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Early 1900s photos

gallery/1915 view from summit to lake

Above, photo taken soon after the new and safer 1914 underpass opened under the railroad tracks (upper right) with a new road curving around the granite to connect with the old 1864 road. The older road is also visible at right curving into the snowshed. The new 1914 section was only used until 1926 when the nearby replacement highway opened, soon called Highway 40.


Below, the law authorizing the construction of the underpass.






gallery/lincoln highway under railroad summit
gallery/donner city hotel earlyb
gallery/lakeshore hotel 1949

Above, 1915, Wally Gelatt's Donner City Hotel, on the same site as Pollard's Hotel (based on several maps, parcel maps, and photos).  The hotel was expanded several times and the land to the north, south, and east quickly became  a resort area with a campground and several shops and gas stations (more photos coming).


The old highway is barely visible between the hotel and telephone poles. The road remained there as the state highway until 1926. The path of that road would cut through about 10 feet of the back corner of current building occupied by Donner Lake Realty at the corner of Donner Pass Road and South Shore Drive. Around 1950, the old highway, named Old Highway Drive for a new residential area, was slightly diverted to hit South Shore Drive so that more usable lots could be created. At the same time, the hotel was moved to the north side of Highway 40 across from the boat ramp and called Lakeside Hotel (above right photo). It burned down in the 60s.


Below are four early color photos of the old highway at the northwest corner of Donner Lake taken in 1915 by J. Waters (they needed a lot of adjusting to get them to look this good). 

The left photo above is from the other side of the view of first photo below. The photo below used a wide-angle lens which makes the distance from the hotel to the start of the hill look a lot farther than it really was, and the photo above used a telephoto lens which makes the distance look a lot closer. Notice the same telephone poles in the photo below (which line up where future Highway 40 will go). That's a Red Crown Gas sign below.

gallery/best view of west end from above ohd from original
gallery/west end of donner lake view from north

Above, where today Donner Lake Road intersects with Donner Pass road. Looks like it was a smokey day...even the stream reflects a yellow sky.

gallery/donner pass road 1915 r j waters color1
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Below, at the summit, 1915

gallery/20 1915 linc hwy trip

Left photo, notice the rocks placed on the uphill side of the road to create a drainage channel... exactly the same design as seen below in a recent photo taken nearby. Undisturbed for at least 104 years and likely for 154 years.

gallery/hwy 37 southern route edge boulders




Many more photos coming