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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Latourell Falls and Latourell Creek, Oregon"
Includes ... Latourell Falls ... Latourell Creek ... Latourell Falls Chalet ... Latourell Falls Villa ... Maffett's Villa ... Guy W. Talbot State Park ... George W. Joseph State Natural Area ... The Golden Age of Postcards ...
Image, 2009, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Latourell Falls, Oregon. Image taken March 22, 2009.


Latourell Falls ...
Latourell Falls plunges 249 feet, and is one of many falls in the Columbia River Gorge located off the Historic Columbia River Highway, in Oregon's Guy W. Talbot State Park. The falls is on Latourell Creek and was named after Joseph Latourell, a prominent Columbia River Gorge settler.

Latourell Falls is located at Columbia River Mile (RM) 130, approximately one mile downstream of Shepperds Dell and one mile upstream of Crown Point and Rooster Rock. Multnomah Falls is located another 6 miles upsteam. The area is downstream of Bridal Veil and the Pillars of Hercules. Across the Columbia on the Washington side is Cape Horn.

In 1911 Guy W. Talbot of Portland bought property which included Latourell Falls. In 1929 Talbot donated 220 acres of property to the State of Oregon. This became Guy W. Talbot State Park.


Latourell ...
Latourell is the small Oregon community which developed along the lower Latourell Creek, downstream of Latourell Falls.
[More]

Views of the Falls and Pool ...

Image, 2004, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Latourell Falls, Oregon. Image taken June 27, 2004.
Image, 2005, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Latourell Falls, Oregon. Image taken August 27, 2005.


Latourell Creek ...
Latourell Creek reaches the flats of Rooster Rock State Park where it merges with Youngs Creek, flowing out of the Shepperd's Dell area. The two streams flow westward through Rooster Rock State Park to form Mirror Lake, which then merges with the Columbia River at RM 129, at the boat dock at Rooster Rock.

Image, 2013, Latourell Creek, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Latourell Creek, looking downstream, as seen from the Historic Columbia River Highway. Image taken March 3, 2013.
Image, 2014, Latourell, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Latourell Creek looking downstream, as seen from Latourell Road, Latourell, Oregon. Image taken June 30, 2014.
Image, 2004, Rooster Rock State Park and Youngs Creek, click to enlarge
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Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon, and Youngs and Latourell Creeks. From Crown Point looking upstream at Rooster Rock State Park. Latourell Creek (right) and Youngs Creek (left) meander through the foreground. Shepperds Dell is to the right off of Youngs Creek. Youngs Creek, once leaving the Shepperd's Dell area, flows westward through Rooster Rock State Park, where it merges with Latourell Creek and forms Mirror Lake, which then merges with the Columbia River just below Rooster Rock. Image taken October 10, 2004.


Early Latourell Falls and Latourell Creek ...
"Latourell Falls" was the original Post Office name of the small community located near Latourell Falls. While the Latourell Falls were located on the property of Guy Talbot, Latourell Creek wound its way downslope to the floodplain of the Columbia River. Joseph Latourell was an early pioneer who settled on this floodplain and established a thriving community there.
[More]

Various spellings of Latourell Creek have existed over the years including "Latourelle Creek", "Latourelle Falls Creek", and "Laxourell Creek". The creek has also been referred to just as "Falls Creek". The official listing is "Latourell Creek".

The U.S. Board of Geographic Names made "Latourell Falls" the official spelling in 1915. Another spelling in use was "Latourelle Falls".


Historic Columbia River Highway ...
The Historic Columbia River Highway crosses Latourell Creek just west of Latourell Falls.

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

  • HMP 26.1 ... Latourell Creek Bridge, Masonry Retaining Walls, Trails, and Falls Overlook (1914)

  • Latourell Creek Bridge (1914):   "This bridge consists of three 80-foot reinforced-concrete braced-spandrel deck arches. Total length, including approaches, is 316 feet. It has a 17-foot-wide road deck and 3-foot sidewalks. Cap-and-spindle railings here represent a member of the family of railing types found on CRH structures." [National Historic Landmark Nomination Form, 1996]

    "The structure is a three-span reinforced concrete deck arch, each rib arch being 80 feet. The total length is 316 feet including approaches. ...   The bridge is located in Guy W. Talbot State Park and was designed to obtain the best view of Latourell Falls, south of the bridge." [National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, 1983]

  • Masonry Retaining Walls, Trails, and Falls Overlook (1914):   "Masonry retaining walls similar to those seen along the CRH mark the borders of trails leading to Latourell Falls from the historic highway." [National Historic Landmark Nomination Form, 1996]

Image, 2009, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Historic Columbia River Highway at Latourell Falls, Oregon. Image taken March 22, 2009.
Image, 2009, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Historic Columbia River Highway Bridge at Latourell Falls, Oregon. Image taken March 22, 2009.
Image, 2009, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Historic Columbia River Highway Bridge at Latourell Falls, Oregon. Image taken March 22, 2009.
Image, 2009, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Historic Columbia River Highway Bridge at Latourell Falls, Oregon. Image taken March 22, 2009.


Latourell(e) Falls in 1940 ...
From the Oregon State Archives "A 1940 Journey Across Oregon":

"... LATOURELLE FALLS, 164.9 m., take a sheer drop of 224 feet into a pool at the base of an overhanging cliff. LATOURELLE BRIDGE was so placed as to give the best view of the falling waters. ..."


Image, 2009, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Latourell Falls, Oregon, as seen from the Historic Columbia River Highway. Image taken March 22, 2009.


Latourell Falls, etc.

  • George W. Joseph State Natural Area ...
  • Guy W. Talbot State Park ...
  • Latourell Roadhouses ...
    • Latourell Falls Chalet ..
    • Maffett's Villa ("Latourell Villa", "Falls Villa") ...
  • "Talbot Footbridge" ...


George W. Joseph State Natural Area ...
In 1934, the heirs of George W. Joseph, gave the State of Oregon property for a park on the upper part of Latourell Creek, a spot today known as the George W. Joseph State Natural Area. Access to the area is the trail from the parking area at Guy W. Talbot State Park. A trail leads to the top of Latourell Falls. Beyond this point the State Natural Area begins. The trail continues to Upper Latourell Falls.
[More]

Guy W. Talbot State Park ...
Guy Webster Talbot and his family used the area of Latourell Falls as a summer estate until early 1929 when they donated 220 acres to the state of Oregon. Today, this property is the Guy W. Talbot State Park, a beautiful picnic park with a modern picnic shelter, a gently sloping grassy hill dotted with Port Orford cedars, Douglas firs, alders and maples, and a trailhead underneath the Historic Columbia River Highway Bridge to Latourell Falls.
[More]

Images, 2013, Guy W. Talbot State Park at Latourell, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Sign, Guy W. Talbot State Park at Latourell Falls, Oregon, looking east. Image taken March 3, 2013.


Latourell Falls Roadhouses ...
Two roadhouses existed along the Historic Columbia River Highway at Latourell Falls. Latourell Falls Chalet was built on the south side of the Columbia River Highway and, after it burned, Maffett's Villa was built on the north side of the Highway. Today this area is part of the Guy W. Talbot State Park.
[More]


"... Upon completion of the highway, commercial development started immdiately. The Maffet family owned the land along Falls Creek below the falls, where the new highway bridge spanned the creek. In 1914, Margaret Henderson, who had earlier hosted at the Chanticleer Inn, built, in association with Harold Maffet, the Falls Chalet on the hillside above the highway bridge. In January, 1915, after operating only six months, the Falls Chalet burned, a temporary set back for Henderson. However, the loss did not dash her entrepeneurial spirit as she quickly found another location above Crown Point to start anew. After the fire, her "silent" parner, Harold Maffet, built his Falls Villa on the north side of the highway at the east end of the bridge. Maffet's Falls Villa opened in June, 1915, only five months after fire destroyed the Chalet. Maffet remodeled and made extensive additions to the Villa in 1923. In the late '20s, Harold Maffet and George Joseph took a "giant," a gravity-fed water cannon, to blast away the hillside across the highway to give Villa patrons a better view of Latourell Falls. A subsequent owner added a gift shop on the south side of the highway. Another commercial development included a garage and service station built near the west entry to the town of Latourell. The new highway provided Latourell residents with a route to reach other communities more easily. Consequently, when Henry Shoults' grocery store in Latourell burned in November, 1916, he did not rebuild. ..."


Source:    Clarence E. Mershon, 2006, "The Columbia River Highway, From the Sea to the Wheat Fields of Eastern Oregon, 1913-1928", Guardian Peaks Enterprises, p.113-115.

Images, 2013, Guy W. Talbot State Park at Latourell, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Guy W. Talbot State Park at Latourell Falls, Oregon, looking east. Image taken March 3, 2013.

Maffett's Villa was located on the left in this image and the Falls Chalet was located on the hill on the right in this image. Today this area is part of the Guy W. Talbot State Park.
Images, 2013, Info sign, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Roadhouse information sign, Latourell Falls, Oregon. Image taken March 3, 2013.


Talbot Footbridge ...
[More]

Penny Postcard, Latourell Foot Bridge across Highway, ca.1920
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Penny Postcard: Foot Bridge across Columbia River Highway, at Latourelle Falls, ca.1920.
Penny Postcard, ca.1920, "Foot Bridge Over Highway Near Latourelle Falls.". Caption on back reads: "Artistic Foot Bridge. Over the Columbia River Highway near Latourelle Falls connecting the two parts of a country estate through which the right of way of the Highway runs. Care has been taken in this, as in all other matters connected with the highway, to preserve artistic walues.". Image copyright Weister Co. Published by Chas. S. Lipschuetz Company, Portland, Oregon. Card #358. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Image, 2014, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
North support, Talbot footbridge, Guy W. Talbot State Park, Latourell Falls, Oregon. Image taken June 30, 2014.


"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 is a snapshot of history.

Penny Postcard, Latourell Falls, ca.1910
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Latourell Falls, ca.1910.
Penny Postcard, ca.1910, "Latourell Falls. A Sheer Drop of 225 feet. Visible from Columbia River Highway, Oregon.". Caption on back reads: "Beautiful Latourell Falls on Columbia River Highway has a sheer drop of 225 feet. Published by Angelus Commercial Studio, Portland, Oregon. Card #16. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.

Penny Postcard, Columbia River Highway east of Latourell, ca.1910
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Columbia River Highway, east of Latourell, Oregon, ca.1910.
Penny Postcard, ca.1910, "Columbia River Highway east of Latourelle, near Portland, Ore.". Published by The Oregon News Company, Portland, Oregon. Card is postmarked August 28, 1916. Card #8001. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Latourell Bridge, ca.1920
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Latourell Bridge, looking towards Crown Point, ca.1920.
Penny Postcard, ca.1920, "Latourelle Bridge Looking Toward Crown Point, Columbia River Highway, Oregon.". Published by Chas. S. Lipschuetz Company, Portland, Oregon. Card #303. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Latourell Foot Bridge across Highway, ca.1920
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Penny Postcard: Foot Bridge across Columbia River Highway, at Latourelle Falls, ca.1920.
Penny Postcard, ca.1920, "Foot Bridge Over Highway Near Latourelle Falls.". Caption on back reads: "Artistic Foot Bridge. Over the Columbia River Highway neaar Latourelle Falls connecting the two parts of a country estate through which the right of way of the Highway runs. Care has been taken in this, as in all other matters connected with the highway, to preserve artistic walues.". Image copyright Weister Co. Published by Chas. S. Lipschuetz Company, Portland, Oregon. Card #358. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 2, 1805 ...
Examined the rapid below us [from their camp at Fort Rains, looking at the Cascade Rapids] more pertcelarly the danger appearing too great to Hazzard our Canoes loaded, dispatched all the men who could not Swim with loads to the end of the portage below, I also walked to the end of the portage with the carriers where I delayed untill everry articles was brought over and canoes arrived Safe. here we brackfast and took a Meridn. altitude 59 45' 45" about the time we were Setting out 7 Squars came over loaded with Dried fish, and bear grass neetly bundled up, Soon after 4 Indian men came down over the rapid in a large canoe.     passed a rapid at 2 miles & 1 at 4 miles opposite the lower point of a high Island on the Lard Side [Bradford Island], and a little below 4 Houses on the Stard. Bank, a Small Creek on the Lard Side [Tanner Creek] opposit Straw berry Island [Hamilton Island], which heads below the last rapid, opposit the lower point of this Island [Hamilton Island] passed three Islands covered with tall timber [today there are two, Ives and Pierce] opposit the Beatin rock [Beacon Rock]    Those Islands are nearest the Starboard Side, imediately below on the Stard. Side passed a village of nine houses [indentified on Atlas map#79 as the "Wah-clallah Tribe of Shahala Nation", location near today's Skamania and Skamania Landing], which is Situated between 2 Small Creeks [Woodard Creek and Duncan Creek], and are of the Same construction of those above; here the river widens to near a mile, and the bottoms are more extensive and thickly timbered, as also the high mountains on each Side, with Pine, Spruce pine, Cotton wood, a Species of ash, and alder.     at 17 miles passed a rock near the middle of the river [Phoca Rock], about 100 feet high and 80 feet Diamuter,     proceed on down a Smoth gentle Stream of about 2 miles wide, in which the tide has its effect as high as the Beaten rock [Beacon Rock] or the Last rapids at Strawberry Island [Hamilton Island],- Saw great numbers of waterfowl of Different kinds, Such as Swan, Geese, white & grey brants, ducks of various kinds, Guls, & Pleaver [today just below Beacon Rock is Franz National Wildlife Refuge]. ...     we encamped under a high projecting rock on the Lard. Side [Rooster Rock, with Crown Point rising above it],     here the mountains leave the river on each Side [leaving the Columbia River Gorge, Steigerwald Land NWR is on the north and the Sandy River delta is on the south], which from the great Shute to this place is high and rugid [Columbia River Gorge]; thickly Covered with timber principalley of the Pine Species. The bottoms below appear extensive and thickly Covered with wood.     river here about 2 miles wide.     Seven Indians in a Canoe on their way down to trade with the nativs below, encamp with us, those we left at the portage passed us this evening and proceeded on down The ebb tide rose here about 9 Inches, the flood tide must rise here much higher- we made 29 miles to day from the Great Shute [Cascade Locks]-





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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 State Historical Society Press, Portland;    Mershon, C.E., 2006, "The Columbia River Highway, From the Sea to the Wheat Fields of Eastern Oregon, 1913-1928", Guardian Peaks Enterprises, p.113-115.    Oregon State Parks and Recreation website, 2004;    "PDXHistory.com" website, 2006;    Riddell, H.H., 1914, "The Columbia River Highway": IN: Mazama, December 1914, vol.IV, no.3.;    "Rootsweb.com" website, 2005;    University of Oregon Libraries Columbia River Basin Digital Collection, 2013, "Official Columbia Highway Tour", 1916, Published by The Scenic Tours Company, Portland, Oregon;    U.S. Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records (GLO) website, 2007;    U.S. Forest Service website, 2004, 2014, "Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area";    U.S. Geological Survey Georgraphic Names Information System (GNIS) website, 2007;    Waterfalls of the Pacific Northwest 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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April 2014