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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Aldrich Point, Oregon"
Includes ... Aldrich Point ... "Point Samuel" ... "Cathlamet Point" ... "Cathlamet Head" ... Campsite of March 24, 1806 ...
Image, 2012, Aldrich Point, Oregon, boat dock, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Aldrich Point, Oregon. Image taken September 22, 2012.


Aldrich Point ...
Aldrich Point is located on the Oregon side of the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 31, at the head of the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge. It is the northernmost point in the state of Oregon. At one time the area was referred to as "Cathlamet Head". Downstream of Aldrich Point is Brownsmead, Blind Slough, and Knappa Slough and Knappa, Oregon. Upstream is Clifton and Bradwood, Welch Island, and Tenasillahe Island. Nine miles upstream is the mouth of the Westport Slough. Lewis and Clark camped at Aldrich Point on March 24, 1806, a day after leaving their winter camp of Fort Clatsop.

"Point Samuel" ...
Aldrich Point was named for Robert E. Aldrich who once operated a store there. Lewis and Clark called the point "Point Samuel", for Samuel Lewis, a relative of Meriwether Lewis. Samuel Lewis copied the map drawn by Clark in 1814.

Campsite of March 24, 1806 ...
Lewis and Clark's campsite of March 24, 1806 was located on the upstream side of the tip of Aldrich Point, Oregon [Moulton, vol.1, map#81]. Across the river on the Washington side was a Wakiakum village, at today's community of Skamokawa, Washington.

"... we continued our rout along the South side of the river and encamped at an old village of 9 houses opposite to the lower Wackkiacum village ..." [Lewis, March 24, 1806]

"... we proceeded on through Some difficult and narrow Channels between the Seal Islands, and the south side to an old village on the south side opposit to the lower War ki a com village, and Encamped. ..." [Clark, March 24, 1806]

"... we proceeded on thro Some narrow channels between the Seal Islands and the South Shore to an old village on South Side opposite to the lower war kia come village and Encamped ... " [Ordway, March 24, 1806]

"... proceeded on about 12 miles, to a village of the Cath-la-mas where the rest of the party had halted. When I arrived we all proceeded on again, and in the evening encamped at an old village, which had been vacated. ..." [Gass, March 24, 1806]

"... passed through a number of Islands called the Seal Islands, which lay on the So side of the River, and came to where stood an old Indian Village which is on the So. side of the River, opposite to the lower War-ki-a Cum Village. We continued on about One Mile & encamped on the So. side of the River ..." [Whitehouse, March 24, 1806]

Lewis and Clark's previous campsite was at Mill Creek on the upstream side of Tongue Point. Their campsite of March 25, 1806 was on the western bank of the Clatskanie River.


Early Aldrich Point ...
Lewis and Clark called the point "Point Samuel", for Samuel Lewis, a relative of Meriwether Lewis. Samuel Lewis copied the map drawn by Clark in 1814.

In 1841 Charles Wilkes of the U.S. Exploring Expedition called the point "Katalamet Head".

"... Katalamet Head is a high and remarkable bluff, which may be seen from the coast: it borders the river, and is the most northern point of the hills which stretch to the south. ..." [Wilkes, Chapter XVI]

In 1870 land records on the Bureau of Land Management Website (February 2006) show Robert E. Aldrich being granted title to 30.7 acres, for property in T9N R7W Sec.21, Lot 2 or "West Half of SE Quarter".

The 1875 and 1890 U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey Chart "Columbia River Sheet No.2" have the point as "Cathlamet Pt.".

The 1948 U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey Chart #6152 "Columbia River, Harrington Point to Crims Island" has "Aldrich Pt.".


Aldrich Point in 1889 ...
From the 1889 U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey's "Coast Pilot":

"Cathlamet Point -- This is the high point on the south side of the river, one and nine-tenths miles south thirty-one degrees east (S.31o E.) from Three Tree Point. The point is the northwest termination of a rocky spur which projects more than two miles beyond the general margin of the basaltic formation. It reaches an elevation of four hundred and fifty feet only one-quarter of a mile back from the point, and gradually increases to over one thousand feet. It is densely wooded. It is here where the river has its narrowest regimen between the basaltic walls of the canyon-like valley. Part of this width is occupied by low, marshy islets in part wooded, in part having such gentle slopes that the shore-line can not be well defined. The main channel runs close under the north shore; and a channel carrying less than six feet of water runs close under Cathlamet Point. ...

When Broughton, in 1792, made the first examination of the river from the mouth to Point Vancouver, above the mouth of the Willamette, he considered the lower part, from Cape Disappointment ot two or three miles east of Cathlemet and Tree Tree Points, an estuary to the mouth of the river proper. He says: 'The two points of entrance into the river are formed by low, marshy land, the southernmost seemed to be an island; and to the NW. of the northern, a branch took a northerly direction, which was Orchard's River.' This river is now named the Skumaquea Creek, and the low land opposite is Welch's Island and Tenasillahee Island."


Views ...

Image, 2012, Aldrich Point, Oregon, boat dock, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Aldrich Point, Oregon. Image taken September 22, 2012.
Image, 2012, Aldrich Point, Oregon, boat dock, click to enlarge
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Dock, Aldrich Point, Oregon. View looking upstream. Image taken September 22, 2012.
Image, 2012, Aldrich Point, Oregon, beach, click to enlarge
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Beach, Aldrich Point, Oregon. Image taken September 22, 2012.
Image, 2012, Aldrich Point, Oregon, click to enlarge
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View downstream from Aldrich Point, Oregon. Image taken September 22, 2012.
Image, 2012, Aldrich Point, Oregon, boat, click to enlarge
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Boat, Aldrich Point, Oregon. Image taken September 22, 2012.
Image, 2012, Aldrich Point, Oregon, field, click to enlarge
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Field, Aldrich Point, Oregon. Image taken September 22, 2012.
Image, 2012, Aldrich Point, Oregon, farm, click to enlarge
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Farm, Aldrich Point, Oregon. Image taken September 22, 2012.


... 2004 ...

Image, 2004, Aldrich Point, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Aldrich Point, Oregon. View from Aldrich Point boat dock. Image taken November 20, 2004.
Image, 2004, Aldrich Point, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Aldrich Point dock, Oregon. Image taken November 20, 2004.
Image, 2004, Aldrich Point, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Sign at Aldrich Point dock, Oregon. Image taken November 20, 2004.
Image, 2004, Old house, on the road to Aldrich Point, click to enlarge
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Old house seen on the road to Aldrich Point. Image taken November 20, 2004.
Image, 2004, Lewis and Clark NWR from Aldrich Point, looking upstream, click to enlarge
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Tronson Island, Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge, from Aldrich Point, Oregon. Image taken November 20, 2004.
Image, 2004, Tronson Island, Lewis and Clark NWR, click to enlarge
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Tronson Island, Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge. Looking across from Aldrich Point, Oregon. Image taken November 20, 2004.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, March 24, 1806 ...
Sent out 15 men verry early this morning for the flesh of the two Elk killed by Drewyer and Fields yesterday. they returned at 8 oClock ...     Set out at half past 9 a. m. [from their camp at Mill Creek, on the east side of Tongue Point] and proceeded [South Channel, along the shore of Cathlamet Bay. They pass the John Day River, the location of today's Twilight Eagle Sanctuary, and today's Svensen Island] to the Cath lah mah Village [near Knappa, Oregon] at 1 P. M. and remained untill after 3 p. m. at this village ...     we proceeded on through Some difficult and narrow Channels [possibly Knappa Channel] between the Seal Islands [islands in Cathlamet Bay, today part of the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge], and the south side to an old village on the south side opposit to the lower War ki a com village [Skamokawa, Washington], and Encamped [Aldrich Point]. to this old villg. ...     Soon after we made our Camp 2 Indians visited us from the opposite Side, one of them Spoke Several words of English and repeeted the names of the traders, and many of the Salors.     made 16 Miles



Lewis, March 24, 1806 ...
This morning we sent out a party of 15, at light, for the meat, and concluded to take breakfast before we set out. they soon returned. we breakfasted and set out at after 9 A. M. ...     the tide being out this morning we found some difficulty in passing through the bay [Cathlamet Bay] below the Cathlahmah village [Knappa, Oregon]; this side of the river is very shallow to the distance of 4 miles from the shore tho' there is a channel [South Channel] sufficient for canoes near S. side. at 1 P. M. we arrived at the Cathlahmah village [Knappa] where we halted ...    on one of the seal Islands [within today's Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge] opposite to the village [Knappa] of these people thy have scaffolded their dead in canoes elivating them above tidewater mark. ...     at half after 3 P. M. we set out and continued our rout among the seal Islands [islands in the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge]; not paying much attention we mistook our rout which an Indian perceiving pursued overtook us and put us in the wright channel. ...   :  we continued our rout along the South side of the river and encamped at an old village of 9 houses [Aldrich Point] opposite to the lower Wackkiacum village [Skamokawa, Washington].    the night was cold tho' wood was abundant ...     came 15 miles today.




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*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

Sources: Bureau of Land Management website, 2006, "General Land Office Records"; Hay, K.G., 2004, Th Lewis and Clark Columbia River Water Trail, Timber Press, Portland; NOAA Office of Coast Surveys website, 2006;

All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
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September 2012