Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Fort Lugenbeel, Washington ... (Upper Blockhouse)"
Includes ... Fort Lugenbeel ... "Upper Blockhouse" ... Ashes Lake ... Cascades Rapids ...
Image, 2006, Fort Lugenbeel information sign, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Sign information, Fort Lungenbeel Blockhouse. Information sign located at the site of "Fort Rains", downstream from Ashes Lake. Caption reads: "The Upper Cascades was only a village during the March 26, 1856 battle. Civilians defended themselves from nearby Bradford Store until Colonel George Wright caused the Indian withdrawal on the 28th. He ordered immediate construction of Fort Lugenbeel." Image taken April 22, 2006.

The Forts of the Cascades Rapids ...
Throughout history four different forts or blockhouses existed along a rough stretch of the Columbia River Gorge between Hamilton Island and Cascades Locks, known throughout history as the "Cascade Rapids". The first fort was Fort Gilliam, established in 1848 and located at the upper end of the portage as a supply depot for the Cayuse Indian Wars. Next came Fort Cascades, built in 1855 at the lower end of the rapids (known as the "Lower Cascades"), and built to defend the portage. Next came Fort Rains which was located at the lower end of the portage around the "Upper Cascades". The last fort built was Fort Lugenbeel, located at the upper end of the "Upper Cascades" portage.

Fort Lugenbeel ...
On March 26, 1856, Indians attacked the white settlements at the Cascade Rapids. Settlers took refuge at Fort Rains and Bradford's Store. The Fort Cascades was burned to the ground. The settlers were rescued by Lieutenant Sheridan who arrived March 27, 1856. Gunfire was exchanged the rest of the 27th and 28th, with the Indians surrendering late in the evening on March 28, 1856. After this battle, Fort Cascades was rebuilt and another blockhouse, Fort Lugenbeel, was added to protect the Upper Cascades. Fort Lugenbeel (also known as the "Upper Blockhouse") was located on the north bank of the Columbia, on a hill, across from Little Ashes Lake. Presumably the fort was named after Major Pinckney Lugenbeel, who, in 1856 was a captain in the 9th Infantry and was engaged in the defense of Fort Cascades. In 1862 Major Lugenbeel became Commander at the Army Post, Vancouver Barracks.

Fort Lugenbeel blockhouse model, Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center ...
(to come)
Image, 2011, Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Model, Fort Rains, Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 15, 2011.
Image, 2011, Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Information sign, Fort Lugenbeel, Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 15, 2011.

Ashes Lake, "Upper Cascades", and "Upper Landing" ...
Fort Gilliam and Fort Lugenbeel were located above Ashes Lake. This area, at the upper end of the Cascade Rapids, was known as the "Upper Cascades" or "Upper Landing".

Image, 2005, Ashes Lake, looking south towards the Columbia River, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Ashes Lake, Washington. View from Ashes Lake Road, looking south towards the Columbia River. Image taken February 26, 2005.

"The Golden Age of Postcards" ...

The early 1900s was the "Golden Age of Postcards", with the "Penny Postcard" being a popular way to send greetings to family and friends. The postcards now have become a image of history.

Penny Postcard, Famous Block House on the Columbia River, ca.1910
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Fort Lungenbeel, "Famous Block House on the Columbia River", ca.1910.
Penny Postcard, ca.1910. Caption on front reads: "Famous Block House on the Columbia River." No other indication of which Block House or where it might be located on card. An article in the Spokesman Review (November 29, 1814) showed this blockhouse image and called it "Fort Lugenbeel, facing north". In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.

From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 30, 1805 ...
A cool morning, a moderate rain all the last night, after eating a partial brackfast of venison we Set out [from their camp near Drano Lake and the Little White Salmon River]     passed Several places where the rocks projected into the river & have the appearance of haveing Seperated from the mountains and fallen promiscuisly into the river, Small nitches are formed in the banks below those projecting rocks which is comon in this part of the river, Saw 4 Cascades caused by Small Streams falling from the mountains on the Lard. Side,

[The possiblities in a two-mile area are - upstream to downstream - Starvation Creek and Falls, the seasonal Cabin Creek and Falls, Warren Creek and Falls, Wonder Creek and Lancaster Falls, Lindsey Creek and Falls, and Summit Creek and Falls.]

a remarkable circumstance in this part of the river is, the Stumps of pine trees [Submerged Forest]

[The Submerged Forest existed along the reach from above Dog Mountain/Viento Creek on the upstream edge and Wind Mountain/Shellrock Mountain on the downstream edge.]

are in maney places are at Some distance in the river, and gives every appearance of the rivers being damed up below from Some cause which I am not at this time acquainted with [Bonneville Landslide],     the Current of the river is also verry jentle not exceeding 1 1/2 mile pr. hour and about 3/4 of a mile in width. Some rain, we landed above the mouth of a Small river on the Stard. Side [Wind River] and Dined ...   :  here the river widens to about one mile large Sand bar in the middle, a Great [rock] both in and out of the water, large <round> Stones, or rocks are also permiscuisly Scattered about in the river, ...     this day we Saw Some fiew of the large Buzzard    Capt. Lewis Shot at one, those Buzzards are much larger than any other of ther Spece or the largest Eagle white under part of their wings &c. [California Condor] ...     The bottoms above the mouth of this little river [Wind River] <which we Call> is rich covered with grass & firn & is about 3/4 of a mile wide rich and rises gradually, below the river (which is 60 yards wide above its mouth) the Countery rises with Steep assent. we call this little river <fr Ash> New Timbered river from a Speces of Ash <that wood> which grows on its banks of a verry large and different from any we had before Seen, and a timber resembling the beech in bark <& groth> but different in its leaf which is Smaller and the tree smaller. passed maney large rocks in the river and a large creek on the Stard. Side in the mouth of which is an Island [Rock Creek near Stevenson, Washington], passed on the right of 3 Islands <on> near the Stard. Side, and landed on an Island close under the Stard. Side at the head of the great Shute [head of the Cascades Rapids], and a little below a village of 8 large houses on a Deep bend on the Stard. Side, and opposit 2 Small Islands imediately in the head of the Shute, which Islands are covered with Pine, maney large rocks also, in the head of the Shute. Ponds back of the houses, and Countrey low for a Short distance. The day proved Cloudy dark and disagreeable with Some rain all day which kept us wet. The Countary a high mountain on each Side thickly Covered with timber, Such as Spruc, Pine, Cedar, Oake Cotton &c. &c.     I took two men and walked down three miles to examine the Shute and river below proceeded along an old Indian path, passd. an old village at 1 mile [vicinity of Ice House Lake] ...     I found by examonation that we must make a portage of the greater perpotion of our Stores 2 1/2 miles, and the Canoes we Could haul over the rocks, I returned at Dark ...     a wet disagreeable evening, the only wood we could get to burn on this little Island on which we have encamped [near Ashes Lake, the island is now under the waters of the Bonneville Reservoir. Ashes Lake was near the head of the Cascade Rapids. Across from Ashes Lake is Cascade Locks, Oregon.] is the newly discovered Ash, which makes a tolerable fire. we made fifteen miles to daye

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

Sources:    see Cascade Rapids;   

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.
© 2017, Lyn Topinka, "ColumbiaRiverImages.com", All rights reserved.
Images are NOT to be downloaded from this website.
July 2011