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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Fort Stevens, Oregon"
Includes ... Fort Stevens ... Fort Stevens State Park ... Battery 245 ... Battery Russell ... "Peter Iredale" ... Clatsop Spit ... National Register of Historic Places ... The Golden Age of Postcards ...
Image, 2009, Fort Stevens State Park, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Highway sign to Fort Stevens State Park, Oregon. Weather overcast and grey, but surprisingly no rain. Image taken August 8, 2009.


Fort Stevens ...
Fort Stevens is located on Point Adams, west of the Oregon communities of Astoria, Warrenton, and Hammond. To the west is the Pacific Ocean, and south is the Clatsop Plain, also known as "Clatsop Beach". Fort Stevens is located at Columbia River Mile (RM) _____. In 1862, Cape Disappointment, on the Washington side of the Columbia, was armed with smoothbore cannons to protect the mouth of the Columbia River from enemies. Three years later, in 1865, Fort Stevens, complete with a moat and drawbridge, was established on the Oregon side. In 1875 Fort Canby came into existence to improve the defense of the Columbia. In 1896 Fort Columbia was built and in 1897 Fort Stevens was improved. The mouth of the Columbia River was now protected with three forts. Fort Stevens was named for General Isaac Stevens, a former Governor of Washington Territory (1853 to 1857) and a delegate to Congress (1857-1861). General Stevens was killed in 1862 leading a New York regiment against the Confederates.

Fort Stevens History ...
Fort Stevens defended the mouth of the Columbia River for 84 years, "beginning with the Civil War and closing at the end of World War II".
"... The fort was built to protect the North against an English invasion from Canada, should the British join the Civil War on the Confederate side. In its long history, Fort Stevens never fired its guns in anger. The original Fort Stevens consisted of an earthwork, a fort made mainly of dirt, and had gun emplacements and several buildings, all completed in 1865. To protect it from land attack, the fort was surrounded by a moat with a drawbridge. ..." [Friends of Old Fort Stevens website, 2006]
In 1897 Fort Stevens added eight new concrete batteries which included mortars and long and short range rifles.
"... The principal armaments of the new Fort Stevens were 10-inch rifled cannons placed at Batteries Russell, Walker, Lewis and Mishler. Mounted on disappearing carriages, which hid the guns behind concrete and earth walls when not being fired, these guns could fire 617-pound shells at a distance of nine miles. To complement the 10-inch rifles, Fort Stevens was armed with 6-inch rifles at Battery Pratt and 12-inch mortars at Battery Clark. Also, to protect the mine fields at the mouth of the Columbia River, there were two small caliber rapid-fire batteries - Smur and Freeman. ..." [Friends of Old Fort Stevens website, 2006]

During World War II Fort Stevens was again improved, adding Battery 245, a gun emplacement armed with two 6-inch rifles which had a range of about 15 miles. Another battery was placed on the South Jetty.

"... On the night of June 21, 1942, Fort Stevens saw its only action when a Japanese submarine (the I-25) fired 5.5 inch shells in the vicinity of the fort. The shelling caused no damage. The Fort Commander refused to allow return fire. The incident made Fort Stevens the only installation to be attacked by an enemy since the War of 1812. ..." [Friends of Old Fort Stevens website, 2006]
Fort Stevens was decommissioned after World War II. By 1947, all of the guns had been removed and much of the fort was turned over to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who used the fort as their headquarters "for maintenance activities at the mouth of the Columbia River".

A Fort Stevens Post Office operated between 1899 and 1949, and in 1907 there was a Fort Stevens Station which operated on the Hammond spur of the Astroia & Columbia Railroad.

In 1955 Clatsop County gave a parcel of land south of Fort Stevens to the State of Oregon for inclusion in a State Park. In 1968 the State of Oregon gained lease of Fort Stevens from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

In 1971 Fort Stevens (also known as Fort Stevens Military Reservation) was added to the National Register of Historic Places (Site, #71000678).


Fort Stevens State Park ...
The 3,700-acre Fort Stevens State Park, located west of Astoria, Oregon, offers camping, beachcombing, swimming, trails, wildlife viewing, an historic shipwreck (the Peter Iredale who wrecked in 1906), and the historic military fort. Nine miles of bicycle trails and 6 miles of hiking trails wind through forests of spruce and hemlock, across wetlands and dunes, and along the shore. Fort Stevens State Park, while under the management of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, is now (2006) part of the Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks.

Image, 2009, Fort Stevens State Park, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Deer, Fort Stevens State Park, Oregon. Image taken August 8, 2009.


Clatsop Spit and Clatsop Beach ...
Clatsop Spit extends to the west and north of Point Adams. To the south is Clatsop Beach, the general name given to the 18-mile-long beach extending from Point Adams to Seaside, Oregon. Clatsop Spit and parts of Clatsop Beach are located within Fort Stevens State Park.
[More]

Image, 2009, South Jetty, Clatsop Spit, Oregon, click to enlarge
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South Jetty viewing platform, Clatsop Spit, Oregon. Weather overcast and grey, but surprisingly no rain. Image taken August 8, 2009.
Image, 2013, Clatsop Spit, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Snowy Owl, South Jetty, Fort Stevens, Clatsop Spit, Oregon. Image taken February 2, 2013.


Battery 245 ...
Battery 245, located at Fort Stevens, was one of three Batteries surrounding the mouth of the Columbia River. Battery 246 was located at Fort Columbia, Washington, and Battery 247 was located at Fort Canby, located at Cape Disappointment.

Battery Russell ...
(to come)

Image, 2009, Battery Russell, Fort Stevens State Park, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Battery Russell, Fort Stevens State Park, Oregon. Weather overcast and grey, but surprisingly no rain. Image taken August 8, 2009.
Image, 2009, Battery Russell, Fort Stevens State Park, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Battery Russell, Fort Stevens State Park, Oregon. Weather overcast and grey, but surprisingly no rain. Image taken August 8, 2009.
Image, 2009, Battery Russell, Fort Stevens State Park, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Gun location, Battery Russell, Fort Stevens State Park, Oregon. Weather overcast and grey, but surprisingly no rain. Image taken August 8, 2009.


Wreck of the Peter Iredale ...
On October 25, 1906, during a heavy southwest wind, the four-masted British vessel, the Peter Iredale, ran aground at Clatsop Beach, off the west coast of Fort Stevens. Parts of the skelton of the Peter Iredale are still visible today, with access to the beach from Fort Stevens.
[More]

Image, 2012, Peter Iredale shipwreck, Fort Stevens State Park, click to enlarge
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Peter Iredale shipwreck, Pacific Ocean, Fort Stevens State Park, Oregon. Sunny, windy, late afternoon. Image taken November 26, 2012.
Image, 2009, Peter Iredale shipwreck, Fort Stevens State Park, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Peter Iredale shipwreck, Clatsop Beach, Pacific Ocean, Fort Stevens State Park, Oregon. Weather overcast and grey, but surprisingly no rain. Image taken August 8, 2009.


"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. Today the Penny Postcard has become a snapshot of history.

Penny Postcard, Fort Stevens, Oregon, 1906
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Fort Stevens, Oregon, 1906. Penny Postcard, 1906, "Fort Stevens, Ore., Copyright 1906 by Frank Woodficla". Card is postmarked August 21, 1912. Divided back. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Fort Stevens, Oregon, ca.1907
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Fort Stevens, Oregon, ca.1907. Penny Postcard, Postmarked 1907, "Fort Stevens, Oregon". Card is postmarked January 23, 1907. Undivided back. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, ...
 




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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 Old Fort Stevens website, 2006; McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2004, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland; Oregon Parks and Recreation website, 2006; Oregon State Historic Photograph website, 2006; U.S. National Park Service website, 2006, Lewis and Clark National and State Historic Parks.

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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Images are NOT to be downloaded from this website.
August 2011