Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Latourell Roadhouses, Oregon"
Includes ... Latourell Falls ... Latourell Roadhouses ... Latourell Falls Chalet ... Latourell Falls Villa ... Maffett's Villa ... 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 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.

"... 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
Click image to enlarge
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
Click image to enlarge
Roadhouse information sign, Latourell Falls, Oregon. Image taken March 3, 2013.

Latourell Falls Chalet ...
In 1914 the Latourell Falls Chalet opened at Latourell Falls, along the Columbia River Highway. The establishment was located on the south side of the highway, just east of Latourell Falls. The owner of the establishment, Mrs. Henderson, had been part owner in the Chanticleer Inn, located downstream, and had left to establish her own eatery. After being open only six months the Latourell Falls Chalet burned, leaving nothing behind. Mrs. Henderson regrouped and started a new eatery downstream, near Crown Point.

H.H. Riddell describes the Chalet in 1914:

"... At Latourelle a concrete bridge across the gorge of Latourelle Creek brings the traveler to Falls chalet, a unique hostelry set on the edge of the all but perpendicular bank and but a few rods from the wierdly beautiful Falls of Latourelle Creek, that here drop a hundred feet or more in one sheer leap, dashing in spray on the rocks at the bottom. Here one may find such food and shelter as he perhaps has dreamed of but has seldom experienced. ..."

Images, 2013, Info sign, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Latourell Falls Chalet on information sign, Latourell Falls, Oregon. Image taken March 3, 2013.

Maffett's Villa ... ("Latourell Villa", "Falls Villa") ...
In 1915, five months after a fire destroyed the Falls Chalet, another roadhouse, "Maffett's Villa" (also known as "Latourell Villa" or "Falls Villa"), opened on the north side of the Columbia River Highway, east of the Latourell Bridge. In 1959 the State of Oregon purchased the "Villa" and subsequently tore it down and added the land to the Guy W. Talbot State Park.

Columbia River Highway
W. Leo Beirdneau, Proprietor
Phone Corbett 1020          Latourell Falls, Oreg.,

Source:    Add appearing in "Official Columbia Highway Tour", 1916, Published by The Scenic Tours Company, Portland, Oregon.

Images, 2013, Info sign, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Maffett's Villa ("Falls Villa") on information sign, Latourell Falls, Oregon. Image taken March 3, 2013.

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]-

Columbia River GorgeReturn to




*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:    See Latourell Falls;   

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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July 2014