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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Cottardi Station, Washington"
Includes ... Cottardi Station ... Altoona ... Altoona Cannery ...
Image, 2013, Cottardi Station, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cottardi Station location, Washington. The now-forgotten small Washington community of Cottardi Station was located less than half a mile downstream (west) of Altoona. View from the Altoona-Pillar Rock Road heading east. Image taken October 15, 2013.


Cottardi Station ...
The now-forgotten fish-receiving station known as "Cottardi Station" was located east of Grays Bay, just downstream from the small Washington community of Altoona.

In the early 1900s Cottardi Station and Altoona were one of six fish-buying stations and canneries operating withing a six-mile stretch of the Columbia River in the Grays Bay area. Eventually before the decline of the salmon industry, 39 canneries would line the banks of the lower Columbia River.


Ghost Towns of the Pacific Northwest ...

"Cottardi Station was named for Baptiste Cottardi, an Italian immigrant who procured a homesteading parcel and built a house at the spot in 1892, the same year he became an American citizen at age fifty-six. He called his homestead Cottardi Station. Cottardi and his son Amelio earned a living in the summer by salmon fishing with their gillnet boats, and they supplemented their income in the winter by collecting and providing cord wood for the steamboats that navigated the river (and also provided transportation for the family). In 1907, the Columbia River Packers Association (CRPA) purchased the site from the Cottardis and built a receiving and weighing station on pilings on the shoreline for area fishermen to bring in their catch. A warehouse, a fish house, a receiving station, and several residences comprised the site. ...

The CRPA moved its headquarters from Cottardi Station to Altoonay, effectively ending the fishing life of Cottardi Station. A fire destroyed most, but not all, of Cottardi Station in 1939, and the Altoona cannery closed in 1947 with the decline of the river's slamon industry."

Source:    Varney, P., 2005, Ghost Towns of the Pacific Northwest


Early Cottardi Station ...
In 1892 Baptiste Cottardi established a homestead on the Washington shore of the Columbia River which he called "Cottardi Station". Baptiste and his son Amelio fished for salmon in the summer and cut and sold cord wood in the winter.

In 1907 the Columbia River Packers Association (CRPA) purchased Cottardi Station and built a receiving and weighing station.

In 1931 a bridge was erected over the Grays River and by 1935 it was extended to Cottardi Station, less than 1/2 mile west (downstream) of Altoona. The road finally reached Altoona in 1943.

In 1935 the CRPA moved its headquarters to Altoona after purchasing the financially failing Altoona Packing Company. This moved ended the fishing life of Cottardi Station.

In 1939 a fire destroyed Cottardi Station, leaving only two homes surviving from the former fish station.


Image, 2013, Cottardi Station, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mural, Cottardi Station, with Amelio Cottardi house in background. Image taken October 15, 2013.
Image, 2013, Cottardi Station, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Amelio Cottardi house, Cottardi Station, Washington. The Amelio Cottardi house was one of only two homes spared in a fire at Cottardi Station in 1939, a fire which ended the community. Mural in foreground belongs to the neighboring house. Image taken October 15, 2013.


Mural ...
In October 2013 a mural of the Columbia River was found on fence at the location of what once was Cottardi Station. The mural shows the Altoona Cannery, basalt pillars in the Columbia, and a grounded Gillnet boat. Cottardi Station was located less than one-half mile downstream of Altoona.

Image, 2013, Cottardi Station, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mural, Cottardi Station, with Amelio Cottardi house in background. Image taken October 15, 2013.
Image, 2013, Cottardi Station, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Altoona Cannery, Mural detail, Cottardi Station. Image taken October 15, 2013.
Image, 2013, Cottardi Station, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Pillars, Mural detail, Cottardi Station. Image taken October 15, 2013.
Image, 2013, Cottardi Station, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Gillnet Boat, Mural detail, Cottardi Station. Image taken October 15, 2013.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 8, 1805 ...
A Cloudy morning Some rain, we did not Set out untill 9 oClock [from their campsite near Pillar Rock], haveing Changed our Clothing- proceeded on Close under the Stard. Side, the hills high with Steep assent, Shore boald and rockey Several low Islands [islands of the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge] in a Deep bend or Bay to the Lard Side [Cathlamet Bay], river about 5 or 7 miles wide. three Indians in a Canoe overtook us, with Salmon to Sell, passed 2 old villages on the Stard. Side [passing Altoona] and at 3 miles entered a nitch [Grays Bay. Harrington Point and Pigeon Bluff are the eastern end of Grays Bay where the explorers would first spot the Bay.] of about 6 miles wide and 5 miles deep with Several Creeks [Grays River, Deep River] makeing into the Stard Hills, this nitch [Grays Bay] we found verry Shallow water and Call it the Shallow <nitch> [Grays Bay] we came too at the remains of an old village at the bottom of this nitch and dined [Miller Point], here we Saw great numbers of fowl, Sent out 2 men and they killed a Goose and two Canves back Ducks here we found great numbers of flees which we treated with the greatest caution and distance; after Diner the Indians left us and we took the advantage of a returning tide and proceeded on to the Second point [Portuguese Point, just east of Grays Point, the first point being Rocky Point] on the Std. here we found the Swells or waves So high that we thought it imprudent to proceed; we landed unloaded and drew up our Canoes. Some rain all day at intervales; we are all wet and disagreeable, as we have been for Several days past, and our present Situation a verry disagreeable one in as much; as we have not leavel land Sufficient for an encampment and for our baggage to lie Cleare of the tide, the High hills jutting in So Close and Steep that we cannot retreat back, and the water of the river too Salt to be used, added to this the waves are increasing to Such a hight that we cannot move from this place, in this Situation we are compelled to form our Camp between the hite of the Ebb and flood tides, and rase our baggage on logs- We are not certain as yet if the whites people who trade with those people or from whome they precure ther goods are Stationary at the mouth, or visit this quarter at Stated times for the purpose of trafick &c. I believe the latter to be the most probable conjucture- The Seas roled and tossed the Canoes in Such a manner this evening that Several of our party were Sea Sick.





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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:    Varney, P., 2005, Ghost Towns of the Pacific Northwest;

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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October 2013