Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Corbett, Oregon"
Includes ... Corbett ... Taylor's Landing ... Corbett Station ... View Point Inn ...
Image, 2009, Corbett, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Corbett Country Market, Corbett, Oregon. Image taken June 28, 2009.

Corbett ...
Corbett, Oregon, is located on a bluff above the Columbia River, along the Historic Columbia River Highway between Springdale, Troutdale, and the Sandy River to the west, and Chanticleer Point, Rooster Rock, and Crown Point to the east. Corbett is located above Columbia River Mile (RM) 126.5. The View Point Inn, a location used in the shooting of the 2008 vampire thriller "Twilight", is located just east of Corbett. The small Oregon community

Early Corbett ...
"This community on the Historic Columbia River Highway between Sandy River and Crown Point was named for Senator Henry Winslow Corbett, one of Oregon's prominent pioneer citizens, for many years a resident of Portland. In 1885, Mr. Corbett purchased a nearby farm from Ervine J. Taylor, who had moved down to the Columbia River about the time the railroad was built in 1882. ...

For many years there was a station named Corbett on the Union Pacific Railroad at the base of the bluff below the community. The station is gone, but there is a small commercial cluster where Corbett Hill Road leaves Interstate 84 and climbs the hill to connect to the historic highway.

The first post office at which is now Corbett was Leader, established in July 1881. The name of this office was changed to Taylor in 1882 and moved down to the river by Ervine Taylor. Corbett post office was later established December 20, 1895, with William H.H. Reed first postmaster. Reed Island on the Washington side of the Columbia River was named for Reed who lived there until washed out by the 1894 flood, after which he moved up to Corbett."

Source: McArthur and McArthur, 2003, Oregon Geographic Names.

Corbett in 1940 ...
From the Oregon State Archives "A 1940 Journey Across Oregon":

"... CORBETT, 169.9 m. (665 alt., 90 pop.), set in rolling hills, is at the eastern end of a cultivated area. The road cuts between the cliffs and the waters at the SANDY RIVER, 174.5 m. This stream, flowing from the glaciers on the south slope of Mount Hood, was discovered by Lieut. William Broughton on October 30, 1792, and named Barings River for an English family. The bluffs near the river mouth now bear the name of the discoverer. Lewis and Clark passed this point on November 3, 1805, and in their Journals record the immense quantities of sand thrown out. They wrote: "We reached the mouth of a river on the left, which seemed to lose its waters in a sandbar opposite, the stream itself being only a few inches in depth. But on attempting to wade across we discovered that the bed was a very bad quicksand, too deep to be passed on foot.... Its character resembles very much that of the river Platte. It drives its quicksand over the low grounds with great impetuosity and ... has formed a large sandbar or island, three miles long and a mile and a half wide, which divides the waters of the Quicksand river into two channels." The river is noted locally for its annual run of smelt (eulachan), which ascend in millions each spring to spawn. When they appear the word goes out that "the smelt are running Sandy." Cars soon crowd the highways, while hundreds of people snare the fish with sieves, nets, buckets, sacks or birdcages. (Special license required, 5c) ..."

Corbett, etc.

  • Corbett Market ...
  • Corbett Station ...
  • Royal Chinook Inn ...
  • Taylor's Landing ...
  • View Point Inn ...

Corbett Market ...
According to Clarence Mershon in "East of the Sandy" (2001), the Corbett Market, a store and gas station, was built in 1917 by George Chamberlain, who operated the mercantile between 1917 and 1922 with his business partner Harley Bates. In 1922 they sold it to Perry Settlemier who operated it until 1958, when Aaron Quinn bought the store. As of 2001 the market was owned and operated by Bill and Susan Leigh.

Image, 2009, Corbett, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Corbett Country Market, Corbett, Oregon. Image taken March 22, 2009.
Image, 2014, Corbett, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Corbett Country Market, Corbett, Oregon. View from moving car on old Highway 30. Image taken June 30, 2014.
Image, 2014, Corbett, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Corbett Country Market, Corbett, Oregon. View from moving car on old Highway 30. Image taken June 30, 2014.

Corbett Station ...
At the base of the bluff along the Columbia River shore lies Corbett Station, once a stop for the Union Pacific. Today Corbett Station is the now-closed boat ramp immediately north of exit 22 off of Interstate 84. According to Keith Hay in "The Lewis and Clark Columbia River Water Trail (Timber Press, 2004), Corbett Station was once maintained by the Oregon Department of Transportation, who closed and gated the ramp in 1999. Kayak paddlers and fishermen still use the ramp, parking at the gate and carrying their boats down the lengthy no-longer-maintained ramp.

Royal Chinook Inn ...
The old Royal Chinook Inn is located along the Columbia River at the base of the hill leading to Corbett. It was owned and operated by the Reed and North families.

According to the John L. Scott Real Estate add (2016):

"Great investment opportunity, the old Royal Chinook Inn, built in 1941. During the late 1990s the restaurant was briefly opened again as the "Corbett Station"".

According to "Friendly Times Abound At The Royal Chinook Inn" (Annette Bamkin, Terri Cartisser, and Darcy Thomas, IN: TimberWinds, Fall 1980, vol.1, no.1, City of Corbett, Oregon):

"The tavern was built "in the early '30s, about 1936 or so" by Eva Reed and Bill and Frances North. It was at that time a store and sort of a hotel as well as a landing for steamboats, which became common on the Columbia River during the turn of the century."

Image, 2013, Corbett, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Old Royal Chinook Inn, base of bluff, Corbett, Oregon. View from Interstate 84. Image taken June 5, 2013.
Image, 2009, Corbett, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Old Royal Chinook Inn, base of bluff, Corbett, Oregon. View from Interstate 84. Image taken May 16, 2009.
Image, 2011, Corbett, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Old Royal Chinook Inn, base of bluff, Corbett, Oregon. View from Interstate 84. Image taken August 12, 2011.
Image, 2014, Corbett, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Royal Chinook Inn, Corbett, Oregon. Image taken June 30, 2014.

Taylor's Landing ...
Taylor's Landing was located on the Columbia River just downslope of today's Corbett. According to information found on "GenForum", a geneology website (associated with "Geneology.com"), Ervine Jasper Taylor came by wagon train to Oregon in 1852, originally settling east of Vancouver before moving across the river to the Oregon side. Ervine Taylor donated part of his property for a school in what would be today's Corbett.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office (GLO) Records website (2009) lists Ervine J. Taylor being granted title to 171.06 acres on June 1, 1870 for parts of T1N R4E, sections 19, 20, 29, and 30 (1862 Homestead Entry Original).

View Point Inn ...
The View Point Inn, once known as "Palmer House", is located on Larch Mountain Road, a little east of Corbett. The Inn overlooks the Columbia River Gorge and has a fantastic view of the Columbia River. In 1985 the View Point Inn was added to the National Register of Historic Places (Building #85000367). The Inn was also featured in the 2008 vampire thriller "Twilight".

Image, 2009, View Point Inn, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
View Point Inn, view from Chanticleer Point (Portland Women's Forum). Image taken June 28, 2009.
Image, 2009, View Point Inn, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
"Twilight" Walk of Fame, "Edward Cullan, Bella Swan, Forever", View Point Inn, Oregon. Image taken June 27, 2009.

From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 3, 1805 ...
The Fog So thick [typical of the Pacific Northwest in the fall and spring] this morning that we could not See a man 50 Steps off, this fog detained us untill 10 oClock at which time we Set out [from their camp at Rooster Rock], ...    I walked on the Sand beech Lard. Side, opposit the canoes as they passed allong. The under groth rushes, vines &c. in the bottoms too thick to pass through, at 3 miles I arrived at the enterance of a river [Sandy River] which appeared to Scatter over a Sand bar, the bottom of which I could See quite across and did not appear to be 4 Inches deep in any part; I attempted to wade this Stream and to my astonishment found the bottom a quick Sand, and impassable- I called to the Canoes to put to Shore, I got into the Canoe and landed below the mouth, & Capt Lewis and my Self walked up this river about 1 miles to examine this river which we found to be a verry Considerable Stream Dischargeing its waters through 2 Chanels which forms an Island [Sandy River Delta, which has had various names throughout history] of about 3 miles in length on the river and 1 miles wide, composed of Corse Sand which is thrown out of this quick Sand river Compressing the waters of the Columbia and throwing the whole Current of its waters against its Northern banks, within a Chanel of a mile wide, Several Small Islands 1 mile up this river, This Stream has much the appearance of the River Platt: roleing its quick Sands into the bottoms with great velocity after which it is divided into 2 Chanels by a large Sand bar before mentioned, the narrowest part of this River is 120 yards-on the Opposit Side of the Columbia a <large Creek> falls in [Washougal River]     above this Creek on the Same Side is a Small prarie [location of Washougal, Washington, Cottonwood Beach, now the home of Captain William Clark Park, and the Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge]. extensive low country on each Side thickly timbered [low area upstream of Cottonwood Beach and Captain William Clark Park is the Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge].

The Quick Sand river [Sandy River] appears to pass through the low countrey at the foot of those high range of mountains in a Southerly direction,- The large Creeks which fall into the Columbia on the Stard. Side [Washougal River] rise in the Same range of mountains to the N. N. E. and pass through Some ridgey land- A Mountain which we Suppose to be Mt. Hood [Mount Hood, Oregon] is S. 85 E about 47 miles distant from the mouth of quick sand river [Sandy River]     This mtn. is Covered with Snow and in the range of mountains which we have passed through and is of a Conical form but rugid- after takeing dinner at the mouth of this river [Sandy River]  we proceeded on passed the head of a Island [Lady Island] near the lard Side [???] back of which on the Same Side and near the head a large Creek falls in [Washougal River, today the town of Camas, Washington, lies between Lady Island and the Washougal River], and nearly opposit & 3 miles below the upper mouth of quick Sand river is the lower mouth, [for?] This Island [Lady Island] is 3 1/2 miles long, has rocks at the upper point, Some timber on the borders of this Island in the middle open and ponney. Some rugid rocks in the middle of the Stream opposit this Island.   <proceeded in> to Center of a large Island in the middle of the river which we call Dimond Isld. [Government Island] from its appearance, here we met 15 Indn men in 2 canoes from below, they informed us they Saw 3 vestles below &c. &c. we landed on the North Side of this Dimond Island and Encamped [on the north side of Government Island, perhaps opposite Fishers Landing],     Capt. L walked out with his gun on the Island, Sent out hunters & fowlers- below quick Sand River [Sandy River] the Countrey is low rich and thickly timbered on each Side of the river  [on the Oregon side this area is the eastern end of the Columbia Slough, located on the floodplain of the Willamette River with the Columbia River],   the Islands open & Some ponds river wide and emence numbers of fowls flying in every direction Such as Swan, geese, Brants, Cranes, Stalks, white guls, comerants & plevers &c. also great numbers of Sea Otter in the river [Harbor Seals] -     a Canoe arrived from the village below the last rapid ...     Capt Lewis borrowed a Small Canoe of those Indians & 4 men took her across to a Small lake in the Isld. [Government Island] ...    ...  :  note the mountain we Saw from near the forks proves to be Mount Hood [Mount Hood, Oregon]

Columbia River GorgeReturn to




*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

  • Bamkin, A., Cartisser, T., and Thomas, T., 1980, "Friendly Times Abound At The Royal Chinook Inn", IN: TimberWinds, Fall 1980, vol.1, no.1, City of Corbett, Oregon;
  • "Geneology.com" website, 2009, "GenForum", information courtesy M. Belanger, September 2000;
  • Hay, K.G., 2004, "The Lewis and Clark Columbia River Water Trail", Timber Press, Portland;
  • Jones, M.P., "positivelyentertainment.com" website, "Corbett Station, Gorge landmark withstands time test", 2011;
  • McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland;
  • Mershon, C.E., 2001, East of the Sandy, The Columbia River Highway, Guardian Peaks, Inc., Portland;
  • Oregon State Archives website, 2011, "A 1940 Journey Across Oregon";
  • U.S. Bureau of Land Management General Land Office (GLO) website, 2009;

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 2014