Megler [mɛg•lər]


1. a small unincorporated community in southwest Washington located in Pacific County on the north bank of the Columbia River. Megler’s docks handled the north end of ferry traffic across the Columbia from 1921 until 1966

2. Astoria-Megler Bridge: a 4.1-mile steel-and-concrete truss bridge that spans the Columbia River between Astoria, Oregon and Point Ellice near Megler, Washington. After years of negotiation, construction of the bridge began in 1962 as a joint venture between the Oregon and Washington departments of transportation. When it opened in July of 1966, more than 240,000 cars crossed the bridge in the last five months of that inaugural year, and it now carries more than 7,000 vehicles a day. The total cost of building the bridge was roughly $24 million; this was initially repaid to the states through a toll, which was abolished in 1993 after the cost had been recompensed a full two years before it was scheduled to end. As the last link of U.S. 101 to be completed, the bridge has the honor of joining the entire West Coast of the U.S. between the Mexican and Canadian borders with uninterrupted highway. The Astoria-Megler Bridge is still the longest continuous truss bridge in the nation


The Washington community is named in honor of Joseph G. Megler, better known as J.G. Megler, a German-born pioneer who first moved to Wahkiakum County, Washington in 1871 to pursue salmon canning. In 1873, Megler built his own cannery, which would come to be one of the largest in the region. Megler was elected as a Republican to the first Washington legislature in 1889 to represent Wahkiakum County. He won re-election once but lost his seat in 1893. Megler himself named the area and the town that grew up around his cannery Brookfield in honor of his wife’s Massachuetts birth place of the same name. Following his death in 1915, Megler Cove in Pacific County, which Megler himself always called “Hungry Harbor,” is where Megler and his wife had a fish-receiving station for their cannery, and the spot was named for him. Later, a rest stop in the area took on his name, but it was changed to Dismal Nitch in 2005 in accordance with the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial. After plenty of discussion, the bridge was eventually named, like the ferry service that came before it, after the two communities that it connects.

“Joseph G. Megler, one of the pioneer salmon packers on the Columbia River, and one of the most widely known and highly respected citizens of the Pacific Northwest, died suddenly about 4:30 o’clock this morning at his home in Brookfield, Wash., of heart failure.”

—“J.G. Megler dies,” The Morning Oregonian, Saturday, Sept. 11, 1915, P. 5

“Wilson and his team studied the Chinook Indian Middle Village, once located at the mouth of the Columbia River in an area on the Washington side of the Astoria-Megler Bridge.”

—“What yesterday’s rubbish means today,” Cannon Beach Gazette, Friday, Aug. 12, 2016

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