Rare color full page illlustration (front and back) celebrating the opening of the Cascade Locks on the Columbia River, in Oregon.
During the 1850s and 1860s, entrepreneurs had developed a rail portage on the river (which was necessary to circumvent the Cascade Rapids), which became part of a transportation monopoly owned by the Oregon Steam Navigation Company (OSN). OSN controlled the portages at the Cascades and between The Dalles and Celilo Falls, as well as all steamboats on the river.
The US Congress authorized a project to build a canal and locks at the Cascade Rapids in 1876. The charge was to support "open-river" navigation on the Columbia between Portland and the agricultural lands of eastern Oregon and Washington. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began work on the project in 1878; but difficult working conditions, changing engineering plans, and erratic congressional appropriations delayed opening the canal and locks until November 1896.
Fred Routledge (1871-1936) was an Oregon artist and pictorial mapmaker, who spent much of his professional life as a correspondent for the Morning Oregonian. His career lasted from the 1890s to the early 1930s. Routledge was a well regarded artist, who received awards for his paintings, including a first prize at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. His ephemeral work as a pictorial cartographer was also very well regarded.
Routledge was born in Abilene, Kansas, raised in Rockford, Illinois, and settled in the Portland area in 1886 with his family. He began working as an illustrator with the West Shore publication before its demise in 1891, thereafter finding wor at the Oregonian in 1895. The January 1, 1896 "Where Rolls the Oregon," is his first work of significant note.