Cascade Locks History Signs
“Cemeteries are places of peace – and repositories of history. The inscriptions, styles, and even materials of cemetery monuments bear witness to the changing times. Cascade Locks Cemetery, established in 1874, tells many stories – from the pioneer era to the present.
“In the 1960′s, volunteers clearing brush at the back of this cemetery discovered scattered wooden slabs: “headstones” from the 1870′s and 1880′s, when pioneer life was defined by wood, not stone. Because these “stones” were broken and decayed beyond legibility, we will never know who, or how many are buried there.”
“Graves from the 1880′s onward are marked with stone and bear the names of Cascade Lock’s pioneer familes. Particularly prominent are Scandinavian names – reflecting the large number of Norwegian immigrants who settled in this area to fish for salmon at the Cascades or sell cordwood to steamboat captains.”
“You are standing beside a segment of what ws once the most celebrated highway in the West – the Columbia River Highway. When this road – the nation’s first scenic highway – reached Cascade Locks in 1915, the town was more than ready to accommodate the influx of automobile tourists.
“Since the 1850s, this town has catered to travelers. Early visitors rattled into Whisky Flats (today’s Cascade Locks,) dusty from their wagon or train journey over the portage road around the Cascade Rapids. Later travelers disembarked from stern-wheelers bumping at the docks, or stepped out of first-class railroad compartments, ready for a day of picnics and sightseeing. The town had a long tradition of providing cordwood, provisions, entertainment, assistance, and comfort.
“The establishment of gas stations, garages, and a newfangled “auto camp” (the forerunner of today’s motel) brought Cascade Locks “up to speed” with the new wave of automobile tourists. The town became a convenient stop for gas-powered nomads – a place to fuel the car, pause for lemonade or home-made pie, and stretch their legs as they journeyed along the scenic road.”