Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Multnomah Falls Lodge, Multnomah Falls, Oregon"
Includes ... Multnomah Falls Lodge ... Multnomah Falls ... "Simmons-By-The-Falls" ... "The Hazelwood" ... National Register of Historic Places ... The Golden Age of Postcards ...
Images, 2005, Multnomah Falls Lodge, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Multnomah Falls Lodge, Oregon. Image taken March 6, 2005.


Multnomah Falls Lodge ...
The Multnomah Falls Lodge is located at Multnomah Falls, Oregon, at Columbia River Mile (RM) 136. It was built in 1925 as an overnight rest area on the Historic Columbia River Highway. Originally the lodge had dormitories and four rooms for the overnight stays. As early as 1927 the building was enlarged, and again in 1929 the striped awning patio gained permanent walls and became part of the building (see "The Golden Age of Postcards" below).

A nice description of Multnomah Falls Lodge History can be found on the "PDXHistory.com" Website (2006):

"... Another required stop is always Multnomah Falls, the second highest water fall in the U.S. at 860 feet. In 1922, the land was given to the city of Portland by the Oregon and Washington Railroad & Navigation Company, forerunner of the Union Pacific. The Union Pacific regularly stopped on Multnomah Falls Lodge when it was a train depot. The Cascadian-style Multnomah Falls Lodge was completed in July of 1925 at a cost of $40,000. The Lodge was designed by the famed architect A.E. Doyle, designer of the U.S. Bank Building, Reed College and Lipmans. Rolla Simmons, famous for Simmons Hillvilla, was the first concessionaire. In 1929, the canopy-covered patio was removed and the building was extended further to the east. Ownership of Multnomah Falls Lodge was passed to the Forest Service in 1939. Simmons continued to operate the food services at the Lodge until the Lodge closed in November 1942 during World War II. After the war, the Lodge was remodelled and it reopened in February 1946 under new management. Multnomah Falls remains one of Oregon’s most popular attractions and the Lodge recently celebrated 75 years. ..."

In 1981 the Multnomah Falls Lodge and Footpath (Benson Bridge) were listed on the National Register of Historic Places (Building #81000512). Every type of rock found in the Columbia River Gorge is represented in the Lodge.


"Simmons-By-The-Falls" ...
The first concessionaire at the Multnomah Falls Lodge was Rolla Simmons, owner of Portland's "Simmons Hillvilla", who called his establishment "Simmons-By-The-Falls" (see "The Golden Age of Postcards" below). Simmons operated the restaurant until the Lodge closed in November 1942, during World War II. When the Lodge re-opened in 1946 it was under new management.

Views of Multnomah Falls Lodge ...

Images, 2005, Multnomah Falls Lodge, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Christmas season, Multnomah Falls Lodge, Oregon. Image taken December 10, 2005.
Images, 2005, Multnomah Falls Lodge, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Christmas decorations, Multnomah Falls Lodge, Oregon. Image taken December 10, 2005.
Images, 2006, Multnomah Falls Lodge, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Christmas, Multnomah Falls Lodge, Oregon. Image taken December 23, 2006.
Images, 2006, Multnomah Falls Lodge, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Christmas, Multnomah Falls Lodge, Oregon. Image taken December 23, 2006.


"Multnomah Hazelwood" ...

The "Multnomah Hazelwood" was an ice-cream shop located along the Historic Columbia River Highway at Multnomah Falls. Open 365 days a year, the Hazelwood was built in 1916 and torn down in 1919. For a time, a Union Depot Station was connected to the Ice Cream shop.

Penny Postcard, In front of Multnomah Falls, ca.1920
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: View in front of Multnomah Falls, ca.1920
Penny Postcard, ca.1920, "View in front of Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Highway, Oregon.". Building on left was the "Multnomah Hazelwood", an ice-cream stop which was open 365 days of the year. Published by The Oregon News Company, Portland, Oregon. Card #27. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.


"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 has become a snapshot of history.

Penny Postcard, Multnomah Falls, Oregon, ca.1920s Penny Postcard: Multnomah Falls, Oregon, ca.1920s. Penny Postcard, ca.1920s, "Multnomah Falls Lodge, Columbia River Highway, Ore." The striped patio canopy was replaced by a new building section in 1929. Published by The Oregon News Co., Portland, Oregon. Card #170.In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Multnomah Falls, Oregon, ca.1930s Penny Postcard: Multnomah Falls, Oregon, ca.1930s. Penny Postcard, ca.1930s, "Multnomah Lodge, Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Highway, Oregon.". Caption on back reads: "Multnomah Falls on the Columbia River Highway, 23 miles east of Portland, Oregon: Where a cataract leaps down shear 620 feet in a roaring, mystic white.". Published by the Wesley Andrews Company, Portland, Oregon. Card #832. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.

Caption on back reads: "Multnomah Falls on the Columbia River Highway, 23 miles east of Portland, Oregon: Where a cataract leaps down shear 620 feet in a roaring, mystic white.".



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]-






Lewis, April 9, 1806 ...
This morning early we commenced the operation of reloading our canoes; at 7 A. M. we departed [from their camp at Shepperds Dell] and proceeded on to the Camp of Reubin and Joseph Fields [near Dodson, Oregon] they had not killed any game; we made no halt at this place but continued our rout to the Wah-clel-lah Village which is situated on the North side of the river [upstream of the location of today's Skamania and Skamania Landing, between Duncan and Woodward Creeks] about a mile below the beacon rock [Beacon Rock]; here we halted and took breakfast. ...     this village appears to be the winter station of the Wah-clel-lahs and Clahclellars, the greater part of the former have lately removed to the falls of the Multnomah, and the latter have established themselves a few miles above on the North side of the river opposite the lower point of brant island [Bradford Island], being the commencement of the rapids, here they also take their salmon; they are now in the act of removing, and not only take with them their furniture and effects but also the bark and most of the boards which formed their houses. 14 houses remain entire but are at this time but thinly inhabited, nine others appear to have been lately removed, and the traces of ten or twelve others of ancient date were to be seen in the rear of their present village. ...     on our way to this village we passed several beautifull cascades which fell from a great hight over the stupendious rocks which cloles the river on both sides nearly, except a small bottom on the South side in which our hunters were encamped. the most remarkable of these casscades falls about 300 feet perpendicularly over a solid rock into a narrow bottom of the river on the south side. it is a large creek, situated about 5 miles above our encampment of the last evening. several small streams fall from a much greater hight, and in their decent become a perfect mist which collecting on the rocks below again become visible and decend a second time in the same manner before they reach the base of the rocks. [Multnomah Falls area]     the hills have now become mountains high on each side are rocky steep and covered generally with fir and white cedar. ...     at 2 P. M. we renewed our voyage; passed under the beacon rock [Beacon Rock] on the north side, to the left of two small islands situated near the shore [Ives and Pierce Islands].     at four P.M. we arrived at the Clah-clel-lah village; here we found the natives busily engaged in erecting their new habitations, which appear to be reather of a temperary kind; it is most probable that they only reside here during the salmon season. we purchased two dogs of these people who like those of the village blow were but sulky and illy disposed; they are great rogues and we are obliged to keep them at a proper distance from our baggage. as we could not ascend the rapid [foot of the Cascade Rapids] by the North side of the river with our large canoes [Hamilton Island area], we passed to the oposite side and entered the narrow channel which seperates brant Island [Bradford Island] from the South shore; the evening being far spent and the wind high raining and very cold we thought best not to attempt the rapids [Cascade Rapids] this evening, we therefore sought a safe harbour in this narrow channel and encamped on the main shore [Tanner Creek, Oregon]. our small canoe with Drewyer and the two feildses was unable to pass the river with us in consequence of the waves they therefore toed her up along the N. side of the river and encamped [upstream end of Bonneville Dam, location of today's North Powerhouse] opposite the upper point of brant Island [Bradford Island]. after halting this evening I took a turn with my gun in order to kill a deer, but was unsuccessful. I saw much fresh sign. the fir has been lately injured by a fire near this place and many of them have discharged considerable quantities of rozin. we directed that Collins should hunt a few hours tomorrow morning and that Gibson and his crew should remain at his place untill we returned and employ themselves in collectng rozin which our canoes are now in want of.





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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:   See Multnomah Falls page for sources and more information.

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 2008