Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Stevenson, Washington"
Includes ... Stevenson ... Stevenson Spur ... "Shepard's Point" ... Rock Cove ... Rock Creek ... Iman Cemetery ...
Image, 2013, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Stevenson, Washington. Image taken February 19, 2013.


Stevenson ...
Stevenson, Washington, is located along the northern bank of the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 150, just upstream of Rock Creek and Rock Cove, and downstream of Home Valley and Wind Mountain. Across the river is Cascade Locks, Oregon. Downstream the Bridge of the Gods links Stevenson with Cascade Locks. Also downstream is Ashes Lake, the site of Lewis and Clark's campsite of October 30 and 31, 1805, and April 12, 1806.

Image, 2010, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Lewis and Clark on a garage door, Stevenson, Washington. View from moving car. Image taken June 5, 2010.
Image, 2005, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Stevenson, Washington. View from the lawn of the Skamania County Court House. The Columbia River and the Oregon banks of the Columbia Gorge are in the background. Image taken June 19, 2005.


Early Stevenson ...
Robert Hitchman in Place Names of Washington (1985, Washington State Historical Society) writes:

"... Stevenson ... Town on a low bluff above Columbia River near Cascade Locks, south central Skamania County. The first settler was L.F. Iman, who built a water-powered sawmill in 1852 ..."

Geneological researcher James Windsor however states that Felix Grundy Iman, father to Louis Franklin Iman (L.F. Iman) took a land donation claim on Rock Creek in 1852, while L.F. Iman, born in 1869, bought part of his father's claim in 1893. Windsor quotes the Skamania County Pioneer (24 July 1902):

"... On July 17th, at 2:30 p.m. Felix Iman, who had taken a donation claim on Rock Creek in 1852, died ..."

and information from Skamania County Deeds (21 November 1893) about L.F. Iman:

"... In 1893 Lou bought part of the Iman donation land claim, for farming, from his father. This part of the claim also included the graves of Merry, Ellen and Nora Iman which later became the Iman Cemetery. ..."

Felix Iman's gravestone states (courtesy James Windsor):

"... Felix Grundy Iman, 11.24.1828 - 7.17.1902; Born DeKalm Co., Mo.; Arrived at Cascades by ox team in 1852; Married Margaret Windsor 1853; 1854 Built & owned steamer Wasco; 1855 Donation Land Claim of 323 Acres; Worked on Upper Cascades Block House; Built & owned 2 sawmills; Built 1st school; For short time saloon owner. ..."

In 1880, the Northern Pacific Railway named their station in this area "Stevenson Spur", for George H. Stevenson, later changing to just "Stevenson". George Stevenson originally settled in the Cascades area in 1880 but moved to the Stevenson location when the Cascades were flooded out. In 1893 Stevenson bought a portion of the Henry Shepard Donation Land Claim (called Shepard's Point) and laid out the original town site. Within a few years, the town of Stevenson contained saloons, a hotel, a skating rink, and a ball park. A ferry connected Stevenson to Cascade Locks, on the Oregon shore of the Columbia.

Also in 1893, the Skamania County Government (Skamania County was formed in 1854) moved from Lower Cascades to Stevenson, a moved made in the middle of the night. According to the Skamania County Chamber of Commerce Website (2004):

"In the middle of the night, the records were moved out by the portage railroad, then onto a fishing boat, and arrived in Stevenson. As it turned out, this saved the county records because in 1894 the greatest recorded flood on the Columbia destroyed every remaining building. The town of Cascades was never rebuilt."

In 1894 the town of Stevenson survived the largest recorded flood on the Columbia River.

When the railroad came through in 1908, the town shifted north to make way for the tracks.



Stevenson Places, etc.

  • Bonneville Reservoir ...
  • Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center ...
  • Iman Cemetery ...
  • Petrified Wood ...
  • Rock Creek and Rock Cove ...
  • Stevenson to Cascade Locks Ferry ...


Bonneville Reservoir ...

Image, 2003, Bonneville Reservoir, from Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Bonneville Reservoir (Columbia River), from Stevenson, Washington. View from Stevenson Landing, looking towards Cascade Locks, Oregon. Reddish area is from 2003 burn. Image taken October 25, 2003.


Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center ...
The Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center is located on the western edge of Rock Cove. It is the nonprofit museum of the Skamania County Historical Society and is dedicated to preserving, exhibiting and interpreting the cultural and natural history of the Columbia River Gorge. The center is located on Rock Creek Drive, in Stevenson, Washington.
[More]

Image, 2004, Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken November 4, 2004.



Petroglyph ...
This petroglyph was moved from it's original location at the Fort Cascades Historic Site, located on Hamilton Island, six miles downstream. A replica stone stands in its place. According to the Fort Cascades Historic Site handout:

"Although floods have destroyed nearly all traces of prehistoric life, the petroglyph is a reminder of the people who first passed this way. The meaning of the rock carving is unknown. According to early historic records, the Cascades Indians once inhabited a village in this general area just below the Lower Cascades. The village, consisting of 14 houses, probably was a seasonal fishing site from which the Cascades Indians annually reaped abundant harvests of salmon. During their spring ascent of the river in 1806, Lewis and Clark noted in their journals the site was in the process of being inhabited by the Clahclellar band of the Shahalar Nation."

Image, 2011, Petroglyph, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Petroglyph, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 15, 2011.
Image, 2011, Petroglyph, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Petroglyph, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 15, 2011.
Image, 2011, Petroglyph, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Petroglyph, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 15, 2011.
Image, 2011, Petroglyph, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Petroglyph, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 15, 2011.



Iman Cemetery ...

Image, 2006, Iman Cemetery, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Iman Cemetery, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 2, 2006.



Petrified Wood ...

Image, 2005, Iman Cemetery, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Petrified Wood, Stevenson Courthouse, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken June 19, 2005.


Rock Creek and Rock Cove ...
On the western side of Stevenson lies Rock Creek and Rock Cove. On the western bank of Rock Cove lies the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center museum.
[More]

Image, 2010, Rock Creek, Skamania County, looking downstream, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Rock Creek, Skamania County, Washington, looking downstream. View from walking bridge across Rock Creek, looking downstream towards Highway 14. Image taken November 2, 2010.
Image, 2010, Rock Creek, Skamania County, looking downstream, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Walking bridge, Rock Creek, Skamania County, Washington. Image taken November 2, 2010.
Image, 2004, Rock Cove, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Rock Cove, Stevenson, Washington. View from Rock Cove Drive. Image taken November 4, 2004.


Stevenson to Cascade Locks Ferry ...
During the late 1800s and early 1900s the ferry "Eva Jane" made the trip from Stevenson, Washington, to Cascade Locks, Oregon. The pilot wheel of the "Eva Jane" can be seen at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center museum, located in Stevenson.

Image, 2011, Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Exhibit, Pilot wheel of the ferry Eva Jane, Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 15, 2011.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 30, 1805 ...
A cool morning, a moderate rain all the last night, after eating a partial brackfast of venison we Set out [from their camp near Drano Lake and the Little White Salmon River]     passed Several places where the rocks projected into the river & have the appearance of haveing Seperated from the mountains and fallen promiscuisly into the river, Small nitches are formed in the banks below those projecting rocks which is comon in this part of the river, Saw 4 Cascades caused by Small Streams falling from the mountains on the Lard. Side,

[The possiblities in a two-mile area are - upstream to downstream - Starvation Creek and Falls, the seasonal Cabin Creek and Falls, Warren Creek and Falls, Wonder Creek and Lancaster Falls, Lindsey Creek and Falls, and Summit Creek and Falls.]

a remarkable circumstance in this part of the river is, the Stumps of pine trees [Submerged Forest]

[The Submerged Forest existed along the reach from above Dog Mountain/Viento Creek on the upstream edge and Wind Mountain/Shellrock Mountain on the downstream edge.]

are in maney places are at Some distance in the river, and gives every appearance of the rivers being damed up below from Some cause which I am not at this time acquainted with [Bonneville Landslide],     the Current of the river is also verry jentle not exceeding 1 1/2 mile pr. hour and about 3/4 of a mile in width. Some rain, we landed above the mouth of a Small river on the Stard. Side [Wind River] and Dined ...   :  here the river widens to about one mile large Sand bar in the middle, a Great [rock] both in and out of the water, large <round> Stones, or rocks are also permiscuisly Scattered about in the river, ...     The bottoms above the mouth of this little river [Wind River] <which we Call> is rich covered with grass & firn & is about 3/4 of a mile wide rich and rises gradually, below the river (which is 60 yards wide above its mouth) the Countery rises with Steep assent. we call this little river <fr Ash> New Timbered river from a Speces of Ash <that wood> which grows on its banks of a verry large and different from any we had before Seen, and a timber resembling the beech in bark <& groth> but different in its leaf which is Smaller and the tree smaller. passed maney large rocks in the river and a large creek on the Stard. Side in the mouth of which is an Island [Rock Creek near Stevenson, Washington], passed on the right of 3 Islands <on> near the Stard. Side, and landed on an Island close under the Stard. Side at the head of the great Shute [head of the Cascades Rapids], and a little below a village of 8 large houses on a Deep bend on the Stard. Side, and opposit 2 Small Islands imediately in the head of the Shute, which Islands are covered with Pine, maney large rocks also, in the head of the Shute. Ponds back of the houses, and Countrey low for a Short distance. The day proved Cloudy dark and disagreeable with Some rain all day which kept us wet. The Countary a high mountain on each Side thickly Covered with timber, Such as Spruc, Pine, Cedar, Oake Cotton &c. &c.     I took two men and walked down three miles to examine the Shute and river below proceeded along an old Indian path, passd. an old village at 1 mile ...     I found by examonation that we must make a portage of the greater perpotion of our Stores 2 1/2 miles, and the Canoes we Could haul over the rocks, I returned at Dark ...     a wet disagreeable evening, the only wood we could get to burn on this little Island on which we have encamped [near Ashes Lake, the island is now under the waters of the Bonneville Reservoir. Ashes Lake was near the head of the Cascade Rapids. Across from Ashes Lake is Cascade Locks, Oregon.] is the newly discovered Ash, which makes a tolerable fire. we made fifteen miles to daye






Clark, April 13, 1806 ...
The loss of one of our large Canoes rendered it necessary to divide the loading and men of that Canoe between the remaining four, which was done and we loaded and Set out at 8 oClock A. M. [from their camp near Ashes Lake]     passed the village imediately above the rapids where only one house remains entire the other 8 haveing been taken down and moved to the opposit Side of the Columbia [downstream of Rock Creek and Stevenson, Washington] ...     Capt. Lewis with 2 of the Smallest Canoes of Sergt. Pryor & gibson and Crossed above the Rapids [Cascade Rapids] to the Village on the S E Side [east of Cascade Locks] with a view to purchase a Canoe of the nativs if possible. ...     I with the two large Canoes proceeded on up the N. W. Side with the intention of gitting to the Encampment of our hunters who was derected to hunt in the bottom above Crusats River [Wind River], and there wait the arrival of Capt. Lewis. I proceeded on to the bottom in which I expected to find the hunters but Could See nothing of them. the wind rose and raised the wavs to Such a hight that I could not proceed any further. we landed and I sent out Shields and Colter to hunt; Shields Shot two deer but Could get neither of them. I walkd. to Crusats river [Wind River] and up it a mile on my return to the party found that the wind had lulled and as we Could See nothing of our hunters. I deturmined to proceed on to the next bottom where I thought it probable they had halted at passed 2 P M Set out and proceeded on to the bottom 6 miles and halted at the next bottom formed a Camp and Sent out all the hunters [near Dog Mountain, between Collins Creek and Dog Creek].     I also walked out my self on the hills but saw nothing. on my return found Capt. Lewis at Camp with two canoes which he had purchased at the Y-ep-huh ...

I was convinced that the hunters must have been up River Cruzatt [Wind River]. despatched Sergt. Pryor with 2 men in a Canoe, with directions to assend Crusats River [Wind River] and if he found the hunters to assist them in with the meat. Jo: Shields returned about Sunset with two deer which he had killed, those were of the Black tail fallow Deer. <the> there appears to be no other Species of Deer in those mountains. We proceeded on 12 miles.





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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 Gorge Interpretive Center Museum website, 2004;    "Historylink.org" website, 2011;    Hitchman, R., 1985, Place Names of Washington, Washington Historical Society;    Northwest Power and Conservation Council website, 2004;    Windsor, J., 2005, "Iman Family Notes" website, information used with permission, December 2005;   

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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April 2014