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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Chelatchie, Chelatchie Creek, and Chelatchie Prairie, Washington"
Includes ... Chelatchie ... Chelatchie Creek ... Chelatchie Prairie ...
Image, 2014, Ape Cave, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Chelatchie Prairie General Store, Chelatchie, Washington. Image taken September 4, 2014.


Chelatchie, Chelatchie Creek, and Chelatchie Prairie ...
Chelatchie is a small Washington community located in north-central Clark County, located in T5N R3E. The community sits at the northern end of the "Chelatchie Prairie". The small community of Yacolt is located four miles to the south and Lake Merwin is located to the north.

According to "Place Names of Washington" (Hitchman, 1985, Washington State Historical Society):

"Chelatchie Prairie:   A 3-1/2 mile long prairie northeast of Amboy, 3 miles south of Lake Merwin, northeast Clark County. (see Chelatchie Creek)"

"Chelatchie Creek:   The stream of the creek heads south of Lake Merwin, northeast Clark County; flows 3-1/2 miles southwest to Cedar Creek at Amboy. In 1853, railroad surveyors applied the creek's original Indian name. On some maps, it appears as Chilatch Creek."

George McClellan's 1853 Pacific Railroad survey party camped at "Chalacha Plain".

An 1858 Cadastral survey (tax survey) map shows "Chelatseh Prairie".


"Chalacha Plain" (Klickitat Trail) ...
The "Chalacha Plain" was a five-mile long and two-mile wide prairie located on the historic Klickitat Trail, a loosely defined "trail" of prairies and plains between the Yakima River and the Klickitat River drainages to The Dalles and Fort Vancouver. This "trail" allowed the indigenous tribes to move between central Washington to the Columbia River. These plains and prairies were first mapped between 1853 and 1855 by Pacific Railroad surveyors George McClellan (1853) and James G. Cooper (1854, 1855). The McClellan party camped at Chalacha Plain on July 31, 1853.
[More]

Early Maps ...

Image, 1855, Steven's map, RR surveys, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Map detail, 1855, McClellan's 1854 route along the Lower Klickitat Trail. Original map from Isaac Stevens' "Reports of Explorations and Surveys ...", 1855, Map No.3, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, courtesy Washington State University Digital Colletions, 2018.

"Mankas", "Yahkotl", "Chalacha", "Spilyeh", "Lakas", and the "Ca-la-ma R." (Kalama River), "Cath-la-pootle R." (Lewis River), and "Yah kotl Riv." (East Fork Lewis River).
Map detail, 1858, Cadastral Survey showing Chelatchie Prairie, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cadastral survey (tax survey) map detail, 1858, for T5N R3E, showing early trail (cutting through Section 22) leading to "Chelatseh Prairie". Original map courtesy U.S. Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office (GLO) Records database, 2018.


Views ...

Image, 2018, Chelatchie Prairie, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Scenic, Chelatchie Prairie, Washington. Image taken August 8, 2018.
Image, 2014, Chelatchie Prairie, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Chelatchie Prairie General Store, Chelatchie Prairie, Washington. Image taken September 9, 2014.


Chelatchie Prairie, etc.

  • Chelatchie Prairie Railroad ...
  • Mural ...
  • Sasquatch ...
  • Tumtum Mountain ...


Chelatchie Prairie Railroad ...

According to Clark County's "public works" website (2018):

"Clark County owns the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad, a 33-mile short line that stretches diagonally across the county. It is southwest Washington's only operating short line, with connections to the BNSF Railway. The Portland Vancouver Junction Railroad Co. operates the line."

Railroad history:

According to the Clark County "public-works" website and the "bycx.org" website (2018):   in 1888 the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad began as the Vancouver, Yakima and Klickitat Railroad, as investors led by Vancouver businessman L.M. Hidden (of Hidden brick fame) attempted to build a line from Vancouver to Yakima through the Klickitat Pass. In December that year the first locomotive arrived. By 1897 however, the investors ran out of money, with the tracks only having gone 13.5 miles, reaching Brush Prairie. The line was sold and renamed the Portland, Vancouver and Yakima Railroad, where, by September 1901, the company was busy working on extending the rail line to Yacolt, including building a 300-foot-long tunnel between the Lewis River and Battle Ground at Moulton Falls.

By 1903 the railroad was complete to Yacolt. Also in 1903, following the 1902 Yacolt Burn, the line merged with the Washington and Oregon Railroad and became the Washington Railway and Navigation Company. This company lasted three and 1/2 months before it was transferred to the Northern Pacific Railway on November 11, 1903, who acquired the line for timber salvage, logging, and passenger service.

The line went through more owners and extensions until 1981 when the line was sold to three Vancouver business men who changed the name to Chelatchie Prairie Railroad.

According to the Clark County "public-works" website (2018):

"The railroad was used for both commercial and passenger service until 1984 when its owners filed to abandon the line so they could sell the tracks, ties and right of way. Clark County purchased the line over several years, primarily during the second half of the 1980s, for commercial, tourist and recreational purposes."

"Today, the Portland Vancouver Junction Railroad provides freight service on the portion of the line from Vancouver to Battle Ground. On the line north of Heisson, the Battle Ground, Yacolt and Chelatchie Prairie Railroad Association volunteer group, known as BYCX, operates excursion passenger trains out of Yacolt from May to December."

Image, 2018, Yacolt, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Chelatchie Prairie Railroad Depot, Yacolt, Washington. Image taken August 8, 2018.
Image, 2018, Yacolt, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Chelatchie Prairie Railroad Depot, Yacolt, Washington. Image taken August 8, 2018.
Image, 2018, Yacolt, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Caboose, Chelatchie Prairie Railroad, Yacolt, Washington. Image taken August 8, 2018.
Image, 2018, Yacolt, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Caboose, Chelatchie Prairie Railroad, Yacolt, Washington. Image taken August 8, 2018.
Image, 2018, Yacolt, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Chelatchie Prairie RR tracks, heading north, Yacolt, Washington. Image taken August 8, 2018.


Mural ...
On the side of the Chelatchie Prairie General Store.

Image, 2014, Chelatchie Prairie, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mural, Chelatchie Prairie General Store, Chelatchie, Washington. Image taken September 4, 2014.
Image, 2018, Chelatchie Prairie, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mural, Chelatchie Prairie General Store, Chelatchie, Washington. Image taken August 8, 2018.
Image, 2018, Chelatchie Prairie, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mural, Chelatchie Prairie General Store, Chelatchie, Washington. Image taken August 8, 2018.
Image, 2018, Chelatchie Prairie, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mural detail, Chelatchie Prairie General Store, Chelatchie, Washington. Image taken August 8, 2018.
Image, 2018, Chelatchie Prairie, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mural detail, Chelatchie Prairie General Store, Chelatchie, Washington. Image taken August 8, 2018.
Image, 2018, Chelatchie Prairie, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mural detail, Chelatchie Prairie General Store, Chelatchie, Washington. Image taken August 8, 2018.
Image, 2018, Chelatchie Prairie, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mural detail, Chelatchie Prairie General Store, Chelatchie, Washington. Image taken August 8, 2018.


Sasquatch ...
The Chelatchie Prairie General Store, Chelatchie, Washington (Clark County) has a Sasquatch.
[More]

Image, 2014, Ape Cave, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Chelatchie Prairie General Store, Chelatchie, Washington. Image taken September 4, 2014.
Image, 2014, Ape Cave, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Chelatchie Prairie General Store, Chelatchie, Washington. Image taken September 4, 2014.


Tumtum Mountain ...
Tumtum Mountain is a small eroded volcanic dome which lies less than two miles south of the Lewis River drainage and at the northeast edge of the Chelatchie Prairie, a glaciated fault valley. Canyon Creek, a tributary to the Lewis, winds past Tumtum's northern base and Chelatchie Prairie lies to the west. Tumtum Mountain was erupted after the region's glaciation as its volcanics lie on top of the Amboy Drift. "Tumtum" means "heart" in Chinook.
[More]

Image, 2014, Tumtum Mountain, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Tumtum Mountain, as seen from the west, Washington. Image taken September 4, 2014.
Image, 2014, Tumtum Mountain, Washington click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Tumtum Mountain, Washington. Image taken September 4, 2014.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, ...
 




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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:
  • Clark County "Public Works" website, 2018;
  • Hitchman, R., 1985, Place Names of Washington, Washington State Historical Society;
  • Norton, H.H., Boyd, R., and Hunn, E., 1999, "The Klikitat Trail of South-central Washington, A Reconstruction of Seasonally Used Resource Sites", IN: "Indians, Fire and the Land of the Pacific Northwest, Robert Boyd, editor, Oregon State University Press, Corvallis;
  • U.S. Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office (GLO) Records database, 2018;


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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© 2017, Lyn Topinka, "ColumbiaRiverImages.com", All rights reserved.
Images are NOT to be downloaded from this website.
August 2018