Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Kalama, Washington"
Includes ... Kalama ... Kalama Gap ... Kalama River ... Kalama Totems ... Kalama Mural ... Kalama-Goble Ferry ... Kalama-Goble Train Ferry "Tacoma" ...
Image, 2016, Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
First Street looking north, Kalama, Washington. Image taken March 6, 2016.


Kalama, Washington ...
The town of Kalama, Washington, is located at Columbia River Mile (RM) 75, and lies just upstream of the mouth of the Kalama River. Directly across from Kalama is Sandy Island and the Oregon town of Goble.

Kalama Gap and the Missoula Floods ...
The constriction of the Columbia River north of Kalama is known as the "Kalama Gap". On the Washington side of the Columbia is Carrolls Bluff and on the Oregon side of the Columbia is Prescott Point, the bluff just north of Prescott Beach, Oregon. This constriction backed up the flood waters from the Missoula Floods into the Willamette Valley.
[More]

The Name ...
The name "Kalama" is an Indian name meaning "beautiful", "stone", or "pretty maiden". The name "Kalama" was first mentioned in 1806 in the Lewis and Clark Journals ("Cath la haws Creek", "Calams River", and "Calamas"), and then in 1811 by Gabriel Franchere ("Thlakalamah") in his "Narrative of a Voyage to the Northwest Coast of American, 1811-1814". The name has no connection to the often stated belief the name came from a Hudson's Bay Company employee John Kalama, a native Hawaiian who arrived in 1837 and worked at Fort Nez Perce, Fort Nisqually, Fort Vancouver, and at the Cowlitz Farm, and settled in the Nisqually area in the late 1800s (see more on John Kalama below).

1806:
In 1806 the Lewis and Clark journals mention the Kalama River. Lewis and Clark refer to the river as "Cath la haws Creek", while Ordway calls the river "Calams" and Whitehouse calls the river "Calamus".

"... to the Mouth of Cath-la-haws V Creek Std ... 9 miles ... I thought was a Id. ..." [Clark, winter 1805-06]

"... we proceed on to the mo of a River named Calams River and Camped on the South Side little above Said River ..." [Ordway, March 27, 1806]

"... We continued on & passed the Mouth of a River called by the Natives Calamus ..." [Whitehouse, March 27, 1806]

1811-1814:
Gabriel Franchere, in his "Narrative of a Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America, 1811-1814" (published 1854), mentions an Indian village called "Thlakalamah", located on a "small stream". A variant of the name is "Thlakalama".

"On the morning of the 6th we ascended this small stream, and soon arrived at a large village called Thlakalamah, the chief whereof, who was a young and handsome man, was called Keasseno, and was a relative of our guide. The situation of this village is the most charming that can be, being built on the little river that we had ascended, and indeed at its navigable head, being here but a torrent with numerous cascades leaping from rock to rock in their descent to the deep, limpid water, which flows through a beautiful prairie, enamelled with odorous flowers of all colors, and studded with superb groves of oak." [Franchere, May 6, 1811]

1805-1849:
Frederick Webb Hodge in his 1910 publication "Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico, Part 2" writes:

"Thlakalama. -- A Chinookan tribe formerly residing at the mouth of Kalama r., Cowlitz co., Wash. They spoke the Cathlamet dialect. In 1806 they numbered 200, but are now extinct.
Cathlahaws. -- Lewis and Clark Exped., II, 226, 1814.
Klakalama. -- Framboise (1805) quoted by Gairdner in Jour. Roy. Geog. Soc., XI, 255, 1841.
Thlakalamah. -- Franchere Narr., 110, 1854.
Tkalama. -- Gibbs, MS. no. 248, B.A.E. (Chinook name.)
Tk'ala'ma. -- Boas, inf'n, 1905 (proper name.)
Wacalamus. -- Ross, Adventures, 87, 1849."

1805-1901:
From: Table S 2.1., "Lower Columbia Chinookan Villages: Named sites from contemporary observers or multiple primary sources", IN: Chapter 2: "Cultural Geography of the Lower Columbia" by David V. Ellis, IN: "Chinookan Peoples of the Lower Columbia River", R.T. Boyd, K.M. Ames, and T. Johnson, editors, annotation by Henry Zenk, University of Washington Press, Seattle 2013.

Site 25:

"gatak'alama 'those of the rock'" (Silverstein 1990:545).
"tk'alama, tak'alama" (Boas).

"Cal-la-mak ... 10 houses, pop.200, Lewis & Clark Estimate.
"Thlacalama" ... village on both sides of a small stream, Franchere 1811.
"Klakalama" ... "Nation" on a small r., n. side Columbia R., Gairdner 1841.
"Tkalama" ... "tribe" above Oak Point, Gatschet 1877.
"Tkjala'ma" ... place-name (Kalama), Boas 1901.
"ta'kjalama" ... Kathlamet-speaking "tribe" at Kalama, Boas 1901.
Kalamat" ... m. of Kalama R., Cowlitz speaking, Curtis ca1910 (Marineau).

1841:
Excerpt from "Dr. Gairdner on the Columbia River", 1841, Notes on the Indian Tribes on the Upper and Lower Columbia., IN: The Journal of the Royal Geographical Society: JRGS, Volume 11. Michel la Framboise (Laframboise) was a French Canadian fur trader who worked for the Hudson's Bay Company and settled in the French Prairie area of Oregon around 1841.

"List of the nations on the lower part of the Columbia, and along the sea-coast southwards, from Michel la Framboise: --

  1. Katlagakya.    From the Cascades to Vancouver, along the river.
  2. Mamnit.    In Multnomah Island, now extinct, on the side next the Columbia.
  3. Katlaminimim.    In Multnomah, all on the side next Wallamat, the lower branch being extinct.
  4. Wakamass.    From Deer's Isle to the lower branch of the Wallamat, at its mouth; Kesho their chief.
  5. Katlaportl.    Along a river of the same name, to the mouth and right bank of the Columbia, for five miles above its mouth.
  6. Klakalama.    On the banks of a little river on the right bank of Columbia, between No. 5 and the Towalitch River.
  7. etc."

1855:
"Map No.3, Rocky Mountains to Puget Sound", from the Isaac Stevens' U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 1853-1855 Railroad Survey, shows the Kalama river as the "Ca-la-ma R."

1900:
In 1900 the book "The New Pacific School Geography" in their chapter "Etymology of Geographical Names, Names of Places in Washington" stated the name "Kalama" was of Indian origin and meant "stone".

"Kalama (Indian), a word of the same derivation as "calumet" and "cathlamet", meaning stone."

1902:
From the 1902 publication "The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States" (Henry Gannett, U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 197):

"Kalama; town in Cowlitz County, Washington, probably named from the Indian, Okala kalama, meaning 'a goose.'"

1903:
In 1903 the magazine "The Coast" published:

" In 1872 the Lake Superior and Puget Sound Company laid out a town, which they called Kalama -- an Indian word, the name of the nearby river, meaning "Beautiful"."

"Kalama, the county seat, is located near the mouth of the Kalama River, upon the "rolling Columbia," over which the Northern Pacific Railroad ferries it trains in a transfer steamboat. It has a populatin of 750, and is enjoying a period of growth since the construction of the Northern Pacific branch line to Vancouver. The first settler here was John Davenport, who located where the town now lies, in 1853. Other old settlers are S.M. Hensil and Jacob Ahles.

In 1871, when the Northern Pacific began building a postoffice was secred by E. G. Ingalls, who was in charge of a general store owned by Louis Sohns and himself, dealing in supplies for the workmen. In 1872 the Lake Superior and Puget Sound Company laid out a town, which they called Kalama -- an Indian word, the name of the nearby river, meaning "Beautiful.". Sam Blackwell, in partnership with a man named Smith, built a large hotel called the "Kazano House." The railroad company established a division post here and the place boomed in less than twelve months to a town of over 1,500. In 1872 the place incorporated with Dr. L.H. Whitehouse mayor. In the '70s, the city was swept by fire, the railroad removed its offices and the Kazano House was sould to the county for a courthouse. The place disincorporated.

In 1890 Kalama incorporated again, with W.H. Imus mayor, from which time it has experienced a steady growth."


Source:    "The Coast", 1903, "Cowlitz County, Washington: Wilhelm's Magazine, Volume VI, Number Two, August 1903.

1919, 1923:
Edmund S. Meany wrote in "Origin of Washington Geographic Names (IN: "Washington Historical Quarterly", July 1919; University of Washington Press, 1923) the name "Kalama" came from the Indian word "Calamet" and meant either "stone" or "pretty maiden". Early spelling was Calama.

"Kalama, a river and a town in the southern part of Cowlitz County. The town was named by General J.W. Sprague of the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1871. To comply with the law twenty-five miles of road was built toward Puget Sound, and the place of begining was then named Kalama. (Elwood Evans, in History of the Pacific Northwest, Vol.II., page 47.) Rev. Myron Eells thought the word came from the Indian word Calamet, meaning stone. Mrs. E.R. Huntington, of Castle Rock, says the name was spelled Calama in early days. She obtained from Norman Burbee when eighty years of age information that his father took up a claim on that river in 1847, and that the Indians told him that Calama meant pretty maiden. (Names MSS., Letter 158)." [Meany, 1919, "Origin of Washington Geographic Names")

1985:
Robert Hitchman wrote in "Place Names of Washington" (1985, Washington State Historical Society) the name "Kalama" was applied to the town in 1871 by Gen. J.W. Sprague of the Northern Pacific Railway Company. The name is from the Indian word Calama meaning "Pretty maiden".

"Kalama (T6N R1W) ... Once an important railroad town on the east bank of Columbia River, at Kalama River mouth, southwest Cowlitz County. Trains were ferried here from Goble, Oregon. In 1871, the name was applied to the town and river by Gen. J.W. Sprague of Northern Pacific Railway Company. The name is from the Indian word Calama, meaning "pretty maiden".

Early Kalama ...
In 1805 and 1806, Lewis and Clark refered to the Kalama River as "Cath la haws Creek", while Ordway called the river "Calams" and Whitehouse called the river "Calamus". In 1811 Gabriel Franchere mentioned the "Thlakalamah" Indian Village located on a "small stream".

In 1841, Charles Wilkes called the river "Mitlait Creek".

"... On the north shore there is a fine salmon fishery, near the Mitlait Creek, which is just opposite to Coffin Rock, where the Columbia is 30 fathoms deep. ..." [Wilkes, 1841, Chapter XVII]

In 1853 Ezra Meeker and his family became the first settlers in the region before selling in 1854 to John Davenport. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office (GLO) Records database (2017) shows John Davenport being granted title to 160 acres of T6N R1W, parts of Sections 7, 17, and 18, on August 27, 1871 (1850 Oregon-Donation Act).

The modern community of Kalama was built by the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1870 during the construction of a rail line from Tacoma, Washington, to Portland, Oregon. They named their community "Kalama" after the river of that name.

The town of Kalama was incorporated in 1871, and was the Cowlitz County seat in 1873.

Between 1874 and 1884, the rail line ended in Kalama where passengers and freight would transfer to steamers on the Columbia to continue their journey to Portland. In 1884 the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company completed their railroad on the Oregon side of the Columbia from Portland to Goble, and began a ferry service from Kalama to Goble.


Early Maps ...

Image, 1855, Steven's map, RR surveys, Washington, click to enlarge
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Map detail, 1855, McClellan's 1854 route along the Lower Klickitat Trail. Original map from Isaac Stevens' "Reports of Explorations and Surveys ...", 1855, Map No.3, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, courtesy Washington State University Digital Colletions, 2018.

"Mankas", "Yahkotl", "Chalacha", "Spilyeh", "Lakas", and the "Ca-la-ma R." (Kalama River), "Cath-la-pootle R." (Lewis River), and "Yah kotl Riv." (East Fork Lewis River).


Early Images ...

Penny Postcard, Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
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Penny Postcard: Business Section, Kalama, Washington. Penny Postcard, Real Photo, Divided Back (1907-1915), "Business Section, Kalama, Wash.". In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
First Street, looking north.


Street Scenes ...

Image, 2013, Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
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Kalama, Washington, as seen from Interstate 5. Image taken February 2, 2013.
Image, 2016, Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
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First Street looking north, Kalama, Washington. Image taken March 6, 2016.
Image, 2006, Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
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Kalama City Hall, Kalama, Washington. Image taken May 30, 2006
Image, 2006, Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
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Kalama Shopping Center, Kalama, Washington. Image taken April 19, 2006.
Image, 2006, Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
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Kalama Heritage Square, Kalama, Washington. Image taken April 19, 2006.
Image, 2006, Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
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Building front, Kalama, Washington. Image taken April 19, 2006.
Image, 2016, Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
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Poker Pete's Tavern and Pizza Parlor, Kalama, Washington. Image taken March 6, 2016.
Image, 2016, Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
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"Al's Place", Kalama, Washington. Image taken March 6, 2016.
Image, 2016, Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
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Cherry blossoms, Kalama, Washington. Image taken March 6, 2016.
Image, 2016, Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
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House, Kalama, Washington. Image taken March 6, 2016.
Image, 2016, Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
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St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Kalama, Washington. Image taken March 6, 2016.
Image, 2016, Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
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Kalama High School, Kalama, Washington. Image taken March 6, 2016.


The exterior of the Kalama High School was used in the exterior shots of Forks High School in the 2008 movie "Twilight".
Image, 2015, Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
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Double-decker bus on Interstate 5 at Kalama, Washington. Image taken March 6, 2015.


Kalama, etc.

  • John Kalama ...
  • Kalama Ferries ...
  • Kalama Marina ...
  • Kalama Murals ...
  • Kalama River ...
  • Kalama Totems ...
  • Port of Kalama ...
  • Kalama in 1941 ...
  • Kalama in 1942 ...
  • Sea Lion, Columbia River at Kalama ...
  • "Twilight - the Movie" ...


John Kalama ...
John Kalama was a full-blooded Hawaiian employee of the Hudson's Bay Company between 1837 and 1870, and was a "jack of all trades". He married an Indian woman, Mary Martin, daughter of Chief Martin, a leader of the Nisqually people, and settled near Puget Sound.

A story exists which states the Kalama River was named after John Kalama, and that John Kalama had settled along the river. This is just a "story". Researchers show the name "Kalama" was in use when Lewis and Clark arrived, some 30 years before John Kalama. "Kalama" is an Indian word and was mentioned twice in the Lewis and Clark journals. On March 27, 1806, Ordway writes in his journal the river is called "Calams River" and Whitehouse writes the river is "Calamus". Then, in 1811, Gabriel Franchere mentions the "Thlakalamah" village, located inland from the mouth of the river. (For more, see "Name" above]

But, for those who are interested, who was John Kalama?

According to Robert Stauffer's book "Kahana: How the Land Was Lost" (2004, University of Hawai'i Press), "Hawaiians in the Pacific Northwest":

"... Kalama (variation: John Kalama), (fl. 1837-1870)
HBC/PSAC employee, b. ca. 1817, associated with:
Fort Nez Perces (1837-1840) middleman
Snake party (1840-1841) middleman
Fort Nisqually (1841-1842) middleman
Fort Vancouver (1843-1844) middleman or laborer, (1844-1847) laborer
Cowlitz Farm (1847-1849) laborer
Fort Nisqually (1849-1850, 1852-1854, 1856-1860, 1863-1863, 1865-1866, 1869-1870) ..."

"... According to descendants, Kalama found himself a Nisqually chief's daughter named Mary Martin, who lived in a big longhouse near Fort Nisqually's outlying Muck farm, for whose hand he gave her family blankets, beads, and clothing. ..."

According to the Hudson's Bay Company Archives ("manitoba.ca" website, 2015):

NAME: Kalama, John
PARISH: Woahoo
ENTERED SERVICE: 1837
DATES: fl.1837-1853, d.[ca.1870]
Appointments & Service Outfit Year (June 1 to May 31):
1837-1840, Middleman, Nez Perces (Post), Columbia (District)
1840-1841, Middleman, Snake Party (Post), Columbia (District)
1841-1843, Middleman, Nisqually (Post), Columbia (District)
1842-1843, Retired to Woahoo, Re-engaged
1843-1847, Labourer, Fort Vancouver (Post), Columbia (District)
1847-1849, Labourer, Cowlitz Farm (Post), Columbia (District)
1849-1850, Labourer, Nisqually (Post), Columbia (District)
Wife: Mary Martin, "one of the five daughters of the Chief of the Nisqually tribe"
Children: Peter, b.1864, Yelm, Washington; one daughter who died young

According to Bruce McIntyre Watson in his 2010 publication "Lives Lived West of the Divide: A Biographical Dictionary of Fur Traders Working West of the Rockies, 1793-1868".

Kalama
(fl. 1837 - 1863) (Hawaiian)
Birth: probably Hawaiian Islands - 1819
Death: possibly Washington Territory, United States
Fur trade employee
HBC
Middleman, Fort Nez Perces (1837 - 1840); Middleman, Snake Party (1840 - 1841); Middleman, Fort Nisqually (1841 - 1842); Middleman or labourer, Fort Vancouver depot (1843 - 1844); Labourer, Fort Vancouver depot (1844 - 1847);
PSAC
Labourer, Cowlitz Farm (1847 - 1849); Labourer, Fort Nisqually (1849 - 1850); Labourer, Fort Nisqually (1853 - 1854); Labourer, Fort Nisqually (1857 - 1860); Labourer, Fort Nisqually (1862 - 1863).

"Big burly", six foot [1.8 m] Sandwich Islander, Kalama, nearly lost an eye and a nose to the fur trade. Kalama joined the HBC in July 1837 from Oahu and began work at Fort Nez Perces and the Snake Country on August 10. In outfit 1840-1841 he helped transport people and goods in and out of the Snake Country. He returned to Oahu on November 10, 1842, but he appears to have been re-engaged again doing a variety of tasks. Good at any type of rough work, he did farming tasks until March 17, 1850 when he along with Cowie and Keave’haccow walked off the job. Just where Kalama spent all of the next couple of years is uncertain, but it is known that he worked for a time with former employee Charles Wren in the Nisqually area. In December 1852 he re-engaged for two years. However, at an August 14, 1853 party where too much alcohol flowed freely, a fight ensued and the Hawaiians squared off against the Natives. Kalama was attacked by Gukynun (Cut-face Charlie), the same person who had beaten up James Scarth, the blind, retired ship builder who lived at Nisqually. Kalama’s face was badly slashed, his nose almost entirely cut off, one eye almost cut out, and his forehead badly injured. Dr. William Fraser Tolmie or a Steilacoom Military Hospital Steward sewed the nose back on, stitched the face, and sent the injured Sandwich Islander to the Steilacoom military hospital for two days before being brought back to the fort for recovery. The experience must have unnerved him, for Kalama drifted away from the fort and worked at former HBC employee Charles Wren’s farm at Edgar’s Lake, Muck, an outpost of Fort Nisqually in northwest Washington State until January 3, 1854, when he returned to the fort and turned in fellow Hawaiians Tamaru and Kupahi for their robbery of the Fort Nisqually store three months previous. Kalama, by the same token, admitted that he himself had stolen three sheep. All was forgiven by the Company, however, and Kalama was taken back on as an employee while turning states evidence against Tamaru and Kuphai. For the next six months, he did a variety of jobs around the fort, mainly in carpentry, until June 14, 1854, when he deserted once again. The disfigured Sandwich Islander disappeared from the records for another three years. By the fall of 1857, he had once again returned to employment with the Company. He got itchy feet after six months for, on April 8, 1858, along with fellow Hawaiian, Keave’haccow, he settled his account with the fort and set out to dig for gold at Thompson River. Both returned in June with little gold and began work again at Fort Nisqually and its outstations. Kalama was still working at Fort Nisqually in 1863 when the record on him ran out.

Kalama had two wives and one recorded child. His unnamed wife had a baby boy on January 15, 1850 at Fort Nisqually. According to family genealogy, Kalama had a son Peter (1864-1947) by Mary Martin (c 1840-), the daughter of a Nisqually woman. After attending Chemawa Indian School (1880-1886), Peter became the progenitor of the large Kalama family of Washington state.

PS: HBCA SandIsAB 1; FtVanASA 4-8; YFDS 8, 11, 13; YFASA 19-20. 22, 224-32; PSACAB 22a, 38; OHS 1850 US Census, Oregon Territory, Lewis Co.; OHS Oregonian; HL Nisqually 1 PPS: Dickey SS: Huggins, “Reminiscences of Puget Sound”; TacP-FtNis Muck, June 7, 1858

See Also: Cowie; Keave-haccow


Source:    Bruce McIntyre Watson, 2010, "Lives Lived West of the Divide: A Biographical Dictionary of Fur Traders Working West of the Rockies, 1793-1868": Centre for Social, Spatial and Economic Justice, University of British Columbia, Okanagan, Kelowna, British Columbia.

1850 Oregon Territory Census:

Could this be John Kalama ??? ... The 1850 Lewis County, Oregon Territory census lists a "Kalamia", no surname, age 31, male, from the Sandwich Islands. ... (Page 112, Line number 41, house number 94, family number 94, taken November 21 to December 8 census by Joseph L. Meek, U.S. Marshall, "files.usgwarchives.net/wa/lewis/census/50lc.txt").

Today's Lewis County is located north of Cowlitz County and south of Thurston County. The census transcribers gives this information about the 1850 census:

"This is the 1850 federal census for Lewis County, Oregon Territory. This is now Lewis County, WA and in 1850 it included population in what is now Lewis, Thurston, Pierce, and Wahkiakum counties of WA. 558 persons total. This census was enumerated from south to north to west in order, and includes pages 105-118 of the original census book."

"Kalamia" appears on page 112, line 41.

The 1849 Lewis County Territory census lists no "Kalamia".



Kalama Ferries ...
Both a train ferry and a passenger ferry existed between Kalama, Washington, and Goble, Oregon. The train ferry began in 1884 and continued until 1908. A passenger ferry existed during the first half of the 1900s.
[More]

Penny Postcard, Ferry Tacoma, Columbia River, click to enlarge
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Penny Postcard: Northern Pacific Railroad Train crossing the Columbia on the ferry "Tacoma". Penny Postcard, Divided Back (1907-1915), "Northern Pacific Railroad Train crossing the Columbia River on Ferry.". Postmarked July 16, 1908. Published by Portland Post Card Company, Portland, Ore., and Seattle, Wash. Made in Germany. Card No.7009. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Image, 2006, Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
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Mural, Kalama, Washington. The Tacoma train ferry between Kalama, Washington, and Goble, Oregon. Image taken April 19, 2006


Kalama Marina ...

Image, 2014, Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
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Kalama Marina, Kalama, Washington. Image taken February 28, 2014.


Kalama Murals ...
[More]

Image, 2006, Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
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"Where Water, Rails, and Highways Meet", Mural, Kalama, Washington. Image taken April 19, 2006
Image, 2016, Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
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Underpass Mural, south side, Kalama, Washington. Image taken March 6, 2016.


Kalama River ...
The Kalama River begins on the southwest slope of Mount St. Helens and flows nearly 45 miles west-southwest and enters the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 73. The Lewis River is located 14 miles upstream and the Cowlitz River is located 7 miles downstream. Across from the mouth of the Kalama River on the Oregon shore is located the Trojan Nuclear Facility, and Prescott Beach, the location of Lewis and Clark's campsite of November 5, 1805.
[More]

Image, 2003, Kalama River towards mouth, click to enlarge
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Kalama River looking towards its confluence with the Columbia. Image taken November 9, 2003.
Image, 2015, Columbia River at mouth Kalama River, click to enlarge
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Columbia River looking towards mouth of the Kalama River (on right), Kalama, Washington. Sandbar at the mouth of the Kalama has waiting gulls. Smelt run is going on. Image taken March 6, 2015.


Kalama Totems ...
Four totem poles featuring mythical forms, symbols, and creatures of the Pacific Northwest Native American culture are located in Marine Park, Kalama, Washington. Marine Park borders the Columbia River just west of Interstate 5 and downtown Kalama. The tallest pole is carved from a 700-year-old Western Red Cedar and, according to the Cowlitz County Department of Tourism website (2008), at 140-feet, this totem is the largest one-piece totem in the world.
[More]

Image, 2009, Kalama Totems, Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
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Totems, Kalama, Washington. Dog show going on in the foreground. Image taken August 1, 2009.
Image, 2009, Kalama Totems, Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
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Thunderbird, Totem, Kalama, Washington. Dog show going on in the foreground. Image taken August 1, 2009.


Port of Kalama ...
"The Port of Kalama was established in 1920. Due to its rail and deepwater facilities, the Port was attractive to many industries. During WWII, the Port of Kalama served as a loading point for shipments to Russia. After the war, timber products were the primary material shipped from Kalama. While the importance of timeber products has slowly declined, the Port of Kalama had the third largest cargo volumes in the state of Washington (after Tacoma and Seattle) in 2002."


Source:    Rencher, K., and others, 2006, "Kalama's Front Yard, A Preliminary Waterfront Site Plan for the Port of Kalama", Portland State University Master of Urban and Regional Planning Program Workshop Project, June 12, 2006.

Image, 2007, near Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
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Container ship, Pacific Freedom, near Kalama, Washington. Image taken January 31, 2007.
Image, 2016, Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
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Columbia River waterfront, Kalama, Washington. Image taken March 6, 2016.


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

"... The highway swings against the base of a rocky headland. KALAMA (Ind. pretty maiden), (21 alt., 940 pop.), is on a narrow flat at the confluence of the Columbia and Kalama Rivers. It began in 1853 when Ezra Meeker, noted pioneer, arrived and built a cabin near the present townsite. Leaving his wife and son here for a time, he continued north with his brother to locate land claims in the Puget Sound country.

Although numerous claims were settled along the Columbia and Kalama Rivers in the succeeding decades, the town did not come into being until 1870, when the Northern Pacific Railway selected a point within the district from which to begin construction northward to Puget Sound. On February 15, 1870, the Northern Pacific broke ground for the line, and soon 750 Chinese and 500 other laborers were employed. The town boomed. A ferry across the Columbia River to Goble transported trains to Oreogn. General J.W. Sprague of the Northern Pacific in 1871 named the town for the Kalama River. From 1872 it was the seat of Cowlitz County, until the election of 1932 transferred the seat to Kelso. Kalama's strategic importance as a rail and water terminal was ended in 1887 when the Northern Pacific completed its main line across the Cascades to Puget Sound; the branch line was then built south from Kalama to Portland, Oregon. The misfortune of the town was crowned soon after by a fire, which destroyed 25 buildings. However, the long deepwater harbor adjoining the railroad aided in keeping it a shipping point, and Kalama proclaims itself the city "Where Rail Meets Water". Within the radius of one block there are a port dock, the deepest on the Columbia River, three transcontinental railroads, and a US highway. A sawmill and a shingle mill draw raw materials from heavy stands of timber in the hills to the eastward.

Kalama is a typical river town; its main thoroughfare, First Street, follows the river bank, from which the residential section rises steeply. Sawmills and the KALAMA PORT DOCK account for most of its income. Strawberries are an important crop on surrounding farms, and the Cloverdale-Lewis Co-operative Berry Association packs and ships annually 3,000 barrels of berries at their plant at the Kalama Port Dock. The sub-irrigated soil of the district is particularly suited to commercial mint raising.

There is much salmon fishing in the Columbia River at this point, and a fish company ships annually 600,000 pounds of frozen fish to Europe. Caviar, packed in glass jars, is also exported. The fish business here was started by C.A. Doty, a Northern Pacific branch agent with diversified interests. Ordered by the railroad company to choose between his job and his other enterprises, he resigned from the Northern Pacific and devoted his time to the fishing industry. ..."



Kalama in 1942 ...
From the 1942 NOAA "Coast Pilot":

"Carroll (formerly Charlton) Channel, between Cottonwood Island and the Washington shore, is used for log storage and fishing boats. In 1938, 13 feet could be carried through the channel. Kalama River is used chiefly at its mouth by smelt fishermen. Kalama, on the eastern bank, is an occasional stop for ocean-going vessels to pick up lumber. There is a ferry between Kalama, and Goble on the western bank. The channel on the western and southern sides of Sandy Island was good for 14-foot draft in 1938, and was used by tow boats with log rafts and barges."



Sea Lion, Columbia River at Kalama ...
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Image, 2015, Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
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California Sea Lion, Columbia River at Kalama, Washington. Image taken March 6, 2015.


"Twilight - the Movie" ...
The vampire romance movie Twilight was released in 2008 and was the first film the a saga of five films. The first movie was filmed in many locations throughout southwest Washington and northwest Oregon, one being the small Washington community of Kalama.
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Image, 2011, Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
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"A Twilight Location", Kalama, Washington. Image taken July 6, 2011.
Image, 2016, Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
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Kalama High School, Kalama, Washington. Image taken March 6, 2016.


"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.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 5, 1805, first draft ...
N. 40° W. 5 miles to a point of high piney land on the Lard Side [near Prescott Beach, Oregon]     the Stard. Shore bold and rockey     passed a Creek at 2 miles [Kalama River] on the Stard Side, below which is an old village.     rained all the evening and Some fine rain at intervals all day     river wide & Deep ...     we Came too and Encamped on the Lard. Side under a high ridgey land, [near Prescott Beach, Oregon] the high land come to the river on each Side.     the river about 1½ mile wide.     those high lands rise gradually from the river & bottoms


Clark, November 5, 1805 ...





Ordway, March 27, 1806 ...
rain commenced this morning and continued thro the day. we halted at a village of the Chilutes nation they treated us in a friendly manner Gave us Some wapa toes & anchoves to eat. Several Indians followed after us with Small canoes. our officers purchased a large Sturgeon from them we proceed on to the mo of a River named Calams River and Camped on the South Side little above Said River — Six of our hunters Sent on this afternoon to deer Island [Deer Island] with the Small canoes in order to hunt.


Whitehouse, March 27, 1806 ...
This morning early it commenced raining, which continued during the whole of this day. At 7 o'clock A. M. we proceeded on, & crossed over to an Island, which lay on the North side of the River, where we halted. We found on this Island, an Indian Village of the Chilutes Tribe it contained 7 Houses.— These Indians treated us in a friendly manner. At 10 o'Clock A. M. we left this Island and continued on & passed several Indian fishing Camps. A number of Indians followed us with small Canoes. Our Officers purchased from these Indians a large Sturgeon. We continued on & passed the Mouth of a River called by the Natives Calamus, & encamped on the South side of the River a small distance above the said River. Our officers sent 6 of our hunters in Canoes to go on a head, to an Island called Deer Island, in order to hunt, untill we came up with them— These hunters left us this afternoon. We have still hard rain this evening. We encamped on the South side of the River, where we found plenty of Oak & Ash wood to make our fires with.—




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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:
  • Boyd, R.T., Ames, K.M., and Johnson, T., annotation by H. Zenk, 2013, "Lower Columbia Chinookan Villages: Named sites from contemporary observers or multiple primary sources", IN: Table S 2.1., Chapter 2: "Cultural Geography of the Lower Columbia" by David V. Ellis, IN: "Chinookan Peoples of the Lower Columbia River", R.T. Boyd, K.M. Ames, and T. Johnson, editors, annotation by Henry Zenk, University of Washington Press, Seattle 2013;
  • City of Kalama website, 2005;
  • Clark, P.R., 2009, "Tribal Names of the Americas";
  • "The Coast", 1903, "Cowlitz County, Washington: Wilhelm's Magazine, Volume VI, Number Two, August 1903.
  • Columbia Fish and Wildlife Authority website, 2004;
  • Cowlitz County Department of Tourism website, 2008;
  • "ExperienceWa.com" website, 2008, Washington tourism;
  • Federal Writers' Project, 1941, "The New Washington: A Guild to the Evergreen State";
  • Franchere, G., and Huntington, J. (editor), 1854, "Narrative of a Voyage to the Northwest Coast, 1811-1814": IN: Reuben Gold Thwaites, 1904, "Early Western Travels, 1748-1846";
  • Gannett, H., 1902, "The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States": U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 197;
  • Historic Oregon Newspapers Archives, University of Oregon Libraries;
  • Hitchman, R., 1985, "Place Names of Washington", Washington State Historical Society;
  • Hodge, F.W., 1910, "Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico, Part 2: Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology;
  • Images of Cowlitz County website, 2008;
  • "Kalama's Front Yard", a preliminary waterfront site plan for the Port of Kalama, Portland State Univeristy Master of Urban and Regional Planning Program Workshop Project, June 12, 2006, and the RMH2 Group;
  • Kirk, R., and Alexander, C., 1995, Exploring Washington's Past;
  • "Manitoba.ca" website, 2015, Hudson's Bay Company Archives;
  • Meany, E.S., 1919, "Origin of Washington Geographic Names", IN: Washington Historical Quarterly, July 1919, Vol.X, No.3;
  • Meany, E.S., 1923, "Origin of Washington Geographic Names", University of Washington Press;
  • NOAA Office of Coast Survey website, 2006;
  • Rencher, K., Miller, M., Henriksen, L., and Hamilton, L., 2006, "Kalama's Front Yard, A Preliminary Waterfront Site Plan for the Port of Kalama", Portland State University Master of Urban and Regional Planning Program Workshop Project, June 12, 2006;
  • Stauffer, R., 2004, "Kahana: How the Land Was Lost ... Hawaiians in the Pacific Northwest";
  • "usgwarchives.net" website, 2015;
  • U.S. Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office (GLO) Records database, 2017;
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website, 2005;
  • Washington State Historical Society website, 2005, "Lasting Legacy";
  • Washington Secretary of State website, 2004, 2007;
  • Washington State University Digital Collections, 2018;
  • Watson, B.M., 2010, "Lives Lived West of the Divide: A Biographical Dictionary of Fur Traders Working West of the Rockies, 1793-1868": Centre for Social, Spatial and Economic Justice, University of British Columbia, Okanagan, Kelowna, British Columbia;


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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February 2017