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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Beacon Rock, Washington"
Includes ... Beacon Rock ... "Beaten Rock" ... Beacon Rock State Park ... "Pillar Rock" ... "Castle Rock" ... "Inshoack Castle" ... "McLeod's Castle" ... The Golden Age of Postcards ... Columbia River at Beacon Rock ...
Image, 2010, Beacon Rock, Washington, click to enlarge
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Beacon Rock, Washington, as seen from boat dock. Beacon Rock is a large 840-foot-high basalt plug. The Missoula Floods eroded away the softer outer material. View from Beacon Rock boat dock. Pierce National Wildlife Refuge is at the waters edge. Image taken November 2, 2010.


Beacon Rock ...
Beacon Rock is located on the Washington State side of the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 142, near Skamania and Skamania Landing. Just upstream is Hamilton Island, and four miles upstream is Bonneville Dam. Downstream are located Woodard Creek, Duncan Creek, Skamania Landing, Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge and St. Cloud Wayside. Along the river beginning at the base of Beacon Rock and heading upstream is the Pierce National Wildlife Refuge. Pierce Island lies just offshore along the Washington side of the Columbia. While Lewis and Clark referred to the feature as "Beaten Rock" and "Beacon Rock", early setters called it "Castle Rock".

Beacon Rock Geology ...
Beacon Rock is an olivine basalt plug which rises 848 feet in elevation. (Note: according to the USGS GNIS database, July 2014, Beacon Rock is at elevation 722 feet.)

"... The rock was once thought to be the eroded vent-filling of a Pliocene volcano, however, recent age dates ... suggest a young age of 50 to 60 thousand years ago. It is actually the southernmost of several necks (or a great north-south dike) extending to the north for more than 2 miles. It is red, scoriaceous, and vesicular near the summit. Baked contacts with the Eagle Creek Formation are found to the south and southwest, and the columnar structure on the east side is horizontal, east and west; on the west side, the columns are vertical. ..." [Norman and Roloff, 2004]

Research on Beacon Rock finds it one of the youngest Boring Lava cones. Another young Washington State Boring volcano is the maar at Battle Ground Lake, located west of Beacon Rock.

"... By 1.0 Ma, volcanic centers had appeared in all parts of the Boring Volcanic Field. Activity has continued sporadically since that time, interrupted only by an apparent lull near 500 ka. The youngest dated voclano in the Boring Volcanic Field is the massive plug of Beacon Rock at 57 ka, its enclosing cinder cone evidently having been stripped by the lastest Pleistocene Missoula Floods. The undated maar at Battle Ground Lake, which was blasted through a c. 100 ka lava flow, is the only other known vent likely to be much younger than ca. 100ka. ..." [Evarts, et.al., 2009]

Between 12 and 15 thousand years ago the Missoula Floods eroded away the softer outer material leaving visible the harder rock.


Image, 2010, Beacon Rock, Washington, click to enlarge
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"Nothing left but the core" ... Beacon Rock, Washington, as seen from boat dock. Beacon Rock is a large 840-foot-high basalt plug. The Missoula Floods eroded away the softer outer material. Image taken November 2, 2010.
Image, 2010, Beacon Rock, Washington, click to enlarge
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"Nothing left but the core" ... Beacon Rock, Washington, as seen from boat dock. Beacon Rock is a large 840-foot-high basalt plug. The Missoula Floods eroded away the softer outer material. Image taken November 2, 2010.
Image, 2004, Beacon Rock, Washington, click to enlarge
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Beacon Rock basalt, as seen as Beacon Rock boat launch. Image taken October 27, 2004.


Beacon Rock State Park ...
Beacon Rock State Park is located in Washington State, 35 miles east of Vancouver, Washington. The park is a 4,650-acre year-round camping park, which includes 9,500 feet of Columbia River freshwater shoreline. Henry J. Biddle purchased the rock in order to build a trail to the top. The trail was built, and in 1935 his heirs turned the rock over to the state for use as a park. Additional development was done by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Beacon Rock trail ...

From The Lewis and Clark Columbia River Water Trail (Hay, 2004):

"The first recorded owner of Beacon Rock was Phillip Ritz, a pioneer who came to Oregon in 1850. He sold it in 1870 to a Philadelphia banker named Jay Cooke, a backer of the Northern Pacific Railroad, who sold it to Charles Ladd in 1904. Ladd sold the rock to Henry J. Biddle in 1915 on the condition that the rock be preserved. Biddle's sole reason for buying the rock was to build a trail to its summit; he was attracted by the idea of building a trail "in perhaps the most difficult location in which a trail had ever been built". Biddle's trail would not result in the first climb to the summit, however. That honor went to Frank J. Smith and Charles Church of Portland, and George Purser of White Salmon, in 1901. In late 1915 Biddle hired Charles "Tin Can" Johnson, who had previously been employed as a construction foreman on Highway 30 (Columbia River Highway), to build the trail to the top of the rock. It was completed in April 1918, extending a length of 4,500 feet from the North Bank Highway (now Highway 14) to the top of the rock. The trail was 4 feet wide, with a maximum grade of 15 percent, and included fifty-two hair-pin turns and twenty-two wooden bridges (the bridges were later replaced with steel). After the trail was complete, Biddle maintained it for public use, without charge."
From the University of Oregon Libraries website (Henry J. Biddle Photographs, 2009):

"... In 1915 Henry Biddle reputedly paid $1 to acquire Castle Rock from Charles E. Ladd. Both men were concerned that this landmark on the Columbia Gorge, first described by Lewis & Clark in 1805 as Beacon Rock, be preserved from developers. Biddle helped convince the United States Board of Geographic Names to restore the name in 1916. An avid hiker and engineer, Biddle designed and constructed a trail to the top of the rock between October 1915 and April 1918. Biddle Butte is a nearby landmark, also owned by and named for Biddle. ..."

Biddle Butte, locally known as "Mount Zion", is located downstream of Beacon Rock.

From Paul Gerald, Special to The Oregonian, Saturday, November 22, 2008, online at "OregonLive.com" website (2009):

"... Not counting winter breaks, it took two years starting in 1915 to construct a trail 4,500 feet long, 4 feet wide and including 52 switchbacks, 100 concrete slabs and, originally, 22 wooden bridges. "Some of the original ironwork is still there, especially on the turns," said Eric Plunkett, superintendent of Beacon Rock State Park. "And if you look real close, you can find old steel eye bolts in the rock." The wood bridges have long been replaced and the rock walls lower down rebuilt, though from the same rock. The original cable was replaced in the 1950s by a handrail. ..."

Image, 2009, Beacon Rock, Washington, click to enlarge
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Plaque, Beacon Rock trail, Washington. Image taken May 3, 2009.

THIS TRAIL
Built By HENRY J. BIDDLE
Assisted By CHAS. JOHNSON
Begun October 1915
Completed April 1918
Image, 2009, Beacon Rock, Washington, click to enlarge
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Beacon Rock trail, Washington. Image taken May 3, 2009.
Image, 2009, Beacon Rock, Washington, click to enlarge
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Beacon Rock trail, Washington. Image taken May 3, 2009.
Image, 2009, Beacon Rock, Washington, click to enlarge
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Beacon Rock trail, Washington. Image taken May 3, 2009.
Image, 2009, Beacon Rock, Washington, click to enlarge
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View, Beacon Rock trail, Washington. Image taken May 3, 2009.


Early Beacon Rock ...
Beacon Rock has gone by many names since the journey of Lewis and Clark. Names included "Beaten Rock" and "Beacon Rock" (Lewis and Clark), "Pillar Rock" (Rev. Parker), "Inoshoack Castle" (Alexander Ross), "Castle" (Charles Wilkes), "Castle Rock" and "McLeod's Castle" (James Alden). In the heyday of the Penny Postcard, "Castle Rock" was in use. In 1916 the United States Board of Geographic Names made official "Beacon Rock".

On October 31, 1805, Lewis and Clark saw Beacon Rock and in his journal, Captain Clark called it "Beaten Rock". It was near Beacon Rock that they first measured tidal influences from the ocean on the Columbia River.

"... a remarkable high detached rock Stands in a bottom on the Stard Side near the lower point of this Island on the Stard. Side about 800 feet high and 400 paces around, we call the Beaten rock. ..." [Clark, October 31, 1805]

"... a remarkable high rock on Stard. Side about 800 feet high & 400 yds round, the Beaten Rock ..." [Clark, November 2, 1805, first draft]

It wasn't until Lewis and Clark's return in 1806 was the feature referred to as "Beacon Rock".

"... the river is here about 1 1/2 miles wide; it's general width from the beacon rock which may be esteemed the head of tide water, to the marshey islands is from one to 2 miles tho' in many places it is still wider. it is only in the fall of the year when the river is low that the tides are persceptable as high as the beacon rock. this remarkable rock which stands on the North shore of the river is unconnected with the hills and rises to the hight of seven hundred feet; it has some pine or reather fir timber on it's nothern side, the southern is a precipice of it's whole hight. it rises to a very sharp point and is visible for 20 miles below on the river. ..." [Lewis, April 6, 1806]

"... at 2 oClock P. M we Set out and passed under the Beacon rock on the North Side of two Small Islds. Situated nearest the N. side. ..." [Clark, April 9, 1806]

In 1811 Beacon Rock was called "Inshoack Castle" by Alexander Ross of the John Jacob Astor expedition.

"... We, however, continued our toil till late in the evening, when, in place of a uniform smooth and strong current, as usual, the water became confused and ripply, with whirlpools and cross currents, indicating the proximity of some obstruction. At the foot of a rocky cliff, which we named Inshoach Castle, we put ashore for the night; nor did we see a single Indian all day. Mr. Thompson encamped on one side of the river, and we on the other. General course, to-day, nearly east. ..." [Ross, 1849, narrative of July 27, 1811]

On February 5, 1833 Nathaniel Wyeth wrote about Beacon Rock and an island possibly in the same location of today's Pierce Island:

"... We left camp at 7 ock and made 4 miles to breakfast and in 7 mils more the foot of the Cascades our breakfast was made on a small island abreast of a rock rising perpendicular from the bed of the river as I should think 400 feet high Lewis & Clark call it I think 700 feet this rock is nearly surrounded by the waters of the river ..."

In 1837 Reverend Samuel Parker gave a description of Beacon Rock, which he called "Pillar Rock", in his publication "Journal of an Exploring Tour Beyond the Rocky Mountains". "Brant island" is possibly today's Hamilton Island, and the "extraordinary cascade of water" may be today's Multnomah Falls.

"... Toward the lower part of Brant island I re-embarked, and we proceeded a few miles farther and encamped below Pillar rock, over against an extraordinary cascade of water which descends the mountains from the south. Pillar rock is of basaltic formation, situated on the north side of the river, a few rods from the shore, on a narrow strip of rich bottom-land, wholly isolated, rising five hundred feet, on the river side perpendicular, and on the others nearly so. Upon all, except the river side, there are some very narrow offsets upon which grow some cedars, and also a very few upon the highest point. The base in comparison with the height, is very small, giving the whole the appearance of an enormous pillar. This is one of the astonishing wonders of volcanic operations. ..."

In 1841 Charles Wilkes of the U.S. Exploring Expedition called Beacon Rock simply "Castle".

"... Seven miles above Long Island is the head of navigation, near what was named Castle, at Observatory Point, on the north shore. ..." [Wilkes, 1841]

In 1857 James W. Alden painted a watercolor of Beacon Rock and called it "Castle Rock or 'McLeod's Castle', right bank of Columbia River. (Cascades of the Columbia)". The painting was part of the Northwest Boundary Commission, established in 1856 (finishing in 1869) to survey the 49th parallel, today's boundary between the United States and Canada.. Alden accompanied the survey in the 1860s sketching landscapes along the route.

Beacon Rock was called "Castle Rock" for many years (see "The Golden Age of Postcards" below). Confusion arose however with another Castle Rock, located along the Cowlitz River.

In 1916 the United States Board of Geographic Names made official "Beacon Rock".


Views of Beacon Rock ...

Image, 2004, Beacon Rock and Hamilton Mountain, Washington, click to enlarge
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Beacon Rock and Hamilton Mountain, Washington. Image taken October 27, 2004.
Image, 2013, Beacon Rock and Hamilton Mountain, Washington, click to enlarge
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Beacon Rock and Hamilton Mountain, Washington. Image taken January 31, 2013.
Image, 2006, Beacon Rock, Washington, click to enlarge
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Beacon Rock, Washington. Image taken July 2, 2006.
Image, 2010, Beacon Rock, Washington, click to enlarge
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November ... Beacon Rock, Washington. Image taken November 2, 2010.


Almost blown up ...
Beacon Rock almost didn't survive the construction of the Columbia River jetty.

"... The rock ... was climbed for the first time in 1901, by men who left spikes and ropes in place for others. In 1914, a group of 47 Mazamas made the trip. In that same year, Henry J. Biddle, a prominent engineer from Philadelphia, bought the land (for $1, legend has it) from Charles E. Ladd of the banking family that gave us Ladd's Addition. Ladd had bought the land from men who intended to blast Beacon Rock to bits for jetty material. A century after Lewis and Clark described and named it, Beacon Rock itself was set to be destroyed in 1904. There is evidence that the effort to blow up Beacon Rock was under way when Biddle bought it. Plunkett (Eric Plunkett, superintendent of Beacon Rock State Park) says he's found "a blast star" on the southwest corner. And, he says, three tunnels at the base on the south side were dug to put explosives in. ..."
[Paul Gerald, Special to The Oregonian, Saturday, November 22, 2008, online at "OregonLive.com" website, 2009]

Image, 2004, Beacon Rock, Washington, from near Dodson, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Beacon Rock, Washington, as seen from road to Warrendale, Oregon. Image taken November 4, 2004.


Beacon Rock in 1940 ...
From the Oregon State Archives "A 1940 Journey Across Oregon":

"... At 153.2 m. BEACON ROCK, across the Columbia (R), is seen. Alexander Ross, the fur trader, called it Inshoach Castle. A landmark for river voyagers for more than a hundred years, it is now surmounted by a beacon to guide airplanes. A stirring chapter of Genevieve: A Tale of Oregon relates dramatic events that took place on its summit. A foot trail has been carved in its side from base to crest. ..."


Columbia River at Beacon Rock ...
Along the Columbia beginning at the base of Beacon Rock and heading upstream is the Pierce National Wildlife Refuge. Pierce Island lies just offshore along the Washington side of the Columbia.

Image, 2004, Columbia River at Beacon Rock, click to enlarge
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Columbia River from Beacon Rock. Image taken October 27, 2004.


Beacon Rock from upstream ...
Lewis and Clark first spotted Beacon Rock on October 31, 1805, as they were portaging around the rapids caused by the Table Mountain Landslide. The men passed by Beacon Rock on November 2, 1805. In their 1805 journals, Clark called the rock "Beaten Rock". Good upstream views of Beacon Rock can be seen from Bonneville Dam, Hamilton Island, and the mouths of Tanner Creek and Eagle Creek.

Image, 2003, Beacon Rock from Bonneville Dam, click to enlarge
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Beacon Rock, Washington, as seen from upstream near Bonneville Dam. Hamilton Island is in the foreground. Image taken October 25, 2003.

"... a remarkable high rock on Stard. Side about 800 feet high & 400 yds round, the Beaten Rock. The mountains and bottoms thickly timbered with Pine Spruce Cotton and a kind of maple ..." [Clark, November 2, 1805, first draft]
Image, 2005, Beacon Rock from Hamilton Island, click to enlarge
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Beacon Rock, Washington, as seen from Hamilton Island, Washington. Pierce Island is visible on the left. Image taken April 2, 2005.
Image, 2005, Beacon Rock from Bonneville Dam, click to enlarge
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Beacon Rock, Washington, as seen from Bonneville Dam, Washington side. Image taken June 19, 2005.
Image, 2009, Beacon Rock as seen from mouth of Eagle Creek, click to enlarge
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Beacon Rock, Washington, and the Bonneville Dam, as seen from the mouth of Eagle Creek, Oregon. Image taken November 11, 2009.
Image, 2005, Beacon Rock from Tanner Creek, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Beacon Rock, Washington, as seen from Tanner Creek, Oregon. Hamilton Island is in the foreground. Image taken June 19, 2005.


Beacon Rock from downstream ...
On April 6, 1806, the Lewis and Clark expedition once again spotted Beacon Rock on their journey back home, and this time their journal entries use the name "Beacon Rock". Captain Lewis comments that Beacon Rock is the upper end of the ocean's tidal effect. On April 9, 1806, Lewis and Clark journeyed passed Beacon Rock on their way upriver.

" ... the river is here about 1 1/2 miles wide; it's general width from the beacon rock which may be esteemed the head of tide water, to the marshey islands is from one to 2 miles tho' in many places it is still wider.     it is only in the fall of the year when the river is low that the tides are persceptable as high as the beacon rock.     this remarkable rock which stands on the North shore of the river is unconnected with the hills and rises to the hight of seven hundred feet; it has some pine or reather fir timber on it's northern side, the southern is a precipice of it's whole hight.     it rises to a very sharp point and is visible for 20 miles below on the river. ..." [Lewis, April 6, 1806]

The "marshy islands" mentioned in Lewis's April 6th passage, today are a part of the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge, upstream of Astoria, Oregon.


Image, 2005, Beacon Rock from Skamania Landing, click to enlarge
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Beacon Rock from Skamania Landing, Washington. Image taken June 29, 2005.
Image, 2005, Beacon Rock from Dodson boat ramp, click to enlarge
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Beacon Rock, Washington, as seen from the boat ramp near Dodson, Oregon. Image taken October 22, 2005.
Image, 2004, Beacon Rock from Dalton Point, click to enlarge
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Beacon Rock, Washington, as seen from Dalton Point, Oregon. Image taken June 27, 2004.
Image, 2003, Columbia River looking upstream from Dalton Point, with Beacon Rock, click to enlarge
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Columbia River looking upstream from Dalton Point, Oregon, with Beacon Rock off in the distance. Beacon Rock, Washington, is visible in this view of the Columbia River taken from Dalton Point, Oregon. Image taken October 25, 2003.
Image, 2006, Columbia River looking upstream from Cape Horn, click to enlarge
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Columbia River looking upstream from Cape Horn, Washington. Skamania Island and Beacon Rock are in the distance. Image taken April 22, 2006.


A Climber on Beacon Rock ...
Spot the climber, in red. Images taken from Warrendale, Oregon.

Image, 2005, Beacon Rock, Washington, from Warrendale, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Beacon Rock, Washington, as seen from Warrendale, Oregon. Image taken October 22, 2005.
Image, 2005, Beacon Rock, Washington, from Warrendale, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Beacon Rock, Washington, as seen from Warrendale, Oregon. Image taken October 22, 2005.
Image, 2005, Beacon Rock, Washington, click to enlarge
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Beacon Rock basalts as seen from Warrendale, Oregon. Note climber in red !!!!!!!!! Image taken October 22, 2005.


"The Golden Age of Postcards" ...

The early 1900s was the "Golden Age of Postcards". The "Penny Postcard" became a popular way to send greetings to friends and family. Today the Penny Postcards have become a snapshot of history.

Penny Postcard, Beacon Rock, downstream side, with dock, ca.1908
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Penny Postcard: Beacon Rock ("Castle Rock"), on the Columbia River, ca.1908. Penny Postcard, Postmarked 1908, "Castle Rock on Columbia River, Winter Scene". Published by M.R.L.A. Made in Germany. Card #2968. Card is postmarked August 29, 1908. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Beacon Rock, winter, ca.1908
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Penny Postcard: Winter Scene, Beacon Rock ("Castle Rock"), on the Columbia River, ca.1908. Penny Postcard, Postmarked 1908, "Castle Rock on Columbia River, Winter Scene". Published by Sprouse & Son, Importers and Publishers, Tacoma, Wash. Postcard has postmark of 1908. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Beacon Rock and Fish Wheel, ca.1910
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Penny Postcard: Beacon Rock ("Castle Rock") with Fish Wheel and Row Boat, ca.1910. Penny Postcard, ca.1910, "Castle Rock, Columbia River, Oregon." Published by Detroit Publishing Company. Card #5556. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Beacon Rock and Hamilton Mountain, ca.1910
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Penny Postcard: Beacon Rock ("Castle Rock") and Hamilton Mountain, ca.1910. Printed in Germany. Card #5552. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Beacon Rock and Train, ca.1910
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Penny Postcard: Beacon Rock ("Castle Rock") on the North Bank Road, ca.1910. Penny Postcard, ca.1910, "Castle Rock on the Columbia River, On the North Bank Road." Published by Portland Postcard Co., Portland, Oregon. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Beacon Rock, as seen from the Historic Columbia River Highway, ca.1917
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Penny Postcard: Beacon Rock ("Castle Rock") and Hamilton Mountain, ca.1917. Penny Postcard, ca.1917, "Castle Rock, Table Mountain in the Distance, Columbia River. Seen from the Highway." This is in error as it is Hamilton Mountain in the background. Published by Chas. S. Lipschuetz Company, Portland, Oregon. Card is postmarked 1917. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Fishwheel across from Beacon Rock, ca.1920
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Penny Postcard: Fishwheel on the Oregon side of the Columbia, across from Beacon Rock, Washington, ca.1920. Penny Postcard, ca.1920, "Fish Wheel, Seen from the Columbia River Highway." Published by Lipschuetz and Katz, Portland, Oregon. Card #386. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 31, 1805 ...
A Cloudy rainey disagreeable morning I proceeded down the river to view with more attention [Cascade Locks area] we had to pass on the river below, the two men with me Jo. Fields & Peter Crusat proceeded down to examine the rapids the Great Shute [Cascade Rapids] which commenced at the Island on which we encamped [Ashes Lake, now under the waters of the Bonneville Reservoir] Continud with great rapidity and force thro a narrow chanel much compressd. and interspersed with large rocks for a mile, at a mile lower is a verry Considerable rapid at which place the waves are remarkably high, and proceeded on in a old Indian parth 2 miles by land thro a thick wood & hill Side, to the river where the Indians make a portage, from this place I dispatched Peter Crusat (our principal waterman) back to follow the river and examine the practibility of the Canoes passing, as the rapids appeared to continue down below as far as I could See, I with Jo. Fields proceeded on, at a mile below the end of the portage [Fort Rains] ...     at 2 miles lower & 5 below our Camp I passed a village of 4 large houses abandend by the nativs, with their dores bared up, ...     from a Short distance below the vaults the mountain which is but low on the Stard. Side leave the river, and a leavel Stoney open bottom Suckceeds on the Said Std. Side for a great Distance down, the mountains high and rugid on the Lard Side this open bottom is about 2 miles a Short distance below this village is a bad Stoney rapid and appears to be the last in view I observed at this lower rapid the remains of a large and antient Village which I could plainly trace by the Sinks in which they had formed their houses, as also those in which they had buried their fish- from this rapid to the lower end of the portage [vicinity of Fort Cascades at the lower end of Hamilton Island] the river is Crouded with rocks of various Sizes between which the water passes with great velociety createing in many places large Waves, an Island which is Situated near the Lard. Side [Bradford Island] occupies about half the distance the lower point of which is at this rapid. immediately below this rapid the high water passes through a narrow Chanel through the Stard. Bottom forming an Island of 3 miles <wide> Long & one wide, I walked through this Island [Hamilton Island] which I found to be verry rich land, and had every appearance of haveing been at Some distant period Cultivated. at this time it is Covered with grass intersperced with Strawberry vines. I observed Several places on this Island where the nativs had dug for roots and from its lower point I observed 5 Indians in a Canoe below the upper point of an Island near the middle of the river Covered with tall timber [???],    which indued me to believe that a village was at no great distanc below, I could not See any rapids below <for> in the extent of my view which was for a long distance down the river, which from the last rapids [Middle Cascades] widened and had everry appearance of being effected by the tide,- I deturmind to return to Camp 10 miles distant [on an island by Ashes Lake, across from Cascade Locks, Oregon], a remarkable high detached rock Stands in a bottom on the Stard Side [Beacon Rock] near the lower point of this Island on the Stard. Side about 800 feet high and 400 paces around, we call the Beaten rock.     a Brook [Hamilton Creek] falls into the narrow Chanel [Hamilton Slough, today's Greenleaf Slough] which forms the Strawberry Island [Hamilton Island], which at this time has no running water, but has every appearance of dischargeing emence torrents &c. &c. Jo. Fields Shot a Sand hill Crane. I returned by the Same rout on an Indian parth passing up on the N W. Side of the river to our Camp at the Great Shute [an island near Ashes Lake, across from Cascade Locks, now under the waters of Bonneville Reservoir]. found Several Indians from the village, I Smoked with them; Soon after my return two Canoes loaded with fish & Bear grass for the trade below, came down from the village at the mouth of the Catterack River [Klickitat River], they unloaded and turned their Canoes up Side down on the beech, & camped under a Shelveing rock below our Camp ...

This Great Shute or falls [Upper Cascade Rapids] is about a mile with the water of this great river Compressed within the Space of 150 paces in which there is great numbers of both large and Small rocks, water passing with great velocity forming & boiling in a most horriable manner, with a fall of about 20 feet, below it widens to about 200 paces and current gentle for a Short distance. a Short distance above is three Small rockey Islands, and at the head of those falls, three Small rockey Islands are Situated Crosswise the river, Several rocks above in the river & 4 large rocks in the head of the Shute; those obstructions together with the high Stones which are continually brakeing loose from the mountain on the Stard Side and roleing down into the Shute aded to those which brake loose from those Islands above and lodge in the Shute, must be the Cause of the rivers daming up to Such a distance above, <and Show> where it Shows Such evidant marks of the Common current of the river being much lower than at the present day






Clark, November 2, 1805, first draft ...
Meridian altitude 59 45' 45" made a portage of about 1 miles with half of the Baggage, and run the rapid with the Canoes without much damage ...     we Set out Passed 2 bad rapids one at 2 & the other at 4 mile below the Isd on Lard. and upper end of Strawberry Island [Hamilton Island] on the Stard. Side from the Creek end of last Course

S. 50 W. 5 miles to a timbered bottom on the Lard. Side, passed the Lowr. point of Strawbery Isd. [Hamilton Island] at 3 miles, a Isd Covd with wood below on Stard. Side a remarkable high rock on Stard. Side about 800 feet high & 400 yds round, the Beaten Rock. [Beacon Rock] The mountains and bottoms thickly timbered with Pine Spruce Cotton and a kind of maple Passed 2 Small wooded Islands on Std. Side [Pierce and Ives Islands], below the lower Island on the Stard. Side at 4 miles an Indian village of 9 Houses. The river wider and bottoms more extencive.

S. 47 W. 12 miles to a Stard. point of rocks of a high clift of black rocks [Cape Horn]. passed a Stard. Point at 4 miles. here the moun- tains are low on each Side & thickly timbered with pine. river about 2 miles wide, passed a rock [Phoca Rock] at 10 miles in the middle of the river this rock is 100 feet high & 80 feet Diameter, a deep bend to the Stard. Side,



Clark, November 2, 1805 ...
Examined the rapid below us [from their camp at Fort Rains, looking at the Cascade Rapids] more pertcelarly the danger appearing too great to Hazzard our Canoes loaded, dispatched all the men who could not Swim with loads to the end of the portage below, I also walked to the end of the portage with the carriers where I delayed untill everry articles was brought over and canoes arrived Safe. here we brackfast and took a Meridn. altitude 59 45' 45" about the time we were Setting out 7 Squars came over loaded with Dried fish, and bear grass neetly bundled up, Soon after 4 Indian men came down over the rapid in a large canoe.     passed a rapid at 2 miles & 1 at 4 miles opposite the lower point of a high Island on the Lard Side [Bradford Island], and a little below 4 Houses on the Stard. Bank, a Small Creek on the Lard Side [Tanner Creek] opposit Straw berry Island [Hamilton Island], which heads below the last rapid, opposit the lower point of this Island [Hamilton Island] passed three Islands covered with tall timber [today there are two, Ives and Pierce] opposit the Beatin rock [Beacon Rock]    Those Islands are nearest the Starboard Side, imediately below on the Stard. Side passed a village of nine houses [indentified on Atlas map#79 as the "Wah-clallah Tribe of Shahala Nation", location near today's Skamania and Skamania Landing], which is Situated between 2 Small Creeks [Woodard Creek and Duncan Creek], and are of the Same construction of those above; here the river widens to near a mile, and the bottoms are more extensive and thickly timbered, as also the high mountains on each Side, with Pine, Spruce pine, Cotton wood, a Species of ash, and alder.     at 17 miles passed a rock near the middle of the river [Phoca Rock], about 100 feet high and 80 feet Diamuter,     proceed on down a Smoth gentle Stream of about 2 miles wide, in which the tide has its effect as high as the Beaten rock [Beacon Rock] or the Last rapids at Strawberry Island [Hamilton Island],- Saw great numbers of waterfowl of Different kinds, Such as Swan, Geese, white & grey brants, ducks of various kinds, Guls, & Pleaver [today just below Beacon Rock is Franz National Wildlife Refuge]. ...     we encamped under a high projecting rock on the Lard. Side [Rooster Rock, with Crown Point rising above it],     here the mountains leave the river on each Side [leaving the Columbia River Gorge, Steigerwald Land NWR is on the north and the Sandy River delta is on the south], which from the great Shute to this place is high and rugid [Columbia River Gorge]; thickly Covered with timber principalley of the Pine Species. The bottoms below appear extensive and thickly Covered with wood.     river here about 2 miles wide.     Seven Indians in a Canoe on their way down to trade with the nativs below, encamp with us, those we left at the portage passed us this evening and proceeded on down The ebb tide rose here about 9 Inches, the flood tide must rise here much higher- we made 29 miles to day from the Great Shute [Cascade Locks]-






Lewis, April 6, 1806 ...
This morning we had the dryed meat secured in skins and the canoes loaded; we took breakfast and departed at 9 A. M. we continued up the N. side of the river nearly to the place at which we had encamped [Rooster Rock] on the 3rd of Nov. [in error, their camp of November 2, 1805] when we passed the river to the south side in quest of the hunters we had sent up yesterday and the day before. from the appearance of a rock [Rooster Rock] near which we had encamped on the 3rd of November last [in error, November 2, 1805] I could judge better of the rise of the water than I could at any point below. I think the flood of this spring has been about 12 feet higher than it was at that time; the river is here about 1 miles wide; it's general width from the beacon rock [Beacon Rock] which may be esteemed the head of tide water, to the marshey islands [near the mouth of the Columbia River, today part of the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge] is from one to 2 miles tho' in many places it is still wider. it is only in the fall of the year when the river is low that the tides are persceptable as high as the beacon rock [Beacon Rock]. this remarkable rock which stands on the North shore of the river is unconnected with the hills and rises to the hight of seven hundred feet; it has some pine or reather fir timber on it's nothern side, the southern is a precipice of it's whole hight. it rises to a very sharp point and is visible for 20 miles below on the river.





Clark, April 9, 1806 ...
at 2 oClock P. M we Set out and passed under the Beacon rock [Beacon Rock] on the North Side of two Small Islds. [Pierce and Ives Islands] Situated nearest the N. side.



Lewis, April 9, 1806 ...
at 2 P. M. we renewed our voyage; passed under the beacon rock [Beacon Rock] on the north side, to the left of two small islands [Pierce and Ives Islands] situated near the shore.




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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, 2004

Sources:    Evarts, R.C., Conrey, R.M., Fleck, R.J., and Hagstrum, J.T., 2009, The Boring Volcanic Field of Portland-Vancouver area, Oregon and Washington: Tectonically anomalous forearc volcanism in an urban setting: IN: The Geological Society of America Field Guide 15;    Hay, K.G., 2004, The Lewis and Clark Columbia River Water Trail, Timber Press, Portland;    Mountain Men and the Fur Trade website, 2005;    Norman, D.K., and Roloff, J.M., 2004, A Self-Guided Tour of the Geology of the Columbia River Gorge - Portland Airport to Skamania Lodge, Stevenson, Washington, Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources Open File Report 2004-7, March 2004;    Oregon State Archives website, 2009, "A 1940 Journey Across Oregon";    "OregonLive.com" website, 2009, Paul Gerald, Special to The Oregonian, Saturday, November 22, 2008;    Ross, A., 1849, Adventures of the First Settlers on the Oregon or Columbia River;    University of Oregon Libraries website, 2009, Henry J. Biddle Photographs:    U.S. Geological Survey, Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) website, 2014;    U.S. Library of Congress website, 2006, "Rivers, Edens, Empires";    U.S. National Archives website, 2006;    Washington State Parks and Recreation website, 2003;

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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February 2013