Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Beacon Rock and Beacon Rock State Park, Washington"
Includes ... Beacon Rock ... "Beaten Rock" ... Beacon Rock State Park ... "Pillar Rock" ... "Castle Rock" ... "Inshoack Castle" ... "McLeod's Castle" ... Columbia River at Beacon Rock ...
Image, 2010, Beacon Rock, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
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. Hamilton Mountain and Aldrich Butte are nearby. 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 U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System (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 volcano 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
Click image to enlarge
"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
Click image to enlarge
"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.


"Che-che-op-tin" ...
"The Indians of this region were, no doubt, well acquainted with the rock, but there is not a particle of evidence that they ever climbed it, or used it for signalling purposes. indeed, even had they been capable of the feat of ascending the rock, their superstitious fears would probably have kept them from doing so.

That they had such fears is evidenced by the warning an old Indian, living near the Cascades, gave us shortly after work had been commenced on the trail to the summit of the rock. It will be rememebered that the year 1916 started with a succession of violent sleet and rain storms. This old Indian told us the bad weather was a sign of the anger of the gods, anger caused by our having blasted on the rock. The Cascade Indians called the rock "Che-che-op-tin," but they could not explain the meaning of this name, which was, no doubt, given to it by some more ancient inhabitants of the region which they displaced.

Perhaps another fact might be taken as evidence that the rock was considered a sacred spot by the Indians: In 1904 some carved wooded figures, resembling "totems" were found at the base of the cliff, on the east side of the rock, and at a place where the cliff overhangs. These figures ... are about three feet high, and shows traces of red and black coloring. In the narrative of the Lewis and Clark expedition mention is made of the Indians near the Cascades having in their abodes similar figures, which they adorned with trophies of war and the chase."


Source:    Henry J. Biddle, 1924, "Beacon Rock on the Columbia, Legends of Traditions of a Famous Landmark", a monograph written for "The Spectator", Portland, Oregon, courtesy Oregon State Libraries, 2016.


Early Beacon Rock ...
"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."


Source:    K.G. Hay, 2004, The Lewis and Clark Columbia River Water Trail, Timber Press, Portland.

Many Names of 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. Confusion arose however with another Castle Rock, located along the Cowlitz River.

"Near Butler, massive Che-che-aptan, as the Indians called Castle Rock, dominates the scene." ["Oregon Daily Journal", May 19, 1916]

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


First Ascent ...
"For nearly a hundred years after the first white man saw the rock, no one seems to have made any serious attempt to reach its summit. Then on August 24, 1901, Frank J. Smith and Charles Church of Portland, and George Purser of White Salmon, made the ascent. These first climbers showed great skill and courage; after they had placed spikes and ropes at the most difficult places, the task was naturally made much easier. They were follwed by many others, among whom was Mrs. Frank J. Smith, the first woman to make the climb."


Source:    Henry J. Biddle, 1924, "Beacon Rock on the Columbia, Legends of Traditions of a Famous Landmark", a monograph written for "The Spectator", Portland, Oregon, courtesy Oregon State Libraries, 2016.

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. ..."


Views ...

Image, 2016, Beacon Rock, Washington, click to enlarge
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Beacon Rock, Washington. Hamilton Mountain is on the right. Image taken September 26, 2016.
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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Beacon Rock, Washington. Image taken November 2, 2010.


Beacon Rock, etc.

  • Almost Blown Up ...
  • Beacon Rock Campground ...
  • Beacon Rock from downstream ...
  • Beacon Rock from upstream ...
  • Beacon Rock Lookout ...
  • Beacon Rock State Park ...
  • Beacon Rock Trail ...
  • Climber on Beacon Rock ...
  • Views from Beacon Rock ...


Almost blown up ...
Beacon Rock almost didn't survive the construction of the Columbia River jetty. According to Paul Gerald, Special to The Oregonian, Saturday, November 22, 2008 (online at "OregonLive.com" website, 2009):

"... 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. ..."

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 Campground ...
The Beacon Rock Campground was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) between 1939 and 1941. Nestled in the forest, it features 26 tent camping spots, some of which are reserved for hikers and bikers (the Pacific Crest Trail passes nearby). An unknown-purpose stone chimney sits between sites 16 and 17. This campground is not built to accomodate todays RVs.

Image, 2016, Beacon Rock, Washington, click to enlarge
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Sign, Beacon Rock Campground, Beacon Rock, Washington. Image taken September 26, 2016.
Image, 2016, Beacon Rock, Washington, click to enlarge
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Camp site #1, Beacon Rock Campground, Beacon Rock, Washington. Image taken September 26, 2016.
Image, 2016, Beacon Rock, Washington, click to enlarge
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Stone Chimney, Beacon Rock Campground, Beacon Rock, Washington. View as seen from the campground road. This chimney is between camping spots 16 (seen on right) and 17. Image taken September 26, 2016.
Image, 2016, Beacon Rock, Washington, click to enlarge
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Fireplace, Stone Chimney, Beacon Rock Campground, Beacon Rock, Washington. View as seen while standing at edge of small gully. Image taken September 26, 2016.


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, 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.


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, 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.

"... 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 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, Bonneville Dam and Beacon Rock as seen from mouth of Eagle Creek, click to enlarge
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Bonneville Dam and Beacon Rock, Washington, as seen from the mouth of Eagle Creek, Oregon. Image taken November 29, 2009.


Beacon Rock Lookout ...
Beacon Rock Lookout
Washington Division of Forestry
1 mile north of Skamania
Skamania County, Washington
Elevation 730 feet
USGS Benchmark RD2117
1930s: camp
Abandoned 1950s


Source:    "firelookout.com" website, 2019.


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.

To Commemorate
HENRY J. BIDDLE
For His Labor And Love
For Nature So That This
And Future Generations
Can Enjoy The Scenic
Beauty In This Beacon
Rock State Park

September 6, 1937

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


Beacon Rock Trail ...
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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View, Beacon Rock trail, Washington. Image taken May 3, 2009.


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.


Views from 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.
Image, 2016, Columbia River at Beacon Rock, click to enlarge
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Columbia River from Beacon Rock. Pierce Island is on the right. Image taken September 26, 2016.


"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.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 31, 1805 ...





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 ...





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:
  • Biddle, H.J., 1924, "Beacon Rock on the Columbia, Legends of Traditions of a Famous Landmark", a monograph written for "The Spectator", Portland, Oregon, courtesy Oregon State Libraries, 2016.
  • 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;
  • "firelookout.com" website, 2019;
  • Historic Oregon Newspapers Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2019;
  • 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's Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) database, 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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September 2016