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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 ... The Golden Age of Postcards ...
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.


"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.


About the Lewis and Clark Exposition ...

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.


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 (see below). The National Cash Register building also survived and is now the St. Johns Theatre and Pub (see below). 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]


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, April 2, 1806 ...
This morning we came to a resolution to remain at our present encampment [Cottonwood Beach, Washougal, Washington] or Some where in this neighbourhood untill we had obtained as much dried meat as would be necessary for our voyage as far as the Chopunnish. ...     about this time Several Canoes of the nativs arived at our Camp [Cottonwood Beach] among others two from below with Eight men of the Shah-ha-la Nation those men informed us that they reside on the opposit Side of the Columbia near Some pine trees which they pointed to in the bottom South of the Dimond Island [Government Island], they Singled out two young men whome they informed us lited at the Falls of a large river [Willamette Falls] which discharges itself into the Columbia on it's South Side Some Miles below us. we readily provailed on them to give us a Sketch of this river [Willamette River] which they drew on a Mat with a coal, it appeared that this river which they Call Mult-no'-mah discharged itself behind the Island we call the image Canoe island [Hayden Island], and as we had left this Island to the South both in decending & assending the river we had never Seen it. they informed us that it was a large river and runs a Considerable distance to the South between the Mountains. I deturmined to take a Small party and return to this river and examine its Size and Collect as much information of the nativs on it or near its enterance into the Columbia of its extent, the Country which it waters and the nativs who inhabit its banks &c. I took with me Six Men. Thompson J. Potts, Peter Crusat, P. Wiser, T. P. Howard, Jos. Whitehouse & my man York in a large Canoe, with an Indian whome I hired for a Sun glass to accompany me as a pilot. at half past 11 A. M. I Set out ...     at 8 miles passed a village on the South side [Chinook Landing and Blue Lake area] at this place my Pilot informed me he resided and that the name of his tribe is Ne-cha-co-lee, this village is back or to the South of Dimond island [Government Island], and as we passed on the North Side of the island both decending & assending did not See or know of this Village. I proceeded on without landing at this village. at 3 P. M. I landed at a large double house of the Ne-er-cho-ki-oo tribe of the Shah-ha-la Nation. at this place we had Seen 24 aditional Straw Huts as we passed down last fall [November 4, 1805, in the vicinity of the Portland International Airport] and whome as I have before mentioned reside at the Great rapids of the Columbia [Celilo Falls].     on the bank at different places I observed Small Canoes which the women make use of to gather Wappato & roots in the Slashes. those Canoes are from 10 to 14 feet long and from 18 to 23 inches wide in the widest part tapering from the center to both ends in this form and about 9 inches deep and So light that a woman may with one hand haul them with ease, and they are Sufficient to Carry a woman on Some loading. I think 100 of those canoes were piled up and Scattered in different directions about in the Woods in the vecinity of this house, the pilot informed me that those Canoes were the property of the inhabitents of the Grand rapids who used them ocasionally to gather roots. ...

I left them [village near today's Portland International Airport] and proceeded on on the South Side [North Portland Harbor] of Image Canoe Island [Hayden Island] which I found to be two Islands hid from the opposit Side by one near the Center of the river. the lower point of the upper and the upper point of the lower cannot be Seen from the North Side of the Columbia on which we had passed both decending and ascending and had not observed the apperture between those islands. at the distance of 13 Miles below the last village [location of Portland International Airport] and at the place I had Supposed was the lower point of the image Canoe island [Hayden Island], I entered this river which the nativs had informed us of, Called Mult no mah River [Willamette River] so called by the nativs from a Nation who reside on Wappato Island [Sauvie Island] a little below the enterance of this river. Multnomah [Willamette River] discharges itself in the Columbia on the S. E. and may be justly Said to be ¼ the Size of that noble river. Multnomah had fallen 18 inches from it's greatest annual height. three Small Islands are situated in it's mouth [Belle Vue Point and Kelley Point, on opposite sides of the mouth of the Willamette, use to be islands] which hides the river from view from the Columbia.     from the enterance of this river [Willamette River] , I can plainly See Mt. Jefferson [Mount Jefferson, Oregon] which is high and Covered with snow S. E. Mt. Hood East [Mount Hood, Oregon], Mt St. Helians [Mount St. Helens, Washington] a high humped Mountain to the East of Mt St. Helians [Mount Adams, Washington, is east of Mount St. Helens]. I also Saw the Mt. Raneer [Mount Rainier, Washington] Nearly North. Soon after I arived at this river an old man passed down of the Clark a'mos Nation who are noumerous and reside on a branch of this river which receives it's waters from Mt. Jefferson [Mount Jefferson, Oregon] which is emensely high and discharges itself into this river one day and a half up, this distance I State at 40 Miles. This nation inhabits 11 Villages their Dress and language is very Similar to the Quath-lah-poh-tle and other tribes on Wappato Island [Sauvie Island].



The Current of the Multnomar [Willamette River] is as jentle as that of the Columbia glides Smoothly with an eavin surface, and appears to be Sufficiently deep for the largest Ship. I attempted fathom it with a Cord of 5 fathom which was the only Cord I had, could not find bottom ? of the distance across. I proceeded up this river 10 miles from it's enterance into the Columbia to a large house on the N E. Side and Encamped near the house [downstream of Cathedral Park and the St. Johns Bridge, Portland, Oregon, near Portland's Terminal 4.], the flees being So noumerous in the house that we could not Sleep in it.



this is the house of the Cush-hooks Nation who reside at the falls of this river which the pilot informs me they make use of when they Come down to the Vally to gather Wappato. he also informs me that a number of other Smaller houses are Situated on two Bayous which make out on the S. E. Side a little below the house. this house appears to have been laterly abandoned by its inhabitants ...     The course and distance assending the Molt no mar R [Willamette River] from it's enterance into the Columbia at the lower point of the 3rd Image Canoe island.

[This area has changed during the past 200 years. Lewis and Clark called today's Hayden Island "Image Canoe Island". Their "3rd Image Canoe Island" however maybe in reference to the "three Small Islands are situated in it's mouth" (see journal entry above), two of the islands possibly were islands which are today's Belle Vue Point on Sauvie Island, and Pearcy Island which eventually became Kelley Point. Lewis and Clark's route map (Map#79 and Map#80, Moulton, Vol.1) shows a long "Image Canoe Island" with two small islands on the north side of "Image Canoe Island", and three small islands at the mouth of the "Multnomah R.". ]

S. 30° W. 2 Miles to the upper point of a Small Island [???] in the Middle of Moltnomar river [Willamette River]. thence

S. 10° W. 3 miles to a Sluce 80 yards wide [Multnomah Channel] which devides Wappato Island [Sauvie Island] from the Main Stard. Side Shore passing a Willow point on the Lard. Side [???].

S. 60° E. 3 miles to a large Indian house on the Lard Side below Some high pine land.

[Lewis and Clark's map plotted against an 1888 map of the area shows this location to be closer to 2 miles from the Multnomah Channel, just upstream from Portland's Terminal 4, and across from the community of Linnton.]

high bold Shore on the Starboard Side [Tualatin Mountains]. thence

S. 30° E 2 miles to a bend under the high lands on the Stard Side [St. Johns Bridge area located at the base of the Tualatin Mountains]

miles 10 passing a Larborad point [???].

thence the river bends to the East of S East as far as I could See [the stretch through Portland, Oregon]. at this place I think the wedth of the river may be Stated at 500 yards and Sufficiently deep for a Man of War or Ship of any burthern.





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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; City of Portland website, 2004; "earlyaviators.com" website, 2010; Google Books website, 2012; McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L, 2003, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland; American Museum of Natural History website, 2009; Horner, J.B., 1919, Oregon: Her History, Her Great Men, Her Literature: Press of the Gazette-Times, Corvallis, Oregon.; "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; "Rootweb.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 2012