Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Home Regions Campsites Penny Postcards My Corps of Discovery Image Index Links About This Site Birds etc.
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Stella, Washington"
Includes ... Stella ... Stella Blacksmith Shop ... National Register of Historic Places ... Log Rafts ... Cigar Rafts ... Fall Creek ... Fall Creek Falls ... USS Sperry (AS-12) ...
Image, 2005, Stella, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Stella, Washington. View from upstream on Washington Highway 4. Image taken March 5, 2005.


Stella ...
Stella is located on the Washington side of the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 56.5, at the mouth of Germany Creek. Downstream is Bunker Hill, Mill Creek, Crims Island, and County Line Park. Upstream is Fall Creek, the Coal Creek Slough, Willow Grove, Fisher Island, and the Washington communities of Longview and Kelso. On the Oregon side of the Columbia is located Green Point and the community of Mayger.

Image, 2007, Stella, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Street scene, Stella, Washington. Image taken January 28, 2007.


Early Stella ...
The Stella townsite was originally part of a 320-acre Donation Land Claim filed by John Guisendorfer in the early 1850s. Soon after it was purchased by Henry Lawson who established a river landing at the site. A small community, mostly of German immigrants, sprang up during the 1870s, which provided cordwood for the steamboats and assembled log-rafts to float logs to float logs for California mills.

"... By the 1890s, the Stella Wharf was an important assembly point for the rafts, and in 1894, the first huge "cigar raft" was formed, a cylindrically-shaped raft containing 6.5 million board feet of logs destined for California. By the turn of the century, large national companies, including the Hammond Lumber Company and the Wisconsin Lumber Company, dominated area operations and employed over 1,000 men. In addition to the dock, several stores, hotels, and a mill were constructed in Stella during the boom years. A fire in 1907 destroyed a number of those buildings, but the town was quickly rebuilt and new structures included a community blacksmith shop built by B.F. Brock. ..." [National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, 1985, from Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation Website, 2006]

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records website (2006) shows title being granted to a John Guisendorfer on December 22, 1865, for 323.27 acres of T8N R4W Sections 11 and 12 (Oregon-Donation Act of 1850).

According to Robert Hitchman in "Place Names of Washington" (1985), Stella was named for the daughter of Richard Packard who established a store there in 1880.


Stella, 1875 ...

Image, 2011, Stella, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Quilt blocks, Stella Historical Society Museum, Stella, Washington. Quilt made 1988 by the folks of the Stella Historical Society. Image taken August 7, 2011.


Stella burned twice ...
Stella suffered two major fires, one on July 27, 1907, and one on May 16, 1921, both of which destroyed a large part of the town. Each time the community rebuilt.

Image, 2011, Stella, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Photo, Stella after the 1921 fire yet before the construction of the Ocean Beach Highway, Stella Historical Society Museum, Stella, Washington. Image taken August 7, 2011.

The 1907 Blacksmith's Shop is second building from the left. It was built after the 1907 fire.

The one-way bridge over Germany Creek wetlands was built in 1916, replacing one from 1909. This second bridge had a turn-out built into it, for passing vehicles. The Ocean Beach Highway (today's Washington State Highway 4) was completed past Stella in 1929.



Views of Stella ...

Image, 2005, Stella, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Stella, Washington. View from upstream on Washington Highway 4. Image taken March 5, 2005.
Image, 2005, Looking across the Columbia River, Mayger, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Stella, Washington, from Mayger, Oregon. Looking across the Columbia River. Image taken February 21, 2005.


Stella Blacksmith Shop and Historical Society Museum ...
The Stella Blacksmith Shop was built in 1907 by B.F. Brock, a prominent area lumberman. The shop served the community, it survived a fire in 1921, and when the economy of the lumber industry changed the shop changed too. In the declining years the shop became an automobile repair shop. In 1977 the shop was leased to the Stella Historical Society and today it is an area Museum. In 1985 the structure was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (Building - #85003204).

[More --- Blacksmith Shop and Museum Memorabilia]

Image, 2007, Stella, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Sign, Stella Historical Site and Museum, Washington. Bunker Hill is in the background. Image taken October 13, 2007.
Image, 2007, Stella, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Stella Historical Site and Museum, Washington. View from Washington Highway 4. The original blacksmith's shop is the middle building. Image taken January 28, 2007.
Image, 2007, Stella, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Stella Historical Site and Museum, Washington. Image taken October 13, 2007.
Image, 2007, Stella, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Stella Historical Site and Museum, Washington. Image taken October 13, 2007.


Stella, etc.

  • Coal Creek Slough ...
  • Fall Creek and Fall Creek Falls ...
  • Log Rafts ...
  • U.S.S. Sperry (AS-12) ...


Coal Creek Slough ...
Coal Creek Slough separates Willow Grove from mainland Washington State. The Slough enters the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 56.5, near the town of Stella.
[More]

Image, 2014, Coal Creek Slough and Stella, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Looking down Coal Creek Slough towards Stella, Washington. Image taken May 19, 2014.


Fall Creek and Fall Creek Falls ...
One-quarter mile east of the town of Stella is Fall Creek, with Fall Creek Falls visible from Washington State Highway 4. According to the Stella Historical Society's publication "History of Stella", in 1879 a settler by the name of W.H. Williamson arrived at Stella and built a flume down Fall Creek to a dock which he had established to the east of Stella. Williamson flumed cordwood for use on the passing steamers. By 1895 a shingle mill was in operation in front of the Falls.

Image, 2007, Stella, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Fall Creek Falls, near Stella. View from moving car on Washington Highway 4. Image taken January 28, 2007.
Image, 2013, Stella, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Fall Creek Falls, near Stella. View from moving car on Washington Highway 4. Image taken March 8, 2013.


Log Rafts ...
[More --- Log Rafts]

Image, 2011, Stella, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Photo, "Cigar Raft" at Stella, Stella Historical Society Museum, Stella, Washington. Image taken August 7, 2011.

Caption on this image in the Stella Historical Society's "History of Stella" publication (1984) says "1896 Cigar raft. Cradle on right used to assemble the 65-foot-wide, 35-foot-deep, 600-foot-long raft. The ocean-going raft contained five million board feet of lumber. Made at Stella."


U.S.S. Sperry (AS-12) and the Columbia River ...
On June 12, 1967, at a spot 3/4 mile west of the town of Stella where today's Washington State Highway 4 (then U.S. Highway 830) begins to rise and makes a sharp turn to the right, the Navy submarine tender U.S.S. Sperry (AS-12) had a mishap and took out half of the Washington road.

"Walla Walla Union Bulletin", Tuesday, June 13, 1967, p.3.
Sub Rams Highway Near Stella, Wash.


AP:   "Traffic ground to a halt on U.S. Highway 830 about 10 miles west of Longview Monday, when the submarine Tender USS Sperry plowed into the highway breaking pavement and knocking down power and telephone lines. The 530-foot Sperry was making its way down the Columbia River enroute from the Portland Rose Festival to San Diego when its pilot lost steerage, the 13th Naval District headquarters said.

Witnesses said sirens were screeching and the ships public address system was blaring an alert to the crew as the vessel sliced through the muddy bank near the little town of Stella and came to rest after chopping out half the pavement.

The Navy said the Sperry was aground for about two hours before backing off and proceeding down the river. The ship was not visibly damaged, the Navy said.

The Sperry, stationed in San Diego, is commanded by Capt. Michael M. Elliott, Manlius, N.Y.. A civilian pilot was abouard at the time of the mishap."


Image, 2012, Washington Highway 4, Stella, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Washington Highway 4, west of Stella, Washington, looking west. On June 12, 1967, at the top of the road curve, the U.S.S. Sperry collided with the Washington bank, taking out a good section of highway. View is looking west. Image taken August 9, 2012.
Image, 2013, Washington Highway 4, Stella, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Washington Highway 4, west of Stella, Washington, looking east. On June 12, 1967, at the road curve, the U.S.S. Sperry collided with the Washington bank, taking out a good section of highway. View is looking east. Image taken March 4, 2013.


Views from Stella ...

Good views of Coal Creek Slough (upstream) and Bunker Hill (downstream) can be had from Stella.

Image, 2007, Columbia River at Stella, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Columbia River from Stella, Washington. Image taken October 13, 2007.
Image, 2007, Columbia River at Stella, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Columbia River from Stella, Washington. Image taken January 28, 2007.
Image, 2007, Coal Creek Slough upstream of Stella, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Coal Creek Slough from Stella, Washington. View from Washington Highway 4, upstream of Stella, Washington. Image taken January 28, 2007.
Image, 2007, Stella, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Bunker Hill, as seen from Stella, Washington. Image taken October 13, 2007.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 6, 1805, first draft ...
a cold wet morning. rain Contd. untill [blank] oClock     we Set out early [from Prescott Beach, Oregon, area] & proceeded on the Corse of last night &c.

N. 50 W. 1 mile
on the Lard. Side under Some high land.    bold rockey Shore

N. 60 W. 1 mile
under a bold rockey Shore on the Lard Side, opsd. the upper point of a Island [Cottonwood Island] close under the Stard Side the high lands closeing the river on that Side [Carrolls Bluff]    above river wide


N. 75 W. 12 miles
to a point of high land on the Lard Side, passed two Lodges on the Lard Side at 2 miles in a bottom, The high land [Carrolls Bluff] leave The river on the Stard. Side.    passd. a remarkable Knob of high land on the Stard. Side at 3 miles Close on the Waters edge [Mount Coffin, Lewis and Clark missed the Cowlitz River mouth] ...    passed a Island nearest the Lard. Side at 10 mile [Walker Island] the head of a Isd. on Std. [Fisher Island] opposit High Cliffs [Green Point, location of today's Mayger, Oregon], with Several Speces of Pine Cedars &c. arber vita & different Species of under groth.

N. 80 W. 2 miles
under a high clift on the Lard Side [Green Point, location of today's Mayger Island]     the lower point of the Island on Stard. [Fisher Island] opposit those hills are Covered thickly ...

N. 88 W. 5 miles
to a high Clift a little below an old village in the Stard. bend [possibly Bunker Hill, the location of today's Stella, Washington] and opposit an old village on a Lard. point of a handsom & extensive bottom [Beaver Slough/Clatskanie River bottom].     passed a Island in the middle of the river 3 miles long and one wide [Crims Island], passed a Small Island Close on the Stard. Side [Gull Island] & a lower point of a former Isld. below which the lands high & with Clifts to the river Stard. Side

S. 45 W. 5 miles
under a Clift of verry high land on the Stard. side [possibly the Oak Point and Eagle Cliff area] wind high a head. ...

S. 50 W. 1 mile
under a high rockey Hill of pine. The Indians leave us, Steep assent, Som Clifts

S. 75 W. 1 mile
under a high hill with a bold rocky Shore, high assent     river about 1 mile wide

West 1 mile
under a high Steep hill bold rockey Shore, Encampd under the hill on Stones [near Cape Horn of Wahkiakum County] Scercely land Sufficent between the hills and river Clear of the tide for us to lie. Cloudy & rain all wet and disagreeable. this evening made large fires on the Stones and dried our bedding. ...





Journey to the PacificReturn to
Menu
 



SNAKE RIVER CONFLUENCE | COLUMBIA PLATEAU
COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE | VANCOUVER PLAINS | JOURNEY TO THE PACIFIC
CASCADE RANGE VOLCANOES | CAMPSITES


HOME | REGIONS | PENNY POSTCARDS | MY CORPS OF DISCOVERY
IMAGE INDEX | LINKS | ABOUT THIS SITE


COLUMBIA RIVER IMAGES - HOME
NORTHWEST JOURNEY - HOME
NORTHWEST BIRDING
RIDGEFIELD NWR - BIRDS
COMPLETE BIRD LIST - PHOTOS
THE BARLOW ROAD
WILDFLOWERS and WEED BLOSSOMS



*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: Hitchman, R., 1984, Place Names of Washington, Washington Historical Society; National Register of Historic Places website, 2005; Stella Historical Society, 1984, "History of Stella", vol.1; Stella Historical Society, 2012, personal communication; U.S. Bureau of Land Management website, 2006, General Land Office Records; Walla Walla Union Bulletin, Tuesday, June 13, 1967, p.3., from "Newspapersarchives.com" website, 2012; Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation website, 2006;

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.
ColumbiaRiverImages.com/Regions/Places/stella.html
© 2014, Lyn Topinka, "ColumbiaRiverImages.com", All rights reserved.
Images are NOT to be downloaded from this website.
August 2013