Monday, February 27, 2012


Of all the years we have been traveling up and down Highway 97, we have never stopped at the Peter Skene Ogden Rest Area until this past Saturday.  It is well hidden, and you have to keep your eye out for the sign, but boy was it worth it to stop.  I would rate this as my newest, favorite rest area.
Reading about Mr. Ogden, I found that he led the first recorded journey into central Oregon, discovered Mt. Shasta, rescued the survivors of the Whitman massacre in Walla Walla, and the city of Ogden, Utah is named after him.  The rest area is the site of one of Oregon's most sensational murders, on May 10, 1961, where two children were thrown from the cliff, which plunges straight down about 300-500 feet to the floor of the Gorge and the Crooked River.  The accused, a woman by the name of Jeannace June Freeman, was the only woman in Oregon's history to be sentenced to death.
Aside from that last bit of gruesome history, the rest area itself is beautiful, with fantastic views of the Crooked River Canyon, and the ability to view the historic Oregon Trunk Railroad Bridge, constructed in 1911, and to walk across the Crooked River High Bridge, constructed in 1926, which was used until the late 1990's.  At 296 feet above the river, it was the nation's highest single arch span when constructed.

The bridge built to replace the Crooked River High Bridge is known as the Rex T Barber Memorial Bridge.  It was named after the Oregon native, born and raised in nearby Culver, OR.  Barber achieved fame in World War II by being the fighter pilot who in 1943, shot down the airplane carrying Japanese Adm. Yamamoto, the mastermind of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  There are a few displays of his military achievements and a history of his life afterward.
The one thing you will see over and over as you walk around the rest area, are warning signs about the cliffs, to make sure you supervise children, and because there have been many dogs that made the fatal error of running and jumping off the cliff, pets are restricted to your vehicle or to the designated pet area.

If you happen to find your way on your travels through Oregon on Highway 97, don't miss your opportunity to view this scenic landmark.


Anonymous said...

Great pictures!!! and I'm glad you included the info about the bridge and the area. Most Interesting. I gave my niece, Emily, the blog address so she could access your wonderful pictures and info. I will make sure know about this post. As always, thanks for sharing!

Mom said...

Interesting tidbit of history and beautiful pictures. Do no walk off the cliff.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin