Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Shellrock and Shellrock Mountain, Oregon"
Includes ... Shellrock Mountain ... Shell Rock, Oregon ... Mt. Talapus ... "The Dalles and Sandy Wagon Road" ...
Image, 2004, Shellrock Mountain, Oregon, from Starvation Creek, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Shellrock Mountain, Oregon, as seen from Starvation Creek State Park, Oregon. Interstate 84 is in the foreground. Image taken September 24, 2004.


Shell Rock, Oregon ...
Shell Rock, Oregon, Post Office was established April 14, 1873, in the vicinity of Shellrock Mountain. The Post Office was later moved across the Columbia into Washington Territory and re-named "Collins Landing". Briefly, in 1878, a second Shell Rock Post Office was established in Oregon. According to Oregon Geographic Names (McArthur and McArthur, 2003):

"Shell Rock post office was in operation again on the Oregon side between May 20 and August 19, 1878, whith John Cates postmaster. Castes, of a well-known Wasco County family, operated a sawmill a couple of miles west of the present site of Wyeth. The post office was apparently reestablished to serve people connected with the Cates mill. It was about three miles west of Shellrock Mountain but named for that feature nevertheless."

Shellrock Mountain ...
Shellrock Mountain, Oregon, is located on the southern shore of the Columbia River, at River Mile (RM) 157.5, upstream of Wyeth and downstream of Starvation Creek State Park. Across the Columbia on the Washington side are Wind Mountain, Home Valley, and Collins Point.

Image, 2005, Oregon and Shellrock Mountain from Home Valley, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Oregon and Shellrock Mountain from Home Valley Park, Home Valley, Washington. Image taken August 27, 2005.


Shellrock Mountain Geology ...
There are several "Shellrock" mountains in Oregon. According to Oregon Geographic Names (McArthur and McArthur, 2003):

"Mountains of this name are so called because the rock of which they are composed breaks off in platy chunks and piles up in long slopes, like shelled corn."

From Tolan and Beeson (1984): Shellrock Mountain, along with Wind Mountain, Washington and Government Cove, Oregon (approximately 4 miles downstream), is a microdioritic intrusion. Fragments of Columbia River basalt (xenoliths) have been found in almost all of these intrusives, indicating they are younger than the Columbia River basalt (specifically, Grande Ronde Basalt).

"Most geologists who have studied these intrusions believe that magma from them reached the surface and formed volcanic edifices that were subsequently removed by erosion." [Tolan and Beeson, 1984]

From Norman, et.al. (2004): Shellrock Mountain and Wind Mountain are granodiorite porphyry intrusions, with Shellrock Mountain's platy rubble at a repose angle of 42 degrees, making it a major obstacle to early road building through the Gorge.


Image, 2006, Interstate 84 at Shellrock Mountain, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Interstate 84 at Shellrock Mountain. Barrier on right keeps Shellrock Mountain rock off of Interstate 84. Image taken September 29, 2006


Mount Talapus ...
According to H.H. Riddell, in his article "The Lesser Waterfalls Along the Columbia" (Mazama, December 1916, vol.V, no.1, p.85-86):

"... Shellrock mountain near the sources of Tanner and McCord creeks was renamed Mt. Talapus after the legendary deity of the Indians. ..."

Views ...

Image, 2003, Shellrock Mountain, Oregon, and Wind Mountain, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Shellrock Mountain, Oregon (left), and Wind Mountain, Washington (right). Image taken July 5, 2003.
Image, 2006, Shellrock Mountain, Oregon, from Wind Mountain, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Shellrock Mountain, Oregon, from Wind Mountain, Washington. Remnants of an old wagon road can be on the side of Shellrock Mountain, lower left. Image taken May 10, 2006.
Image, 2005, Shellrock Mountain from Home Valley, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Shellrock Mountain, Oregon, from Home Valley Park, Home Valley, Washington. Image taken August 27, 2005.
Image, 2005, Shellrock Mountain, Interstate 84, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
In the rain, Shellrock Mountain, Oregon, and Interstate 84. Image taken October 2, 2005.


Shellrock Mountain, etc.

  • The Dalles and Sandy Wagon Road ...
  • Historic Columbia River Highway ...


  • "The Dalles and Sandy Wagon Road" ...
    The The Dalles and Sandy Wagon Road was authorized by the Oregon Legislature in 1872 and appropriation made for its construction. Portions of the old dry masonry retaining wall may still be seen on Shellrock Mountain, a hundred feet or so above the Columbia Highway.
    [More]

    Image, 2006, Wagon Road, Shellrock Mountain, Oregon, click to enlarge
    Click image to enlarge
    Remnant of the old Wagon Road on Shellrock Mountain, Oregon. View from Wind Mountain, Washington, looking south towards Oregon, with the Columbia River and Interstate 84 in the foreground. Image taken May 10, 2006.


    Historic Columbia River Highway ...
    [More Historic Columbia River Highway]
    [More HCRH Route]

    Penny Postcard, Columbia River Highway at Shellrock Mountain, click to enlarge
    Click image to enlarge
    Penny Postcard: The Columbia River Highway at Shellrock Mountain, Oregon. Penny Postcard, Real Photo, Sepia, Divided Back (1907-1915), "At Shell Mountain, Columbia River Highway.". Postmarked August 9, 1937. Published by The Oregon News Co., Portland, Oregon. Card No.26. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
    Penny Postcard, Columbia River Highway at Shellrock Mountain, click to enlarge
    Click image to enlarge
    Penny Postcard: The Columbia River Highway at Shellrock Mountain, Oregon. Penny Postcard, Real Photo, Sepia, Divided Back (1907-1915), "At the foot of Shell Rock Mountain, Columbia River Highway, Oregon.". Postmarked September 25, 1945. B.C. Markham, Portland, Ore. Card #54. Card #13760. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
    Image, 2012, Shellrock Mountain, Oregon, click to enlarge
    Click image to enlarge
    Path (behind barrier) of the Historic Columbia River Highway at Shellrock Mountain, Oregon. View seen from heading east on Interstate 84. Rain drops on window. Image taken June 12, 2012.
    Image, 2013, Shellrock Mountain, Oregon, click to enlarge
    Click image to enlarge
    Path (behind barrier) of the Historic Columbia River Highway at Shellrock Mountain, Oregon. View seen from heading east on Interstate 84. Image taken June 15, 2013.


    "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 30, 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:
    • Historic Columbia River Highway website, 2006, "Historic American Engineering Record HAER OR-56";
    • McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, "Oregon Geographic Names", Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland;
    • Norman, D.K., Busacca, A.J., and Teissere, R., 2004, "Geology of the Yakima Valley Wine Country - A Geologic Field Trip Guide from Stevenson to Zillah, Washington", Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources Field Trip Guide 1, June 2004;
    • Oregon State Archives website, 2006, "A 1940 Journey Across Oregon";
    • Riddell, H.H., 1916, "The Lesser Waterfalls Along the Columbia", IN: Mazama, December 1916, vol.V, no.1;
    • Tolan, T.L., Beeson, M.H., and Vogt, B.F., 1984, "Exploring the Neogene History of the Columbia River: Discussion and Geologic Field Trip Guide to the Columbia River Gorge", Oregon Geology, Vol.46, No.8, August 1984, and Vol.46, No.9, September 1984, Published by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries;


    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/shellrock_mountain.html
    September 2011