Santiam Wagon Road added to national history list

The Santiam Wagon Road located in rural Linn and Deschutes counties is one of Oregon’s latest entries in the National Register of Historic Places.

Oregon’s State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation recommended the Santiam Wagon Road nomination in October 2009. The road joins three other wagon roads in Oregon listed in the National Register, which is maintained by the National Park Service under the authority of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.

Officially opened in 1866, the Santiam Wagon Road was listed in the National Register for its role in helping to connect Oregon’s two disparate sections, the Willamette Valley in the west and the Deschutes River Basin in the east, by providing a primary means of transportation across the central Cascade Mountains from the mid-nineteenth through early twentieth centuries.

The Santiam Wagon Road helped contribute to the economic development on both the east and west sides of the Cascade Mountains by providing a more reliable route to facilitate trade, commerce, and communication.

The road also helped shape the settlement patterns of central Oregon, as former Willamette Valley residents made the journey east to establish new homes, ranches, farms, and businesses.

The Santiam Wagon Road served as an important transportation link in Oregon for over 50 years before becoming largely obsolete with the completion and opening of the modern McKenzie Highway (OR 242) in 1920.

More information about the National Register and recent Oregon listings is online at http://www.oregonheritage.org (click on “State Historic Preservation Office” at left of page and then “National Register”).

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