Although Highway 20 didn’t stretch to Newport until 1945, the route between Philomath and Corvallis has always been big news. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

As many folks will recall, the Highway 20 project that involved the construction of a five-mile section of road to bypass Eddyville went on for more than a decade. The intent was to make the drive between Philomath and Newport safer and faster but a series of challenges lengthened the timeline and cost at least $200 million more than original budget estimates.

Let’s go back to a highway project 100 years ago that connected Philomath and Newport. The following appeared in the June 15, 1923 edition of the Albany Daily Democrat:

“Lincoln county, once the possessor of the worst roads in Western Oregon, is soon to be able to boast of the best, as well as the most beautiful in the state. The Albany-Newport highway is rapidly nearing completion and within a few weeks it will be a wonderful artery for all year travel. The road is fine right now. Crushed rock has been laid between Philomath and Newport for the greater part of the way and when the few remaining miles are rocked, it will be possible to go to the beach as easily as Christmas time as it is in June.”

A footnote here: U.S. 20 dates back to the mid-1920s but at the time only went as far as Yellowstone Park in Wyoming. The highway reached Oregon in 1940 and the extension to Newport opened in 1945. Highway 20 bypass projects over the years included south of Corvallis in 1962 and north of Toledo in 1971.

150 years ago

Philomath College: The closing examinations of Philomath College will be held July 2d. In the College Department the examinations will be conducted in writing. Sunday morning, June 29th, at 11 o’clock A.M. in the College Chapel, the Annual Sermon to the students will be preached by Rev. J. Harritt. (Published June 21, 1873, in the Corvallis Gazette).

Store relocation: Mr. Chas. Cooper, of Portland, came in on the Yaquina stage last Thursday evening. He has bought an interest in the store of Kline & Co., at Elk City. They intend to move the store to Philomath, immediately. (Published June 21, 1873, in the Corvallis Gazette).

125 years ago

Philomath College: The board of trustees met Monday at 1 p.m. The usual business was transacted with dispatch. … The financial agent’s report showed $90 indebtedness which balanced by subscription, leaves college practically free from debt. (Published June 24, 1898, in the Corvallis Gazette).

Purchased bicycles: Mrs. J.J. Bryan, Beulah Henkle and Grace Boles have each purchased an Ivanhoe bike. (Published July 1, 1898, in the Corvallis Gazette).

Steam sawmill: William Herron and G.W. Hansel are building a steam sawmill on the Jim Norris place on Woods creek. (Published July 1, 1898, in the Corvallis Gazette).

100 years ago

Oratorical contest: The Sheak Oratorical Contest was held at the College Friday evening, June 8. The gold watch was awarded to Miss Dorothy Kilpatrick, the other contestants being Ivan Kilpatrick and Ralph Harvey. (Published June 13, 1923, in the Corvallis Gazette-Times).

Baby girl: Corvallis friends of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Gellatly will be interested in the announcement that a little daughter was born to the couple Sunday, June 10, at the family home near Philomath. The babe has been christened Della Elizabeth. She is the first girl in the family of three children and the Gellatlys are very happy over her coming. (Published June 15, 1923, in the Corvallis Gazette-Times).

75 years ago

Post office: Beginning July 1, the Philomath post office will be advanced to second class, according to Postmaster Esther Gellatly. The postmaster and clerks will receive more pay but will have to keep the office open more hours. (Published June 18, 1948, in Greater Oregon, Albany).

50 years ago

School budget: Philomath School District board trimmed its budget by an additional $11,064 this week and scheduled a third budget vote July 2. The tax levy has been defeated in two previous elections. Supt. Al Need said the board Tuesday night trimmed about $7,000 from miscellaneous capital outlay, reduced the film rental arrangement and cut the rest due to a payment for appraising costs already made from the current budget. (Published June 14, 1973, in the Oregon Statesman, Salem).

Levy outcome: The school district operating budget for 1973-74 was passed 365 to 241, Monday on its third try. The levy was trimmed by $11,604, to $1,211,416 before its third election. (Published July 3, 1973, in the Oregon Statesman, Salem).