Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Lewis and Clark 1905 Exposition, Portland, Oregon"
Includes ... Lewis and Clark 1905 Exposition ... Guild Lake ... Airship "Gelatine" ... "Big Tree Observatory" ... Forestry Building ... Mount Hood ... Oregon Pony ... St. Johns Pub ... National Cash Register Building ... Willamette Meteorite ...
Image, 2006, St. Johns Pub, St. Johns, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
St. Johns Theatre and Pub, St. Johns, Oregon. Once the National Cash Register Building at the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition. Image taken February 5, 2006.


1905 "World's Fair" ...
The 1905, Portland, Oregon hosted the Lewis and Clark Exposition to honor the 100th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark journey. This "World's Fair" was built on land created by filling in Guild's Lake in Northwest Portland, next to the Willamette River. Exhibits at the fair showcased goods, customs and entertainment from throughout the United States and the world. Architecture was highlighted by the domed white Agricultural Palace, which overlooked 406 acres of marble statuary and elegant landscaping. The Forestry Building became world-famous as "the world's greatest log cabin." The fair cost $1.4 million to put on (turning a $84,461 profit) and ran from June 1 to October 15, 1905. It drew nearly 1.6 million visitors and brought with it an economic boom to Portland that lasted for several years.

The Lewis and Clark Exposition

"... The Lewis and Clark Exposition is to be held in Portland, Oregon, in 1905, and will be the most pretentious thing of the kind the Coast has ever seen. Portland has subscribed about $500,000; the State of Oregon, $500,000; and the adjacent States -- California, Idaho, Washington, Montana, British Columbia, etc., -- will be well represented. The National Government will be asked for something over $2,000,000. President Roosevelt, while on his visit to the Coast, turned the first spadeful, beginning the work, and his hearty support of the enterprise is assured.

The object of the Exposition is to commemorate the centennial of the expedition of Lewis and Clark, who were sent out by President Jefferson to explore the Northwest Territory. Lewis and Clark were the first white men to cross the American Continent north of Mexico, and their expedition gave to the country a land of inestimable value."


Source:    The Pacific Monthly, January 1904, vol.XI, no.1.


Image, 2011, Lewis and Clark 1905 commemorative coin, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Commemorative Coin. On display at the Wahkiakum County Historical Society Museum, Cathlamet, Washington. Image taken August 7, 2011.


Building the Exposition ...
From the Multnomah Public Library website (2004):

"The site of the Lewis and Clark Exposition, bordering St. Helen's Road, was vacant land in 1904, remote from the center of Portland. Accounts in the Lewis and Clark Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1, January, 1904 describe the setting as a marshland, forested with dogwoods, vine maple, blackberry vines, and flowering currants, around the shallow Guild's Lake. J.C. Olmstead, landscape designer and son of Frederick Law Olmstead, visited the site and mapped out a general plan for the grounds around the lake setting. Teams of architects then designed the buildings, many with Spanish Renaissance architecture, featuring colors of 'ivory white, with vermillion and moss green roof effects.' ... At the close of the fair, nearly all of these elaborately designed buildings and walkways were dismantled, as planned, and only a few remained after 1910."

From the Oregon Historical Society website (Carl Abbott, 2004):

" The site of the Exposition covered 182 acres of land and 220 acres of stagnant water beyond the edge of development in Northwest Portland. The road to St. Helens (now U.S. 30) followed the edge of a low bluff that crossed the south end of the site. The remainder of the area consisted of marshes, market gardens, and a dairy farm. Although ownership was divided among dozens of parcels, the land was undeveloped and cheap to lease. The plans came from John Olmsted, stepson of Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of New York’s Central Park. John Olmsted, who was himself a noted landscape architect in the family firm, was in Portland on a dual mission. In town to plan a city wide park system, he provided a basic plan for the fair for an additional $5,000. The formal layout imitated the “White City” of Chicago’s magnificent Columbian Exposition of 1893. The majority of the exhibition buildings overlooked the lake from the ridge where the Montgomery Ward (now Montgomery Park) building would later stand. A wide staircase led downslope to the lake, the amusements, and the U.S. government buildings on a peninsula in the middle of the lake. The buildings (which were cheaply made from lath and plaster and intended for quick demolition) were in the “Spanish Renaissance” style with domes, cupolas, arched doorways, and red roofs. The federal building looked like a cross between a railroad depot and a Mexican cathedral."

From a Union Pacific Railroad brochure advertising the Exposition:

"... The Exposition grounds are composed of hill and dale, and for the most part covered with a beautiful woodland. The site embraces a natural park and a little lake, which together cover 406 acres, a peninsula in the center of the lake completing the picture of rare attractiveness. A portion of this natural park has been but very little altered, and this composes one of the most delightful features of the Fair a woodland called Centennial Park. While the grounds are in themselves marvelously beautiful, Nature has given them a glorious setting. Looking across Guild's Lake from Lakeview Terrace, which crowns the Grand Stairway, one sees the Government Peninsula with its magnificent Exposition structures. A narrow strip of land separates the lake from the Willamette River, and beyond, half a hundred miles away, rise four mighty snow-clad mountain peaks, Mount Adams, Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier, and Mount Hood, peaks which rival in beauty the more widely famed Alps. to the west are the foot-hills of the Cascade Range, their dark sides still covered with the virgin forest through which Lewis and Clark made their wearisome way to the Pacific Coast. ..."

Guild Lake at the Exposition ...
From a Union Pacific Railroad brochure advertising the Exposition:

"... Guild's Lake, which takes the place of the "grand basins" of previous fairs, is the largest body of water ever enclosed within exposition grounds, being 220 acres in extent. The lake is spanned by the Bridge of Nations a unique structure of wood and staff built in imitation of solid masonry, which is more than 2,000 feet long—the longest bridge of its kind ever constructed. Astor Drive separates the Experimental Gardens from Centennial Park and leads to the Trail and the Bridge of Nations, which aggregately 2,000 feet long, connects the mainland with the Government Peninsula. On the peninsula in the center of Guild's Lake is located the United States Government display. Here is an imposing Government Building characteristic of Uncle Sam's exposition structures, with two towers, each 260 feet high. Besides the main building there are several minor structures, among them being the United States Forestry, Fisheries, and Irrigation Pavilion and the Life Saving Station. ..."

Guild Lake ...
Guild Lake, commonly called "Guilds Lake", was once a 400-acre marshy area on the southwest side of the Willamette River, two miles upstream of the St. Johns Bridge. Portland's Swan Island was located on the opposite side of the Willamette. On April 3, 1806, Captain Clark explored the Willamette as far as the downstream tip of Swan Island before turning around and heading back to their camp at Cottonwood Beach.

"... The water had fallen in the course of last night five inches. I Set out and proceeded up a Short distance and attempted a Second time to fathom the river with my cord of 5 fathom but could find no bottom. the mist was So thick that I could See but a Short distance up this river. where I left it, it was binding to the East of S. E. being perfectly Satisfyed of the Size and magnitude of this great river which must Water that vast tract of Country betwen the Western range of mountains and those on the Sea coast and as far S. as the Waters of Callifornia about Latd. 37° North I deturmined to return. ..." [Clark, April 3, 1806]

Guild Lake was once a cutoff meander of the Willamette River. The waters of the shallow lake was fed by Balch Creek and groundwater. The lake drained northwest into Kittredge and Doan Lakes before it connected with the Willamette. The banks were lined with white ash, cedar, willows, and fir.

From the Oregon Historical Society website (2006):

"... Guild’s Lake was named for Peter and Elizabeth Guild-pronounced Guile- who in 1847 claimed nearly 600 acres including the lake. In the 1880s, the area’s residents included Chinese immigrants who farmed small plots on the lake’s edge. In 1888, the lake’s outlet to the Willamette River was cut off by an embankment built by the Northern Pacific Railroad for a rail connection between Portland and Seattle. By the 1890s, much of the land in and around the lake was owned by real estate speculators, and several sawmills and a garbage incinerator were operating there. In 1902, the Lewis and Clark Exposition Company chose Guild’s Lake as the site of the world’s fair, and by 1903 workers had begun leveling ground for construction. ..."

After the Fair Guild Lake disappeared. While some citizens pushed for a city park, other interests had different ideas. Developers began filling in the lake, turning the area into an industrial area. Between 1906 and the mid-1920s, Guild Lake was filled in with soil sluiced off the hillsides and dredged from the Willamette River. By 1913 at least 50 acres of Guild Lake had been filled in for an industrial center. In the early 1920s, the Port of Portland filled the rest of the lake. More than 20 million cubic yards of dredge material came from the Willamette River as the Port deepened the west side of the Willamette and closed the shipping channel on the east side of Swan Island. Guild Lake became an industrial center. By 1930, the Terminal Company had built a switching yard on the fill and several industries had also moved in. From 1909 through the late 1940s, the City of Portland operated an incinerator and a landfill at the location.


Participation ...
PARTICIPANTS IN EXPOSITION.

"Eighteen foreign countries and 17 American States participated officially in the Lewis and Clark Exposition.

The showing of participating states was particularly creditable. Eleven of the number erected individual buildings in which to house displays. Special commissioners and a force of attendants have been kept in each state building and contributed much to the comfort and entertainment of visitors. The states which erected buildings are: Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, Missouri, Illinois and Maine. Those having attractive exhibit booths are: Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Louisiana and Arizona. Exhibits were received from every state in the Union.

The Foreign countries that have participated are: Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, Holland, Great Britain, Austria, Hungary, Russia, New Zealand, Sweden and Norway, Roumania, Turkey and Arabia, Algeria, Persia, Caucasia, East Indies, China and Japan."


Source:    "Sunday Oregonian", October 15, 1905, courtesy Historic Oregon Newspaper Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2016.


After the Exposition ...
The Lewis and Clark Exposition buildings were not built to be permanent and most were demolished within five years. The Forestry Building, built from massive trunks, survived however until 1964 when it was destroyed in a massive fire. The National Cash Register building also survived and is now the St. Johns Theatre and Pub. Guild Lake was filled in the 1910s and 1920s with dirt sluiced off the West Hills and mud dredged out of the Willamette as the Port of Portland deepened the channel. The fill dried and settled in the 1930s and was ready for industrial buildings in the 1940s and 1950s.


Some of the Exhibits ... (alphabetical)
[Exhibits]


"The Golden Age of Postcards" ...

The early 1900s was the "Golden Age of Postcards". The "Penny Postcard" became a popular way to send greetings to friends and family. The 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition was ideal for the budding "Penny Postcard" craze, and today these postcards are nearly the only remembrances we have of that 1905 event.

Penny Postcard, Lewis and Clark Centennial, 1903
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Lewis and Clark Centennial, Portland, Oregon, 1905. Penny Postcard, Copyright 1903, "Lewis & Clark Centennial, Portland, Oregon, 1905. Copyright 1903 by Lewis-Clark Exposition Co. Published by H. Mitchell, San Francisco. Undivided back. Card has scotch-tape residue on top. The red horizontal mark on bottom of image is covering words "Lewis & Clark Exposition". The printing "The Lewis & Clark Centennial" is printed on top of the red mark. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Lewis and Clark Exposition, 1905
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Lewis and Clark Exposition, Birds-Eye View, 1905. Penny Postcard, Double Card, 1905, "Birds Eye View of Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition.". In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Lewis and Clark Exposition, General View, 1905
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Lewis and Clark Exposition, General View, 1905. Caption on top reads: "Official Mailing Card Lewis & Clark Centennial, 1905, Portland, Oregon". Published by B.B. Rich, Official Stationer. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Lewis and Clark Exposition, Lake View Terrace, 1905
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Lewis and Clark Exposition, Lake View Terrace, 1905. Caption on top reads: "Official Mailing Card Lewis & Clark Centennial, 1905, Portland, Oregon". Published by B.B. Rich, Official Stationer. View shows Guild Lake on the right. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Lewis and Clark Exposition, Government Building, 1905
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Lewis and Clark Exposition, Government Building, 1905. Caption on top reads: "Official Mailing Card Lewis & Clark Centennial, 1905, Portland, Oregon". Published by B.B. Rich, Official Stationer. View is looking north past Guild Lake and the Willamette River, towards Mount St. Helens (left) and Mount Adams (right), Washington. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Lewis and Clark Exposition, Agricultural Palace, 1905
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Lewis and Clark Exposition, Agricultural Palace, 1905. Published by E.P. Charlton & Co., Portland, Oregon. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Lewis and Clark Exposition, Industrial Palace, 1905
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Lewis and Clark Exposition, Industrial and Liberal Arts Palace, 1905. Published by E.P. Charlton & Co., Portland, Oregon. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Lewis and Clark Exposition, Manufacturers Building, 1905
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Lewis and Clark Exposition, Manufacturers Liberal Arts and Varied Industrial Building, 1905. Caption on top reads: "Official Mailing Card Lewis & Clark Centennial, 1905, Portland, Oregon". Published by B.B. Rich, Official Stationer. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Lewis and Clark Exposition, Government Building and the Bridge of All Nations, 1905
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Lewis and Clark Exposition, Government Building and the Bridge of All Nations, 1905. Penny Postcard, 1905, "Government Building and Bridge of All Nations. Lewis & Clark Exposition.". Published by the J.K. Gill Co., Portland, Oregon. Card #1644. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Lewis and Clark Exposition, The Trail, 1905
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Lewis and Clark Exposition, The Trail, 1905. Penny Postcard, 1905, "The Trail. Lewis and Clark Expo." Published by the J.K. Gill Co., Portland, Oregon. Card #1645. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Lewis and Clark Exposition, Centennial Park and Experimental Gardens, 1905
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Lewis and Clark Exposition, Centennial Park and Experiemntal Gardens, 1905. Caption on top reads: "Official Mailing Card Lewis & Clark Centennial, 1905, Portland, Oregon". Published by B.B. Rich, Official Stationer. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Lewis and Clark Exposition, NCR Building, 1905
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: National Cash Register Building, Lewis and Clark Exposition, 1905. Penny Postcard, 1905, "Lewis & Clark Exposition, Portland, Oregon." Front of building says "A Trip to the N.C.R., Motion Pictures, Free". The National Cash Register Building is one of a handful of structures from the 1905 Lewis & Clark Exposition to still be around today. This building is now St. Johns Theatre and Pub, located in St. Johns, Oregon. Undivided back. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, April 2, 1806 ...




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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:
  • "Airliners.net" website, 2010;
  • Alley, B., 2006, Images of Aviation, Pearson Field, Pioneering Aviation in Vancouver and Portland, Arcadia Publishing;
  • American Museum of Natural History website, 2009;
  • City of Portland website, 2004;
  • "earlyaviators.com" website, 2010;
  • Historic Oregon Newspapers Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2016;
  • Horner, J.B., 1919, Oregon: Her History, Her Great Men, Her Literature: Press of the Gazette-Times, Corvallis, Oregon;
  • McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L, 2003, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland;
  • "McMenamins.com" website, 2004, 2006;
  • Multnomah County Library website, 2004;
  • Oregon Historical Society website, 2004, 2006;
  • Oregon State Department of Environmental Quality website, 2004;
  • Portland Bureau of Environmental Services website, 2004;
  • "Rootsweb.com" website, 2006;
  • University of Oregon website, Museum of Natural History, 2004, "Geology Tour";
  • U.S. GenNet website, 2004, reproduction of a page from the Oregon Historical Society website of March 1999;
  • World Forestry Center website, 2004;
  • Wright, E.W. (ed.), 1895, Lewis & Dryden's marine history of the Pacific Northwest, Lewis & Dryden Printing Co., Portland, Oregon;


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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December 2016