Cascade Locks in Hood River County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)
the Oregon Pony
Early travel on the Oregon Trail was extremely dangerous. The last 100 miles of the journey westward from The Dalles to the Willamette Valley included a difficult raft trip on the Columbia River. Treacherous rapids, shifting sandbars and shear basalt cliffs ended the journey for many pioneers when they approached the Cascades, known today as Cascade Locks.
Early passage at the Cascades was provided by a short portage railroad: Mule-drawn portage cars hauled freight up the steep incline that bypassed the treacherous rapids.
When the Washington portage, located on the north side of the Columbia River, announced plans to upgrade to a steam railroad, the Oregon portage ordered a steam locomotive from the Vulcan Foundary (sic) in San Francisco. On April 25, 1862, the "Oregon Pony," the first steam engine in the Northwest, began operation. This locomotive was nicknamed the "Pony" because it replaced the mules that pulled the old portage cars.
In 1863, the Pony was moved to The Dalles for use on the Celilo portage.
In 1905, after sustaining fire damage, the Oregon Pony was restored, at a cost of $2,000, and returned to Cascade Locks in 1970, on loan from the Oregon Historical Society.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Railroads & Streetcars. A significant historical date for this entry is April 25, 1862.
Location. 45° 40.104′ N, 121° 53.727′ W. Marker is in Cascade Locks, Oregon, in Hood River County. Marker can be reached from Southwest Portage Road near Wa Na Pa Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 417 SW Portage Rd, Cascade Locks OR 97014, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Cascade Falls Portage (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Bridge of the Gods (approx. half a mile away); a different marker also named The Bridge of the Gods (approx. half a mile away in Washington); Lewis and Clark Trail (approx. 1.2 miles away in Washington); Gatekeepers of the Columbia (approx. 1.2 miles away in Washington); "The Great Shoote" (approx. 1.7 miles away in Washington); Steamboats Docked at Stevenson (approx. 1.7 miles away in Washington); Great Depression Threatens Bank (approx. 1.8 miles away in Washington). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cascade Locks.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 17, 2023. It was originally submitted on October 24, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 113 times since then and 47 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 24, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.