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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Cathedral Park and the St. Johns Bridge, Oregon"
Includes ... Cathedral Park ... St. Johns ... St. Johns Bridge ... Captain Clark's Campsite of April 2, 1806 ...
Image, 2005, St. Johns Bridge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
St. Johns Bridge. Cathedral Park lies underneath the St. Johns Bridge. On April 3, 1806, Captain Clark explored the Willamette River upstream as far as the St. Johns Bridge. Image taken November 20, 2005.


Cathedral Park ...
Cathedral Park is an urban day-use park located in St. Johns, Oregon, on the shore of the Willamette River. The park, located under the eastern end of the St. Johns Bridge, was once a dumping ground for junk.

"... In the early 1970s, Howard Galbraith, the 'honorary mayor' of unincorporated St. Johns, got tired of the junkyard state of the area under the eastern end of the bridge. He organized a drive that eventually raised $7.5 million to build a park. After eight years of community fundraising, combined with state, county and city funding, the park was dedicated at a community celebration on May 3, 1980. It got its name from a photo of the St. Johns Bridge by Al Monner that appeared on the front page of the Oregon Journal in 1968. Reference was made to its beautiful cathedral-like arches and the park found its name. ..." [Portland Parks and Recreation Website, 2006]

Today Cathedral Park is a popular picnicing and fishing location. On the downstream side of the bridge there is a community boat ramp.


Image, 2005, Cathedral Park and the St. Johns Bridge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cathedral Park and the St. Johns Bridge. Cathedral Park lies underneath the St. Johns Bridge. On April 3, 1806, Captain Clark explored the Willamette River upstream as far as the St. Johns Bridge. Image taken November 20, 2005.
Image, 2006, Cathedral Park and the St. Johns Bridge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cathedral Park and the St. Johns Bridge. Cathedral Park lies underneath the St. Johns Bridge. On April 3, 1806, Captain Clark explored the Willamette River upstream as far as the St. Johns Bridge. Image taken February 5, 2006.


St. Johns Bridge ...
The St. Johns Bridge is a Gothic-style cable suspension bridge spanning the Willamette River at River Mile (RM) 6. It replaced the last Portland ferry, which ran between Linnton and St. Johns. Work began on the St. Johns Bridge in September 1929, was completed in May 1931, and dedicated in June. It connected St. Johns with Oregon Highway 30, the route between Portland and Astoria. The Tualatin Mountains rise above the western end of the bridge. The bridge was designed by internationally renowned engineer David B. Steinman and Holton D. Robinson, of New York City. At the time of construction it was the longest suspension-style bridge west of the Mississippi with a total length, exclusive of the roads, being just shy of 3,834 feet. The main span suspension is 1,207 feet, with each side span being 430 feet. The towers rise 400 feet and the spires on top are another 50 feet. The center span of the bridge rises 205 feet above the river. The bridge is reminiscent of a Gothic Cathedral.

Image, 2006, St. Johns Bridge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
St. Johns Bridge, Oregon. Heading northeast to St. Johns, Oregon. Image taken February 5, 2006.


St. Johns, Oregon ...
St. Johns, Oregon, is located on the Willamette River at River Mile 6, two miles downstream from Portland and only two and one-half miles upstream from the head of the Multnomah Channel and Sauvie Island.

The community of St. Johns was named after James John, an early settler who came to Oregon in 1842. James John first settled in the Linnton area, then a few years later moved downstream to the area of today's St. Johns. In 1850 Johns laid out some lots and operated a store. In 1852 he began the ferry run to Linnton with one rowboat, a ferry run which in 1931 would be replaced by the St. Johns Bridge. The St. Johns Post Office was established in August 1873. In 1915 the town of St. Johns was annexed to Portland, Oregon, and, in 1990 the St. Johns Post Office became a branch of the Portland Post Office.

Today the community of St. Johns is home to Cathedral Park and the eastern end of the St. Johns Bridge, the area furthest up the Willamette explored by Captain Clark in April 1806. The community is also home to the St. Johns Theatre and Pub, a building which was the National Cash Register Company's Exhibit Hall at the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition, in Portland, Oregon.
[More]


Image, 2006, St. Johns Pub, St. Johns, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
St. Johns Theatre and Pub, St. Johns, Oregon. Once the National Cash Register Building at the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition. Image taken February 5, 2006.


Willamette River ...
The St. Johns Bridge, Cathedral Park, and the Oregon community of St. Johns are located on the Willamette River at Willamette River Mile (RM) 6.

Image, 2011, Cathedral Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Double-crested Cormorant, Willamette River at Cathedral Park, St. Johns, Oregon. Image taken November 28, 2011.


Captain Clark's Campsite of April 2, 1806 ...
On April 2, 1806, Captain Clark and seven men left their main camp at Cottonwood Beach (Washougal, Washington), entered the Willamette River behind today's Hayden Island, and explored 6 miles of the Willamette, passing the eastern end of the Multnomah Channel as they went. The men spent the night just downstream of today's Cathedral Park, upstream of the Port of Portland's Terminal 4, and across from Linnton, Oregon. The next morning Clark explored just a short distance upstream, reaching the location of today's St. Johns Bridge, before turning around and heading back to the main camp.
[More]

Boat ramp, Willamette River, Cathedral Park ...

Image, 2011, Cathedral Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Boat ramp, Willamette River, Cathedral Park, St. Johns, Oregon. Image taken November 28, 2011.


1800s "Belgian Blocks" ...
The City of Portland re-uses the early "Belgian Blocks" which, in the late 1800s, once covered downtown Portland streets. Cathedral Park is one such location using the old basalt stone.
[More]

Image, 2011, Cathedral Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Belgian blocks underneath park bench, Cathedral Park, St. Johns, Oregon. Image taken November 28, 2011.
Image, 2011, Cathedral Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Belgian blocks underneath park bench, Cathedral Park, St. Johns, Oregon. Image taken November 28, 2011.


Views

Image, 2005, St. Johns Bridge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
St. Johns Bridge, Oregon, as seen from driving Oregon Highway 30. Image taken from car window while driving on Highway 30. Image taken November 20, 2005.
Image, 2005, St. Johns Bridge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
St. Johns Bridge, Oregon. Image taken November 20, 2005.
Image, 2006, St. Johns Bridge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
St. Johns Bridge, Oregon, with fog hanging over the Tualatin Mountains. The vicinity of the St. Johns Bridge is now considered the turn-around point in Captain Clark's exploration of the Willamette River. View from Cathedral Park, St. Johns, Oregon. Image taken February 5, 2006.
Image, 2006, Cathedral Park and the St. Johns Bridge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
St. Johns Bridge and Cathedral Park. Cathedral Park lies underneath the St. Johns Bridge. Image taken February 5, 2006.
Image, 2006, St. Johns Bridge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
St. Johns Bridge and Cathedral Park, St. Johns, Oregon. Cathedral Park lies underneath the St. Johns Bridge. Image taken February 5, 2006.
Image, 2006, St. Johns Bridge, west entrance, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
West entrance, St. Johns Bridge, leading to St. Johns, Oregon. View from ramp off of Oregon Highway 30. Image taken February 5, 2006.


Beneath the St. Johns Bridge ...

Image, 2006, Cathedral Park and the St. Johns Bridge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Under the St. Johns Bridge. Image taken February 5, 2006.
Image, 2006, Cathedral Park and the St. Johns Bridge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Under the St. Johns Bridge. Image taken February 5, 2006.
Image, 2006, Cathedral Park and the St. Johns Bridge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Under the St. Johns Bridge. Image taken February 5, 2006.


... more ...

Image, 2011, St. Johns Bridge, Cathedral Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
St. Johns Bridge, Cathedral Park, St. Johns, Oregon. Image taken November 28, 2011.


Securing the Bridge ...

Image, 2006, Cable attachment, St. Johns Bridge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cable attachment, St. Johns Bridge, St. Johns, Oregon. Image taken February 5, 2006.
Image, 2006, Cable attachment, St. Johns Bridge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cable attachment, St. Johns Bridge, St. Johns, Oregon. Image taken February 5, 2006.
Image, 2006, Cable attachment, St. Johns Bridge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cable attachment, St. Johns Bridge, St. Johns, Oregon. Image taken February 5, 2006.


"The Golden Age of Postcards" ...

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

Penny Postcard, St. Johns Bridge with the U.S.S. Portland, ca.1930, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: The U.S.S. Portland crossing beneath the St. Johns Bridge, Willamette River, ca.1930. Penny Postcard, ca.1930, "U.S.S. Portland Passing Under St. John's Bridge, Portland, Oregon.". The caption on the back reads: "The St. John's Bridge was completed in June, 1931, at a cost of $4,250,000 and its span of 205 feet above the Willamette River is sufficient to allow any type of vessel to pass under it. The Bridge is 3,833 feet in length. Image Copyright Angelus. Published by Angelus Commercial Studio, Portland, Oregon. Card #27. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, April 2, 1806 ...
This morning we came to a resolution to remain at our present encampment [Cottonwood Beach, Washougal, Washington] or Some where in this neighbourhood untill we had obtained as much dried meat as would be necessary for our voyage as far as the Chopunnish. ...     about this time Several Canoes of the nativs arived at our Camp [Cottonwood Beach] among others two from below with Eight men of the Shah-ha-la Nation those men informed us that they reside on the opposit Side of the Columbia near Some pine trees which they pointed to in the bottom South of the Dimond Island [Government Island], they Singled out two young men whome they informed us lited at the Falls of a large river [Willamette Falls] which discharges itself into the Columbia on it's South Side Some Miles below us. we readily provailed on them to give us a Sketch of this river [Willamette River] which they drew on a Mat with a coal, it appeared that this river which they Call Mult-no'-mah discharged itself behind the Island we call the image Canoe island [Hayden Island], and as we had left this Island to the South both in decending & assending the river we had never Seen it. they informed us that it was a large river and runs a Considerable distance to the South between the Mountains. I deturmined to take a Small party and return to this river and examine its Size and Collect as much information of the nativs on it or near its enterance into the Columbia of its extent, the Country which it waters and the nativs who inhabit its banks &c. I took with me Six Men. Thompson J. Potts, Peter Crusat, P. Wiser, T. P. Howard, Jos. Whitehouse & my man York in a large Canoe, with an Indian whome I hired for a Sun glass to accompany me as a pilot. at half past 11 A. M. I Set out ...     at 8 miles passed a village on the South side [Chinook Landing and Blue Lake area] at this place my Pilot informed me he resided and that the name of his tribe is Ne-cha-co-lee, this village is back or to the South of Dimond island [Government Island], and as we passed on the North Side of the island both decending & assending did not See or know of this Village. I proceeded on without landing at this village. at 3 P. M. I landed at a large double house of the Ne-er-cho-ki-oo tribe of the Shah-ha-la Nation. at this place we had Seen 24 aditional Straw Huts as we passed down last fall [November 4, 1805, in the vicinity of the Portland International Airport] and whome as I have before mentioned reside at the Great rapids of the Columbia [Celilo Falls].     on the bank at different places I observed Small Canoes which the women make use of to gather Wappato & roots in the Slashes. those Canoes are from 10 to 14 feet long and from 18 to 23 inches wide in the widest part tapering from the center to both ends in this form and about 9 inches deep and So light that a woman may with one hand haul them with ease, and they are Sufficient to Carry a woman on Some loading. I think 100 of those canoes were piled up and Scattered in different directions about in the Woods in the vecinity of this house, the pilot informed me that those Canoes were the property of the inhabitents of the Grand rapids who used them ocasionally to gather roots. ...

I left them [village near today's Portland International Airport] and proceeded on on the South Side [North Portland Harbor] of Image Canoe Island [Hayden Island] which I found to be two Islands hid from the opposit Side by one near the Center of the river. the lower point of the upper and the upper point of the lower cannot be Seen from the North Side of the Columbia on which we had passed both decending and ascending and had not observed the apperture between those islands. at the distance of 13 Miles below the last village [location of Portland International Airport] and at the place I had Supposed was the lower point of the image Canoe island [Hayden Island], I entered this river which the nativs had informed us of, Called Mult no mah River [Willamette River] so called by the nativs from a Nation who reside on Wappato Island [Sauvie Island] a little below the enterance of this river. Multnomah [Willamette River] discharges itself in the Columbia on the S. E. and may be justly Said to be ¼ the Size of that noble river. Multnomah had fallen 18 inches from it's greatest annual height. three Small Islands are situated in it's mouth [Belle Vue Point and Kelley Point, on opposite sides of the mouth of the Willamette, use to be islands] which hides the river from view from the Columbia.     from the enterance of this river [Willamette River] , I can plainly See Mt. Jefferson [Mount Jefferson, Oregon] which is high and Covered with snow S. E. Mt. Hood East [Mount Hood, Oregon], Mt St. Helians [Mount St. Helens, Washington] a high humped Mountain to the East of Mt St. Helians [Mount Adams, Washington, is east of Mount St. Helens]. I also Saw the Mt. Raneer [Mount Rainier, Washington] Nearly North. Soon after I arived at this river an old man passed down of the Clark a'mos Nation who are noumerous and reside on a branch of this river which receives it's waters from Mt. Jefferson [Mount Jefferson, Oregon] which is emensely high and discharges itself into this river one day and a half up, this distance I State at 40 Miles. This nation inhabits 11 Villages their Dress and language is very Similar to the Quath-lah-poh-tle and other tribes on Wappato Island [Sauvie Island].



The Current of the Multnomar [Willamette River] is as jentle as that of the Columbia glides Smoothly with an eavin surface, and appears to be Sufficiently deep for the largest Ship. I attempted fathom it with a Cord of 5 fathom which was the only Cord I had, could not find bottom ? of the distance across. I proceeded up this river 10 miles from it's enterance into the Columbia to a large house on the N E. Side and Encamped near the house [downstream of Cathedral Park and the St. Johns Bridge, Portland, Oregon, near Portland's Terminal 4.], the flees being So noumerous in the house that we could not Sleep in it.



this is the house of the Cush-hooks Nation who reside at the falls of this river which the pilot informs me they make use of when they Come down to the Vally to gather Wappato. he also informs me that a number of other Smaller houses are Situated on two Bayous which make out on the S. E. Side a little below the house. this house appears to have been laterly abandoned by its inhabitants ...     The course and distance assending the Molt no mar R [Willamette River] from it's enterance into the Columbia at the lower point of the 3rd Image Canoe island.

[This area has changed during the past 200 years. Lewis and Clark called today's Hayden Island "Image Canoe Island". Their "3rd Image Canoe Island" however maybe in reference to the "three Small Islands are situated in it's mouth" (see journal entry above), two of the islands possibly were islands which are today's Belle Vue Point on Sauvie Island, and Pearcy Island which eventually became Kelley Point. Lewis and Clark's route map (Map#79 and Map#80, Moulton, Vol.1) shows a long "Image Canoe Island" with two small islands on the north side of "Image Canoe Island", and three small islands at the mouth of the "Multnomah R.". ]

S. 30° W. 2 Miles to the upper point of a Small Island [???] in the Middle of Moltnomar river [Willamette River]. thence

S. 10° W. 3 miles to a Sluce 80 yards wide [Multnomah Channel] which devides Wappato Island [Sauvie Island] from the Main Stard. Side Shore passing a Willow point on the Lard. Side [???].

S. 60° E. 3 miles to a large Indian house on the Lard Side below Some high pine land.

[Lewis and Clark's map plotted against an 1888 map of the area shows this location to be closer to 2 miles from the Multnomah Channel, just upstream from Portland's Terminal 4, and across from the community of Linnton.]

high bold Shore on the Starboard Side [Tualatin Mountains]. thence

S. 30° E 2 miles to a bend under the high lands on the Stard Side [St. Johns Bridge area located at the base of the Tualatin Mountains]

miles 10 passing a Larborad point [???].

thence the river bends to the East of S East as far as I could See [the stretch through Portland, Oregon]. at this place I think the wedth of the river may be Stated at 500 yards and Sufficiently deep for a Man of War or Ship of any burthern.



Whitehouse, April 2, 1806 ...
... The natives that were still with us, informed our Officers, that there was a large River [Willamette River], which emptied itself into the Columbia River, on the South side, below Sandy River [Sandy River],-     Captain Clark took me & Six more of our party, and one Indian as a guide, in Order to go down the Columbia River to take a view of that River [Willamette River], We proceeded on in a Canoe down the South side of the River, about 10 Miles.- & passed an Indian Village [Chinook Landing and Blue Lake area] of 21 houses lying on the same side of the River. This Village lay behind an Island, called Swans Island [part of today's Government Island complex. Lewis and Clark maps show two islands, one they called Diamond Island where they camped in November, and the other they called White Brant Island. Today the island nearest the locality of "Swans Island" would be McGuire Island.], & altho we had been on this Island, on our way in descending the River, none of our party had ever seen <it> this Village before. We proceeded on 9 Miles further down the River, & halted at a Village of Indians [locality of today's Portland International Airport]. ...     We proceeded on, on to the Mouth of this great River [Willamette River], which the Indians had given our Officers an account of.- The Mouth of this River came in behind an Island [Hayden Island] lying on the So. side of Columbia River; We arrived at the mouth of this river, about Sunset, & went up it, about 7 Miles, when we encamped at an old Indian lodge [near Terminal 4, south of today's Cathedral Park and the St. Johns Bridge]. The party <under Captain Clark,> resolved upon sleeping in this lodge, but on our entering it, we found the fleas in such great plenty, that we were forced to quit it. The great River is called by the natives the Mult-no-mack River [Willamette River]; it is 500 yards wide at its mouth; & continues that width, as high up, as where we ascended it to. The Indian guide that was with us, told us that it heads Near the head Waters of the California, & that there is a large Nation of Indians who reside some distance up that River <& > who live on a So. fork of this River & that Nation is called the Clark-a-mus Nation <& also another Nation> and that 30 Towns belong to them. Our guide also informed us, that there is another nation of Indians who reside a further distance up that River, by the name of the Cal-lap-no-wah nation; who he said were also very numerous; & that they reside up this River, where it is quite small.- The guide also mentioned that it is 20 days travel to the falls of this River [Willamette Falls], which falls is 40 feet <fall> perpendicular into that River & that the Tide water runs up to it,- & that the Natives have a very large Salmon fishery at that place. ...





Clark, April 3, 1806 ...
The water had fallen in the course of last night five inches. I Set out and proceeded up a Short distance [vicinity of the St. Johns Bridge] and attempted a Second time to fathom the river with my cord of 5 fathom but could find no bottom. the mist was So thick that I could See but a Short distance up this river. where I left it, it was binding to the East of S. E. being perfectly Satisfyed of the Size and magnitude of this great river which must Water that vast tract of Country betwen the Western range of mountains and those on the Sea coast and as far S. as the Waters of Callifornia about Latd. 37° North I deturmined to return. at 7 oClock A. M. Set out on my return. the men exirted themselves and we arived at the Ne er cho ki oo house [Portland International Airport] in which the nativs were So illy disposed yesterday at 11 A. M. I entered the house with a view to Smoke with those people ...     I detained but a fiew minits and returnd on board the canoe. ...     at 3 P M. we arived at the residence of our Pilot [near Chinook Landing and Blue Lake] ...     back of this house I observe the wreck of 5 houses remaining of a very large Village, the houses of which had been built in the form of those we first Saw at the long narrows of the E-lute Nation with whome those people are connected. ...     I provailed on an old man to draw me a Sketch of the Multnomar River [Willamette River] ang give me the names of the nations resideing on it which he readily done, ...   and gave me the names of 4 nations who reside on this river two of them very noumerous. The first is Clark a-mus nation reside on a Small river which takes its rise in Mount Jefferson and falls into the Moltnomar about 40 miles up [Clackamas River].   this nation is noumerous and inhabit 11 Towns.   the 2d is the Cush-hooks who reside on the N E. Side below the falls [Willamette Falls],   the 3rd is the Char-cowah who reside above the Falls on the S W. Side neether of those two are noumerous.   The fourth Nation is the Cal-lar-po-e-wah which is very noumerous & inhabit the Country on each Side of the Multnomar from its falls as far up as the knowledge of those people extend. they inform me also that a high mountain passes the Multnomar at the falls,   and above the Country is an open plain of great extent.    I purchased 5 dogs of those people for the use of their Oil in the Plains, and at 4 P M left the Village and proceeded on to Camp where I joind Capt. Lewis [at Cottonwood Beach]

The enterance of Multnomah river is 142 miles up the Columbia river from its enterance into the Pacific Ocean—.





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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: Center for Columbia River History website, 2006; Hay, K.G., 2004, The Lewis and Clark Columbia River Water Trail, Timber Press, Portland; McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland; Oregon Department of Transportation website, 2006; Portland Parks and Recreation website, 2006; Sawhill, C., and Kirkpatrick, G., 2000, Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, Oregon Chapter, June 2000 Newsletter, vol.2, no.3.

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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November 2011