Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Sundale and Chapman Creek, Washington"
Includes ... Sundale ... Chapman Creek ...
Image, 2006, Sundale, Washington, from Interstate 84, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Sundale, Washington, from Interstate 84, Oregon. View shot from front window of moving vehicle on Oregon's Interstate 84, near Lang/Jones Canyons. Image taken October 2, 2006.

Sundale ...
Sundale is located at the mouth of Chapman Creek on the Washington side of the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 236.5. Upstream is the Washington community of Roosevelt and downstream is Rock Creek, the site of Lewis and Clark's camp of April 23, 1806. Across the Columbia from Sundale is the historical Oregon location of Blalock, once a railroad community but now under the waters of Lake Umatilla, the reservoir behind the John Day Dam. Also across the Columbia on the Oregon side is Lang Canyon and Jones Canyon.

Early Sundale ...
The 1868 cadastral survey map (tax map) for T3N R20E shows both sides of the mouth of Chapman Creek being cultivated, however no name is associated with this area. An "Indian Village" is shown along the banks of the Columbia, on the west bank of today's Chapman Creek, the location today of Sundale. The homestead of Joseph Chapman is shown upstream on what eventually would be known as "Chapman Creek".

Sundale began as a railroad town on the Spokane, Portland & Seattle (SP&S) Railway. It's descriptive name was chosen by L.W. Hill and C.M. Levy, officials of the SP&S. Today Sundale supports a large fruit orchard.

A 1913 map (Geo. A. Ogle & Co.) of Klickitat County shows "Sundale Sta.", located on the Seattle, Spokane, and Portland line.

From the Tacoma Public Library's "Washington Place Names database (2019) :

"Sundale began as a railroad station 25 miles east-by-south of Goldendale on the Columbia River in southeast Klickitat County. The name was chosen by L.W. Hill and C.M. Levy, officials of Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway."

Chapman Creek ...
Chapman Creek rises in central Klickitat County and flows ten miles southeasterly, entering the Columbia River at RM 236.5. The Washington community of Sundale is located at its mouth.

Joseph Chapman ...

From the Tacoma Public Library's "Washington Place Names" database (2001) :

"Chapman Creek ... Chapman Creek rises near the Oak Grove district in east central Klickitat County and flows southeasterly 10 miles to the Columbia River at Sundale. It was named for Eldon Chapman, postmaster of Six Prong (a historic community within Klickitat County) in the early 1900s."

Robert Hitchman wrote in "Place Names of Washington" (1985, Washington State Historical Society):

"Chapman Creek (T3,4N R19,20E) ... The stream of the creek rises near Oak Grove district, east central Klickitat County; flows southeasterly 10 miles to Columbia River at Sundale. It was named for Eldon Chapman, postmaster of Six Prong in the early 1900s."

ERROR --- Eldon Chapman is in error. Chapman Creek was named after Joseph Chapman, who, in 1861 settled on the small creek east of Rock Creek.

The 1868 cadastral survey map (tax map) shows the homestead of Joseph Chapman located along a small creek in T3N R20E, SE part of Section 7 and SW part of Section 8, approximately three miles upstream from where Chapman Creek enters the Columbia River. This creek is now Chapman Creek.

The 1904 publication "An illustrated history of Klickitat, Yakima and Kittitas counties:" states Chapman Creek was named after Joseph Chapman, who had a homestead on the creek which later became the ranch of "W. B. Walker".

"... In 1861 Joseph Chapman settled and put out an orchard on a place along the Columbia beyond Rock creek. ..."

"... While settlement in the western part of the county had been fairly rapid during the early seventies, few had either the desire or courage to risk their fortunes upon the vast prairie east of Rock creek. That great region was presumed to be fitted only for stock-raising, and upon its broad expanse roamed thousands of cattle, horses and sheep. Stockmen alone claimed the vast range for more than two decades after the com- ing of the whites into southern Washington. Prior to 1871 Joseph Chapman, heretofore referred to, was the only permanent settler east of Rock creek, his ranch and wood-yard being situated near the mouth of the small stream which bears his name. ..."

"... The only Indian trouble in Klickitat during the early years which gave evidence of developing into anything of a serious nature happened in 1866, and this could scarcely be considered anything more serious than a family quarrel. The quarrel occurred at Joseph Chapman's place, on Rock creek, now known as the W. B. Walker ranch. ..."

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office (GLO) Records database (2014) shows Wellington B. Walker being granted title to 160 acres on August 30, 1872, in T3N R20E, parts of Section 7 and Section 8. Joseph Chapman is not listed in the database (2014) and Eldon V. Chapman is shown being granted title on October 11, 1909, to 160 acres of T4N R22E, Section 12, approximately 16 miles east of Chapman Creek.

Early Maps ...

Map, 1886, Cadastral Survey Map, T3N R20E, Chapman Creek and Sundale, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
1886 Cadastral survey (tax survey) map detail, T3N, R20E, showing the Joseph Chapman homestead, and today's Chapman Creek and Sundale, Washington. Original map courtesy U.S. Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office (GLO) database, 2019.
Historic Map, 1913, Blalock and Sundale, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
1913 Topographic map detail, showing Blalock, Oregon, and Sundale, Washington. Also showing the Columbia River, the "Four O'Clock Rapids", "Blalock Rapids", and "Owyhee Rapids", and Blalock Canyon, Lang Canyon, and Jones Canyon. Original map 1:125,000 "Arlington Quadrangle", Washington-Oregon, U.S. Geological Survey, 1916 edition.

Views ...

Image, 2006, Sundale, Washington, from Interstate 84, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Sundale, Washington, and the Chapman Creek drainage, as seen from Interstate 84, Oregon. View shot from front window of moving vehicle on Oregon's Interstate 84. Image taken October 2, 2006.

Sundale, etc.

  • Sundale Tribal "Shared-use" Fishing Access Site ...

Sundale Tribal "Shared-use" Fishing Access Site, 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, Preacher's 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).

From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 21, 1805 ...
A verry cool morning wind from the S. W. we Set out verry early and proceeded on, last night [their previous camp was downstream of Roosevelt, Washington] we could not Collect more dry willows the only fuel, than was barely Suffient to cook Supper, and not a Sufficency to cook brackfast this morning, passd. a Small Island at 5½ miles a large one 8 miles in the middle of the river, Some rapid water at the head and Eight Lodges of nativs opposit its Lower point on the Stard. Side, we came too at those lodges, bought some wood and brackfast. ...     at 2 miles lower passed a rapid, large rocks Stringing into the river of large Size [near Blalock Canyon], opposit to this rapid on the Stard. Shore is Situated two Lodges of the nativs drying fish here we halted a fiew minits to examine the rapid before we entered it which was our constant Custom, and at all that was verry dangerous put out all who could not Swim to walk around, after passing this rapid we proceeded on passed anoothe rapid at 5 miles lower down, above this rapid on <the Stard. Side> five Lodges of Indians fishing &c. [near Rock Creek where they would camp on their return, on April 23, 1806] above this rapid maney large rocks on each Side at Some distance from Shore, one mile passed an Island Close to the Stard. Side, below which is two Lodge of nativs, a little below is a bad rapid which is bad crouded with hugh rocks Scattered in every Direction which renders the pasage verry Difficuelt a little above this rapid on the Lard. Side emence piles of rocks appears as if Sliped from the Clifts under which they lay passed great number of rocks in every direction Scattered in the river 5 Lodges a little below on the Stard. Side, and one lodge on an Island near the Stard. Shore opposit to which is a verry bad rapid, thro which we found much dificuelty in passing, the river is Crouded with rocks in every direction, after Passing this dificult rapid to the mouth of a Small river on the Larboard Side [John Day River] 40 yards wide descharges but little water at this time, and appears to take its Sourse in the Open plains to the S. E.     from this place I proceved Some fiew Small pines on the tops of the high hills and bushes in the hollars. imediately above & below this little river [John Day River] comences a rapid which is crouded with large rocks in every direction, the pasage both crooked and dificuelt, we halted at a Lodge to examine those noumerous islands of rock which apd. to extend maney miles below,—. great numbs. of Indians came in canoes to View us at this place, after passing this rapid which we accomplished without loss; <we passed> winding through between the hugh rocks for about 2 miles—. (from this rapid the Conocil mountain [Mount Hood] is S. W. which the Indians inform me is not far to the left of the great falls; this I call the Timm or falls mountain it is high and the top is covered with Snow) imediately below the last rapids there is four Lodges of Indians on the Stard. Side, proceeded on about two miles lower and landed and encamped near five Lodges of nativs, drying fish [Washington side just downstream of today's John Day Dam] those are the relations of those at the Great falls [Celilo Falls], ...     this part of the river is furnished with fine Springs which either rise high up the Sides of the hills or on the bottom near the river and run into the river. the hills are high and rugid a fiew scattering trees to be Seen on them either Small pine or Scrubey white oke. ...     we made 33 miles to day.

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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

  • Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission website, 2016;
  • Hitchman, R., 1985, "Place Names of Washington", Washington State Historical Society;
  • Interstate Publishing Co., 1904, An illustrated hisotry of Klickitat, Yakima and Kittitas counties with an outline of the early history of the state of Washington;
  • Tacoma Public Library's "Washington Place Names" database, 2019;
  • U.S. Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office (GLO) Records database (2014);

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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January 2016