Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Moffett Creek, Oregon"
Includes ... Moffett Creek ... Moffett Creek Bridge ... Wahe Falls ... The Golden Age of Postcards ...
Image, 2004, Moffett Creek drainage from Hamilton Island, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Moffett Creek drainage, Oregon, from Hamilton Island, Washington. Image taken August 1, 2004.


Moffett Creek ...
Moffett Creek merges with the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 144, just downstream of Tanner Creek and Munra Point, and upstream of McCord Creek and the Oregon community of Warrendale. Directly across from the mouth of Moffett Creek is Hamilton Island, Washington. The mouth of Moffett Creek lies within the John B. Yeon State Park.

Wahe Falls ...
Wahe Falls, often known as "Moffett Falls" or "Moffett Creek Falls", plunges 80 feet over basalt. It is located less than a mile upstream from the where Moffett Creek merges with the Columbia River.

"Moffett" or "Moffatt" ...
Both "Moffett Creek" and "Moffatt Creek" variants of the name were used until 1915, when the U.S. Board of Geographic Names made official "Moffett Creek". According to Oregon Geographic Names (McArthur and McArthur, 2003):

"Investigation by H.H. Riddell of Portland indicated that the family for which this stream is named spelled its name Moffett and not Moffatt. The Historic Columbia River Highway crossed Moffett Creek on a remarkable concrete arch. At the time it was built, it was said to have been the longest three-hinged, flat-arch bridge in America. This bridge, now unused, is still standing just north of I-84."

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office (GLO) Records database shows a Walter Moffett being granted title to 69.5 acres of T1S R1E Section 21, on April 15, 1864 (1820 Sale-Cash Entry).


Early Moffett Creek ...
Robert A. Habersham's 1889 Multnomah County map has Moffett Creek labeled "Beaver Cr.". Nearby McCord Creek us unnamed, while upstream "Tanner Cr." and "Eagle Cr." are shown.

Moffett Creek in 1940 ...

From the Oregon State Archives "A 1940 Journey Across Oregon":

"... At MOFFET CREEK, 151.4 m., the highway crosses a large flat-arch cement bridge. The span, 170 feet long, is 70 feet above the stream. ..."


Historic Columbia River Highway ...
The Moffett Creek Bridge was built in 1915 as part of the Columbia River Highway and was known as an engineering feat of the time. The 170-foot-long arch rises only 17 feet at the center. Today the bridge is a part of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail.

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

Penny Postcard, Moffett Creek Bridge, Oregon, ca.1920, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Moffett Creek Bridge, Columbia River Highway, Oregon, ca.1920. Penny Postcard, ca.1920, "Moffats Creek Bridge, Columbia River Highway.". Published by Pacific Novelty Co., San Francisco, California. Card #O-106. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Image, 2005, Moffett Creek from Hamilton Island, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Moffett Creek, Oregon, from Hamilton Island, Washington. Image taken April 2, 2005.
Image, 2005, Moffett Creek from Hamilton Island, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Bridges across Moffett Creek, Oregon, with train. View from Hamilton Island, Washington. Image taken April 2, 2005.
Image, 2005, Moffett Creek from Hamilton Island, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Bridges across Moffett Creek, Oregon, with train. View from Hamilton Island, Washington. Image taken April 2, 2005.


"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. Penny Postcards today show us a snapshot of history.

Penny Postcard, Moffett Creek Bridge, Oregon, ca.1920, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Moffett Creek Bridge, Columbia River Highway, Oregon, ca.1920. Penny Postcard, ca.1920, "Moffats Creek Bridge, Columbia River Highway.". Published by Pacific Novelty Co., San Francisco, California. Card #O-106. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Moffett Creek Bridge, Oregon, ca.1920, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Moffett Creek Bridge, Columbia River Highway, Oregon, ca.1920. Penny Postcard, ca.1920, "Moffett Creek Bridge. Columbia River Highway, Oregon.". Image copyright Weister Co. Published by Van Nuy Interstate Company. 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:    "Historic MapWorks" website, 2014;    McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society;    Oregon State Archives website, 2005;    U.S. Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office (GLO) Records website, 2011;    U.S. Geological Survey's Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) website, 2006;   

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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September 2011