The Isaac Lee Patterson Bridge

The Isaac Lee Patterson Bridge
The Isaac Lee Patterson Bridge

Who was Isaac Lee Patterson?

Isaac Lee Patterson (1859-1929) was the 18th governor of Oregon, serving from January 10th, 1927, until his death on December 21st, 1929.  He was the first of Oregon’s governors to be born in Oregon, his birthday coming seven months after Oregon joined the Union.  A fiscal conservative, Patterson modeled himself on Calvin Coolidge.  His administration did, however, work to improve Oregon’s highways. 

The Sales Pitch

The photograph is available from my Etsy Shop, LightIntoArt, in a wide variety of sizes and formats. Choose glossy photo paper prints in three sizes: 8×10, 11×14, 16×20. Or if you prefer something larger, choose canvas prints in 16×20, 24×36, or 30×40 inches. Finally, for a spectacular display, you can get this image in 3 panel side-by-side canvas prints at 24 x 72, 36 x 72, or 40 x 90 inches. The video below gives you an idea of what these sizes are like in a living room, bed room or office setting. 

Driving in early 20th Century Oregon

One of the main difficulties in traveling around Oregon was the lack of roads along the Pacific Coast.  A 1919 map shows no roads whatever between Neskowin and North Bend, a distance of 133 miles, roughly one-third of Oregon’s coastline. Numerous rivers flow out of the coastal mountains toward the Pacific, and all of these needed to be bridged for a highway to function.  Enter Conde McCullough, Oregon’s master bridge builder.  You can see more of my photos showing Conde McCullough’s bridges in this post.

Anyone who has driven U.S. 101 across Oregon has driven across at least one of McCullough’s bridges.  The southern-most, spanning the Rogue River on the northern end of Gold Beach, was opened to the public in 1932.  Named for Patterson, when opened the bridge was the longest on the Pacific Coast between Astoria, Oregon and San Francisco.  Incorporating structural elements pioneered by French engineer Eugène Freyssinet, the 1,898-foot-long bridge seems almost simple when viewed from the roadbed.  Get below the bridge and its true beauty shines.  The combination of 7 large arches and numerous small ones is gorgeous.

The story of this photo

I took this photo (one of many I’ve taken of the bridge) from the south bank of the Rogue, looking toward the northeast.  I used a Nikon Coolpix L3, and took the photo on December 1st, 2006, just a week before my new Nikon DSLR arrived.  I’ve since taken many photos of the Isaac Lee Patterson bridge, but this remains my favorite. 

The photo is also available as the January photo in my 2023 Bridges of Western United States calendar.  The video below shows six of the calendar photos, each of which is suitable for framing as an 8 x 10 image. The calendar is available from my Etsy Shop, LightIntoArt, for $30, shipping included.

Bridges of Western United States