An icon of a bygone era
While you’re here, be sure to stop and see the Oregon Pony locomotive, an icon of a bygone, unique period in Gorge history. The Oregon Pony is now owned by the State of Oregon and is kept in the climate controlled exhibition chamber next to the Historical Museum.
Weighing only 8 tons, with a length of only 14.5 feet, The Oregon Pony steam locomotive was the first of its kind to be built on the Pacific Coast and the first to be used in the Oregon Territory. Before Oregon Pony went to work in 1862, passengers traveled through the Gorge on flat cars running on rails, pulled by mules. Canopies were soon added to protect the passengers and their goods from the sooty steam and smoke that rained down on everything as the little locomotive puffed along.
For four years, the little Oregon Pony engine moved nearly 200 tons a day between the Cascades and Bonneville, until it was transferred to the The Dalles, where it was put to work on the portage around Celilo Falls. It was moved to San Francisco in 1866 and partially damaged by fire in 1904, then partially restored and donated to the Historical Society. The Oregon Pony was displayed at the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition. Finally, in 1970, the Pony was returned to its home in Cascade Locks. The Port of Cascade Locks funded a restoration and built the permanent, covered display where you can find the Oregon Pony today.