Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"The Dalles Bridge"
Includes ... The Dalles Bridge ... The Dalles Dam ... The Dalles Ferry ... Lake Celilo ... The Golden Age of Postcards ...
Image, 2011, The Dalles Bridge across the Columbia River, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
The Dalles Bridge across the Columbia River. View from the Oregon side of the Columbia River. Image taken June 4, 2011.


The Dalles Bridge ...
Less than one mile downstream of The Dalles Dam is The Dalles Bridge (U.S. 197), connecting The Dalles, Oregon, with Murdock and Dallesport in Washington State.

"... The first ferry service to cross the river at this spot was in operation by 1854. From 1865 various enterprising persons tried to gain support for a bridge. Both Oregon and Washington highway departments approved the idea in 1947. But the dream was not realized until Congress gave approval to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1951 to begin planning The Dalles Dam. The bridge was built in connection with the dam. Wasco County, Oregon, officials financed it by issuing bonds, to be repaid by tolls. ..." [Washington State's "HistoryLink.org" Website, 2006]

The steel-truss-cantilever bridge was completed in 1953, one of two cantilever bridge built in Washington State during the 1950s. The bridge is 3,339 feet long and cost $2.4 million. It was a toll bridge until 1974. Less than a mile upstream of The Dalles Bridge is The Dalles Dam.


Views of The Dalles Bridge ...

Image, 2011, The Dalles Bridge across the Columbia River, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
The Dalles Bridge across the Columbia River. View from above The Dalles, Oregon. Image taken June 4, 2011.
Image, 2011, The Dalles Bridge across the Columbia River, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
The Dalles Bridge across the Columbia River. View from the Oregon side of the Columbia River, just east of The Dalles. Image taken June 4, 2011.
Image, 2011, The Dalles Bridge across the Columbia River, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
The Dalles Bridge across the Columbia River. View from above The Dalles, Oregon. Image taken June 4, 2011.
Image, 2005, On The Dalles Bridge driving towards Washington State, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
On The Dalles Bridge driving towards Washington State. Image taken June 4, 2005.


The Dalles Ferry ...
The area of The Dalles Bridge and Dam is located at the foot of the (now flooded) "Short Narrows" or "Fivemile Rapids", a spot which once was the location of The Dalles Ferry. A ferry existed at this location since 1854, until it was replaced by The Dalles Bridge in the 1950s.

From the "Rootsweb.com" Website (2006) on Klickitat County:

  • The December 2, 1921 Klickitat County Agriculturist of Goldendale reported that Klickitat County had nearly 100 miles of river front on the Columbia river, and 6 ferries were operating within the County. The ferries were White Salmon (to Hood River), Lyle (to Rowena), Grand Dalles (to The Dalles), Maryhill (to Biggs), Roosevelt (to Arlington), and Alderdale (to Boulder).

  • The May 20, 1932 Klickitat County Agriculturist reported a new ferry boat called Columbia began operating with 24-hour service between The Dalles and Grand Dalles. Columbia was 53 feet long and 16 feet wide, and was "large enough to carry anything which travels the highways, including trucks with trailers." The ferry could carry nine cars at a time and was powered by a Fairbanks-Morse diesel engine. The former ferry was to be repaired and used as a backup.

  • The January 15, 1931 Goldendale Sentinel, in a report on the proposed The Dalles Bridge, stated that the The Dalles to Grand Dalles ferry had an income of $17,250 per year, the Maryhill to Biggs ferry made $25,700 per year, the Roosevelt to Arlington ferry made $30,000 per year and the Lyle to Rowena ferry made "about $9,000 per year".

Penny Postcard, Ferry at The Dalles, Oregon, ca.1909
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Ferry at The Dalles, Oregon, ca.1909. Penny Postcard, Dated 1909, "Ferry Across Columbia River at THE DALLES, Oregon". Card is dated 6/22/09. Divided back. Published by Sprouse & Son, Tacoma, Importers & Publishers, Washington. Made in Germany. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Image, 2011, The Dalles Dam, from the Oregon side, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
The Dalles Bridge and The Dalles Dam. Once this was the location of a ferry across the Columbia. View from hills above The Dalles, Oregon. Image taken June 4, 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.

Penny Postcard, Ferry at The Dalles, Oregon, ca.1909
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Ferry at The Dalles, Oregon, ca.1909. Penny Postcard, Dated 1909, "Ferry Across Columbia River at THE DALLES, Oregon". Card is dated 6/22/09. Divided back. Published by Sprouse & Son, Tacoma, Importers & Publishers, Washington. Made in Germany. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 25, 1805 ...
a cool morning [their camp was near Horsethief Butte] Capt Lewis and my Self walked down to See the place the Indians pointed out as the worst place in passing through the gut, which we found difficuelt of passing without great danger, but as the portage was impractiable with our large Canoes, we Concluded to Make a portage of our most valuable articles and run the canoes thro accordingly on our return divided the party Some to take over the Canoes, and others to take our Stores across a portage of a mile to a place on the Chanel below this bad whorl & Suck, with Some others I had fixed on the Chanel with roapes to throw out to any who Should unfortunately meet with difficuelty in passing through; great number of Indians viewing us from the high rocks under which we had to pass, the 3 first Canoes passed thro very well, the 4th nearly filled with water, the last passed through by takeing in a little water, <we> thus Safely below what I conceved to be the worst part of this Chanel, felt my Self extreamly gratified and pleased. we loaded the Canoes & Set out, and had not proceeded, more than two mile before the unfortunate Canoe which filled crossing the bad place above, run against a rock and was in great danger of being lost, This Chanel is through a hard rough black rock, from 50100 yards wide. Swelling and boiling in a most tremendious maner Several places on which the Indians inform me they take the Salmon as fast as they wish; we passed through a deep bason to the stard Side ["Big Eddy", today Spearfish Lake] of 1 mile below which the River narrows and divided by a rock The Curent we found quit jentle, ...    we landed ...     we proceeded on down the water fine, rocks in every derection for a fiew miles when the river widens and becoms a butifull jentle Stream of about half a mile wide, Great numbers of the Sea Orter [Harbor Seals] about those narrows and both below and above. we Came too, under a high point of rocks on the Lard. Side below a creek [Mill Creek] of 20 yards wide and much water, as it was necessary to make Some Selestial observations we formed our Camp on the top of a high point of rocks [Rock Fort], which forms a kind of <artif> fortification in the Point between the river & Creek [Mill Creek], with a boat guard, this Situation we Concieve well Calculated for defence, and Conveniant to hunt under the foots of the mountain to the West & S. W. where timber of different kinds grows, and appears to be handsom Coverts for the Deer, in oke woods, ...   

This litle Creek [Mill Creek] heads in the range of mountains which run S S W & N W for a long distance on which is Scattering pine white Oake &c. The Pinical of the round toped mountain which we Saw a Short distance below the forks of this river is S. 43 W. of us and abt 37 miles, it is at this time toped with Snow we called this the falls mountain or Timm mountain [Mount Hood].     The face of the Countrey, on both Side of the river above and about the falls, is Steep ruged and rockey open and contain but a Small preportion of erbage, no timber a fiew bushes excepted, The nativs at the upper falls raft their timber down Towarnehooks River [Deschutes River] & those at the narrows take theirs up the river to the lower part of the narrows from this Creek, and Carry it over land 3 miles to their houses &c. at the mouth of this creek ...





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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: Center for Columbia River History website, 2004; "Rootsweb.com" website, 2006, Klickitat County; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2004, Portland District; Washington State "HistoryLink.org" 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.
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Images are NOT to be downloaded from this website.
August 2011