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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Grays River, Washington"
Includes ... Grays River ... "Ebokwol R." ... Grays River Covered Bridge ... National Register of Historic Places ...
Image, 2013, Grays River, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Grays River, Washington, looking upstream from near mouth. Image taken October 15, 2013.


Grays River ...
Grays River originates in southeast Pacific County, Washington, and flows southwest through Wahkiakum County to its confluence with the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 21. It enters Grays Bay north of the main channel shipping. Deep River lies downstream of Grays River, and also enters Grays Bay. Miller Point divides the two. Upstream of Grays River is Harrington Point and Pigeon Bluff. Downstream is Portuguese Point and Grays Point.

Grays River Drainage ...
According to the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority website (2004), the lower six miles of Grays River are a slough subject to tidal influence. Dikes have been constructed in this area to protect the low-lying land. The next six miles flow through a wide, flat valley before entering the steep foothills. Most of the upper watershed flows through steep narrow canyons in the rugged Willapa Hills. The entire basin encompasses 124 square miles. A number of natural and man-made barriers to fish migration were removed in the early 1950s under the Columbia River Fisheries Development Program. Prior to 1952 an 8-foot cascade in a narrow canyon at Grays River Mile (RM) 13 was a barrier to most salmon. Steps were blasted in the falls in 1951 effectively opening the upper watershed to salmon. Falls were also modified on the East Fork Grays River, Mitchell and Hull creeks. Other projects included the removal of log jams and abandoned splash dams and construction of a salmon hatchery on the West Fork of the Grays River in 1960. The geology in the Grays River subbasin is a mix of sedimentary and volcanics in the western watersheds

Grays River (the town) ...
(to come)

Early Grays River ...
In 1841, Charles Wilkes of the U.S. Exploring Expedition gave the name of "Grays Bay" to the bay west of Grays Point, and the name "Kutzule Bay" to the bay today known as Grays Bay. Draining into "Kutzule Bay" were two rivers. "Kla-be-katl R." was on the west (today's Deep River) and "Ebokwol R." was on the east (today's Grays River). Miller Point is unnamed.

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

"... US 830 crosses the Grays River, named in honor of Captain Robert Gray. West of the bridge it parallels the river, which rolls along the floor of the valley. Rich dairy pastures alternate with groves of alder, maple, and other leafy trees.

GRAYS RIVER, 91.8m. (112 alt., 40 pop.), trading and marketing center for the adjoining dairy region, is a cluster of buildings beside old maples. High hills contact the town. A co-operative dairy, a church, a store, and a few other enterprises are housed in neatly painted, well-kept buildings. The income of the town is supplemented by nearby logging.

The first forge brought into Grays River Valley is said to have produced everything from ox yokes to dental forceps. The smith, H.P. Anderson, made the forceps for Thomas A. Holden and pulled his tooth. Holden purchased the forceps and became the chief "tooth puller" of the settlement.

West of the junction, the route descends into Deep River Valley with its thousands of acres of diked land tilled by Finnish fishermen and dairy farmers. ..."


Views ...

Image, 2013, Grays River, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Grays River, Washington, looking downstream from near mouth. View from Altoona-Pillar Rock Road. Image taken October 15, 2013.
Image, 2004, Grays River, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Grays River, Washington, looking upstream from near mouth. Image taken April 9, 2004.
Image, 2004, Grays River, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Grays River, Washington, looking downstream from near mouth. Image taken April 9, 2004.
Image, 2004, Grays River, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Grays River, Washington, from near Rosburg, Washington. Image taken April 9, 2004.


Grays River, etc.

  • Grays Bay ...
  • Grays River Covered Bridge ...
  • Lower Columbia Co-Operative Dairy Association ...
  • Rosburg ...


Grays Bay ...
[More]


Grays River Covered Bridge ...
The Grays River Covered Bridge crossed the Grays River between Altoona and Rosburg. It was built in 1905 and covered in 1908. It is 148 feet long (other sources say 156 feet and 158 feet) and 14 feet wide, with two 9-foot "porches" on the ends. Construction is "Howe Truss framing". The bridge was restored in 1988-1989. The Wahkiakum County Historical Society states that this is the last covered bridge in the State of Washington which is still used by a public highway. The Grays River Covered Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 (Structure #71000880).

Image, 2004, Grays River Covered Bridge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Grays River Covered Bridge. Image taken April 9, 2004.
Image, 2004, Grays River Covered Bridge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Grays River Covered Bridge. Image taken April 9, 2004.


Lower Columbia Co-Operative Dairy Association ...
According to the Washington GenWeb website (2016):

"The Lower Columbia Co-Operative Dairy Association building was built in 1916 ..."

Image, 2013, Lower Columbia Co-Op Dairy Association, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Lower Coumbia Co-Operative Dairy Association Building, Grays River, Washington. Image taken October 15, 2013.


Rosburg ...
According to the Washington GenWeb website (2016):

"ROSBURG was settled by German immigrant Christian and Maria (Brix) Rosburg in 1893 with Christian being the first postmaster. The Rosburg Store was originally located at the river's edge but is now located next to the highway and is a good example of a country store with the Rosburg Cemetery next door. ..."

Image, 2013, Rosburg, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Rosburg, Washington. Image taken October 15, 2013.
Image, 2013, Rosburg, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Scenic, Rosburg, Washington. Image taken October 15, 2013.
Image, 2013, Grays River, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Grays River at Rosburg, Washington, looking downstream. View from Altoona-Pillar Rock Road. Image taken October 15, 2013.
Image, 2013, Grays River, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Grays River at Rosburg, Washington, looking upstream. View from Altoona-Pillar Rock Road. Image taken October 15, 2013.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 8, 1805 ...
A Cloudy morning Some rain, we did not Set out untill 9 oClock [from their campsite near Pillar Rock], haveing Changed our Clothing- proceeded on Close under the Stard. Side, the hills high with Steep assent, Shore boald and rockey Several low Islands [islands of the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge] in a Deep bend or Bay to the Lard Side [Cathlamet Bay], river about 5 or 7 miles wide. three Indians in a Canoe overtook us, with Salmon to Sell, passed 2 old villages on the Stard. Side [passing Altoona] and at 3 miles entered a nitch [Grays Bay. Harrington Point and Pigeon Bluff are the eastern end of Grays Bay where the explorers would first spot the Bay.] of about 6 miles wide and 5 miles deep with Several Creeks [Grays River, Deep River] makeing into the Stard Hills, this nitch [Grays Bay] we found verry Shallow water and Call it the Shallow <nitch> [Grays Bay] we came too at the remains of an old village at the bottom of this nitch and dined [Miller Point], here we Saw great numbers of fowl, Sent out 2 men and they killed a Goose and two Canves back Ducks here we found great numbers of flees which we treated with the greatest caution and distance; after Diner the Indians left us and we took the advantage of a returning tide and proceeded on to the Second point [Portuguese Point, just east of Grays Point, the first point being Rocky Point] on the Std. here we found the Swells or waves So high that we thought it imprudent to proceed; we landed unloaded and drew up our Canoes. Some rain all day at intervales; we are all wet and disagreeable, as we have been for Several days past, and our present Situation a verry disagreeable one in as much; as we have not leavel land Sufficient for an encampment and for our baggage to lie Cleare of the tide, the High hills jutting in So Close and Steep that we cannot retreat back, and the water of the river too Salt to be used, added to this the waves are increasing to Such a hight that we cannot move from this place, in this Situation we are compelled to form our Camp between the hite of the Ebb and flood tides, and rase our baggage on logs- We are not certain as yet if the whites people who trade with those people or from whome they precure ther goods are Stationary at the mouth, or visit this quarter at Stated times for the purpose of trafick &c. I believe the latter to be the most probable conjucture- The Seas roled and tossed the Canoes in Such a manner this evening that Several of our party were Sea Sick.





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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:    Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority website, 2004;    National Register of Historic Places website, 2004;    Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation website, 2006;    Washington State Tourism website, 2004, "experiencewashington.com"   

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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June 2016