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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Gorton Creek and Harphan Creek, Oregon"
Includes ... Gorton Creek ... Harphan Creek ... Wyeth ... Historic Columbia River Highway ...
Image, 2006, Interstate 84 at Wyeth, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Interstate 84 at Wyeth, Oregon. View looking west. Image taken October 2, 2006.


Gorton Creek ...
Gorton Creek is located at Wyeth, Oregon and enters the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 156. The Wyeth Campground borders its right bank. Immediately upstream is Harphan Creek. Two miles upstream is Shellrock Mountain while downstream is Herman Creek and the Oregon community of Cascade Locks. Gorton Creek was named after Edwin Gorton, a homesteader who filed a claim along its banks.

Harphan Creek ...
Harphan Creek is located less than one-half mile upstream of Gorton Creek. It was named after George and Henry Harpham, homesteaders who filed land claims on the creek's banks.

Early Gorton and Harphan Creeks ...
Gorton Creek was named after Edwin Gorton, a homesteader who filed a claim along its banks in the 1896.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office (GLO) Records database (2015) lists an Edwin Gorton being granted title to 80 acres of T2N R8E, Section 2, on January 3, 1896 (1862 Homestead Entry Original).

Harphan Creek is a misspelling of "Harpham" and is named after George and Henry Harpham, homesteaders who filed land claims on the creek's banks.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office (GLO) Records database (2015) lists George E. Harpham being granted title to 160 acres of T2N R8E, Section 1, on September 28, 1898 (1862 Homestead Entry Original), and Henry P. Harpham begin granted title to 181.76 acres of T2N R8E, Section 1, on April 9, 1901 (1862 Homestead Entry Original).

The 1898 U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Cadastral Survey map (tax survey) for T2N R8E had today's Gorton Creek labeled "Murtle Creek". Harphan Creek is noted but not named.


Views ...

Image, 2015, Gorton Creek, Wyeth, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Gorton Creek, looking upstream, Wyeth, Oregon. View from Historic Columbia River Highway Bridge over Gorton Creek. Image taken April 9, 2015.
Image, 2015, Gorton Creek, Wyeth, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Gorton Creek, looking downstream, Wyeth, Oregon. View from Historic Columbia River Highway Bridge over Gorton Creek. Image taken April 9, 2015.
Image, 2015, Gorton Creek, Wyeth, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Gorton Creek, looking downstream, 2nd channel, Wyeth, Oregon. View from Historic Columbia River Highway Bridge over Gorton Creek. Image taken April 9, 2015.


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

  • HMP 52.7 ... Gorton Creek Bridge (1918)
  • HMP 52.8 ... Wyeth

  • Gorton Creek Bridge (1918):   "The reinforced concrete slab structure is 50 feet in length and consists of three slab spans -- two 15-foot spans and a 20-foot span. ...   The bridge is on a county road." [National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, 1983]

Image, 2015, Gorton Creek, Wyeth, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Gorton Creek Bridge, Historic Columbia River Highway, Wyeth, Oregon. View looking east. Image taken April 9, 2015.
Image, 2015, Gorton Creek, Wyeth, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Gorton Creek Bridge, Historic Columbia River Highway, Wyeth, Oregon. View looking west. Image taken April 9, 2015.
Image, 2015, Gorton Creek, Wyeth, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Gorton Creek Bridge, Historic Columbia River Highway, Wyeth, Oregon. View looking east. Image taken April 9, 2015.
Image, 2015, Gorton Creek, Wyeth, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Gorton Creek Bridge, Historic Columbia River Highway, Wyeth, Oregon. View looking east. Image taken April 9, 2015.
Image, 2015, Gorton Creek, Wyeth, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Gorton Creek Bridge, Historic Columbia River Highway, Wyeth, Oregon. View looking east. Image taken April 9, 2015.


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, ...     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





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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:    McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland;    U.S. Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office Records (GLO) database, 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.
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April 2015