Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Webfoot Wednesday: Crossing the Mighty Columbia

Searching for inspiration, I took yet another look at my handy, dandy "This Day in Oregon" book and found a fascinating little tidbit that might place into perspective the commotion over a potential toll on the Columbia River Crossing bridge.

"Oct. 5: On this date, 1846, John Switzler was authorized the operation of a ferry across the Columbia River opposite Fort Vancouver for a period of five years. His toll rates were as follows: footman, 25 cents; horseman, 75 cents; one wagon with yoke of oxen or team, $3.00; horse or cattle, each 25 cents; sheep or hog, 12 1/2 cents; 100 pounds of freight, 25 cents."

Of course, people weren't commuting across the Columbia River daily in 1846. Even so, using a formula based upon nominal GDP per capita, 25 cents in 1846 is equivalent to about $116 today. (See this Web site for a really cool calculator.) Makes a couple bucks seem quite a bit more reasonable, eh?

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