Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Dodson, Oregon"
Includes ... Dodson ... Ellahurst ... Reuben and Joseph Field's Campsite of April 7 and 8, 1806 ...
Image, 2005, Yeon Mountain and Dodson, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Yeon Mountain and Dodson, Oregon, from Skamania Landing, Washington. Image taken June 29, 2005.


Dodson ...
Dodson, Oregon, is located on the south side of the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 140. Just upstream is the neighboring town of Warrendale. Downstream is Ainsworth State Park and Horsetail Falls. Dodson was a railway station named after Ira Dodson, an early settler. The Dodson station was moved many times during its history, including once being located near today's Warrendale. Today Dodson is a small community off of Interstate 84, with two boat ramps located along the Columbia River. Directly across from the Dodson ramps is Skamania Landing, Washington. Views of Beacon Rock and Pierce Island can be had upstream. Behind Dodson looms the massive Yeon Mountain. Tumalt Creek lies to the east.

Hunters Campsite of April 7-8, 1806 ...
While the main camp of Lewis and Clark for April 6 through April 8, 1806, was downstream at Shepperds Dell, two hunters, Reuben and Joseph Field, quite possibly set up camp at the location of today's Dodson, Oregon.

Historians have debated the location of the Lewis and Clark camp of April 6, 7, and 8, 1806, as conflicts appear between the journal text and Lewis and Clark's maps. According to Moulton (1991, vol.7):

"... Atlas map 79 leads one to believe that the camp of April 6 can be combined with that shown for April 7 and 8 and easily solve the problem. But that location is in error also. On April 9, after the party left the camp established on April 6, Lewis records that they passed several cascades (shown on Atlas map 79); these would be the Multnomah and other falls in the area. But they are all beyond the camp designated for April 7-8 on the Atlas map. According to mileage estimates and general descriptions, the party's camp for April 6, where they remained until the morning of April 9, was in Multnomah County, above present Latourell Falls and Rooster Rock State Park, in an area known as Sheppards Dell. ..."

As Captain Lewis wrote in his journal on April 9, 1806:

"... on our way to this village we passed several beautifull cascades which fell from a great hight over the stupendious rocks which cloles the river on both sides nearly, except a small bottom on the South side in which our hunters were encamped. the most remarkable of these casscades falls about 300 feet perpendicularly over a solid rock into a narrow bottom of the river on the south side. it is a large creek, situated about 5 miles above our encampment of the last evening. several small streams fall from a much greater hight, and in their decent become a perfect mist which collecting on the rocks below again become visible and decend a second time in the same manner before they reach the base of the rocks. ..." [Lewis, April 9, 1806]

The "village" refered to is at the location of today's Skamania and Skamania Landing, shown on the route map (Moulton, vol.1, map#79) as nine lodges located between two unnamed creeks, today's Duncan Creek and Woodard Creek. The "hunters" mentioned were Reuben and Joseph Field, who had left, along with George Drouillard (Drewyer), the morning of April 7 to head upriver to a "small bottom" to hunt and then wait for the party to catch up to them.

"... we also directed Drewyer and the two Feildses to ascend the river early in the morning to a small bottom a few miles above and hunt untill our arrival ..." [Lewis, April 6, 1806]

Drewyer returned that night:

"... Drewyer returned down the river in the evening & informed us that the nativs had Sceared all the Elk from the river above. Joseph & reuben Fields had proceeded on further up the river in the canoe, he expected to the village. ..." [Clark, November 7, 1806]

Lewis and Clark reached the Fields on April 9, 1806, on their way to the village.

"... This morning early we commenced the operation of reloading our canoes; at 7 A. M. we departed and proceeded on to the Camp of Reubin and Joseph Fields they had not killed any game; we made no halt at this place but continued our rout to the Wah-clel-lah Village which is situated on the North side of the river about a mile below the beacon rock; here we halted and took breakfast. ..." [Lewis, April 9, 1806]

Quite possibly this "small bottom" is the area of today's Dodson, Oregon, and the camp shown on the Route Map (Moulton, vol.1, map#79) for April 7 and 8, 1806, which was directly across from the village, is where the two Fields spent the night.


Early Dodson ...
According to "Oregon Geographic Names" (McArthur and McArthur, 2003),   "Dodson is a railroad station just west of Warrendale. The name of the station comes from Ira Dodson, an early settler in that part of the country. Dodson station has been moved several times and was once near the present location of Warrendale.".

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records website shows an Ira Dodson being issued a land title on April 10, 1882, for 80 acres of parts of T1N R6E Section 2, under the 1820 "Sale-Cash Entry".


Views ...
The Frontage Road through Dodson was once the original Columbia River Highway.

Image, 2016, Frontage Road, Dodson, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Along Frontage Road on the old HCRH, Dodson, Oregon. Image taken March 17, 2016.
Image, 2016, Frontage Road, Dodson, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Along Frontage Road on the old HCRH, Dodson, Oregon. Image taken March 17, 2016.
Image, 2016, Frontage Road, Dodson, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Abandoned Gas Station and Motel, along Frontage Road on the old HCRH, Dodson, Oregon. Image taken March 17, 2016.
Image, 2016, Frontage Road, Dodson, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Along Frontage Road on the old HCRH, Dodson, Oregon. Image taken March 17, 2016.
Image, 2016, Frontage Road, Dodson, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Along Frontage Road on the old HCRH, Dodson, Oregon. Image taken March 17, 2016.


Dodson, etc.

  • Abandoned Motel and Gas Station ...
  • Dodson Boat Ramp ...
  • Ellahurst ...
  • Fox Farm ...
  • Historic Columbia River Highway ...
  • Historic Columbia River Highway in 1917 ...
  • McGowan Cannery ...
  • Mrs. Sarah Dodson, 1917 ...
  • Tumalt Creek ...
  • Yeon Mountain, Katanai Rock, St. Peters Dome, and Rock of Ages ...


Abandoned Motel and Gas Station ...

Image, 2014, Dodson, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Abandoned motel sign, Dodson, Oregon. Image taken June 9, 2014.
Image, 2011, Dodson, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Abandoned gas station and motel, Dodson, Oregon, along Interstate 84. View from car driving west along Interstate 84. Buildings are on the south side of the interstate. Image taken January 30, 2011.
Image, 2012, Dodson, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Abandoned Gas Station, Dodson, Oregon. Image taken June 12, 2012.
Image, 2014, Dodson, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Abandoned Gas Station, Dodson, Oregon. Image taken June 9, 2014.
Image, 2014, Dodson, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Abandoned Gas Station, Dodson, Oregon. Image taken June 9, 2014.
Image, 2015, Dodson, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Old gas station, Dodson, Oregon. Image taken March 30, 2015.
Image, 2014, Dodson, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Abandoned motel sign, Dodson, Oregon. Image taken June 9, 2014.
Image, 2014, Dodson, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Abandoned Motel, Dodson, Oregon. Image taken June 9, 2014.


Dodson Boat Ramp ...
The Dodson Boat Ramp provides excellent views of Skamania Landing, Beacon Rock, Hamilton Mountain, and Pierce Island.

Image, 2005, Boat ramp at Dodson, Oregon, from Skamania Landing, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Dodson, Oregon, boat ramp from Skamania Landing, Washington. Image taken June 29, 2005.
Image, 2005, Boat ramp at Dodson, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Boat ramp, Dodson, Oregon. Skamania Landing, Washington, is in the background. Image taken October 22, 2005.
Image, 2005, Boat ramp at Dodson, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Boat ramps, Dodson, Oregon. Image taken October 22, 2005.
Image, 2005, at Skamania Landing looking upstream, click to enlarge
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Skamania Landing, Washington, as seen from the boat ramp near Dodson, Oregon. Image taken October 22, 2005.
Image, 2005, Beacon Rock from Dodson boat ramp, click to enlarge
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Beacon Rock, Washington, as seen from the boat ramp near Dodson, Oregon. Image taken October 22, 2005.
Image, 2005, Looking upstream from boat ramp at Dodson, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Looking upstream from boat ramp, Dodson, Oregon. View of (left to right): Hamilton Mountain, Beacon Rock, Aldrich Butte, and Pierce Island. Image taken October 22, 2005.
Image, 2005, Pierce Island, Dodson boat ramp, click to enlarge
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Pierce Island, Washington, and the boat ramp near Dodson, Oregon. Downstream tip of Pierce Island. The Bonneville Dam area can be seen in the background. Image taken October 22, 2005.


Ellahurst ...
"... During the early 1900s, construction on the Historic Columbia River Highway was underway, triggering plans for subdivisions and development on both sides of the Gorge. One of the largest proposals slated for the Oregon side was called the "Ellahurst subdivision," renowned for its stunning location directly across from Beacon Rock, which the developers touted in their promotional materials.

The Ellahurst project was envisioned right along the Columbia River Highway, between the base of the Gorge face and the river. Fortunately it never got off the ground, and eventually Multnomah County designated the area that had been slated for the subdivision as a "geohazard" zone, due to its potential for landslides. The designation proved prophetic in February 1996, when heavy rains and significant warming caused massive mudslides in the area. A nearby house was swept away in the slide, finally coming to rest just a few hundred yards from Interstate 84, where its broken frame still lies atilt today.

Nearly 100 years after the Ellahurst subdivision was planned, the property was still zoned for residential purposes, carrying the risk that it could be logged and developed. In 2005, Friends founder Nancy Russell bought the 1.6-acre parcel that had been coveted for development, and bequeathed the property to Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust.

In 2009, the Forest Service bought the remaining parcels of Ellahurst land. ..."


Source:    Friends of the Columbia Gorge Spring 2011 Newsletter.



Fox Farm ...
"Sunset Magazine" in 1936 makes mention of a fox farm near Warrendale. Metsker's 1927 Multnomah County Maps shows a fox farm in Dodson.

From "Sunset Magazine", 1936:

"... The battlemented towers of basaltic rock that rise 2,000 feet above the river are the towers of St. Peter's Dome and Cathedral Point. Below them and on the highway is Warrendale where you can visit a fox farm . ..."


Map detail, Multnomah County, Dodson to Warrendale, Metsker 1927, click to enlarge
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Detail, Multnomah County, T2N R6E, Dodson to Warrendale, Metsker Maps, 1927. Courtesy "HistoricMapWorks.com" website, 2015.


Historic Columbia River Highway ...
[More Historic Columbia River Highway]
[More HCRH Route]

Image, 2016, Dodson, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Culvert along Frontage Road, on the old HCRH, Dodson, Oregon. South side. Image taken March 17, 2016.
Image, 2016, Dodson, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Stonework, culvert along Frontage Road, on the old HCRH, Dodson, Oregon. South side. Image taken March 17, 2016.


Historic Columbia River Highway in 1917 ...
UPPER HIGHWAY CLOSED
Autos May Be Shipped to Hood River From Dodson.

"Because road workers re now engaged in moving their equipment to the upper portion of the Columbia River Highway, County Roadmaster Yeon announced yesterday that it will be necessary to close the highway temporarily between the Multnomah County line and Cascade Locks.

The river boats will make stops at the McGowan cannery dock at Dodson, which is along the paved portion of the highway, and shipment of autos to Hood River may be made at that point."


Source:    "The Morning Oregonian", September 13, 1917, courtesy Historic Oregon Newspapers Archive, University of Oregon Libraries, 2015.



McGowan Cannery ...
Dodson, Oregon, was the home to the McGowan Cannery, owned by Patrick J. McGowan, during the heyday of Columbia River salmon fishing. Another cannery of McGowan's was located downstream between Chinook Point, Washington and Point Ellice.
[More Columbia River Canneries]


Mrs. Sarah Dodson, 1917 ...
WOOER HELD IN JAIL
Man, 40, Vanquishes Son, 46, of Sweetheart, Who is 76.
BRIDE-TO-BE IS WEALTHY
Husband-to-Be Arrested After Beating Down Door to Join Woman of His Choice -- Court May Be Asked to Name Guardian.

"To prevent the marriage of his mother, Mrs. Sarah Dodson, aged 76 years, to William Broadback, aged 40, Hiram E. Dodson, aged 46, barricaded his home at Warrendale Monday night and warned Broadback not to enter. Broadback broke down the door, knocked Dodson to the floor and drove him from the house. Broadback held the house against comers until the arrival of Deputy Sherrifs Phillips, Christoferson and Fisherty at midnight.

Broadback was held at the county jail yesterday under bond of $3000, charged with a threat to kill Dodson.

Mrs. Dodson is a pioneer resident of this county, has $15,000 in a Portland bank, owns a ranch of 140 acres at Warrendale, and two fish-wheels on the Columbia River. Broadback has been a laborer about the Dodson farm for two years past.

Broadback came into Portland Monday afternoon and obtained a marriage license for himself and Mrs. Dodson. He also had several drinks of liquor, according to Dodson, and was somewhat under the influence of the intoxicants when he arrived at the home of Mrs. Dodson that night. Upon Dodson's refusal to let him enter he broke open the door and grappled with Dodson.

"I just pushed against the door -- I didn't mean to break in, but I guess I pushed too hard," Broadback told Judge Jones in the District Court yesterday. "Dodson had a six-shooter in his hand and I threw him down to protect myself."

"Do you love this woman 36 years older than you?" Judge Jones asked Broadback.

"I like her; that is, I don't say I dislike her," replied Broadback.

"Do you think you would like her quite so much if she did not have property and money in the bank?" asked the court.

"I don't care for her money." retorted Broadback. "I'd want to marry her just the same if she had none -- at least under the circumstances."

"Under what circumstances?"

"Well, she needs some one to help her. Her son won't work and is not good to her."

Guess I'd better stow you away until you can be tried." said Judge Jones. "You can go to jail or furnish "$3000 bonds." Broadback went to jail.

Dodson brought his mother to court yesterday and may ask that a guardian be appointed for her by Judge Taswell. Mrs. Dodson said she wanted to marry Broadback, saying that he had been good to her and that her son had not. She was examined for her sanity on the complaint of her son, but found to be rational."


Source:    "Morning Oregonian", April 11, 1917, courtesy Historic Oregon Newspapers Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2018.


GUARDIAN WANTED FOR BRIDE-ELECT
Court Flays Mrs. Dodson's Suitor and Son and Says Both Have Eyes on Cash.
THREAT HEARING HELD UP
Testimony Is That Son Often Used Mother's Name on Checks and That He Was Cruel to Her. Farm Hand Confesses Love.

"Your little game might as well be blocked here as anywhere," commented District Judge Jones yesterday, when he ordered William Broadback's hearing on an alleged threat to kill Hiram Dodson continued for one week, when County Judge Tazwell will be asked to appoint a guardian for Mrs. Sarah Dodson aged 76, whom Broadback would marry.

The aged woman has property at Warrendale valued between $10,000 and $15,000 and $15,000 cash in a Portland bank, which Judge Jones declared Broadback had an acquisitive eye upon when he came to Portland Monday and took out a license to wed Mrs. Dodson. Broadback is 40 years old.

"You want to grab what you can of this old lady's property," accused Judge Jones, looking at Broadback. He turned to Mrs. Dodson's son, who is 46. "and you don't want him to get it because you expect to get it yourself some day. This case will be continued until an arrangement can be made by the County Court whereby this woman's property will be protected from both of you. ..."


Source:    "Morning Oregonian", April 12, 1917, courtesy Historic Oregon Newspapers Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2018.



Tumalt Creek ...
Tumalt Creek is a small creek located on the Oregon side of the Columbia River, which heads on the eastern flank of Yeon Mountain and below Nesmith Point, and merges with the Columbia at Columbia River Mile (RM) 140. Downstream is the small community of Dodson and upstream is the small community of Warrendale.
[More]

Image, 2015, Tumalt Creek, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Tumalt Creek, Oregon. Image taken March 30, 2015.


Yeon Mountain, Katanai Rock, St. Peter's Dome, and Rock of Ages ...
Behind the community of Dodson rises the basalt features of Yeon Mountain, Katanai Rock, St. Peter's Dome, and Rock of Ages.
[More]

Image, 2004, Yeon Mountain, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Yeon Mountain and Katanai Rock, Oregon. View from Dodson, Oregon. Image taken June 27, 2004.
Image, 2004, St. Peters Dome and Rock of Ages, click to enlarge
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St. Peters Dome (left) and Rock of Ages (right), Oregon. View from Dodson, Oregon. Image taken June 27, 2004.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 2, 1805 ...
Examined the rapid below us [from their camp at Fort Rains, looking at the Cascade Rapids] more pertcelarly the danger appearing too great to Hazzard our Canoes loaded, dispatched all the men who could not Swim with loads to the end of the portage below, I also walked to the end of the portage with the carriers where I delayed untill everry articles was brought over and canoes arrived Safe. here we brackfast and took a Meridn. altitude 59 45' 45" about the time we were Setting out 7 Squars came over loaded with Dried fish, and bear grass neetly bundled up, Soon after 4 Indian men came down over the rapid in a large canoe.     passed a rapid at 2 miles & 1 at 4 miles opposite the lower point of a high Island on the Lard Side [Bradford Island], and a little below 4 Houses on the Stard. Bank, a Small Creek on the Lard Side [Tanner Creek] opposit Straw berry Island [Hamilton Island], which heads below the last rapid, opposit the lower point of this Island [Hamilton Island] passed three Islands covered with tall timber [today there are two, Ives and Pierce] opposit the Beatin rock [Beacon Rock]    Those Islands are nearest the Starboard Side, imediately below on the Stard. Side passed a village of nine houses [indentified on Atlas map#79 as the "Wah-clallah Tribe of Shahala Nation", location near today's Skamania and Skamania Landing], which is Situated between 2 Small Creeks [Woodard Creek and Duncan Creek], and are of the Same construction of those above; here the river widens to near a mile, and the bottoms are more extensive and thickly timbered, as also the high mountains on each Side, with Pine, Spruce pine, Cotton wood, a Species of ash, and alder.     at 17 miles passed a rock near the middle of the river [Phoca Rock], about 100 feet high and 80 feet Diamuter,     proceed on down a Smoth gentle Stream of about 2 miles wide, in which the tide has its effect as high as the Beaten rock [Beacon Rock] or the Last rapids at Strawberry Island [Hamilton Island],- Saw great numbers of waterfowl of Different kinds, Such as Swan, Geese, white & grey brants, ducks of various kinds, Guls, & Pleaver [today just below Beacon Rock is Franz National Wildlife Refuge]. ...     we encamped under a high projecting rock on the Lard. Side [Rooster Rock, with Crown Point rising above it],     here the mountains leave the river on each Side [leaving the Columbia River Gorge, Steigerwald Land NWR is on the north and the Sandy River delta is on the south], which from the great Shute to this place is high and rugid [Columbia River Gorge]; thickly Covered with timber principalley of the Pine Species. The bottoms below appear extensive and thickly Covered with wood.     river here about 2 miles wide.     Seven Indians in a Canoe on their way down to trade with the nativs below, encamp with us, those we left at the portage passed us this evening and proceeded on down The ebb tide rose here about 9 Inches, the flood tide must rise here much higher- we made 29 miles to day from the Great Shute [Cascade Locks]-






Lewis, April 9, 1806
This morning early we commenced the operation of reloading our canoes; at 7 A. M. we departed [from their camp at Shepperds Dell] and proceeded on to the Camp of Reubin and Joseph Fields [near Dodson, Oregon] they had not killed any game; we made no halt at this place but continued our rout to the Wah-clel-lah Village which is situated on the North side of the river [upstream of the location of today's Skamania and Skamania Landing, between Duncan and Woodard Creeks] about a mile below the beacon rock [Beacon Rock]; here we halted and took breakfast. ...     this village appears to be the winter station of the Wah-clel-lahs and Clahclellars, the greater part of the former have lately removed to the falls of the Multnomah, and the latter have established themselves a few miles above on the North side of the river opposite the lower point of brant island [Bradford Island], being the commencement of the rapids, here they also take their salmon; they are now in the act of removing, and not only take with them their furniture and effects but also the bark and most of the boards which formed their houses. 14 houses remain entire but are at this time but thinly inhabited, nine others appear to have been lately removed, and the traces of ten or twelve others of ancient date were to be seen in the rear of their present village. ...     on our way to this village we passed several beautifull cascades which fell from a great hight over the stupendious rocks which cloles the river on both sides nearly, except a small bottom on the South side in which our hunters were encamped. the most remarkable of these casscades falls about 300 feet perpendicularly over a solid rock into a narrow bottom of the river on the south side. it is a large creek, situated about 5 miles above our encampment of the last evening. several small streams fall from a much greater hight, and in their decent become a perfect mist which collecting on the rocks below again become visible and decend a second time in the same manner before they reach the base of the rocks. [Multnomah Falls area]     the hills have now become mountains high on each side are rocky steep and covered generally with fir and white cedar. ...     at 2 P. M. we renewed our voyage; passed under the beacon rock [Beacon Rock] on the north side, to the left of two small islands situated near the shore [Ives and Pierce Islands].     at four P.M. we arrived at the Clah-clel-lah village; here we found the natives busily engaged in erecting their new habitations, which appear to be reather of a temperary kind; it is most probable that they only reside here during the salmon season. we purchased two dogs of these people who like those of the village blow were but sulky and illy disposed; they are great rogues and we are obliged to keep them at a proper distance from our baggage. as we could not ascend the rapid [foot of the Cascade Rapids] by the North side of the river with our large canoes [Hamilton Island area], we passed to the oposite side and entered the narrow channel which seperates brant Island [Bradford Island] from the South shore; the evening being far spent and the wind high raining and very cold we thought best not to attempt the rapids [Cascade Rapids] this evening, we therefore sought a safe harbour in this narrow channel and encamped on the main shore [Tanner Creek, Oregon]. our small canoe with Drewyer and the two feildses was unable to pass the river with us in consequence of the waves they therefore toed her up along the N. side of the river and encamped [upstream end of Bonneville Dam, location of today's North Powerhouse] opposite the upper point of brant Island [Bradford Island]. after halting this evening I took a turn with my gun in order to kill a deer, but was unsuccessful. I saw much fresh sign. the fir has been lately injured by a fire near this place and many of them have discharged considerable quantities of rozin. we directed that Collins should hunt a few hours tomorrow morning and that Gibson and his crew should remain at his place untill we returned and employ themselves in collectng rozin which our canoes are now in want of.





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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:
  • Friends of the Columbia Gorge Spring 2011 Newsletter;
  • Historic Oregon Newspapers Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2015, 2018;
  • McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2004, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland;
  • U.S. Bureau of Land Management website, 2006, General Land Office 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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February 2011