Road to Oregon Caves Expands Southern Oregon Tourism
In 1916, Josephine County received federal money to build an automobile highway between Grants Pass and the Josephine County Caves, known today as the Oregon Caves.
By August, as part of the Shackleford Bill recently passed by Congress, Josephine County was months away from receiving the first payment of a million dollars.
Enthusiasm for the Josephine Caves road reached as far south as Ashland, where promoters believed the road would help make Ashland not only the jumping off point for automobile parties heading to Crater Lake, but also to those traveling to the Josephine County Caves from Oregon’s extreme south.
Soon the road was under construction and tourists began to stream through Ashland and Grants Pass to to visit the “marble halls” of the caves.
The road project proved a good investment. The National Park Service’s latest figures show that 72,717 visitors to the Oregon Caves National Monument in 2013 spent nearly $4.8 million in surrounding communities and provided 70 jobs in the region.
Source: "Seek U.S. Aid For Caves Road." Ashland Tidings 18 Aug. 1916. Web. 15 July 2014.