Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Rufus and Preachers Eddy, Oregon"
Includes ... Rufus ... Preachers Eddy ... John Day Dam ...
Image, 2006, Rufus, Oregon, from Interstate 84, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Rufus, Oregon, from Interstate 84. View is west towards Mount Hood on the horizon. The Columbia River is to the right. Image taken October 2, 2006.


Rufus ...
Rufus, Oregon, is located at Columbia River Mile (RM) 213, two miles downstream of the John Day Dam and five miles upstream of the Sam Hill Memorial Bridge. The Sam Hill Memorial Bridge connects Biggs/Biggs Junction, Oregon, with Maryhill, Washington. Upstream of Rufus is the John Day Dam and four miles upstream of Rufus is the John Day River. The now-gone Oregon community of Grant was located downstream of Rufus. Grant was wiped out during the "Great Flood of 1894".

Early Rufus ...
Rufus was named for Rufus C. Wallis, the original settler in the community. He arrived from Tennessee and settled in the Rufus area in 1884. The Rufus Post Office was established in 1886, with Wallis as the first postmaster.

According to "Oregon Geographic Names" (2003, McArthur and McArthur):

"Rufus (SHERMAN) ... Rufus was named for Rufus C. Wallis, the original settler in the community. Wallis later moved aross the Columbia River and settled in Klickitat County, Washington. He received a U.S. patent for the Klickitat County land on December 13, 1876, for 163.75 acres. Rufus post offfice was established on June 6, 1886, with Wallis first postmaster."

The U.S. Bureau of Land Mangement's General Land Office (GLO) Records database (2019) shows Rufus C. Wallis being given title to 124.84 acres of T3N R17E, Sections 29 and 30, on December 13, 1876 (1862 Homestead EntryOriginal). This property is located along the Columbia River in Klickitat County, Washington.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's GLO database also shows Rufus C. Wallis being granted title to 160 acres of T4N R18E, Section 27, on December 21, 1896 (1820 Sale-Cash Entry), located inland in Klickitat County.

In Oregon, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's GLO database shows Rufus C. Wallis being granted title to 179.8 acres (1820 Sale-Cash Entry) on June 3, 1896, and 163.8 acres (1820 Sale-Cash Entry) on August 28, 1896, of T3N R17E Section 31.

The 1880 cadastral survey (tax survey) map shows "W. M. Barnett" living on land bordering the Columbia River in T3N R17E, Section 31, and a "Store" is shown in this section on the map.


Early Maps ...

Image, 1897 Map, Lyle to Rufus, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
HISTORICAL MAP, 1897, "Post Route Map of the State of Washington", showing the Columbia River from Lyle, Washington, to Rufus, Oregon. The community of Columbia became Maryhill in 1909. Original Map courtesy University of Washington Libraries, 2006.
Historic Map, 1957, Wasco Quadrangle map detail, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
1957 "Wasco Quadrangle" topographic map detail, showing the Columbia River (Lake Celilo) and Cliffs, Washington, and Rufus, Preachers Eddy, and Schofield Rapids, Oregon. Original U.S. Geological Survey 1:62500, "Wasco Quadrangle, Oregon-Washington".


From the City of Rufus ...
"The origins of Rufus began in 1884 with the arrival of Rufus C. Wallis from Tennessee. The first name of the town was Wallis Station in honor of Mr. Wallis who ran a ferry boat and a warehouse and was considered the second largest wheat shipper on record. The early town site consisted of approximately five acres which Wallis surveyed, platted and deeded to the city out of his homesteaded area in 1892. ... Rufus flourished when William H. Biggs, at a legislative session in Salem in 1885, succeeded in securing passage of a bill which compelled the railroads to place sidings where needed, and two of those places were Biggs and Rufus.

Rufus' population experienced an expansion period after the flood of 1894 which literally washed out the neighboring town to the west, Grant. Grant was never rebuilt and the majority of its citizens moved to Rufus. ...

Rufus's third major growth period came during the construction of the John Day Dam between the years of 1959 and 1968, Interstate 84, and other nearby federally funded construction projects. Incorporation as a city came in 1965. ... As the projects were completed between 1965 and 1970, the population declined. ... Although today there are not as many businesses as in the past the mild climate of Rufus and its location close to The Dalles have resulted in a number of people choosing Rufus for a place of retirement."


Source:    "cityofrufus.net" website, 2011


Early Images ...

Penny Postcard, Rufus, Oregon
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Wig-wam Cafe, Rufus, Oregon.
Penny Postcard, Divided Back. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Caption on back: "Wigwam --- Cafe, Motel & Service Station located where the John Day meets the Columbia River. Featuring one of Oregon's largest private arrowhead collections. Owners: Leonard & Doris Cotton, Rufus, Oregon."


Views ...

Image, 2006, Columbia River at Rufus, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Columbia River at Rufus, Oregon. Image taken October 2, 2006.
Image, 2006, Columbia River downstream John Day Dam, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Columbia River at Rufus, Oregon. Image taken October 2, 2006.
Image, 2006, Downstream John Day Dam, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Rabbitbrush at Rufus, Oregon. Image taken October 2, 2006.
Image, 2005, Columbia River Basalts, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Columbia River basalts, Rufus, Oregon. Image taken May 24, 2005.
Image, 2005, Columbia River Basalts, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Columbia River basalts, Rufus, Oregon. Image taken May 24, 2005.


Rufus, etc.

  • Camp Rufus ...
  • Preacher's Eddy ...
  • Rufus and Preacher's Eddy Treaty Fishing Access Sites ...


Camp Rufus ...
According to Sherry Kaseberg in "The Oregon Encyclopedia" (2019, "Camp Rufus"):

"On December 22, 1944, the Sherman County Journal reported that about a thousand men of the 1687 Combat Engineers Battalion, the 558 Heavy Pontoon Engineers, and the 1490 Engineer Maintenance Company were encamped upriver from the small town of Rufus, about twenty-two miles east of The Dalles. At Camp Rufus, one of several temporary military camps in Oregon during World War II, tents were set up, and trucks, jeeps, tanks, and pontoon bridging sections arrived for testing on the Columbia and on the nearby Deschutes River. ... At its peak, the population of the camp was about twenty-five hundred men. ... On April 13, 1945, the Journal reported that the soldiers had departed, leaving the site of Camp Rufus bare with sand blowing in the wind. A few days later, on April 20, the paper reported a connection between the army engineers stationed at Camp Rufus and a proposed bridge over the Rhine River. The Rufus engineers had experimented with pontoon, or floating, bridges and had designed the bridge using specifications developed by the Kaiser Shipyards in Portland. The key bridge over the Rhine was not destroyed in the war, however, so the new bridge was not needed."

In 2012, the World War II Veterans Historic Highway Committee, under the leadership of Dick Tobiason, installed signs on U.S. Highway 97 and State Road 126 to honor World War II troops who had trained at Camp Rufus ...."

Pontoon Bridge Across Columbia:

"At Rufus, during World War 2, government Army engineers, built several pontoon bridges across the Columbia river to give troops practice in bridging the Rhine river in Germany before the invasion."


Source:    William H. McNeal, 1953, "History of Wasco County, Oregon".



Preachers Eddy ...
Preachers Eddy (often seen as "Preacher's Eddy") is located approximately one mile upstream of Rufus and just below Giles French Park and the John Day Dam. The name "Preachers Eddy" is an early name for this area. A search of the Oregon Historic Newspaper Archives website (2016, University of Oregon Libraries) found the name in use by 1879. Today Preachers Eddy is known for its Walleye fishing.

"Some of the best walleye fishing in North America can be found in the mighty Columbia River, and especially at a place called the Preacherís Eddy. ... The Preacherís Eddy is just one of the many popular walleye spots in Lake Celilo, the impoundment created by The Dalles Dam in the Columbia River Gorge. Anther early-season spot is the Deadline below the John Day Dam ... there are some tricky currents and rocky shoals just below the surface. Itís not a place for beginners. Below that hole is the Preacherís Eddy itself, and just below that on the Washington side is an area called The Willows. Thereís more good water on the Oregon side, running from the Giles French Park boat ramp down past the grain elevators. All of these are good early-season bets, and also during periods of high water. ..." [Game & Fish Online Magazine, 2006]

"Preacher's Eddy: Just downriver from The Deadline, Preacher's Eddy has long been famous for its big fish. While not as difficult to fish as The Deadline, this stretch has an undulating bottom, running anywhere from 12 to 32 feet. Schneider considers this prime depth for walleye. As you troll or drift downstream, you must continually adjust the depth of your bait to keep it on the bottom." [Oregon Walleye Fishing Guides, Columbia River Walleye website, 2016]

Historic Map, 1957, Wasco Quadrangle map detail, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
1957 "Wasco Quadrangle" topographic map detail, showing the Columbia River (Lake Celilo) and Cliffs, Washington, and Rufus, Preachers Eddy, and Schofield Rapids, Oregon. Original U.S. Geological Survey 1:62500, "Wasco Quadrangle, Oregon-Washington".


Rufus and Preacher's Eddy Treaty Fishing Access Sites, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission ...
All four Columbia River treaty tribes enjoy fishing rights along the Columbia from the Bonneville to McNary dams. This 147-mile stretch of the river is called Zone 6. The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) operates and maintains 31 fishing sites (2015, Note: the website map only shows 30 sites) in Zone 6. These sites were set aside by Congress to provide fishing locations to Indian fishers whose traditional fishing grounds were inundated behind dams.

"For fisheries management purposes, the 292-mile stretch of the Columbia River that creates the border between Washington and Oregon is divided into six zones. Zones 1-5 are between the mouth of the river and Bonneville Dam, a distance of 145 miles. Oregon and Washington manage the commercial fisheries that occur in these zones. Zone 6 is an exclusive treaty Indian commercial fishing area. This exclusion is for commercial fishing only. Non-commercial sports fishers may still fish in this stretch of the river." [Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission website, 2016]

The Zone 6 sites include 19 Treaty Fishing Access sites (Bonneville, Wyeth, White Salmon, Stanley Rock, Lyle, Dallesport, Celilo, Maryhill, Rufus, Preachers Eddy, North Shore, LePage Park, Pasture Point, Roosevelt Park, Pine Creek, Threemile Canyon, Alderdale, Crow Butte, and Faler Road), five "In-lieu" sites (Cascade Locks, Wind River, Cooks, Underwood, and Lone Pine), two "Shared-use" sites (Avery and Sundale Park, for both Tribal use and Public use), and four "Unimproved" sites with no services (Goodnoe, Rock Creek, Moonay, and Aldercreek).



"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, October 22, 1805 ...




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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:
  • Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission website, 2016;
  • City of Rufus website, 2011;
  • Kaseberg, S., "Camp Rufus", IN: The Oregon Encyclopedia", 2019;
  • McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland;
  • McNeal, W.H., 1953, "History of Wasco County, Oregon";
  • U.S. Bureau of Land Management website, 2006, General Land Office Records;


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/rufus.html
January 2016