Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ebbetts Pass -- Hwy 4

A vintage automatic gasoline pump -- probably not for public use.

Located to the north of Yosemite National Park and to the south of Lake Tahoe, Ebbetts Pass is a high sierra route of east/west passage through the central Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. Formerly used on foot by ancient native peoples, it is now possible to travel through on a National Scenic Byway. For many miles near the summit elevation of approximately 8700 feet above sea level, California State Scenic Highway 4 is a narrow strip of winding pavement with steep grades that is often closed for the months between autumn snowfall and spring snowmelt.

West of the Ebbetts Pass summit is the Bear Valley Mountain Resort. Going down the mountain's western slope from the ski area, Hwy 4 is constructed for higher speeds, heavier use, and is well maintained by CalTrans to be open all year.
Pre-1849 -- This high sierra pass through the central Sierra Nevada was used as a seasonal migration and trade route by native peoples.
1851 -- John Ebbetts traveled through the pass with a mule train. He considered it a possible route for the transcontinental railroad.
1854 -- John Ebbetts died in a steamboat explosion before he began surveying the pass.
Mid-1850's -- A road was built over the Ebbetts Pass summit. Suppliers on the west side wanted to sell and deliver goods to the mining areas on the east side. These merchants identified the road’s route and provided financing for the original construction along with some later realignments and improvements to the road.
1864-1910 -- The road over Ebbetts Pass was operated as a toll road.
1893 -- Ebbetts Pass was officially named after John Ebbetts when the U.S. Geological Survey surveyed the Markleeville quadrangle.
1911 -- Ebbetts Pass reverted back to a free county road.
1926 -- The Ebbetts Pass road was accepted into the California State Highway system.
1930’s -- Portions of the road were paved.
1960’s -- Portions of Highway 4 were realigned and improved.
1971 -- California State Highway 4 was designated a State Scenic Highway.
2005 -- California State Scenic Highway 4 became a National Scenic Byway; recognized by Congress in the National Scenic Byways Program of the Federal Highway Administration.
Today -- The high sierra Ebbetts Pass is one of the least traveled passes through California's Alps.
source links:
National Scenic Byways Program (NSBP)
Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway Association (EPSBA)
Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia