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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Ridgefield, Washington"
Includes ... Ridgefield ... "Shobert's Landing" ... "Union Ridge" ... U-Haul ...
Image, 2005, Visit Ridgefield sign, click to enlarge
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"Visit Ridgefield, Lewis & Clark Did - TWICE" sign. Image taken, July 24, 2005.


Ridgefield, Washington ...
Ridgefield, Washington, is located 2 miles east of the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 89.5. Between the community and the river lies the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, a location Lewis and Clark camped at both on their journey to the Pacific, and again upon their return. Separating Ridgefield from the Refuge is Lake River, who source is Vancouver Lake, located to the south. North lies the Lewis River and the community of Woodland, Washington. From the "ridge" at Ridgefield, views into Oregon can be seen with views of Bachelor Island and the Wildlife Refuge located below the ridge.

Lewis and Clark and Ridgefield ...
Lewis and Clark spent two nights in the Ridgefield area. The first, on November 4, 1805, was south of today's Ridgefield at a location we now call Post Office Lake. The second camp was on March 29, 1806, during their journey back home. The men camped north of Ridgefield in a meadow near a Cathlapotle Indian Village. Today both locations are a part of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.

Image, 2007, Ridgefield, Washington, click to enlarge
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Lewis and Clark information kiosk, Ridgefield, Washington. Image taken, March 25, 2007.
Image, 2007, Ridgefield, Washington, click to enlarge
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Sacajawea and Seaman, Lewis and Clark information kiosk, Ridgefield, Washington. Image taken, March 25, 2007.
Image, 2007, Ridgefield, Washington, click to enlarge
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Seaman, Lewis and Clark information kiosk, Ridgefield, Washington. Image taken, March 25, 2007.


Early Ridgefield ...
"The first Euro-American to settle in what would later become the town of Ridgefield was Irish immigrant James Carty, who took up residence on Lake River in 1839. After Congress passed the U.S. Donation Land Claim Act in 1850, more settlers arrived. In 1849, bachelors Stillman Hendrick, B.O. Teal, and George Thing settled on the island across Lake River from Carty's land claim, thereby giving "Bachelor Island" its name. They were followed by Arthur Quigley in 1852 and Frederick Shobert in 1853. Both Quigley and Shobert established mud landings on their properties adjoining Lake River where river steamers could offload their goods and take on loads of farm products. Thus, "Shobert's Landing" became the common name for the area for the next 10 years. Ferry crossings were also established in the 1850s. James Carty began running a ferry service across Lake River in 1851.

The little community got its next name, "Union Ridge", during the Civil War. According to a reporter who visited the area in 1875, this was because "all the settlers, save one, were outspoken Union men". When the first post office was established in 1865, the name became official. An 1886-1887 gazetteer listed Union Ridge as "a post village on Lake river ... Settled in 1853. Ships farm produce. Population, 65." It had a general store and post office run by Stephen Shobert, and a church.

The post office name was changed to Ridgefield in 1890 at the urging of the new postmaster, S.P. Mackey, who was originally from Virginia, and not keen on the name Union Ridge. The City of Ridgefield was incorporated in 1909."

Source:   U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP), September 2010.



The community of Ridgefield, Washington, first known as "Shobert's Landing", was named after the Frederick Shobert family who settled in Clark County around 1854. "Shobert's Landing" became a steamboat landing.

The 1854 cadastral survey (tax survey) for T4N R1E, in the southwestern quarter of Section 19, shows the "F. Shobart" home on the ridge overlooking "Vancouver Slough", today's Lake River.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management General Land Office (GLO) Records database (2007) shows Frederick Shobart being granted title to 8 acres of T4N R1E Section 19, on April 1, 1865 (1820 Sale-Cash Entry). The database also shows Frederick Shobart and Catherine Shobart being granted title to 299.59 acres of T4N R1E Section 19, and T4N R1W, Section 24, on August 27, 1871 (1850 Oregon Donation Act).

After the Civil War Union Soldiers settled the Ridgefield area. The town which grew up around "Shobert's Landing" became known as "Union Ridge" after the Civil War Soldiers.

An 1888 Plat Map of "Clarke County" has Lake River named "Lake River" and a Post Office at today's Ridgefield called "Union Ridge". Donation Land Claims (DLC) were F. Shobart (DLC) south of town, A. Quigley (DLC) north of town, and J. Carty (DLC) in the are of today's Carty Lake.

In 1890 as settlers built homesteads below the "ridge", and postal officials changed the community name to "Ridgefield". The name derives from the town being located on a large field that covers a beautiful basalt ridge. The lava flows making up the ridge are Columbia River Basalt flows which erupted east of Ridgefield approximately seventeen million years ago. These same flows created the Columbia River Plateau, located in eastern Washington and Oregon.

Rock quarried from areas around Ridgefield between 1880 through 1910 was transported by barge to Portland for use as cobble paving stones.

Ridgefield is known as the "Birthplace of U-Haul". In the summer of 1945 Sam and Anna Marie Shoen initiated "U-Haul", renting their trailers for $2.00 per day (see more below).


The "ridge" ...

Image, 2006, Ridgefield from Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, click to enlarge
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Homes of Ridgefield, Washington, from Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. Looking east to the ridge of "Ridgefield", from Ridgefield NWR River "S" Unit. Image taken, November 25, 2006.
Image, 2005, Columbia River from ridge at Ridgefield, Washington, click to enlarge
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Columbia River as seen from the "ridge" at Ridgefield, Washington. Looking down on the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. Columbia River (???) is just visible upper-middle left. Darker treed area upper-middle right is Bachelor Island. Lake River is not visible behind growth in the foreground. Image taken, July 24, 2005.


Street Scenes ...

Image, 2007, Pioneer Street, Ridgefield, Washington, click to enlarge
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Spring, Pioneer Street, Ridgefield, Washington. Image taken, March 25, 2007.
Image, 2007, Main Street, Ridgefield, Washington, click to enlarge
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Sidewalk store fronts, Main Street, Ridgefield, Washington. Image taken, March 25, 2007.
Image, 2007, Pioneer Street, Ridgefield, Washington, click to enlarge
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Pioneer Street, Ridgefield, Washington. Image taken, March 25, 2007.
Image, 2007, Pioneer Street Marketplace, Ridgefield, Washington, click to enlarge
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Ridgefield Pioneer Market Place sign, Ridgefield, Washington. Image taken, March 25, 2007.
Image, 2007, Clock, Pioneer Street, Ridgefield, Washington, click to enlarge
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Clock, Pioneer Street, Ridgefield, Washington. Image taken, March 25, 2007.
Image, 2007, Pioneer Street, Ridgefield, Washington, click to enlarge
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Sidewalk store fronts, Pioneer Street, Ridgefield, Washington. Image taken, March 25, 2007.
Image, 2007, Pioneer Street, Ridgefield, Washington, click to enlarge
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Radio Flyers, Pioneer Street, Ridgefield, Washington. Image taken, March 25, 2007.


Around Ridgefield, etc.

  1. "Birdfest" ...
  2. "Birthplace of U-Haul" ...
  3. Mammoth Tusk ...
  4. Murals ...
  5. Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge ...
  6. Roundabout Easter Eggs ...

"Birdfest" ...
(to come)

Image, 2013, Ridgefield, Washington, click to enlarge
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"Birdfest", Ridgefield, Washington. Image taken, October 6, 2013.
Image, 2013, Ridgefield, Washington, click to enlarge
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Turkey Vulture, Audubon Birds, "Birdfest", Ridgefield, Washington. Image taken, October 6, 2013.
Image, 2013, Ridgefield, Washington, click to enlarge
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Peregrine Falcon, Audubon Birds, "Birdfest", Ridgefield, Washington. Image taken, October 6, 2013.



"Birthplace of U-Haul" ...
The Washington community of Ridgefield is known as the "Birthplace of U-Haul", with the original location being on today's Carty Unit of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.

In the summer of 1945 Sam and Anna Marie Shoen initiated "U-Haul", renting their trailers for $2.00 per day.

"... With $5,000, L.S. Shoen, his wife Anna Mary Carty Shoen and their young child moved to the Carty ranch in Ridgefield, Washington. There, with the help of the Carty family, the Shoens built the first U-Haul trailers in the fall of 1945, using the ranch's automobile garage (and milk house) as the first manufacturing plant for the budding U-Haul Co. ... By the end of 1945, thirty 4' x 7' open trailers were on service station lots in Portland, Vancouver and Seattle, Wash. ..." ["Uhaul.com" website, 2006]

In 1966, when the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service purchased most of the Carty land for the Ridgefield Refuge, the milk house/garage/U-haul building was still in existence. It was located near where today sits the Cathlapotle Plankhouse replica. The Carty family moved the structure uphill to their property along the road, where it still sits today, overlooking the land of the Refuge.


Image, 2007, Ridgefield, Washington, click to enlarge
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"Birthplace of U-Haul, Welcome to Ridgefield" sign. Image shot from moving car. Image taken, July 1, 2007.
Image, 2011, Ridgefield, Washington, click to enlarge
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U-haul house, Ridgefield, Washington. Image taken, September 23, 2011.


Mammoth tusk ...
In January 2010, during construction of a new Ridgefield overpass of Interstate 5, workers found a Columbian Wooly Mammoth tusk buried 30 feet below the surface on the east side of the freeway. The tusk remains were about 3 feet long and 6 inches in diameter, narrowing down to 1 inch. Researchers at the Burke Museau at the University of Washington report that mammoths roamed southwest Washington until approximately 10,000 years ago. The mammoth may have been buried by one of the floods of the Missoula Floods which sent waves of sediment and flood waters down the Columbia River. The Columbian Mammoth is the official Washington state fossil.

Murals ...
Beautiful Murals depicting the history of Ridgefield, including the two visits of Lewis and Clark, decorate the buildings of downtown Ridgefield, Washington.
[More]

Image, 2007, Ridgefield, Washington, click to enlarge
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Mural, Ridgefield, Washington. Image taken, March 25, 2007.
Image, 2007, Ridgefield, Washington, click to enlarge
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Detail, Ridgefield Lewis and Clark painting. Image taken, March 25, 2007.


Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge ...
The Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge is located on the shore of the Columbia River in Ridgefield, Washington. The Refuge is bordered on the east by Lake River and on the west by the Columbia. Sections of the Refuge reach as far south as Vancouver Lake.

The Ridgefield Refuge was established in 1965 in response to a need to establish winter habitat for the dusky Canada Goose whose nesting areas in Alaska were severly impacted by the violent earthquake of 1964. The refuge covers over 5,000 acres of flood plain habitat, seasonal and permanent wetlands, and agricultural lands. The Refuge is part of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Complex, which also includes nearby Steigerwald Lake NWR, and three other Refuges further up the Columbia River Gorge.
[More]


Image, 2003, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, click to enlarge
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Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, Washington. Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, River "S" Unit. Image taken, September 13, 2003.
Image, 2007, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, click to enlarge
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Red-tailed Hawk, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, Washington, River "S" Unit. Image taken, April 14, 2007.


Roundabout Easter Eggs ...
Ridgefield residents awoke in April 2011 to find three brightly painted giant Easter Eggs in the roundabout from Interstate 5.

Image, 2011, Ridgefield, Washington, click to enlarge
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BIG Easter Eggs, Ridgefield, Washington. View from moving car. Image taken, April 22, 2011.
Image, 2011, Ridgefield, Washington, click to enlarge
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BIG Easter Egg, Ridgefield, Washington. View from moving car. Image taken, April 22, 2011.


... 2012 ...

Image, 2012, Ridgefield, Washington, click to enlarge
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BIG Easter Eggs, Ridgefield, Washington. View from moving car. Image taken, April 5, 2012.
Image, 2012, Ridgefield, Washington, click to enlarge
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BIG Easter Egg, Ridgefield, Washington. View from moving car. Image taken, April 6, 2012.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 5, 1805 ...
Rained all the after part of last night, rain continues this morning, I [s]lept but verry little last night [Post Office Lake, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge] for the noise Kept dureing the whole of the night by the Swans, Geese, white & Grey Brant Ducks &c. on a Small Sand Island [one of the islands of the Ridgefield Refuge] close under the Lard. Side; they were emensely noumerous, and their noise horid- we Set out <at about Sun rise> early here the river is not more than 3/4 of a mile in width, passed a Small Prarie on the Stard. Side [quite possibly the location of today's Campbell Lake] passed 2 houses about 1/2 a mile from each other on the Lard. Side a Canoe came from the upper house, with 3 men in its mearly to view us, passed an Isld. Covered with tall trees & green briers [Bachelor Island] Seperated from the Stard. Shore by a narrow Chanel [Lake River or Bachelor Island Slough] at 9 [8?] miles I observed on the Chanel [Lake River or Bachelor Island Slough] which passes on the Stard Side of this Island [Bachelor Island] a Short distance above its lower point is Situated a large village [Cathlapotle Village, near where Lewis and Clark camped on March 29, 1806, a place now known as Wapato Portage], the front of which occupies nearly 1/4 of a mile fronting the Chanel, and closely Connected, I counted 14 houses in front here the river widens to about 1 1/2 miles. ...    about 1 1/2 miles below this village on the Lard Side behind a rockey Sharp point [Warrior Point, Sauvie Island], we passed a Chanel 1/4 of a mile wide [Multnomah Channel] which I take to be the one the Indian Canoe entered yesterday from the lower point of Immage Canoe Island [Hayden Island, at this point Lewis and Clark had not discovered Hayden Island and Sauvie Island were two separate islands]     a Some low clifts of rocks below this Chanel [St. Helens, Oregon], a large Island Close under the Stard Side opposit [Lewis River floodplain, home of Woodland, Washington, possibly more of an "island" in 1805 ???], and 2 Small Islands, below [today's Burke and Martin Islands], here we met 2 canoes from below,- below those Islands a range of high hills form the Stard. Bank of the river [Martin Bluff], the Shore bold and rockey, Covered with a thick groth of Pine     an extensive low Island [Deer Island], Seperated from the Lard side by a narrow Chanel, on this Island we Stoped to Dine I walked out found it open & covered with <Small> grass interspersed with Small ponds, in which was great numbr. of foul, the remains of an old village on the lower part of this Island, I saw Several deer ...     below the lower point of this Island [Deer Island] a range of high hills which runs S. E. forms the Lard. bank of the river the Shores bold and rockey & hills Covered with pine, [Lewis and Clark are passing Goble, Oregon, and the area around the Trojan Nuclear Power Facility     The high hills leave the river on the Stard. Side a high bottom between the hill & river [Kalama, Washington]. We met 4 Canoes of Indians from below, in which there is 26 Indians, one of those Canoes is large, and ornimented with Images on the bow & Stern. That in the Bow the likeness of a Bear, and in Stern the picture of a man- we landed on the Lard. Side & camped [near Prescott Beach, Oregon] a little below the mouth of a creek [Kalama River] on the Stard. Side a little below the mouth of which is an Old Village which is now abandaned-;     here the river is about one and a half miles wide. and deep, The high Hills which run in a N W. & S E. derection form both banks of the river the Shore boald and rockey, the hills rise gradually & are Covered with a thick groth of pine &c. The valley [Columbian Valley] which is from above the mouth of Quick Sand River [Sandy River] to this place may be computed at 60 miles wide on a Derect line, & extends a great Distanc to the right & left rich thickly Covered with tall timber, with a fiew Small Praries bordering on the river and on the Islands; Some fiew Standing Ponds & Several Small Streams of running water on either Side of the river; This is certainly a fertill and a handsom valley, at this time Crouded with Indians. The day proved Cloudy with rain the greater part of it, we are all wet cold and disagreeable- I saw but little appearance of frost in this valley which we call <Wap-pa-too Columbia> from the root or plants growing Spontaniously in this valley only ...     We made 32 miles to day by estimation-





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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: "Columbian.com" website, 2007; Hitchman, 1985, Place Names of Washington, Washington State Historical Society; "Rootsweb.com" website, 2005; "The Columbian" Newspaper, February 12, 2010; "Uhaul.com" website, 2006; U.S. Bureau of Land Management General Land Office (GLO) Records website, 2007; U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Ridgefield NWR, personal communication, 2011; Washington State Secretary of State 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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Images are NOT to be downloaded from this website.
November 2013