Underwood Parks, Rec Presenting King of Roads

Tom Burns, playing Sam Hill, talking with Joe Garoutte, who plays Chief Engineer Sam Lancaster in the documentary King of Roads. (Submitted photo)

King of Roads, a documentary about the historic Columbia River Highway, will be showing at the Underwood Community Center Thursday, April 19, at 7 p.m.

Proceeds from the show will benefit the Underwood Parks and Recreation District. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students. Children under 12 are free. Tickets available at the door only!

Two special guests will be present for this event. Terra Lingley, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic area coordinator for the Oregon Department of Transportation, will be on hand to provide an update on highway restoration projects. Lorelei Haukness, recreation program manager for Region 6 of the US Forest Service, will speak about current conditions in the Columbia Gorge that may affect access to the Historic Highway over the coming months, due to last fall’s Eagle Creek fire.

King of Roads explores the history, cultural impact, and future of the Historic Columbia River Highway, constructed between 1913-1916 in the Columbia River Gorge. The challenges faced by Sam Hill, whose vision and fund-raising provided the impetus to build the highway, and his chief engineer, Sam Lancaster, are examined.

The documentary raises awareness of the Gorge and encourages tourism on the re-opened Historic Columbia River Highway and surrounding communities.

Producers John Hardham and E. Michael Friend used period footage, interviews, current scenes and dramatizations to recreate the rich cultural, political and economic forces that prompted the creation of a unique roadway that has lasted 100 years. The highway’s creation reflected the realities not only of Oregon but of early twentieth century America.

“This production could not have happened without the participation and support of many people and organizations throughout the Gorge,” said Friend. “We are especially grateful for support from Travel Oregon, the Maryhill Museum of Art, the History Museum of Hood River County and the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center.”

Friend and Hardham will have copies of the book that accompanies the film available for sale.

The producers also commended the excellent work of actors Tom Burns as Sam Hill and Joe Garoutte as Sam Lancaster. The documentary was produced with the assistance of an all-local crew, and features Dave Meriwether, former Hood River County Administrator, as the narrator.

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