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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Port Kelley, Washington"
Includes ... Port Kelley ... Spring Gulch Creek ... Campsite of October 18, 1805 ...
Image, 2005, Port Kelley grain elevator, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Grain elevator, Port Kelley, Washington. Image taken September 24, 2005.


Port Kelley ...
Port Kelley, Washington, and Spring Gulch Creek are located within the upstream end of the Wallula Gap, just south of the confluence of the Walla Walla River with the Columbia River. Port Kelley is at Columbia River Mile (RM) 312, and Spring Gulch is at RM 311. The Twin Sisters basalt feature is just upstream. McNary Dam and Umatilla, Oregon are approximately 20 miles downstream, and Richland, Washington and the Yakima River are approximately 20 miles upstream.

Lewis and Clark and Port Kelley ...
Lewis and Clark's camp of October 18, 1805 was located near Spring Gulch Creek, approximately one mile downstream of Port Kelley.
[More]

Early Port Kelley ...
The 1887 cadastral survey (tax survey) of T6N R31E shows the area of Port Kelley before Lake Wallula, the reservoir behind the McNary Dam, inundated the area. To the north of the location of today's Port Kelley is a homestead of "Thrasher". The location of today's Port Kelley has nothing, however in the middle of the Columbia is a large island called "Lasts Island", with the Last homestead located at the downstream end.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records (2007) show title being granted to Hurley B. Thrasher on June 19, 1895, for 159.7 acres of T6N R31E, Section 4, under the 1862 Homestead Entry Original, and title being granted on May 9, 1896 for 107.35 acres of T6N R31E, Section 9, under the 1820 Sale-Cash Entry. There was no entry for "Last".


Views of Port Kelley ...

Image, 2005, Wallula Gap from Sand Station, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Wallula Gap, with Port Kelley grain elevators, as seen from Sand Station Recreation Area, Oregon. Image taken September 24, 2005.
Image, 2003, Port Kelley and Spring Gulch Creek, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Port Kelley and Spring Gulch Creek. Downstream view of the Port Kelley, with Spring Gulch drainage visible (v-shape valley), as seen from Washington State Highway 730, south of Wallula Junction. Image taken September 29, 2003.
Image, 2005, Port Kelley and Spring Gulch Creek, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Port Kelley and Spring Gulch Creek. Downstream view of the Port Kelley, with Spring Gulch drainage visible (v-shape valley), as seen from Washington State Highway 730, south of Wallula Junction. Image taken September 25, 2005.
Image, 2005, Port Kelley grain elevator, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Grain elevator, Port Kelley, Washington. Image taken September 24, 2005.


Views from Port Kelley ...

Image, 2005, Twin Sisters from Port Kelley, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Twin Sisters from, Port Kelley, Washington. Looking upstream from Port Kelley at one of the Twin Sisters. Image taken September 24, 2005.
Image, 2005, CEFX 106 going through Wallula Gap at Port Kelley, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
CEFX 106 passing through Wallula Gap at Port Kelley. Image taken September 24, 2005.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 18, 1805 ...
This morning Cool and fare wind from the S. E. ...     Took our leave of the Chiefs and all those about us [from their camp, the location of today's Sacajawea State Park] and proceeded on down the great Columbia river     passed a large Island at 8 miles about 3 miles in length, a Island on the Stard. Side the upper point of which is opposit the center of the last mentioned Island and reaches 3 miles below the 1st. Island and opposit to this near the middle of the river nine Lodges are Situated on the upper point at a rapid which is between the lower point of the 1st Island and upper point of this; great numbers of Indians appeared to be on this Island, and emence quantites of fish Scaffold     we landed a few minits to view a rapid which Commenced at the lower point, passd this rapid which was verry bad between 2 Small Islands two Still Smaller near the Lard. Side, at this rapid on the Stard. Side is 2 Lodges of Indians Drying fish, at 2 miles lower and 14 below the point passed an Island Close under the Stard. Side on which was 2 Lodges of Indians drying fish on Scaffolds as above

[Today this reach has been inundated by the waters of Lake Wallula, the reservoir behind the McNary Dam. The Burbank Slough - part of the McNary National Wildlife Refuge - dominates the eastern bank of the Columbia and two islands which remain offshore of Wallula are Crescent Island and Badger Island.]    

at 16 miles from the point [junction of the Snake River with the Columbia, location of today's Sacajawea State Park] the river passes into the range of high Countrey at which place the rocks project into the river from the high clifts [Wallula Gap] which is on <both> the Lard. Side about 2/3 of the way across those of the Stard Side about the Same distance, the Countrey rises here about 200 feet above The water and is bordered wth black rugid rocks [Columbia River Basalt],     at the Commencement of this high Countrey [Wallula Gap] on Lard Side a Small riverlet falls in [Walla Walla River] which appears to passed under the high County in its whole cose     Saw a mountain bearing S. W. conocal form Covered with Snow [Mount Hood, Oregon].    passed 4 Islands, at the upper point of the <first> 3rd is a rapid, on this Island is two Lodges of Indians, drying fish, on the fourth Island Close under the Stard. Side is nine large Lodges of Indians Drying fish on Scaffolds as above [Yellepit area]; at this place we were called to land, as it was near night and no appearance of wood [Lewis and Clark are in the Port Kelley area, where today the islands offshore are under the waters of Lake Wallula.],     we proceeded on about 2 miles lower to Some willows, at which place we observed a drift log     formed a Camp on the Lard Side [Spring Gulch] under a high hill nearly opposit to five Lodges of Indians; Soon after we landed, our old Chiefs informed us that the large camp above "was the Camp of the 1st Chief of all the tribes in this quarter [Chief Yellepit], and that he had called to us to land and Stay all night with him, that he had plenty of wood for us &" This would have been agreeable to us if it had have been understood perticelarly as we were compelled to Use drid willows for fuel for the purpose of cooking, we requested the old Chiefs to walk up on the Side we had landed and call to the Chief to come down and Stay with us all night which they did;     ... we made 21 miles to day.





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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: Fort Walla Walla Museum website, 2003; NOAA Office of Coast Survey website, 2003; U.S. Bureau of Land Management website, 2007;

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