…Continued from Westport.
The town of Knappa was named after Aaron Knapp, Jr., an early settler of the area. The Knappa post office operated from 1873 to 1943. The actual town of Knappa is actually a little inland from the river, and the railroad stays close to the river here and doesn't actually go through Knappa. Two roads cross the railroad at Knappa. Knappa Road crosses above the tracks on an old wooden overpass. Waterhouse Road crosses the tracks at a traditional grade crossing. But this grade crossing is unique; it is still protected by an antique railroad crossing signal known as a Magnetic Flagman or wigwag.
This type of signal was manufactured by the Magnetic Signal Company of Los Angeles, California from 1910 to 1949. It takes its name from the movement it makes; the black and white banner with the red light in the middle swings, "wigwags" back and forth. The movement is similar to that made by a human flagman while swinging a flag or lantern to stop traffic. The signal also features a bell.
Just north of the tracks, Waterhouse Road turns to intersect with Knappa Road, which is just to the east. The Knappa Road overpass is adjacent to the Waterhouse Road crossing, making this a very photogenic spot for train photographs. Unfortunately, the Portland & Western has no freight business this far down the line, so without the Lewis & Clark Explorer train, this area sees almost no rail traffic.
The wigwag was removed in March of 2007.
For more information on wigwags, visit Dan's Wigwag Site.
Continue to Astoria…