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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"'The Dalles and Sandy Wagon Road', Oregon"
   ... and the Cattle Trails ...
Includes ... The Dalles and Sandy River Trail ... Joel Palmer Cattle Trail ... The Dalles and Sandy Wagon Road ... The Dalles and Sandy Military Road ...
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.


The Dalles and Sandy Wagon Road ...
(to come)


Shellrock Mountain ...
Crossing Shellrock Mountain:

  • "The Dalles and Sandy Wagon Road was authorized by the Oregon Legislature in 1867 and appropriation made for its construction. The road was built to a point 15 miles west of Hood River. Portions of the old dry masonry retaining wall may still be seen a hundred feet or so above the Columbia Highway, especially at Shell Rock Mountain." [Source: Oregon State Archives, "A 1940 Journey Across Oregon"]

Viento ...
The old wagon road and the Historic Columbia River Highway (HCRH) at Viento:

  • "This section consists of four short fragments of HCRH, which begin just east of Viento State Park. In this area the old wagon road wound around a series of very steep rocky points jutting out into the Columbia River. The historic highway stayed close to the railroad and water level, using the course of the old wagon road around these points. As a result, most of the roadway was lost to the water-level highway, leaving only a few short "ox-bows" where the old road curved into the draws. These fragments in general have considerable damage due to the construction of the new freeway, with piles of debris, earth and old pavement common. They are badly deteriorated, overgrown with vegetation, and washed out by flooding." [Historic Columbia River Highway Cultural Landscape Inventory Report, 2010]


Mitchell Point ...
The old wagon road and the Historic Columbia River Highway (HCRH) at Mitchell Point:

  • "This section contains three fragments of the historic highway [HCRH] between Perham Creek, on the west end, and Mitchell Point to the east. The short segment at Perham Creek is a remnant left where the historic highway curved south around a rocky point, away from the water line into the mouth of the Perham Creek draw. Historically, the highway then rose along the basalt rock shelf above the railroad, following the course of the old wagon road to Mitchell Point. At Mitchell Point the highway diverged from the wagon road over the point, going through Mitchell Point tunnel instead." [Historic Columbia River Highway Cultural Landscape Inventory Report, 2010]


East of Mitchell Point (Mitchell Point Drive) ...
The old wagon road and the Historic Columbia River Highway (HCRH) along Mitchell Point Drive:

  • "This section is found on the east side of Mitchell Point, and includes about half a mile of Mitchell Point Drive, which follows the alignment of the HCRH and provides access to residential properties." ... The HCRH alignment has its west endpoint at the approximate site of the destroyed Mitchell Point Tunnel, and runs through a disused quarry. The 1870s military wagon road went through this quarry area as well, winding down from the saddle between Mitchell Point and little Mitchell Point to meet the HCRH once more. The HCRH again followed its course from this point toward Ruthton Hill (Elliot 1914). This quarry was expanded during the construction of the water-level highway and used subsequently, creating a large, disturbed open space. In the 1930s, this land was still primarily orchard and agricultural, surrounded by forested slopes. Some of the historic field pattern is still traceable in the present landscape, and the 1908 Locke (now Galligan) family house still fronts the road as it once did the military wagon road in the same location (Hadlow et al. 2009). I-84 now cuts the property off from the river and replaces some of the orchards." [Historic Columbia River Highway Cultural Landscape Inventory Report, 2010]

Image, 2016, Mitchell Point Drive, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mitchell Point Drive, view looking west, Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon. Mitchell Point Drive was once the early The Dalles and Sandy Wagon Road. Image taken February 8, 2016.
Image, 2016, Mitchell Point Drive, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mitchell Point Drive, view looking west, Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon. Image taken February 8, 2016.


Locke/Galligan Home ...
From Robert W. Hadlow and others (2009, Historic Columbia River Highway Oral History Report, SR 500-261, Oregon Department of Transportation):

"[In 1884] Edgar Locke moved from Bariboo, Michigan to Hood River, Oregon with his wife Nellie Bayles and his young daughter Margaret. The family purchased over 300 acres on the south shore of the Columbia River west of Hood River, at the foot of Mitchell Point. Edgar soon became known as a skilled orchardist ...

The first thing that Edgar did upon arriving at the new homestead was to build a small wood frame house to shelter his family through the harsh Gorge winters to come. The original house stood until 1908, when much of the wood was disassembled and used to build the prominent house that remains today.

While the 1908 house still stands, the surrounding property has changed dramatically over the years. At the time the house was constructed it sat along The Dalles-to-Sandy Military Road, an old wagon road. In 1914 the Columbia River Highway was constructed. This new road, designed expressively for cars, generally followed the alignment of the old Military Road until it got to Mitchell Point. Here, rather than going over Mitchell Point as the Military Road did, the Columbia River Highway engineers decided to go through it, building the famed, five windowed, Mitchell Point Tunnel. ...

During the 1950s ... the Oregon State Highway Department purchased part of the property, the orchard, for the construction of the freeway. The property included a barn-like structure, which was moved to avaoid destruction. In later years, the same structure was moved [again] in order to place it on a strong foundation. It is the onlly building remaining from the first homestead."


Image, 2016, Locke home from Interstate 84, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Historic 1908 Locke home as seen from Mitchell Point Drive, Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon. Image taken February 8, 2016.
Image, 2015, Locke home from Interstate 84, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Historic 1908 Locke home as seen from eastbound Interstate 84. Image converted to black/white. Image taken April 9, 2015.


Early Trails along the Columbia, The Dalles to Oregon City

  • 1838 ... The Dalles-Sandy River Trail ...
  • 1838 ... Daniel Lee's Cattle Trail ...
  • 1842 ... Elijah White Wagon Train ...
  • 1863 ... Joel Palmer's Cattle Trail and Wagon Road ...
  • 1867 ... The Dalles and Sandy Wagon Road ...


1838 ... The Dalles-Sandy River Trail ...
From: Richard W. Nathe, 1998, "History of State Highways in Oregon", State of Oregon Department of Transportation, 10-1998, with information they obtained from "Dictionary of Oregon History", 1956, edited by Howard McKinley Corning, Metropolitan Press, Portland, Oregon, p.144, p.241, and p.258:

"This trail ran closely along the south bank of the Columbia River, and was used principally as a stock trail in earliest pioneer times. Over it Daniel Lee took cattle from Wascopam Mission (at The Dalles of the Columbia, March 22, 1838) to the Willamette Valley in the late 1830s. A poor wagon road was later built, but used little and with much difficulty. It was destroyed in construction of the railroad right of way."

???    I'm wondering - no other publication I have found to date (June 2014) says that Daniel Lee's Cattle Trail was near the Columbia River.


1838 ... Daniel Lee's Cattle Trail ...
From: A.J. Splawn, 1917, "Ka-mi-akin, the Last Hero of the Yakimas, Kilham Stationery & Printing Company:

"... With the exception of a very few shipped by vessel to the Hudson's Bay company at Ft. Vancouver, the first cattle to reach the Oregon country came in 1836. They were brought in from California by the Willamette Valley Cattle company, an organization made up of a few missionaries and the trappers who had settled on French Prairie. ...

... The first cattle to cross the Cascade mountains were fourteen in number, driven in 1838 from the Willamette over the trail north of Mt. Hood by Daniel Lee of The Dalles mission. Jason Lee in 1834 had brought a few cattle with him across the plains as far as Ft. Walla Walla, the present Wallula. ..."

From Hubert Howe Bancroft, 1886, "History of Oregon":

"... About the middle of March 1838, Perkins and Lee proceeded by canoe to the Dalles, and selected a site three miles below the narrows, and half a mile from the Columbia River on the south side, where there was good land, springs of excellent water, a plentiful supply of pine and oak timber, and a fine view of the Columbia for several miles. ...  

Assisted by the natives ...  a house was built in which Mrs. Perkins came to live in May. ...

After several journeys by river to transport supplies, each of which took three weeks to perform, early in September Daniel Lee undertook the serious task of bringing cattle from the Willamette to the Dalles by an Indian trail over the Cascade Mountains, being assisted in this labor only by the natives. ... 

With ten horses belonging to the Mission, and ten others owned by the natives, and provisions for six days, Lee set out on his undertaking. The trail proved worse than had anticipated, passing through ravines and across rapid streams, and often obstructed by fallen trees. Sometimes it lay along the margins of dangerous cliffs, and at the best was everywhere overgrown with underbrush. On the west side of the summit it was lost altogether under many generations of leaves. The six days' provisions were exhausted, and two of their horses, starving like themselves, were eaten before they had reached the Willamette, at the end of two weeks. ...   the return journey was more easily accomplished. On the 5th of October, eight days from the Willamette, Lee arrived at the Dalles with fourteen head of cattle ..."


According to the Northwest Chapter of the Oregon-California Trails Association "Northwest Trails" newsletter (Winter, 2006), Daniel Lee's Cattle Trail went from The Dalles to Mosier, then to the Hood River Valley, on to Lost Lake and Bull Run (north of Mount Hood), Zigzag, Sandy, and then to Oregon City.

"... Before the Barlow Road offered an alternative to rafting the Columbia in 1846, Daniel Lee established a cattle trail in 1836 [1838 ???] that went to Oregon City via Mosier, Hood River Valley, near Lost Lake and Bull Run, Zigzag, and Sandy. Thousands took this route in later years, but they had to abandon their wagons or ship them by water to take this route. Until the 1860s, it was the only way to get cattle to Oregon City. " [Northwest Trails Newsletter, Winter 2006, Oregon-California Trails Association]

1842 ... Elijah White Wagon Train ...

Hubert Howe Bancroft in "History of Oregon" (1886) wrote:

"... The train of eighteen large Pennsylvania wagons, with a long procession of horses, pack-mules, and cattle, set out on the 16th [May, 1842], White having been elected to the command for one month from the time of starting. ...  

From Waiilatpu [Whitman Mission, near Fort Walla Walla] the emigrants proceeded without accident to the Willamette Valley, which they reached on the 5th of October, some by Daniel Lee's cattle trail from The Dalles, and others by the trail on the north of the Columbia, swimming their cattle to the south side when opposite the mouth of Sandy River. ..."


1863 ... Joel Palmer's Cattle Trail and Wagon Road ...
In 1863 Joel Palmer (who, in 1845 helped hack out the Barlow Road for emigrants around the south side of Mount Hood) and A.P. Ankeny established a cattle trail on the south bank of the Columbia River from The Dalles to the mouth of the Sandy River and Troutdale. They made it a toll trail and maintained ferries at Hood River and Troutdale for cattle and pack trains. From 1876 to 1879 this trail was made into a passable summer time wagon road. In 1879 Palmer sold the right-of-way to the O.R.& N for railroad purposes. The Barlow Road then became the only road to Portland.

1867 ... The Dalles and Sandy Wagon Road ...
"... The Dalles and Sandy Wagon Road was authorized by the Oregon Legislature in 1867 and appropriation made for its construction. The road was built to a point 15 miles west of Hood River. Portions of the old dry masonry retaining wall may still be seen a hundred feet or so above the Columbia Highway, especially at Shell Rock Mountain. ..." [Source: Oregon State Archives, "A 1940 Journey Across Oregon"]

Are these the SAME ROAD ??? ...
???    I'm wondering - what was the relationship between Joel Palmer's cattle road and the "The Dalles and Sandy Wagon Road", especially during the three years Palmer's cattle road was a wagon road ... are they the same road ??? ... and what was the relationship of the ferries across the Hood River and the Sandy River to both roads ??? ... same ferries ???

Image, 2014, Latourell, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Latourell Road junction with the Historical Columbia River Highway, Latourell Falls, Oregon. Image taken June 30, 2014.

Latourell Road was once a section of the Dalles-Sandy Military Road. It then became part of the Multnomah County Road leading in to and out of the community of Latourell. Construction of the Columbia River Highway bypassed the community of Latourell.


... NOTES ...

From:
McNeal, Wm. H., 1953, "History of Wasco County, Oregon", as found on the "rootsweb.com" website, 2011, with paragraphs slightly re-organized for clarity. ...

"... Those wishing to go from The Dalles on to Oregon City, from 1843 to 1846, floated down the Columbia on rafts, batteaux or in Indian dugouts or canoes. From 1846 to 1921 they could either go down the Columbia by steamboat or go south through Dufur, Tygh, to Wamic and the Old Barlow Toll road to Oregon City or via Wapinitia to Government Camp and the Barlow road; and after 1882 they could also take the railroad west into Portland and Oregon City.

[In] 1863 Joel Palmer [establishes a] cattle trail on the south bank of the Columbia, makes it a toll trail and maintains ferries at Hood River and Troutdale for cattle and pack trains. From 1876 to 1879 this trail was made into a passable summer time wagon road. In 1879 Palmer sold the right-of-way to the O.R.& N for railroad purposes. The Barlow road [then] became the only road to Portland.

[Samuel Lancaster said:] ... "The first wagon road on the Oregon side of the Columbia river was completed Feb. 9, 1856 and ran from Bonneville to the Cascades. On Oct. 27, 1872 the Oregon legislature appropriated $50,000 for building a wagon road from the mouth of the Sandy river (Troutdale) through the Columbia river gorge to The Dalles. The funds were exhausted by October of 1876. An additional $50,000 was provided. The road was crooked and the grades were steep. The construction of the O.R. & N. railroad in 1883 destroyed the road in many places. Only traces of it could be found in 1913. When construction on the Columbia River Highway was begun no grades were to be more than 5% and its width was to be 24 feet!

(Joel Palmer operated the above wagon road as a toll road from 1863 to 1879 and from 1876 to 1879 it was a passable summer time wagon road. The rest of the 13 years it was a toll cattle and saddle pack train road with ferries at Hood River and Troutdale. He sold to the railroad in 1879.) ...

Shell Rock Mountains, in Hood River county which rests on ice, was always considered an impassable barrier! No wagons were ever able to get by this mountains in pioneer days. They used to stop just east of that point, cut down trees, make rafts and floated down to the Cascades. The state road of 1876 crossed above the present road, but loose rock slopes made it impossible to maintain and it fell into decay and disuse. In 1912 Simon Benson gave Governor Oswald west $110,000 to use prison labor in building a new road around the base of Shell Rock mountains. The state had no Highway Commission and Hood River road officials handled the work. Most of the money was wasted and the project failed! ... ..."


Source:   McNeal, Wm. H., 1953, "History of Wasco County, Oregon", as found on the "rootsweb.com" website, 2011, with paragraphs slightly re-organized for clarity.


From:
Scott, L.M., 1917, "The Pioneer Stimulus of Gold", Oregon Historical Quarterly, vol.18, no.3, September 1917 ...
"... Joel Palmer, A.P. Ankeny and others opened a trail for pack trains and cattle through the gorge of the Columbia River on the Oregon side in 1863, as a route to the mines *. This was hardly equal to the present Columbia River Highway. The route included ferries at Sandy and Hood rivers. ..."

*   John F. Miller made the surveys in 1862 (The Oregonian, November 10, 1862). The road was opened to cattle and pack trains early in 1863 (Ibid., March 21, 1863). The cost was $15,000 (ibid., December 9, 1864).

From:
"W.A. Langille and S.H. Boardman, 1946, State Parks Historical Sketches: Columbia Gorge State Parks, courtesy of Oregon State Archives website, 2014:
GUY W. TALBOT STATE PARK

"The Guy W. Talbot State Park, which Crown Point Park adjoins on the west side, is entered at Mile Post 26.18. It is described as being in Section 29, Township 1 North of Range 5 East W.M., in Multnomah County, containing 125 acres. ...

The greater park acreage is on the rising ground south of the highway. These upper and lower portions, separated by the highway, are connected by a well constructed, overhead foot bridge, from which a trail ascends to the water supply source. The old county road which leaves the loops just below Mile Post 25, passes through a delightful area of open grass land, beside a picturesque, cliff sided point of rock, that offers a pleasing secluded retreat for ground picnics. This old road was a unit of the once Dalles-Sandy Military Road, the route of early pioneers. From here it descends to the park area and railroad station. ...

Signed:
W.A. Langille, State Parks Historian.


From:
"Historic American Engineering Record HAER OR-56", Historic Columbia River Highway website (2006):
"... On October 23, 1872 the state legislature of Oregon appropriated $50,000 for construction of a wagon road from the mouth of the Sandy River to The Dalles, along the south shore of the Columbia River. The state appropriated another $50,000 in 1876 to complete construction of this crooked and narrow trail with steep grades. This was the beginning of the Columbia River Highway. ..."

From:
USDI/NPS National Register for Historic Places Registration Form, Columbia River Highway, 2000 ...
"... The first wagon road in the Gorge ran from the town of Bonneville to the site of the future Cascade Locks -- a distance of six miles -- and was completed in 1856. It climbed to an elevation of over 400 feet on steep grades around a portage at the Cascades of the Columbia River. This road only ran a short distance, however, and met the needs of a select few. Journeys on it, carrying supplies from Fort Vancouver to men stationed east of the Cascade Mountains, proved onerous. By 1872, the Oregon legislature designated $50,000 for building a wagon road from the mouth of the Sandy River, 18 miles east of Portland, through the Gorge to The Dalles. The road money was soon expended and four years later another $50,000 was appropriated. Even though the road was completed, travel on it proved difficult. The alignment was crooked and narrow with heavy grades, often exeeeding 20 percent. "The Dalles-to-Sandy Wagon Road" was never really practicable for travel.

Only in 1882 was the Gorge accessible with a continuous overland route when the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company (ORN) constructed a water-level track from Portland to The Dalles. ... For the next thirty years, the line provided the only real alternative to steamboats for travel along the river. ..."


From:
Hood River News, Hood River, Oregon, May 28, 1943, information from "Oregon Historical Records Survey, No. 33" ...
"... County road building facilities did not prove at all adequate to care for the traffic resulting from the gold rush in the 1860's. A proposal in 1861, for a pack-train trail between Portland and The Dalles lead to the incorporation at Portland, October 16, 1862, of the Columbia Road Company, with Joel Palmer as president. This company opened at toll trail to pack trains and cattle early in 1863. Ferries were operated at Sandy and Hood River (then called Dog River). The section of The Dalles-Portland road east of Hood River was declared by Wasco County commissioners to be a public highway in 1867, thenceforth maintained by county funds. ..."

From:
Clarence E. Mershon, 2001, "East of the Sandy, The Columbia River Highway", Guardian Peaks, Inc., Portland ..."
"... On January 24, 1856, legislation establishing a territorial road from the Sandy River (Troutdale) to The Dalles passed. Construction commenced on a wagon road between Bonneville (the lower Cascades) and Cascade Locks (the upper Cascades) almost immediately. The following year, legislation passed authorizing the construction of a wagon road and bridge across Eagle Creek. In 1863, a trail for pack trains and cattle opened on the Oregon side to serve as a route to the mines in the interior. In 1872, the Oregon Legislature appropriated $50,000 for the construction of a wagon road from the Sandy River through to The Dalles. Four years later, an additional $50,000 was appropriated for the project. The resulting wagon road was 12-feet wide, but it was both crooked and steep. Partially obliterated by the construction of the Oregon Washington Railroad and Navigation Company line in 1883, this military (or county) road also suffered extensively from the high water and flooding of 1894. Traces of this road were found by crews when the survey of the Columbia River Highway was completed in Hood River County during the winter of 1913-1914, and some masonry-walled sections are still visible above I-84 on Shellrock Mountain. (From "Tentative Dates Pertaining to Road Building in the Columbia Gorge, 1850-1960", by E. Walton, published in 1967). ..."

From:
Sacramento Daily Union, vol.1, no.233, November 15, 1875 ...
"Work has been suspended on the Dalles and Sandy wagon-road. About twenty-five miles of the road have been completed."

From:
Portland Tribune, August 27, 2011, "History Circles Back", by Calvin Hall, originally published in the "Gresham Outlook", August 26, 2011
"... construction crews on the Interstate 84-Jordan Road project in Troutdale were still surprised and excited on Wednesday, Aug. 10, when a backhoe operator, excavating the eastside of the Sandy River for a bridge piling, dug up something unexpected – an antique wagon wheel, buried about 12 feet below the sand. ...

Built in the 1870s through funding from the Oregon Legislature, The Dalles-Sandy Wagon Road ran between the mouth of the Sandy River to The Dalles through the gorge. The wagon road crossed the Sandy River near where the wheel was found, according to a historic map of the trail.

According to Hood River-based historian Sally Donovan, who wrote about the Sandy River Delta, homesteader Felix Hicklin claimed almost 325 acres along the eastside of the Sandy River in 1851. He eventually owned up to 1,100 acres on the eastside of the Sandy River around what is now Lewis & Clark State Park, running a dairy business until the family sold the ranch in 1908.

Troutdale historian and Outlook columnist Sharon Nesbit wrote that a ferry was used to cross the Sandy River near the Lewis & Clark State Park boat ramp. The railroad was built and crossed the Hicklin land in 1882.

Other ferries that crossed the Sandy River in that vicinity operated through 1912, when the Historic Columbia River Gorge Highway bridge was built.

Gresham resident Bus Gibson, who has studied many of the mountain and historic trails in the area, said The Dalles-Sandy Wagon Road was very difficult, steep and treacherous for travelers to use. When settlers reached the Hicklin farm, they would have used a ferry to cross the river or “attempted to find a crossing besides the ferry,” he said.

Gibson said wagon roads, routes and wagon tracks can still be found throughout the area, many of which lie within 60 feet of Interstate 84. Portions of The Dalles-Sandy Wagon Road can be found mostly in Hood River County near Cascade Locks, he said.

“It’s possible (the wheel) might have come from an earlier wagon road at the river there,” he said.



From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, ...
 




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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:    Hadlow, R.W., and others, 2009, Historic Columbia River Highway Oral History Report, SR 500-261, August 2009, Oregon Department of Transportation;    McNeal, Wm. H., 1953, "History of Wasco County, Oregon";    Oregon State Archives website, 2011, "A 1940 Journey Across Oregon";    U.S. National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, 2000;   

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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August 2011