Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Portland International Airport"
Includes ... Portland International Airport ... PDX ... "Ski-loot" Village ... Deborah Butterfield Horse Sculptures ...
Image, 2003, Mount Hood, Oregon, and Portland International Airport, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mount Hood, Oregon, and Portland International Airport. Image taken July 4, 2003.


Portland International Airport ...
The Portland International Airport (PDX) began in 1925 and was located on Swan Island, on the Willamette River near downtown Portland, Oregon. During the late 1930s during the Depression, Works Progress Administration (WPA) funded a program to build a larger airport at PDX's current location, on the southern shore of the Columbia River between River Mile (RM) 110 to approximately RM 114. Across from the airport is Government Island where Lewis and Clark had their camp of November 3, 1905. Downstream is Hayden Island and the mouth of the Willamette River. On the Washington shore across from PDX is the "Small Prarie" mentioned by Lewis and Clark, which would eventually be the location of Pearson Field and Fort Vancouver. To the south is Rocky Butte - a small volcano - which rises above the airport.

Image, 2005, Plane landing at Portland International Airport, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Columbia River, Portland International Airport, Rocky Butte, and landing plane. View from Wintler Park, Washington. Image taken October 21, 2005.
Image, 2006, Portland International Airport, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Tower, Portland International Airport. Image taken December 2, 2006.


Lewis and Clark and the "Skil-loot" Village ...
Lewis and Clark stopped at the location of today's Portland International Airport on November 4, 1805. They landed at the "Skil-loot" village located there.

"... near the lower point of this diamond Island is The head of a large Island Seperated from a Small one by a narrow chanel, and both Situated nearest the Lard Side, those Islands as also the bottoms are thickly Covered with Pine &c. river wide, Country low on both Sides; on the Main Lard Shore a Short distance below the last Island we landed at a village of 25 Houses: 24 of those houses we[re] thached with Straw, and covered with bark, the other house is built of boards in the form of those above, except that it is above ground and about 50 feet in length and covered with broad Split boards This village contains about 200 men of the Skil-loot nation I counted 52 canoes on the bank in front of this village maney of them verry large and raised in bow. ...     at 7 miles below this village passed the upper point of a large Island nearest the Lard Side, a Small Prarie in which there is a pond opposit on the Stard ..." [Clark, November 4, 1805]

"diamond Island" and the "large Island Seperated from a Small one" are part of today's Government Island complex, and the island "7 miles below this village" is today's Hayden Island. The "Small Prairie" is the location of today's Fort Vancouver and Pearson Field.


Lewis and Clark in 1806 ...
As the men returned home in 1806 they spent 6 days camping on the Washington side of the Columbia at Cottonwood Beach. On April 2, 1806, Captain Clark and a few of the men left this camp and headed back downstream to search for and explore the mouth of the Willamette River. Soon after they left Cottonwood Beach they passed a village on the south side of the Columbia River, located near today's Blue Lake Park. They did not stop. The men kept going to the "Skil-loot" Village of the year before, refering this time as belonging to the "Ne-er-cho-ki-oo" tribe of the "Shah-ha-la" Nation, where they stopped.

"... at 8 miles passed a village on the South side 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, 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 and whome as I have before mentioned reside at the Great rapids of the Columbia ..." [Clark, April 2, 1806]

Airport History ...
Swan Island Airport:   Portland International Airport (PDX) was not Portland's first airport. In 1927 the Swan Island Airport opened as the regionís first commercial airport, hosting a visit from Charles Lindbergh in the Spirit of St. Louis for the airport dedication ceremony. However, when the U.S. Bureau of Air Commerce denied authorization to operate the DC-3 (the most modern aircraft of the time) out of Swan Island, it became apparent that a newer/bigger airport was needed.

Portland-Columbia Airport:   When the Swan Island Airport became too small for use on the newer planes, plans were made to build Portland a new airport east of the city. Funding from the WPA was used and the Portland-Columbia Airport was dedicated in 1940. It served around 100,000 passengers in its first year.

Portland International Airport:   In 1951 the airport was renamed the "Portland International Airport". In 2009 the Portland International Airport served more than 12 million passengers and accommodated more than 250,000 tons of air freight.


Penny Postcard, Portland-Columbia Airport, Portland, Oregon Penny Postcard: Swan Island Airport, Portland, Oregon. Penny Postcard, Linen Card, Divided Back, "Swan Island Airport Looking South from a Skyliner, Portland, Ore." Copyright Brubaker Aerial Surveys, Portland, Ore. C.T. Art Colortone, Wesley Andrews Co., Portland, Ore. Card #742. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Caption on back: "The famous Swan Island Airport is located in Willamette River and connected with East Portland by a filled-in causeway. A beautiful flowered driveway of three miles circles the island on which is located a modern air depot and many hangars. Mt. Hood, 11,887 ft. alt., is shown at left."
Penny Postcard, Portland-Columbia Airport, Portland, Oregon Penny Postcard: Portland-Columbia Airport, Portland, Oregon. Penny Postcard, Linen Card, Divided Back, "Portland-Columbia Airport, Portland, Oregon." Copyright Brubaker Aerial Surveys. Published by Angelus Commercial Studio, Portland, Oregon. Card #25. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Image, 2005, Portland International Airport from Rocky Butte, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Portland International Airport as seen from Rocky Butte. The Columbia River and Vancouver, Washington, are in the background. Image taken June 15, 2005.


Views ... October 2006 ...

Image, 2006, Portland International Airport, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Approaching Portland International Airport. Image taken October 19, 2006.
Image, 2006, Portland International Airport, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Entering Parking Garage, Portland International Airport. Image taken October 19, 2006.
Image, 2006, Loading area with cover, Portland International Airport, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Covered loading/unloading area, Portland International Airport. Image taken October 23, 2006.
Image, 2006, Portland International Airport, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Portland International Airport. Image taken October 19, 2006.
Image, 2006, Portland International Airport, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Ceiling pattern, covered loading/unloading area, Portland International Airport. Image taken October 23, 2006.
Image, 2006, Portland International Airport, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Shops and Dining, Portland International Airport. Image taken October 23, 2006.
Image, 2006, Portland International Airport, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Clock, Portland International Airport. Image taken October 19, 2006.


Portland International Airport, etc.

  • Deborah Butterfield Horse Sculptures ...
  • PDX Carpet ...


Deborah Butterfield Horse Sculptures ...
In 1995 the Portland International Airport commissioned Deborah Butterfield for an exhibit of her horse sculptures for which were placed along the drive as one leaves the airport.
[More]

Image, 2006, Deborah Butterfield horse sculptures, Portland International Airport, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Deborah Butterfield horse sculptures, Portland International Airport. Left side, view from car, rainy day. Image taken October 24, 2006.

Sculpture on the left is "Lyon", created in 1995, cast bronze, 91 x 112 x 30 inches. Scupture on the right is "Princess Pine", created in 1995, cast bronze, 83 x 104 x 29 inches.
[Robert Gordon, 2003, Deborah Butterfield, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers]


PDX Carpet ...
(to come)

Image, 2006, Portland International Airport, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Old iconic carpet, Portland International Airport. Image taken October 23, 2006.
Image, 2017, Portland International Airport, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Old iconic carpet merchandise, Portland International Airport. Image taken June 8, 2017.
Image, 2017, Portland International Airport, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
New carpet, Portland International Airport. Image taken June 8, 2017.


"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.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 4, 1805 ...





Clark, March 31, 1806 ...





Clark, April 2, 1806 ...


Whitehouse, April 2, 1806 ...




Vancouver PlainsReturn to
Menu
 






*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:
  • Center for Columbia River History website, 2004;
  • Gordon, Gordon, 2003, Deborah Butterfield, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers;
  • Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle, Washington, website, 2006;
  • Portland International Airport website, 2004;


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.
/Regions/Places/portland_international_airport.html
September 2008