Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Seufert, Oregon, and the Seufert Brothers Cannery"
Includes ... Seufert ... Seufert Brothers Cannery ... Seufert Brothers Salmon and Produce Cannery ... The Dalles, Oregon ...
Image, 2011, The Dalles, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Seufert Brothers Cannery remains, The Dalles, Oregon. Image taken October 6, 2011.


Seufert ...
Seufert was a railway station located east of The Dalles, Oregon, and was named after two brothers, Theodore J. and Frank A. Seufert. Today this is the location of The Dalles Locks and Dam. The mouth of Fifteenmile Creek enters the Columbia River at Seufert.

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

"Seufert (WASCO) ... Seufert station was east of The Dalles. It bore the name of two brothers, Theodore J. and Frank A. Seufert. They were natives of New York and came to Oregon in the early 1880s. They were engaged in various branches of the packing buisness, principally of salmon and fruit."

Seufert Brothers Salmon and Fruit Cannery ...
The "Seufert Bros. Co." was established in 1881 by brothers Francis and Theodore Seufert. This enterprise became one of the largest salmon fishing and processing establishments on the Columbia River. The brothers owned the majority of of the fish wheels surrounding The Dalles, and their cannery was located at Columbia River Mile (RM) 192, just upstream of today's The Dalles Dam.

"On June 1, 1954 Seufert Brothers Co. was liquidated and its assets disposed of. The land where the cannery was located was sold to the Army Corps of Engineers in connection with The Dalles Dam project. Until the cannery was burned, it was leased by Wasco County for public events. The huge cannery was burned by the Corps of Engineers in 1975 to develop a public recreation area." ... [U.S. National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, "Seufert House", 2006, "06000944"]

Today all that remains of the cannery operation is a remnant stone wall near The Dalles Dam's visitor center.


Early History ...
"In 1884, Francis A. and Theodore J. Seufert built their first wheel on land they had purchased three miles east of The Dalles. They initially leased part of the property to another partnership, Everding and Farrell, which built a salmon cannery there in 1886. Ten years later, Seufert Brothers bought the facility for $2,500, beginning a process of expansion that would culminate in the ownership of four canneries, more than a dozen fish wheels, and much of the riparian property between The Dalles and Celilo Falls, about fifteen miles upriver. The companyís prodigious output helped make canned salmon Oregonís second largest export in the early twentieth century, but it also contributed to the precipitous decline of fish runs during the same period."


Source:    The Oregon Encyclopedia website, 2011, "Seufert Brothers Cannery".

"The Seufert firm was begun by Francis Seufert as a general commission business in the Dalles in 1881. Two years later, after Francis Seufert was joined by his brother Theodore, Seufert Brothers shipped the first Columbia River fresh salmon east by land, in refrigerator cars built by the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company (now Union Pacific Railroad). In 1885 Seufert Brothers broadened their business by planting the first irrigated fruit orchard in Eastern Oregon ... In 1896 Seufert Brothers went into the fish canning business for the first time when the firm opened a plant at The Dalles. The company continued in business for fifty-seven years through the fishing season of 1953. Construction of The Dalles Dam by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers forced the company to close its doors in 1954 as the backwater from the dam flooded the fishing grounds. Seufert Brothers was a very large company, at one time operating seventeen fish wheel scows, four seines, and nineteen stationary fish wheels. The company had introduced the fish wheel to the Upper Columbia River in 1884-1885. The fish caught in these operations at the Celilo Falls fishing grounds produced more salmon in proportion to their size than any other fishing grounds in the world."


Source:    Source:   U.S. National Register of Historic Places, Heimrich-Seufert House Nomination form, 1990, #90000827.

"Seufert Brothers fishing and canning operations were unique. Their salmon cannery was the furthest from the ocean, located behind two mountain ranges. Their fishwheels operated the furthest up the Columbia River, as did their seining operations. Seufert Brothers was also one of the few salmon canneries in the country which canned both salmon and fruits and vegetables. When the cannery was not canning salmon, it canned produce. In 1885, Frank Seufert planted fruit orchards along the shores of the Columbia River on land he had previously purchased. Seufert leveled the land, several acres of sand dunes, and through irrigation made the land productive. Eventually Seufert Brothers owned Royal Anne cherry and apricot orchards. In addition to Seufert's own fruit, the cannery canned produce from local farmers, including purple plums, peas, tomatoes, asparagus and prunes. Having canned fruit helped Seufert Brothers increase their shipping tonnage and allowed them to sell and deliver canned salmon in small lots throughout the Midwest. Salmon always remained their main product, and was far more profitable than produce. In 1922, Seufert Brothers Cannery employed 120 people and had an outage of more than 30,000 cases of salmon a year, valued at more than half a million dollars."


Source:    U.S. National Register of Historic Places, Seufert House Nomination form, 2006, #06000944.

Early View ...

Penny Postcard, Seufert Cannery, The Dalles
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Seufert Brothers Cannery, The Dalles, Oregon. Penny Postcard, Divided Back (1907-1915), "Seufert Brothers Co., Salmon Cannery, The Dalles, Oregon, The Dalles in the Distance.". Hand written note on back dated 1909. Portland Post Card Co., Portland, Ore. Card No.6027. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.


Views ...

Image, 2011, The Dalles, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Location, Seufert Brothers Cannery, The Dalles, Oregon. Image taken October 6, 2011.
Image, 2011, The Dalles, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Location, Seufert Brothers Cannery, The Dalles, Oregon. Image taken October 6, 2011.
Image, 2011, The Dalles, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Seufert Brothers Cannery remains, NW corner, The Dalles, Oregon. Image taken October 6, 2011.
Image, 2011, The Dalles, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Seufert Brothers Cannery remains, NW corner, The Dalles, Oregon. Image taken October 6, 2011.


"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 25, 1805 ...




Columbia PlateauReturn to
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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:
  • McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, "Oregon Geographic Names", Oregon Historical Society Press;
  • The Oregon Encyclopedia website, 2011, "Seufert Brothers Cannery";
  • U.S. National Register of Historic Places, Heimrich-Seufert House Nomination form, 1990, #90000827;
  • U.S. National Register of Historic Places, Seufert House Nomination form, 2006, #06000944;


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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June 2012