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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Cannon Beach, Oregon"
Includes ... Cannon Beach ... Haystack Rock ... Ecola Creek ... Ecola State Park ... Tillamook Head ... the Whale ...
Image, 2010, Cannon Beach, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Haystack Rock as seen from road above Cannon Beach, Oregon. Day overcast and drizzle. Image taken June 28, 2010.


Cannon Beach ...
Cannon Beach is an eight-mile-long beach and also a small Oregon community south of Seaside, Tillamook Head, and Ecola State Park. At 235 feet high, Haystack Rock is one of the prominent features visible from the beach. Ecola Creek, named by Captain Clark in 1806, flows into the Pacific Ocean at the north end of Cannon Beach. The community of Cannon Beach has been known by various names, including Elk Creek and Ecola, but acquired the name "Cannon Beach" in 1922 to agree with the beach.

The "cannon" in Cannon Beach ...
From MacArthur and MacArthur's Oregon Geographic Names (2003):

"... Lt. Neil M. Howison, U.S. Navy, arrived in the Columbia River July 1, 1846, in the schooner Shark for the purpose of making an investigation of part of the Oregon Country for the government. The Shark was wrecked on attempting to leave the Columbia River on September 10, 1846, and part of her deck and a small iron cannon drifted ashore south of Tillamook Head, thus giving the name to Cannon Beach. ..."

From the Cannon Beach History Center website (2010):

"... In October 1846, Lieutenant Howison recieved information through the Tillamook people that part of the ship's hull "with guns upon it" had come ashore south of Tillamook Head. The lieutenant sent Midshipman Simes to visit the location. Simes reported finding the wreckage and succeeded in "getting one cannon above the high-water mark" while two others were left buried. Then in December 1863, mail carrier John Hobson reported seeing a cannon at present-day Arch Cape Creek. Soon after, this cannon became lost when tides buried it in sand. In June 1894, however, it was spotted once again - this time by mail carrier George Luce. With the help of his Nehalem neighbors John and Mary Gerritse and their team of horses, Luce succeeded in pulling the cannon out of the sand, after which time it stood in front of the Austin House Post Office in Arch Cape for several years. ..."

The "cannon of Cannon Beach" today resides at the Cannon Beach History Center and Museum.

Interestingly, in February 2008 two cannons were uncovered on the beaches of Arch Cape during an extremely low tide. They are currently being studied to see if they are from the Shark.


Views ...

Image, 2010, Cannon Beach, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cannon Beach looking north, towards Haystack Rock. View from Tolovana Beach State Park. Image taken July 14, 2010.
Image, 2010, Cannon Beach, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cannon Beach, at Tolovana Beach State Park. Image taken July 14, 2010.
Image, 2010, Cannon Beach, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cannon Beach, heading towards Haystack Rock. Image taken July 14, 2010.
Image, 2010, Cannon Beach, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Haystack Rock and Cannon Beach, Oregon. The Needles are to the left of Haystack Rock. Day overcast and drizzle. Image taken June 28, 2010.
Image, 2010, Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cannon Beach, The Needles, and Haystack Rock. Image taken July 14, 2010.
Image, 2010, The Needles, Cannon Beach, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
The Needles, Cannon Beach, Oregon. Image taken July 14, 2010.


Cannon Beach, etc.

  • Ecola Creek ...
  • Haystack Rock ...
  • Tillamook Head ...
  • Tufted Puffins ...


Ecola Creek ...
The mouth of Ecola Creek enters the Pacific Ocean at the north edge of the Oregon community of Cannon Beach and its picturesque Haystack Rock. The Ecola Creek watershed drains approximately 22 square miles, with the entire basin lying within six miles of the Pacific. Maximum elevation is 3,075 feet. North of Ecola Creek lies Ecola State Park.

Image, 2010, Ecola Creek, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Ecola Creek entering the Pacific Ocean, Cannon Beach, Oregon. Image taken July 14, 2010.


Haystack Rock ...
Haystack Rock is a large 235-feet-high basalt sea stack located at Cannon Beach, Oregon. It is protected as a sanctuary for birds and marine creatures. Tufted Puffins, Pigeon Guillemots, Pelagic Cormorants, and Western Gulls nest on the rock. Captain Clark looked upon Haystack Rock from Tillamook Head in January 1806, but did not single it out.
[More]

Image, 2010, Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon. Image taken July 14, 2010.


Tillamook Head ...
To the north of Cannon Beach is Tillamook Head, a large headland jutting into the Pacific Ocean, and further up the coast is Seaside, the location of Lewis and Clark's "Salt Works". Lewis and Clark called Tillamook Head "Clark's Point of View".
[More]

Tufted Puffins ...
"Tufted Puffins"
Georgia Gerber, Clinton, WA.
Cast Bronze

"Every spring a colony of Tufted Puffins journeys back to Haystack Rock from their long winter at sea. On a low-tide misty morning I became enamored by these charming and somewhat clownish seabirds. Since their return to land is to mate and hatch their young, I portray them as a pair."


Image, 2010, Cannon Beach, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Tufted Puffins, Cannon Beach, Oregon. Image taken July 14, 2010.
Image, 2010, Cannon Beach, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Tufted Puffins, Cannon Beach, Oregon. Image taken July 14, 2010.
Image, 2010, Cannon Beach, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Tufted Puffins, Cannon Beach, Oregon. Image taken July 14, 2010.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, January 8, 1806 ...
The last night proved fair and Cold wind hard from the S. E. we Set out early and proceeded to the top of the mountain [Tillamook Head] next to the which is much the highest part and that part faceing the Sea is open, from this point I beheld the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed, in my frount a boundless Ocean; to the N. and N. E. the coast as as far as my sight Could be extended, the Seas rageing with emence wave and brakeing with great force from the rocks of Cape Disapointment [Cape Disappointment, Washington] as far as I could See to the N. W. The Clatsops Chinnooks and other villagers on each Side of the Columbia river and in the Praries below me [Clatsop Beach, also referred to as Clatsop Plains, comprised of Sunset Beach and Columbia Beach. This area today is the location of Seaside, Oregon], the meanderings of 3 handsom Streams heading in Small lakes at the foot the high Country; The Columbia River for a Some distance up, with its Bays and Small rivers and on the other Side I have a view of the Coast for an emence distance to the S. E. by S. the nitches and points of high land which forms this Corse for a long ways aded to the inoumerable rocks of emence Sise out at a great distance from the Shore [such as Haystack Rock] and against which the Seas brak with great force gives this Coast a most romantic appearance. from this point of View [Tillamook Head] my guide pointed to a village at the mouth fo a Small river [Ecola Creek] near which place he Said the whale was, he also pointed to 4 other places where the princpal Villages of the Kil la mox were Situated, I could plainly See the houses of 2 of those Villeges & the Smoke of a 3rd which was two far of for me to disern with my naked eye ... after taking the Courses and computed the Distances in my own mind, I proceeded on down a Steep decent to a Single house the remains of an old Kil a mox Town in a nitch imediately on the Sea Coast, at which place great no. of eregular rocks are out and the waves comes in with great force. ... The Coast in the neighbourhood of this old village is slipping from the Sides of the high hills, in emence masses; fifty or a hundred acres at a time give way and a great proportion of an instant precipitated into the Ocean.     those hills and mountains are principally composed of a yellow Clay; their Slipping off or Spliting assunder at this time is no doubt Caused by the incessant rains which has fallen within the last two months.     the mountains Covered with a verry heavy Croth of pine & furr, also the white Cedar or arbor vita and a Small proportion of the black alder, this alder grows to the hight of Sixty or Seventy feet and from 2 to 3 feet in diamiter. Some Speies of pine on the top of the Point of View [Tillamook Head] rise to the emmence hight of 210 feet and from 8 to 12 feet in diameter, and are perfectly Sound and Solid.     Wind hard from the S. E and See looked [blank] in the after part of the Day breaking with great force against the Scattering rocks at Some distance from Shore [possibly those at the base of Ecola Point, Ecola State Park], and the ruged rockey points under which we were obleged to pass and if we had unfortunately made one false Stet we Should eneviateably have fallen into the Sea and dashed against the rocks in an instant, fortunately we passed over 3 of those dismal points and arived on a butifull Sand Shore on which we Continued for 2 miles [Cannon Beach], Crossed a Creek [Ecola Creek] 80 yards near 5 Cabins, and proceeded to the place the whale had perished, found only the Skelleton of this monster on the Sand between 2 of the villages of the Kil a mox nation; the Whale [Historians believe it was the Blue Whale] was already pillaged of every valuable part by the Kil a mox Inds. in the vecinity of whose village's it lay on the Strand where the waves and tide had driven up & left it.     this Skeleton measured 105 feet.     I returned to the village of 5 Cabins on the Creek which I shall call E co-la or whale Creek [today known as Ecola Creek], found the nativs busily engaged boiling the blubber, which they performed in a large Squar wooden trought by means of hot Stones; ...





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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: Cannon Beach History Center website, 2010, "The Cannons"; McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland;

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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July 2010