Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Ellsworth and Ellsworth Springs, Vancouver, Washington"
Includes ... Ellsworth Springs ... Ellsworth ...
Image, 2007, Ellsworth area, Vancouver, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
End of the road, Ellsworth area, Vancouver, Washington. Looking south towards the Columbia River. Image taken December 30, 2007.

Ellsworth ...
Ellsworth, Washington, is a small town on the Columbia River located six miles east of Vancouver at Columbia River Mile (RM) 111.5. Upstream is the Vancouver Trout Hatchery and Fisher's Landing, and downstream is Image, Lieser Point and Wintler Park.

Early History ...
According to Robert Hitchman in Place Names of Washington (1985), the town of Ellsworth was founded in 1886 by a group of families from St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, and from Omaha, Nebraska. The group journeyed west and named their town after their organizer, Elmer Ellsworth. Elmer Ellsworth never saw the place however, as he was killed before the group moved to Clark County.

Early maps of Washington show the development of the early Columbia River communities from Vancouver east to Camas, including Image, Ellsworth, and Fisher.

  • Cram's 1883 "Rail road & township map of Washington" shows "Vancouver" and the "Fisher's P.O.".
  • Cram's 1889 "Railroad and county map of Washington" shows "Vancouver", "Vancouver Barracks", "Fisher's", and then "La Camas".
  • The 1897 Post Route Map of the State of Washington, in operation on the 1st of September, 1897" shows "Vancouver" and "Fisher".
  • Cram's 1904 "Map of Washington" shows "Vancouver" and "Vancouver Sta.", "Fisher", and "Camas".
  • The 1905 edition of the 1896 U.S. Geological Survey 1:62500 topographic map for "Portland, Oreg." shows "Vancouver", "Vancouver Barracks", "Russell Landing", "Ellsworth", and "Fishers".
  • The 1908 "Railroad Commission Map of Washington, 1908" shows "Vancouver", "Ellsworth", "Fisher", and "La Camas".
  • The 1910 "Railroad Commission Map of Washington, 1910" shows "Vancouver", "Image", "Ellsworth", "Fisher", "Kiernan", and "Camas".
  • Cram's 1911 map shows "Vancouver" and "V. Sta.", "Image", "Ellsworth", "Fisher", and "Camas".
  • Cram's 1925 map of Washington shows "Vancouver", "Ellseworth", "Fisher", and "Camas".
  • The 1928 "Railroad Map of Washington, 1928" shows "Vancouver", "McLoughlin", "Image", "Ellsworth", "Fisher", "Prune Hill", and then "Camas".

The ca.1915-1922 Plat Map for Clarke County (found on "rootsweb.com", 2011) shows the three communities of "Image", "Ellsworth", and "Fishers".

According to the "Columbian.com" website (2011):

"Ellsworth:   The area is also known as Image, and is now the name for a road and a school. Residents petitioned successfully in 1957 to keep a name they said had a 75-year history when the county began numbering its roads, but the origin of Ellsworth - or Image - could not be discovered."

Ellsworth in 1941 ...
From "The New Washington: A Guide to the Evergreen State, Federal Writers' Project, 1941":

"... ELLSWORTH, (48 alt., 60 pop.), is a small settlement around the Ellingsworth Company, which operates during the salmon run on the Columbia. West of Ellsworth prune orchards are abundant. In the spring their pink blossoms soften the landscape and their heavy, fragrant odor scents the air. Large drying bins for the ripe, picked fruit stand in each orchard. ..."

Ellsworth, etc.

  • 1916 ... Rooster Rock Cannery move to Ellsworth ...
  • 1918 ... Rooster Rock Cannery at Ellsworth ...
  • 1918 ... Ellsworth Cannery ...
  • Ellsworth/Columbia Slope Springs ...
  • Vancouver's Water Supply ...

1916 ... Rooster Rock Cannery moves to Ellsworth ...
Rooster Rock Cannery to Move.

VANCOUVER, Wash., Nov.3. -- (Special.) -- The Rooster Rock cannery for salmon is to be removed to a site on the W.X. Morgan place on the Columbia River just above Ellsworth, it is reported, and men already are at work making preparations to build the cannery. The machinery will be shipped down the river and put in this cannery. It is said that the building will cost from $6000 to $10,000 and that the Change is made desirable by the changing sands near the old cannery."

Source:    "The Morning Oregonian", November 4, 1916, courtesy University of Oregon Historic Newspapers Digital Archives, 2015.

1918 ... Ellsworth Cannery ...
Neighbor Who Objects to "Nauseous Odors" Fails to Get Damages.

VANCOUVER, Wash., Dec. 12. -- (Special.) -- The Columbia River Packers' Association, operating among other plants a salmon cannery at Ellsworth, five miles east of Vancouver, on the Columbia River, won the $17,000 damage suit brought by Mrs. Lulu Kingsbury in the Superior Court of Clarke County. The jury returned a verdict last night.

Mrs. Kingsbury sued to collect $14,000, alleged to be the amount her property has been damaged on account of the nauseous odors sent out by the cannery, and the noises at night; and $3000 because these odors were so bad that her husband could no longer live there and bear them. Her property adjoins the cannery property."

Source:    "The Morning Oregonian", Friday, December 13, 1918, courtesy University of Oregon Historic Newspapers Digital Archives, 2015.

1918 ... Rooster Rock Cannery at Ellsworth ...
The Rooster Rock Cannery originally existed on the west side of Rooster Rock, Oregon, in the small bay between Tunnel Point and Rooster Rock. The Cannery was built by Antone Fastabend for Samuel Elmore, who had a large Cannery business in Astoria, Oregon. Because of constant silting of the bay where the cannery was located, it eventually was forced to move to Ellsworth on the Washington shore.

"The use of the fish-wheels and the large quantities caught by them, caused canneries to be built on the upper Columbia. Warrendale was the first one, then one at Celilo by Everding & Farrell, then McGowan's, and later the Columbia River Packers Association, who built at Rooster Rock -- since moved across the river to Ellsworth."

Source:    Pacific Fisherman: Yearbook, 1918.

[More Columbia River Canneries]

Ellsworth/Columbia Slope Springs ...
Springs are plentiful in the gravel deposits along the 25-square-mile Columbia Slope watershed which exists between Vancouver, Washington and Camas, Washington. The City of Vancouver once used springs near Ellsworth as a water source, and originally the water for the Vancouver Trout Hatchery came from spings issuing forth from the hillsides.

"... Many springs flow from a six-mile stretch of the Columbia Slope between Marine Park in Vancouver and the Fisher's Landing area near Camas. Most of the springs flow from gravel deposits in the hillsides above the Columbia River.

Ellsworth Springs, west of the Interstate 205 bridge, was a source of drinking water for the city for many years. In 1973, the city stopped using the springs because of elevated nitrate concentrations, most likely from septic tanks in large areas of east Vancouver. From the late 1800s to 1973, Ellsworth Springs supplied as much as four million gallons per day of the city of Vancouver's drinking water.

In 1949, the U.S. Geological Survey found that Columbia Slope springs discharged approximately 35 cubic feet of water per second. Salmon and Lacamas creeks flow at about this rate during the summer. In a 1988 update, the Geological Survey found that Ellsworth and a few other springs near I-205 flowed at rates similar to those measured in 1949. The other springs had a 40 percent decrease in flow. The large springs that supplied cold, clear water to Vancouver Trout Hatchery had decreased to 5 and 20 percent, which forced the hatchery to drill wells in the late 1980s. ... "

[Clark County "Water Resources & Clean Water Program" website, 2007]

Vancouver's Water Supply ...

"... Early in 1868, a company was organized for the purpose of bringing water into the city from Stenegier's creek [todays's Burnt Bridge Creek], about four miles east of Vancouver ...

The source of the water supply of the city of Vancouver is found in several large springs situated about four miles from town. Here the first named corporation owns several acres of ground and below the springs, in 1878, a reservoir or dam was constructed, capable of holding, in round numbers, two million gallons of water. It is substantially built and fitted with proper connections for the main pipe, which is laid a distance of about twenty-two thousand feet, to the city reservoirs, and made of selected yellow fir logs. At the lower end of the upper main are located two reservoirs, substantially built, roofed over and with a capacity of thirty-five thousand and three hundred thousand gallons respectively. The total cost of the work was in the neighborhood of thirty thousand dollars. The fall between the reservoirs and the source is twenty-two feet and about one foot to the thousand. The head of water on Main street is about seventy feet, sufficient for any high building, while the quantity that can be utilized is abundant for a city of twenty thousand inhabitants. ..."

Source:    From the 1885 publication History of Clarke County

From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 4, 1805 ...
A cloudy cool morning wind from the West we Set out at 1/2 past 8 oClock [from their camp on the north side of Government Island, approximately across from Fisher's Landing], one man Shannon Set out early to walk on the Island [Government Island] to kill Something, he joined us at the lower point with a Buck. This island is 6 miles long and near 3 miles wide thinly timbered     (Tide rose last night 18 inches perpndicular at Camp) near the lower point of this diamond Island [Government Island] is The head of a large Island Seperated from a Small one by a narrow chanel [Lewis and Clark show two large islands on their maps, both in today's Government Island area], and both Situated nearest the Lard Side, those Islands [even today the Government Island reach is a complex of many islands] as also the bottoms are thickly Covered with Pine &c. river wide, Country low on both Sides; [since 1983 the Interstate 205 bridge crosses Government Island connecting Oregon to Washington]     on the Main Lard Shore a Short distance below the last Island we landed at a village of 25 Houses: [near Portland International Airport]; ...     This village contains about 200 men of the Skil-loot nation ...

at 7 miles below this village passed the upper point of a large Island [Hayden Island] nearest the Lard Side, a Small Prarie [Jolie Prairie, today the location of Fort Vancouver and Pearson Airpark. Lewis and Clark camp on this prairie on their return] in which there is a pond [one of the many ponds which use to dot this area] opposit on the Stard. here I landed and walked on Shore, about 3 miles a fine open Prarie for about 1 mile, back of which the countrey rises gradually and wood land comencies Such as white oake, pine of different kinds, wild crabs with the taste and flavour of the common crab and Several Species of undergroth of which I am not acquainted, a few Cottonwood trees & the Ash of this countrey grow Scattered on the river bank, ...     joined Capt. Lewis at a place he had landed with the party for Diner. ...

dureing the time we were at dinner those fellows Stold my pipe Tomahawk which They were Smoking with [Tomahawk pipe, thus giving rise to the name Tomahawk Island] ...    we proceeded on

[The men have passed through the area which, 20 years later, Dr. John McLoughlin would choose for a trading post of the Hudson's Bay Company, later to become Fort Vancouver and eventually the city of Vancouver, Washington.]

met a large & a Small Canoe from below, with 12 men the large Canoe was ornimented with Images carved in wood the figures of <man &> a Bear in front & a man in Stern, Painted & fixed verry netely on the <bow & Stern> of the Canoe, rising to near the hight of a man [Lewis and Clark then named Hayden Island "Image Canoe Island"]     two Indians verry finely Dressed & with hats on was in this canoe passed the lower point of the Island [Hayden Island] which is nine miles in length haveing passed 2 Islands on the Stard Side of this large Island [the location of Vancouver Landing and since 1917 the Interstate 5 Bridge connecting Oregon to Washington State], three Small Islands at its lower point [The downstream end of Hayden Island was at one time composed of small islands. One of these, Pearcy Island, would become today's Kelley Point.]. the Indians make Signs that a village is Situated back of those Islands on the Lard. Side and I believe that a Chanel is Still on the Lrd. Side [it wasn't until Lewis and Clark's return trip they would discover the mouth of the Willamette River] as a Canoe passed in between the Small Islands, and made Signs that way, probably to traffick with Some of the nativs liveing on another Chanel, at 3 miles lower [Sauvie Island is located at this stretch, but it is not until the return that Lewis and Clark recognize it as a separate island], and 12 Leagues below quick Sand river [Sandy River] passed a village of four large houses on The Lard. Side [on Sauvie Island], near which we had a full view of Mt. Helien [Mount St. Helens, Washington] which is perhaps the highest pinical in America from their base it bears N. 25 E about 90 miles- This is the mountain I Saw from the Muscle Shell rapid [Umatilla Rapids, Captain Clark actually saw Mount Adams] on the 19th of October last Covered with Snow, it rises Something in the form of a Sugar lofe- about a mile lower passed a Single house on the Lard. Side, and one on the Stard. Side, passed a village on each Side and Camped near a house on the Stard. Side [Post Office Lake vicinity, today within the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge] we proceeded on untill one hour after dark with a view to get clear of the nativs who was constantly about us, and troublesom, finding that we could not get Shut of those people for one night, we landed and Encamped on the Stard. Side ...

This evening we Saw vines much resembling the raspberry which is verry thick in the bottoms. A range of high hills at about 5 miles on the Lard Side [Portland's West Hills'] which runs S. E. & N W. Covered with tall timber the bottoms below in this range of hills and the river is rich and leavel, Saw White geese with a part of their wings black. The river here is 1 miles wide, and current jentle. opposite to our camp on a Small Sandy Island [one of the small sandy islands prevelent in this stretch of the Columbia. Today the Willow Bar Islands on the east side of Sauvie Island lie across from Post Office Lake.] the brant & geese make Such a noise that it will be impossible for me to Sleap. we made 29 miles to day

Vancouver PlainsReturn 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

  • Alley, B.F., and Munro-Fraser, J.P., 1885, History of Clarke County, Washington Territory: compiled from the most authentic sources: also biographical sketches of its pioneers and prominent citizens, Portland, Oregon;
  • Clark County, "Water Resources & Clean Water Program" website, 2007;
  • Columbia Gorge Discovery Center Photo Archives website, 2011;
  • "columbian.com" website, 2011, "Names in Clark County";
  • Federal Writers' Project, 1941, "The New Washington: A Guild to the Evergreen State";
  • Hitchman, R., 1985, Place Names of Washington, Washington State Historical Society;
  • University of Oregon Historic Newspapers Digital Archives website, 2015;

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.
© 2019, Lyn Topinka, "ColumbiaRiverImages.com", All rights reserved.
Images are NOT to be downloaded from this website.
February 2013