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  The Soda Springs - Pit River Turnpike

Willard Stone Arrived in Siskiyou County in 1854, as captain of a wagon train from Illinois. Settling in Shasta Valley, he envisioned constructing a toll road as far as the Sacramento River Canyon. There already was a wagon road as far as the county line from the north, and as far as the Pit River from the south. In 1859 he obtained a permit from the State to construct a toll road between these two points.

The road followed the Sacramento River most of the way except where there were high bluffs. Seventeen bridges were built as the road crossed and re-crossed the Sacramento River, searching for an easier road for wagons. Stone completed his road in 1860.

At the Pit River crossing, where the present high bridge is located, on I-5, there was a ferry, that connected the toll road to the already existing wagon road.

An extremely wet winter in 1863-64 destroyed fifteen of the bridges. Lacking the funds to rebuild, Willard Stone sold the road to Dr. Autenrieth, who ran it until it was taken over by the County and eventually by the State Highway Commission.

from The Siskiyou County Museum and Historical Society
Keith Arnold

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