Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Three Tree Point, Brookfield, and Jim Crow Point, Washington"
Includes ... Three Tree Point ... Brookfield ... Jim Crow Point ... Jim Crow Creek ... "Bee Point" ... "Point Eagle" ... "Eagle Point" ...
Image, 2013, Skamokawa, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
View downstream from Skamokawa Vista Park towards Three Tree Point (closest point) and Jim Crow Point (point visible behind Three Tree Point). Image taken March 8, 2013.


Three Tree Point, Brookfield, and Jim Crow Point ...
Three Tree Point, the small community of Brookfield, and Jim Crow Point lie in a two mile stretch located three miles downstream of Skamokawa, Washington. Further downstream is Pillar Rock and even further is located the small community of Altoona. While the location of Brookfield is difficult to see from land, Three Tree Point and Jim Crow Point can nicely be seen from Skamokawa Vista Park, Skamokawa, Washington.

Three Tree Point ...
Three Tree Point lies two miles upstream of Jim Crow Point, at RM 30, and gets its name from once having three fir trees used for navigation.

Brookfield ...
Brookfield, Washington, was a once-thriving community located at RM 28.5 and is located between Jim Crow Creek and Three Tree Point on the east and Jim Crow Point on the west. In 1873, Joseph Megler opened a cannery at Brookfield, Washington.
[More on Columbia River canneries]

Jim Crow Point and Jim Crow Creek ...
Jim Crow Point, located at Columbia River Mile (RM) 28.0, is the point at the mouth of Jim Crow Creek, a small creek which heads in Elk Mountain, Wahkiakum County, Washington. Jim Crow Creek flows 4 1/2 miles south to the Columbia River. The creek enters the Columbia at Columbia River Mile (RM) 28.5, at the small community of Brookfield.

According to Robert Hitchman in Place Names of Washington (1984):

"... On the point at the creek's mouth was a very tall tree, which could be seen for miles along the river, it was a favorite roost for multitudes of crows, and was called the "crow tree". Both the creek and the point were named for the crows."

Keith G. Hay however in The Lewis and Clark Columbia River Water Trail (2004) writes:

"Jim Crow Point is named for James DeSaule, a cook for the Wilkes Expedition who deserted the U.S. Navy vessel Peacock in 1841 when it ran aground and broke up. DeSaule was a Peruvian black man, giving rise to the name for the point on which he decided to settle rather than continuing his mariner ways."


Early Three Tree Point and Jim Crow Point ...
In 1841 Charles Wilkes of the U.S. Exploring Expedition called Jim Crow Point "Bee Point" and Three Tree Point "Point Eagle" and later on "Eagle Pt.".

The 1875 "Columbia River Sheet No.2" map shows "Jim Crow Pt.". Upstream is Jim Crow Creek but not labeled. "Woody Island", one of the islands of the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge lies across from Jim Crow Point. "Three Tree Pt." is upstream.

The 1890 "Columbia River Sheet No.2" map shows "Jim Crow Pt." and upstream "Jim Crow Cr.". The "Brookfield Fishery" lies on the shore inbetween the two. "Woody Island", one of the islands of the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge lies across from Jim Crow Point. "Three Tree Pt." is upstream.


Three Tree Point in 1889 ...
From the 1889 U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey's "Coast Pilot":

"Three Tree Point. -- On the northern side of the river, one and seven-eighths miles from Jim Crow Point, there is a slight but sharp projecting point of basaltic rock, rising rapidly to one hundred feet high. It had upon it three fir trees which served as good marks for the river pilots. The basaltic but wooded cliffs behind it rise to seven hundred feet in one third of a mile. The river is here one and seven-eighths miles wide between the high points, but it is largely occupied by sand flats and low islands, through which pass several narrow channels for small vessels. The main ship-channel is close under Three Tree Point, and is less than one-quarter of a mile wide but carries over twenty fathoms of warter directly off the cliffs. The channel follows close under the high cliffs to the northeast and then under the low but heavily wooded shores of the north bank. The high cliffs northeast from the point reach twelve hundred and fifty feet at less than half a miles from the river. About one-third of a mile southwest from the point there is a Salmon cannery known as Fisherton; about half a mile to the northeast there was the Glen Ellen Cannery, which has been burned and abandoned; and at one and five eighths miles to the northeast, where the low shore begins, is the Oocan Cannery. Three Tree Point is fourteen and one-third miles from Astoria."


Jim Crow Point in 1889 ...
From the 1889 U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey's "Coast Pilot":

"Jim Crow Point. -- This is one of the well known landmarks along the river, and is abreast the first decided contraction of the river to a main channel-way seven-eighths of a mile wide between it and Woody Island on the south. It is a vertical rocky cliff, rising to one hundred feet, and projecting sharply from the shore for two hundred and fifty yards; while behind it the basaltic cliffs, fir-covered, rise to eleven hundred feet in less than six hundred yards from the water. The currents sweep very swiftly past it with deep eddies and boiling; the bottom is scoured out to a depth of twenty-two fathoms, with five and six fathoms of water in mid-stream. In the bight a little over a quarter of a mile northeast from the point there is located the Brookfield Salmon Cannery. Jim Crow Point is twelve and a half miles from Astoria."


View from Skamokawa Vista Park ...

Image, 2005, Jim Crow Point and Three Tree Point, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Jim Crow Point (behind) and Three Tree Point (in front), as seen from Skamokawa Vista Park. Image taken November 9, 2005.
Image, 2007, Jim Crow Point and Three Tree Point, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Jim Crow Point (behind) and Three Tree Point (in front), as seen from Skamokawa Vista Park. Image taken October 13, 2007.
Image, 2013, Skamokawa, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Jim Crow Point (behind left) and Three Tree Point (in front, middle), as seen from Skamokawa Vista Park, Skamokawa, Washington. Image taken March 8, 2013.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 7, 1805, first draft ...
S. 70 W 3 miles to a point on the Stard Side [Jim Crow Point] high mountains Some high mountains on the Lard Side off the river - we en-camped on the Stard Side under a high hill Steep and mountanious we with dificulty found leavel rocks Sufficent to lie on, ...     The rain Continued untill 9 oClock moderately. we are in view of the opening of the Ocian, which Creates great joy.     a remarkable rock of about 50 feet high and about 20 feet Diameter is situated opposit our Camp about a mile from Shore     Several marshey Islands towards the Lard Side [part of the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge] the Shape of them I can't See as the river is wide and day foggey


Clark, November 7, 1805 ...
A cloudy foggey morning Some rain. we Set out [from their camp at Cape Horn, Wahkiakum County, Washington] early proceeded under the Stard Shore under a high rugid hills with Steep assent the Shore boalt and rockey, the fog So thick we could not See across the river [typical for this area in the winter], two Canos of Indians met and returned with us to their village which is Situated on the Stard Side behind a cluster of Marshey Islands [Puget Island and the Hunting Islands] , on a narrow chanl. of the river [Cathlamet Channel] through which we passed to the Village of 4 Houses, [Cathlamet, Washington area] ....

Those people call themselves War-ci--cum ...

after delaying at this village one hour [Cathlamet, Washington area] and a half we Set out piloted by an Indian dressed in a Salors dress, to the main Chanel of the river, the tide being in we Should have found much dificuelty in passing into the main Chanel from behind those islands [Puget Island and the Hunting Islands],     without a pilot, a large marshey Island [Tenasillahe Island] near the middle of the river near which Several Canoes Came allong Side with Skins, roots fish &c. to Sell, and had a temporey residence on this Island, here we See great numbers of water fowls about those marshey Islands; here the high mountanious Countrey approaches the river on the Lard Side [near Clifton, Oregon], a high mountn. to the S W. about 20 miles [Saddle Mountain], the high mountans. Countrey Continue on the Stard Side, about 14 miles below the last village and 18 miles of this day we landed at a village of the Same nation [Skamokawa, Washington]. This village is at the foot of the high hills on the Stard Side back of 2 Small Islands [today, Price Island lies between Skamokawa and the Columbia River] it contains 7 indifferent houses built in the Same form of those above, ... opposit to this Village the high mountaneous Countrey leave the river on the Lard Side [downstream of Aldrich Point] below which the river widens into a kind of Bay [Cathlamet Bay] & is Crouded with low Islands Subject to be Covered by the tides [today this is the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge, part of the Lower Columbia River Estuary] - we proceeded on about 12 miles below the Village [Skamokawa] under a high mountaneous Countrey on the Stard. Side. Shore boald and rockey and Encamped under a high hill [ridge of Jim Crow Point] on the Stard. Side opposit to a rock [Pillar Rock] Situated half a mile from the Shore, about 50 feet high and 20 feet Diamieter,     we with dificuelty found a place Clear of the tide and Sufficiently large to lie on and the only place we could get was on round Stones on which we lay our mats rain Continud. moderately all day & Two Indians accompanied us from the last village, they we detected in Stealing a knife and returned, our Small Canoe which got Seperated in the fog this morning joined us this evening from a large Island Situated nearest the Lard Side below the high hills on that Side, the river being too wide to See either the form Shape or Size of the Islands on the Lard Side [part of the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge].

Great joy in camp we are in View of the Ocian [Clark's famous "Ocian in view! O! the Joy"], this great Pacific Octean [Pacific Ocean] which we been So long anxious to See. and the roreing or noise made by the waves brakeing on the rockey Shores (as I Suppose) may be heard distictly

we made 34 miles to day as Computed





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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:    Hay, K.G., 2004, The Lewis and Clark Columbia River Water Trail, Timber Press, Portland;   Hitchman, R., 1984, Place Names of Washington, Washington State Historical Society;   NOAA Office of Coast Surveys website, 2005;  

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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November 2013