its design elements, and significant individuals and groups involved in its construction. The context thereby advances the future identification and evaluation of historic resources within a framework of place, time, and significant historic theme.

In addition, as the grant intended to facilitate future work along the highway, components of this document also provide framework for a Multiple Property Document (MPD). The benefits of an MPD include: 1) establishing a framework for nominating historic resources associated with US 101 for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) (36 CFR Part 60), 2) facilitating Section 106 consultation (36 CFR Part 800), and 3) improving interagency management of US 101 resources.

The MPD components outlined in this document will promote a more rigorous historic resource comparative analysis and provide important background for researchers. Although the document primarily explores the Highway’s geographic regions, historic themes that shaped its development, and significant chronological periods, it also provides “registration requirements.” These registration requirements delineate the levels of physical integrity and historic characteristics required for eligibility to the NRHP.

The research for this project largely focused upon:

  • The period of significance from 1914-1956;

  • Sources of information that are critical for identifying the significant chronological periods, geographic regions, and historic themes that shaped the formation of the highway;

  • Sources associated with the physical evolution of the public highway alignment, as opposed to private development along the corridor;

  • Sources that convey the major events or patterns of events that shaped the highway’s development;

  • Sources that provide biographical information about significant individuals and groups associated with the highway; and

  • Sources that provide information about the design of highway corridor and that explore historic resources situated within the corridor right-of-way.


A detailed literature review, analysis of original agency source material, and exploration of local community resources creates a systematic and thorough approach for researching and developing the historic context. The research plan involved identifying sources and repositories for information, developing an extensive bibliography, and recognizing limitations or potential challenges in the research.3 A robust list of state, regional, local, and online repositories was compiled to organize the various sources for historic materials. These repositories and sources included:

  • ODOT Library and History Center

  • Oregon State Archives

  • State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)

  • State Parks Records

  • Oregon Historical Society

  • Local Community Libraries and Historical Societies

  • Local Historians

  • Newspaper Articles

  • Historic Photographs

  • Online Research

Research was conducted at the ODOT library, Oregon Historical Society, Oregon State Archives, Oregon SHPO, as well as at several local libraries and historical societies along US 101. Online agency records, newspaper archives, articles, reports, publications, and e-books supplemented the fieldwork.

For more information on all resources and repositories utilized for research purposes to compile this report, please see the “US 101 Coast Highway Historic Context Research Plan” (Appendix D).


While conducting research at the coastal repositories, the project team drove the entire length of the US 101 corridor to identify the highway’s important characteristics, resource types, development patterns, and key features. Fieldwork occurred on two trips, during the following time periods in 2014:

  • July 29th – August 4th

  • September 4th – 8th

During fieldwork, the team met with representatives from the regional ODOT Area Management offices, representatives from coastal museums and historical societies, and Lori Robertson of the National Forest Service, who was the team’s primary contact person at the Cape Perpetua Visitor’s Center.4


In order to maintain a reasonable scope of digital research for online archives, library catalogs, and digitized newspapers, a list of keywords and search terms were developed to focus on research goals. Due to the volume of information available on US 101, AECOM made a reasonable effort to identify and include pertinent information from applicable online sources. However, not every online document or publication potentially relevant to this study could be scanned and searched to this level of detail.

The research team identified over 36 libraries and historical societies located along the Oregon Coast Highway, in addition to statewide repositories listed in Section 3.0. Due to the varying holdings of these institutions, AECOM contacted each of these locations to gain a sense of relevant research materials and prioritize sources by focusing on repositories that appeared to possess information relevant to the study.

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