From Donner Pass to the Pacific

Jack Duncan 2001 100 pages 24.95

"A Map History convering 150 Years of California's Lincoln Highway, Victory Highway, US-40, I-80, Henness Pass, Pacific Turnpike and Dutch Flat Donner Lake Toll Roads from 1852-2002

I suppose this book review should have been part of our articles about the Lincoln Highway and Rainbow Bridge in our December issue. But I didn't know I had the book. I was doing some other research and came across the paragraph above referencing this book and I thought, Wow, that sounds like a good book to have. Apparently I thought so some years ago, because it turned out to be on my bookshelf. Such is life when subject to approaching decrepitude (yes, the word is made up but one must use humor when dealing with serious subjects and you get the idea).

If you are interested in the whole of the Lincoln Highway in California and the various iterations of the highways you will really like this book. I'll just focus on the Donner Summit portion which is good enough reason to buy this book.

The book is maps and pictures with a little text. You can see a picture of where the City of San Francisco train was trapped by the 1952 blizzard and then relate that to the map on the next page. Pictures of old cars crossing the Summit, including the first car to cross the Summit in 1911 are interesting as are other old pictures.

The primary reason for the book is the maps. Topographic maps are almost half the book. Each one delineates the trails and highways that crossed those sections of the maps: the freeway, Old 40, the Lincoln Highway, and wagon train routes. On each opposite page there are pictures and text illustrating the sections. Taking this book one could have fun tracking the old pieces of the routes. Since the wagon route diverges the most from the highways, you could have some interesting and even challenging hikes. It would just be fun finding abandoned portions of the Lincoln Highway which are closer to modern transportation. Old cabin and hotel sites, which are delineated, could also be good fun.

If you like history and the outdoors, this book could be an interesting starting point for many Summit outings such as the one on the next page.