Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Cook and Cook Hill, Washington"
Includes ... Cook ... Cook Hill ... Cook-Underwood Road ...
Image, 2005, Cook, Washington, from Viento State Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cook, Washington, as seen from Viento State Park, Oregon. Image taken September 25, 2005.


Cook ...
The small community of Cook, Washington, is located just west (downstream) of Drano Lake and the mouth of the Little White Salmon River, at Columbia River Mile (RM) 161. Upstream are the Washington communities of Hood and Underwood, and downstream lies Dog Creek, Dog Mountain, and the old Washington community of Collins. A good view of Cook can be had from across the river at Viento State Park.

Early Cook ...
Today's Cook, Washington, was first known as "Cooks Landing" before taking on the shortened name of "Cook" (Post Office name) or "Cooks" (Railway name, see more below). The community was named for Charles A. Cook, who homesteaded the ground on which the town was built. At one time Cook was a busy steamer landing spot.

"Cook, a boat-landing and town on the Columbia River, in Skamania County. It was named by S.R. Harris, first postmaster, in 1908, in honor of Charles A. Cook, who homesteaded the tract on which the townsite is located." [Meany, 1917, "Origin of Washington Geographic Names", IN: The Washington Historical Quarterly.]

"Cook, Community on north bank of Columbia River, 7 miles west of White Salmon, near the mouth of Little White Salmon River, southeast Skamania County. In the days of stern-wheelers on the river, this was a busy landing. The name is for Charles A. Cook, who homesteaded the ground on which the town was built. It was applied to the post office when suggested by the first postmaster S.R. Harris." [Hitchman, 1985, "Place Names of Washington", Washington State Historical Society]

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office (GLO) Records website (2012) shows a Charles A. Cook being granted title to 160 acres of T3N R9E, parts of Section 10, on December 22, 1896 (1862 homestead entry original). This lies north of Cook Hill.

Between 1905 and 1908 the "North Bank Road" (Railroad) was built along the north bank of the Columbia River. The Railway used the name "Cooks" for its station at the small settlement then-known as "Cooks Landing".

The Cook Post Office was established in 1908. It closed in 1965. It did not appear in the 1908 "Official Postal Guide" but it did in the 1910 Guide.

Post Office: "Cook, Skamania, Wash."
[U.S. Government Printing Office, 1910, "United States Official Postal Guide"]


Cook, etc.

  • Cook Hill ...
  • Cook-Underhill Road ...
  • "Cooks Landing", "Cook's Landing", "Cooks", "Cook's", and "Cook" ...
  • Cooks Tribal "In-lieu" Fishing Access Site, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission ...
  • "North Bank Road" (Railroad) ...


Cook Hill ...
Cook Hill borders the western side of Drano Lake and rises above the town of Cook. The hill separates the Little White Salmon River from the Columbia River.

Image, 2003, Cook Hill from Drano Lake, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cook Hill, as seen from Drano Lake, Washington. Image taken October 25, 2003.
Image, 2005, Cook Hill, Washington, from Viento State Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cook Hill, as seen from Viento State Park, Oregon. Image taken September 25, 2005.


Cook-Underwood Road ...
The Cook-Underwood Road traverses nearly 15 miles along the slopes of the Columbia River Gorge, north of Washington Highway 14, and stretches from Cook, on the west bank of the Little White Salmon River (RM 161.5), to Underwood, on the west bank of the White Salmon River (RM 168.5).
[More]

Image, 2013, Old house on Cook-Underwood Road, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Old house on Cook-Underwood Road, Washington, near Cook. Image taken March 18, 2013.


"Cooks Landing", "Cook's Landing", "Cooks", "Cook's", and "Cook" ...
The early Washington community of Cook was first known as "Cooks Landing" before taking on the shorter versions of "Cook" (Post Office name) or "Cooks" (Railway Station name).

1899:

"The Regulator and Dalles City made the trip between here [The Dalles] and Portland yesterday. The former brought up a band of sheep from Cooks' Landing for Mays & Son." ["The Dalles Daily Chronicle", October 2, 1899, courtesy "Historic Oregon Newspaper Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2016.]

1900:

"Robert Mays and son shipped 2000 head of sheep last night and this morning to Cook's Landing, to be summered on the range back of that place." ["The Dalles Weekly Chronicle", June 16, 1900, courtesy "Historic Oregon Newspaper Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2016.]

1900:

"Mrs. Martin Wing, Mrs. Chas. Keys and family, Mrs. C.E. Hayward and Mrs. George Phillips were passengers on the boat this morning for Cook's Landing on a few weeks' outing in the mountains." ["The Dalles Weekly Chronicle", June 16, 1900, courtesy "Historic Oregon Newspaper Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2016.]

1900:

"The health authorities of The Dalles and Hood River, ore., and Klickitat and Skamania counties, Wash., have established a quarantine against Cooks Landing, Drano, Underwood, White Salmon and Bingen, Wash., and the D.P.&A.N. Company are forbidden, till further notice, to receive freight or passengers from these places for the other points mentioned. The action of the health officers is baded on a report that there are some twenty-five cases of smallpox in the neighborhood of Underwood and White Salmon, four cases at the latter and twenty-one at the former. It is said the disease has been raging there for upwards of two weeks, but that the people kept the matter concealed till two or three days ago. The quarantine regulations do not, of course, prevent freight and passengers being landed at the points infected." ["The Dalles Weekly Chronicle", August 8, 1900, courtesy "Historic Oregon Newspaper Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2016.]

1904:

SPENCER STARTS WEDNESDAY
Remodeled Steamer Will Resume Her Trips on Upper Columbia.

Captain E.W. Spencer will start his steamer, the Charles R. SPencer, out on the Portland-Dalles run next Wednesday morning. The boat will be brought down today or tomorrow from the Portland Shipbuilding Company's yard, where it has been lengthened and torhorughly overhauled. The time card, which has just been issued, announces that the Spencer will leave Portlan on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, at 7 A.M., arriving at The Dalles at 4 P.M. She will return from The Dalles on the other days of the week, leaving at the same time and reaching this city at 3 P.M. Stops will be made at Vancouver, Washougal, Cape Horn, Butler, Cascade Lcoks, Stevenson, Carson, Collins, Cooks, Drano, Underwood, White Salmon, Hood River, Bingen, and Lyle. ...   The regular fare between Portland and The Dalles is $2.50 for the round trip, and $1.50 one way. Freight is taken on a graduated schedule."

Source:    "Morning Oregonian", April 15, 1904, courtesy Oregon Historic Newspapers Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2016.

1908

"... construction of the bridge work on the North Bank railroad from Cook's Landing to Lyle ..." ["The Hood River Glacier", July 23, 1908, courtesy "Historic Oregon Newspaper Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2016.]

1910:

Post Office: "Cook, Skamania, Wash."
[U.S. Government Printing Office, 1910, "United States Official Postal Guide"]

1912:

"At a meeting of the Commercial club members at the regular luncheon held saturday at the club rooms, the suggestion was made that the city [Hood River] have this year a big Fourth of July celebration ...   All the neighboring cities will participate in the celebration, as proposed. Because of the fact that all of the ferry boats and river steamers are landing at the temporary wharf but a few steps from the O.W.R. & N. passenger station excursion boats will be run from all river points and the citizens of Stevenson, White Salmon, Underwood, Cooks landing and Mosier will be invited to be present and enjoy the occasion. ..." ["The Hood River Glacier", June 6, 1912, courtesy "Historic Oregon Newspaper Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2016.]

1917:

"Cook, a boat-landing and town on the Columbia River, in Skamania County. It was named by S.R. Harris, first postmaster, in 1908, in honor of Charles A. Cook, who homesteaded the tract on which the townsite is located." [Meany, 1917, "Origin of Washington Geographic Names", IN: The Washington Historical Quarterly.]

1918:

"With the completion about the middle of this Summer of four miles of highway along the north bank of the Columbia River in Skamania County, Washington, between Collins and Cook's, and half a mile of road around a point at Wind Mountain, a long-needed automobile road connecting Western and Eastern Washington will be provided. ... " ["Sunday Oregonian", May 12, 1918, courtesy "Historic Oregon Newspaper Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2015.]

1919:

"The new highway extends from Vancouver to White Salmon, and east, via the towns of Camas, Washougal, Stevenson, Carson, Cooks and Underwood. ...   At Cooks, 65.5, there is a gasoline station. ..." ["Sunday Oregonian", June 22, 1919, courtesy "Historic Oregon Newspaper Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2015.]

1919:

"Over there in Washington, just across the Columbia river, is a highway recently completed to which we of Portland have not as yet given its just due. ...   This is the North Bank highway, a link of the Evergreen highway, extending from Vancouver through Washougal, Camas, Skamania, Stevenson, Cooks and Underwood to White Salmon on the Washington bluffs. ...

At mileage 72.3, is Cooks, spelled without the "s" on government maps. Close ahead is the mouth of the Little White Salmon river and canyon. Here at Cooks the North Bank highway starts up the side of the mountains and doesn't stop until it has attained an elevation of 1000 to 1200 feet. ..." ["Sunday Oregonian", August 17, 1919, courtesy "Historic Oregon Newspaper Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2015.]

1920:

"On the north side of the Columbia river, paralleling on the Washington shore the Columbia river highway of Oregon, there came into being a year ago a new scenic highway ...   This road, the North Bank highway, extending from Vancouver through Camas, Washougal, Skamania, Stevenson, Carson, Cook's and Underwood to White Salmon, Wash., is a link of the longer Evergreen highway. ...   And there is the spectacular climb up the gorge of the Little White Salmon from Cook's which this highway makes. The climb starts from the station at Cook's and continues for three miles on a grade of 6 to 8 per cent. It is not a straight climb. The country doesn't run that way. ..." ["Sunday Oregonian", August 1, 1920, courtesy "Historic Oregon Newspaper Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2015.]

1922:

COOKS GRADE TO OPEN
Auto Caravan to Pass Over New Route to White Salmon.

"WHITE SALMON, Wash., July 29. -- (Special.) -- It is anticipated that the Cook's grade of the North Bank highway will be open to traffic before August 15. The sum of $60,000 is begin expended in standardizing the grade east of Cooks.

By the time crews have finished the Cooks grade the last link of the Mount Adams highway between Glenwood and Yakima will be open. It is planned then to bring a caravan of 500 automobile loads of Yakima motorists down over the new route to White Salmon and thence to Vancouver over the North Bank highway, thence to Portland."


Source:    "Sunday Oregonian", July 30, 1922, courtesy "Historic Oregon Newspaper Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2016.

1922:

Post Office, Place, County, State: "Cook, Skamania, Wash."
Railroad on which located or nearest R.R. Station: "RR and Landing name Cooks".
[Edwin W. Bullinger, 1922, "Bullinger's Postal and Shippers Guide for the United States and Canada"]


Cooks Tribal "In-lieu" Fishing Access Site, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission ...
All four Columbia River treaty tribes enjoy fishing rights along the Columbia from the Bonneville to McNary dams. This 147-mile stretch of the river is called Zone 6. The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) operates and maintains 31 fishing sites (2015, Note: the website map only shows 30 sites) in Zone 6. These sites were set aside by Congress to provide fishing locations to Indian fishers whose traditional fishing grounds were inundated behind dams.

"For fisheries management purposes, the 292-mile stretch of the Columbia River that creates the border between Washington and Oregon is divided into six zones. Zones 1-5 are between the mouth of the river and Bonneville Dam, a distance of 145 miles. Oregon and Washington manage the commercial fisheries that occur in these zones. Zone 6 is an exclusive treaty Indian commercial fishing area. This exclusion is for commercial fishing only. Non-commercial sports fishers may still fish in this stretch of the river." [Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission website, 2016]

The Zone 6 sites include 19 Treaty Fishing Access sites (Bonneville, Wyeth, White Salmon, Stanley Rock, Lyle, Dallesport, Celilo, Maryhill, Rufus, Preacher's Eddy, North Shore, LePage Park, Pasture Point, Roosevelt Park, Pine Creek, Threemile Canyon, Alderdale, Crow Butte, and Faler Road), five "In-lieu" sites (Cascade Locks, Wind River, Cooks, Underwood, and Lone Pine), two "Shared-use" sites (Avery and Sundale Park, for both Tribal use and Public use), and four "Unimproved" sites with no services (Goodnoe, Rock Creek, Moonay, and Aldercreek).



"North Bank Road" (Railroad) ...
The Great Northern Railway and Northern Pacific Railroad, competitors in the transcontinental business, launched the Seattle Portland & Seattle Railway in 1905 and built a line along the north side of the Columbia River. This line was known as "The North Bank Road", "The North Bank Railroad", "Columbia River Scenic Route", and "The Northwests Own Railway". The tracks were started in October 1905 and completed in February 1908, with a celebration being held on March 11th at Sheridan Point upstream of the Fort Rains Blockhouse location. On March 19th, regular passenger servcie between Vancouver and Pasco was begun. The journey took eight hours.
[More]


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 29, 1805 ...
A cloudy morning wind from the West but not hard, we Set out at day light [from their camp on Rocky Island at Crates Point], and proceeded on about five miles Came too on the Stard. Side at a village of 7 houses built in the Same form and materials of those above, here we found the Chief we had Seen at the long narrows [The Dalles] ...     they are hospitable and good humered Speak the Same language of the inhabitants of the last village, we call this the friendly village [vicinity of Dougs Beach]. ...     after brackfast we proceeded on, the mountains are high on each Side [high basalt cliffs of the Rowena Gap, with Rowena Crest on the south and the Chamberlain Lake area on the north], containing Scattering pine white oake & under groth, hill Sides Steep and rockey; at 4 miles lower we observed a Small river falling in with great rapidity on the Stard. Side [Klickitat River] below which is a village of 11 houses [today the town of Lyle is on the upstream side of the Klickitat], here we landed to Smoke a pipe with the nativs and examine the mouth of the river, which I found to be 60 yards wide rapid and deep, The inhabitants of the village are friendly and Chearfull; those people inform us also those at the last village that this little river is long and full of falls, no Salmon pass up it, it runs from N. N. E. that ten nations live on this river and its waters, on buries, and what game that Can kill with their Bow & arrows

we purchased 4 dogs and Set out- (this village is the of the Same nation of the one we last passed) and proceeded on The Countrey on each side begin to be thicker timbered with Pine and low white Oake; verry rockey and broken [passing Mayer State Park on the Oregon side]. passed three large rocks in The river the middle rock is large long and has Several Squar vaults on it. we call this rockey Island the Sepulchar [Memaloose Island] - The last river we passed we Shall Call the Cataract River [Klickitat River] from the number of falls which the Indians say is on it- passed 2 Lodges of Indians a Short distance below the Sepulchar Island [Memaloose Island] on the Stard. Side river wide, at 4 mile passed 2 houses on the Stard. Side, Six miles lower passed 4 houses above the mouth of a Small river 40 yards wide on the Lard. Side [Hood River]    a thick timbered bottom above & back of those houses; those are the first houses which we have Seen on the South Side of the Columbia River, (and the axess to those dificuelt) for fear of the approach of their common enemies the Snake Indians, passed 14 houses on the Std. Side Scattered on the bank- from the mouth of this little river which we shall Call Labeasche River [Hood River], the falls mountain [Mount Hood] is South and the top is covered with Snow.    one mile below pass the mouth of a large rapid Stream on the Stard. Side [White Salmon River], opposit to a large Sand bar [from Hood River], in this creek the Indians above take their fish, here we Saw Several canoes, which induced us to call this Canoe Creek [White Salmon River] it is 28 yards wide, about 4 miles lower and below the Sand bar [Hood River sandbar] is a butifull cascade falling over a rock of about 100 feet [Wah Gwin Gwin Falls, location of the Columbia Gorge Hotel],

[On the route map (Moulton, vol.1, map#78) a "C___ Spring" is shown on the north side of the river, today the location of Spring Creek and Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, with no mention of it in any text. On the south side, at the location of Wah Gwin Gwin Falls, only "Cascade" is labeled and "4 Houses of Indians".]

a Short distance lower passed 4 Indian houses on the Lard. Side in a timbered bottom, a fiew miles further we came too at 3 houses on Stard. Side, back of which is a pond [today the location of Drano Lake. The Little White Salmon River empties into Drano Lake.] in which I Saw Great numbers of Small Swan, Capt. Lewis and went into the houses of those people ...     Here the mountains are high on each Side, those to the Lard. Side has Some Snow on them at this time, more timber than above and of greater variety.





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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:    Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission website, 2016;    Historic Oregon Newspapers Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2015, 2016;    Hitchman, R., 1985, Place Names of Washington, Washington State Historical Society;    U.S. Bureau of Land Management website, 2012, General Land Office (GLO) Records;   

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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January 2016