Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Munra Point, Oregon"
Includes ... Munra Point ... Mount Munra ...
Image, 2004, Munra Point from Hamilton Island, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Munra Point, Oregon, from Hamilton Island, Washington. Image taken August 1, 2004.

Munra Point ...
Munra Point is located at Columbia River Mile (RM) 144, just downstream of Bonneville Dam. Directly across from Munra Point is Hamilton Island. Moffett Creek drainage is on the downstream side of Munra Point, and the Tanner Creek drainage is on the upstream side. At the base of Munra Point is the upstream end of John B. Yeon State Park.

"Grandma Munra" ...
Munra Point was named in 1915 to honor Katherine Sterrett Munra. "Grandma Munra", as she was called, was a pioneer woman who kept a railroad eating house at Bonneville and later at Meacham. According to Oregon Geographic Names (McArthur and McArthur, 2003):
"... her name was attached to the point in question by a committee representing various Oregon historical organizations. Munra Point is just south of Bonneville, between Tanner Creek and Moffett Creek. The name has been approved by the USBGN. In 1928, the Union Pacific Railroad named a station (siding) east of Pendleton for "Grandma" Munra."

According to "The Oregon Encyclopedia" website (a project of the Oregon Historical Society), "Grandma Munra" was Katherine Sterrett Munra (1830-1923).

"... On August 5, 1850, Katherine married John McCarter, a railroad builder, with whom she had three children. By 1870 she was managing a boarding house in Erie [Pennsylvania], rearing her children alone. After her children were grown, Katherine moved to San Francisco where by 1880 she worked in William Shaw's boarding house as cook and housekeeper. She was known as Kate Graham but information of this marriage remains elusive. On November 9, 1882 in San Francisco Kate Graham married her third husband Knight Selkirk Munra.

In 1883, H.S. Rowe of the Oregon Railroad & Navigation Company (OR&N) brought the Munras to Oregon, where they managed the railroad's Bonneville eating house, located by the railroad tracks (trains did not have dining cars at that time). The Munras became known fondly by their customers as Grandma and Grandpa Munra.

In 1895, the OR&N built a new eating house in Meacham, on the summit of the Blue Mountains. The Log Cabin Eating House, constructed of tamarack logs, opened with the Munras as managers. Before long, Grandma Munra and the eating house were internationally famous. Her picture was on The Log Cabin post cards, and the traveling public referred to the eating house as the "Delmonico of the Blue Mountains."

Grandma Munra's reputation was built on her chicken, pastry, cakes, and salads. One of her specialties was a cake made from a recipe used by Martha Washington. Refills and seconds were free. Meals were presented on fine linens, china, silver, and glassware amid the setting of a wild forest. It was well worth the price of six bits (seventy-five cents). ..."

Views ...

Image, 2006, Spring colors, Munra Point, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Spring, Munra Point, Oregon. View from Hamilton Island, Washington. Image taken April 22, 2006.

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

  • McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society;

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