The Historic Columbia River Highway is a stretch of road along the Oregon shore of the Columbia River. Built between 1913 and 1922, engineer Samuel C. Lancaster designed the highway in a manner not often seen for long-distance roads. Rather than prioritizing the most efficient or easiest-to-traverse path, emphasis was given to providing access to natural features. Providing scenic views was more important than establishing a commercial link between eastern and western Oregon.
However, this idyllic stance would soon lead to difficulties. When the U.S. route system was established in 1926, the Columbia River Highway was the only existing road along the path of US Route 30, and as such, became part of that highway. While it remained a scenic drive, the road was unable to cope with the influx of traffic. Highway officials soon set about fixing the problems by bypassing the most difficult sections of road. The Interstate System was established in 1956, and the Columbia River Highway was bypassed entirely by Interstate 84. What portions of the old road weren’t destroyed by I-84’s construction were left for local traffic only.
By the 1980s, interest had grown in restoring the old road. In 1983, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places (missing out on being the first road on that list by a matter of months; that honor went to the Going-to-the-Sun Road instead). In 1987, local artist Teresa Kasner created a marker for the Historic Columbia River Highway. Her pen-and-ink drawing was based on the cover of The Columbia: America’s Great Highway, a book Samuel Lancaster wrote about the road. With a few adjustments, Kasner’s original design, in its distinctive “keystone” shape, was posted along the highway for many years. A later version of the marker incorporates Kasner’s design while additionally noting its status as an Oregon Scenic Byway.
Relive your experiences along the Historic Columbia River Highway with our replicas of the unique signs posted along this scenic road. We’ve recreated both the original 1987 design and the one you can find along the road today. Both versions have been meticulously researched to produce an accurate depiction of the originals. Add a taste of Northwestern river scenery to your home or property and order this sign today.
Our replica signs are flat printed on sturdy 14-gauge steel. Our print process produces non-reflective signs that are perfect indoors but can stand up to the elements outdoors. The 1987 “keystone” marker is available in sizes from 12 inches square up to 36 inches square. The Oregon Scenic Byway version of the marker is available in sizes from 9 inches tall up to 27 inches tall. No matter the size or style, we’ve included two mounting holes for easy installation. (Looking for a sign, but can’t find it? Our library has thousands of signs, but we can always add more! Just contact Jake to get started placing your custom order.)