But I did read it. Why? Because for one thing, I'm genuinely interested in Northwest history. And for another thing, I'm from Seattle, and I tend to get nostalgic about the Pacific Northwest.
This book restricts its definition of the Northwest to only Washington, Oregon, and the northern half of California. This seems strange to me, since most of Idaho is on the western side of the Rockies, and not the eastern. I've always thought of Idaho as being in the Pacific Northwest, and a case could also be made for Western Montana, most of Nevada, and even parts of Wyoming and Utah.
But whatever. Geographic definitions are often plagued by a certain arbitrariness, and any attempt to set limits on what we call the Pacific Northwest is bound to make someone unhappy.
As for the text present in this book, it is, as said above, beside the point. There's also a sizable chunk of it missing, and it repeats itself a lot. I have the feeling that whoever was editing this thing wasn't paying much attention, and that's fine because, again, this book is mostly an excuse for pictures.
Why not, then, use it as an excuse for my pictures? What follows below are pictures I took while I was driving/camping around the Pacific Northwest last summer. And when I say Pacific Northwest, I mean Washington, Oregon, Northern California, Idaho, Western Montana, and even Utah. I'd throw in some pictures of Nevada too, but I didn't make it that far south this time.
I will attempt to be historic in my comments. It might not be the history you read about in Historic America: The Northwest, but it is history, after a fashion.
1. First Trip: Seattle WA - Portland OR - The Oregon Coast - Crescent City CA - Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park CA - Grants Pass OR - Seattle WA
This is Portland, Oregon. For a long time it was a close race between Portland and Seattle as to which city would be the Northwest's premier city. For the time being Seattle has won that race, largely owing to the Alaskan Gold Rush in the 1800s.
Stub Stewart State Park west of Portland, about 40 minutes down the "Sunset Highway." I believe Mr. Stewart was a noted local conservationist.
Bike trail between Stub Stewart State Park and Vernonia, Oregon. Once upon a time Vernonia was a big lumber town, and many of the buildings there are very old. Nowadays most people in Vernonia would be glad to have a job at the local Subway.
Depoe Bay, Oregon. Part of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was filmed here.
Jessie M. Honeyman State Park. No idea who Mr. Honeyman was, but his state park is awesome.
The Oregon Dunes near Florence, Oregon. While writing an article about this area Frank Herbert came up with the idea for his novel Dune.
Hands-down my favorite part of Oregon. Not much history, but I love the slow battle between the forest and the sand.
Bridge into Florence, Oregon. There is a historic downtown area that dates back to the 1800s.
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. It's hard to really capture the scale of these trees in a photograph. If you haven't been, you really ought to see them for yourself.
These are, as is often stated, the largest things living.
Woodland Park, Seattle. Monument to some kind of disagreement between the United States and the Philippines.
Summer sky over suburban Seattle.
Lake Union, in the center of Seattle. After the completion of the Lake Washington Shipping Canal, this became an important hub for shipping.
2. Second Trip: Seattle WA - Ellensburg WA - Spring Canyon/Grand Coulee WA - Spokane WA - Lolo National Forest MT - Missoula MT - Lolo National Forest MT - Spring Canyon/Grand Coulee WA - Seattle WA
Old signs in an Ellensburg restaurant.
Native crafts in the Klickitat County Museum in downtown Ellensburg. The Klickitat were one of the major tribes in this area. There were also the Colville, further north.
Spring Canyon Campground, just across the water from Grand Coulee Dam.
It was large projects like this that helped the U.S. survive the Great Depression. The water trapped behind the dam made farming and pasturing possible in former desert areas.
Somewhere beyond the hills on the other side of the lake lies the Colville Indian Reservation. It's about as remote as you can get.
Downtown Spokane. Not especially interesting or scenic, but a welcome stop after a long drive through the desert.
Many of the buildings in downtown Spokane are very old. This city lies along the terminus of the Northern Pacific Railway.
Along the Clark Fork, in Western Montana. Yes, it's named after that Clark. It's also the largest river in Montana.
Further west along the Clark Fork, not far from St. Regis.
The town of Grand Coulee. This isn't just what a desert town looks like, it's also what economic depression looks like. Farmers in this area are having a tough time.
Highway between Grand Coulee and Electric City.
3. Third Trip: Seattle WA - Ellensburg WA - Yakima WA - Tri-Cities (Kennewick) WA - Farewell Bend State Park OR - Salt Lake City UT - Glenn's Ferry ID - Boise ID - Emigrant Springs Campground OR - Seattle WA
Farewell Bend State Park, near the Oregon/Idaho border. Settlers often stopped here, proceeded west along the Oregon Trail, and then found that the water in Farewell Bend had made them sick.
That haze in the sky isn't cloud cover, it's the smoke from a forest fire in Montana. That smoke followed us all the way down to Utah.
The Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah. A very photogenic building, I must say.
The Mormons settled in Salt Lake City after several misadventures further east. First there was the whole polygamy thing, then there was a bank failure, and lastly there were the Indians they encountered along the Oregon Trail.
Townspeople angered over Joseph Smith's "eccentricity." Taken in the Church of Latter-Day Saints History Museum next to the Temple.
"Ancient" Mormon architecture.
Shopping center in the middle of Salt Lake City.
Glenn's Ferry, Idaho. Many of those following the Oregon Trail crossed the Snake River here.
In the best of times it was a difficult crossing, and many lost their lives trying to ford the river.
The relations between the white settlers and the Indians were tumultuous, and the U.S. government has still not honored many of the treaties it made with the tribes in the 1800s.
But hey, with that kind of sunset you tend to forget about the suffering that must have occurred here.
Downtown Boise. This was the site of Fort Boise, which was an important stop for settlers. Boring city though.
Near Baker City, Oregon. The bones of settlers are still found out here on occasion.
Emigrant Springs Campground, between La Grande and Pendleton, Oregon. Prior to the days of the Oregon Trail, I believe John Jacob Astor's party stopped here on their way to founding Astoria.
It is, by the way, a BEAUTIFUL area, and I hope to return to Oregon's Blue Mountains some day soon.