Historic Hood River
Last Monday I posted this “mystery” image and several of you quickly identified the location. I’ve talked before about how we can use Google Earth to help verify mysteries like this. This is how it works.
Google Earth lets you choose any location above the surface of the Earth (or the Moon for that matter), and lets you place a camera there. Behind this software is a wireframe model– basically a mathematical representation of the surface of the earth based on the elevation of points every couple of meters apart. That wireframe lets the software project what the surface would look like from any point, including an understanding of what would be visible and what is hidden by other surface features. The software then projects a satellite view of the surface on top of the wireframe, creating the very effective illusion of viewing the actual earth’s surface with trees, rocks, and water.
As you can see here I chose a point elevated above the earth roughly west of Starvation Creek on I-84, and adjusted the camera angle until I had a good match. We must be very close to the correct spot because so many of the mountain horizons and rock features line up. It’s not perfect, but it’s a solid match.
Besides verifying the location, this comparison gives a few clues as to the relative level of the river. Note the rocky point sticking out into the river from the Oregon side, east of Starvation Creek. In the old view it rises well above the river and supports a clump of trees. In the “current” view it just makes it out of the water, and all the trees are gone.
I use the desktop version of Google Earth, but if you have a reasonably powerful computer you can try the browser based version here.
Tags: Columbia River, Google Earth, railroad, Starvation Creek
Arthur, amazing technology!
Fascinating. Thanks Arthur. My kids use Google Earth all the time. I get frustrated. I always end up where I don't want to be.
Not only did Bonneville make some major changes, but so did I-84.
In the old photo, the River appears to be in high water flood stage.
Arlen L Sheldrake
this is an absolutely WOW posting Arthur…amazing yesterday-today view.
In the GE image there is a small island (or large rock) offshore from the “rocky point” that is not visible in the old image despite the lower (pre-Bonneville) water level.
JEC, I am interpreting the “small island” in the Google Earth image to be the remains of the rocky point in the old photograph. I base that in part on how it lines up with the peaks on the Washington side.
JED and Arthur – I think the Google Earth image perspective is slightly farther taken from the north, and the original black & white image perspective is taken slightly more to the south, which would obscure the small island in the original photo. Look at the roughly 45 degree downslope on the Washington side for a reference point. Just my 2 cents…