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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Underwood and Underwood Mountain, Washington"
Includes ... Underwood ... Underwood Mountain ... Wild Turkey ...
Image, 2003, Underwood Mountain from Hood River, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Underwood Mountain, Washington, as seen from Hood River, Oregon. The Spring Creek Fish Hatchery at Hood, Washington, is at the base of Underwood Mountain. Image taken September 26, 2003.

Underwood ...
The town of Underwood is located on the Washington side of the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 168, on the right bank of the White Salmon River. Immediately downstream is the Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery and the small community of Hood. Seven miles downstream is the small community of Cook. The Cook-Underwood Road connects the two communities. Across the river on the Oregon side is Hood River.

Underwood Mountain ...
Underwood Mountain rises between the Little White Salmon River downstream, and the White Salmon River upstream. The towns of Underwood and Hood lie at its base, along with the Spring Creek Fish Hatchery. A good view of Hood, Underwood, and Underwood Mountain can be had from the Oregon side of the Columbia at Hood River, or just west of Hood River at Ruthton Park.

Underwood Mountain:

"Underwood Mountain, Washington (2,755 feet elevation), is an early Pleistocene shield volcano that erupted between 20,000 and 850,000 years ago, and covered east-dipping Grande Ronde Basalt a few hundred feet above the river. The basalt of Underwood Mountain is composed of numerous blocky, jointed flows, each about 10 to 30 feet thick. The total thickness of the basalt reaches at least 590 feet. Underwood lavas crossed and probably briefly dammed the Columbia River, as remnants of the Underwood flows can be found on the Oregon side."

Source:    Lloyd DeKay and Terry Hurd, 2011, Columbia River Gorge Chapter Ice Age Floods Institute 2011 Field Trip.

Early Underwood ...
Edmond S. Meany wrote in his "Origin of Washington Geographic Names" (1923, University of Washington Press, Seattle):

"Underwood, a town on the north bank of the Columbia River, in the southeastern part of Skamania County, was named for Amos Underwood, who crossed the plains in 1852 and spent the rest of his life along the Columbia. He settled at the place which bears his name in 1875. He was still liveing in 1915, at the age of 81 years. (H.S. Adams, in Names MSS. Letter 235.)"

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

"Underwood (S.23;T.3N;R.10E): Townsite on west bank of White Salmon River at its confluence with Columbia River, extreme southeast Skamania County. It is named for Andoniram Judson Underwood, a veteran of the Yakima Indian wars, who settled here in 1875 and who platted the townsite in the fall of 1881."

Note: in error ... According to Warren Upham in "Minnesota Place Names" (2001), Andoniram Judson Underwood was the founder of Underwood, Minnesota, which he platted in 1881.

"Sally" Victoria Mistretta (personal communication, 2008) writes the town of Underwood was founded by her Great-Great-Grandfather Amos Underwood.

"Your article on Underwood WA and Underwood mountain are very nice indeed, but I would like to make a correction on the founder of Underwood. The founder was Amos Underwood who filed and established the town of Underwood. He was born December 10, 1834 in Cincinnati, Ohio of John and Louisa Underwood. He came west on a wagon train September 9, 1852. He was a famed Indian fighter during the Cayuse wars. On June 1, 1861 he married Taswatha Ellen Chenowuth the daughter of Chief Chenowuth, who was hung in 1856. I am her Great, Great Granddaughter and with several other cousins have been working on our family roots in the Gorge, and the East. The family Cemetery is at the top of the hill on the Cook Underwood Rd. I hope you can use this information." ["Sally" Victoria Mistretta, January 31, 2008, personal communication, used with permission]

The 1870 Federal Census for Skamania County, Washington Territory, lists Amos Underwood, age 34, farm labourer, born in Indiana, race "W", and Ellen Underwood, age 30, keeping house, born in Washington Territory, race "I", and four children, Isabella, age 14, Jefferson, age 7, Mary, age 5, and Marshal, age 1 (Rootsweb.com website, 2008).

The 1875 cadastral survey map (tax survey) for T3N R10E, Section 22, shows two Underwood homes lying west of the White Salmon River. The homes are divided by the "Trail to the Cascades". North of the trail is the home of "A. Underwood" and south of the trail is the homeof "E. Underwood" (Bureau of Land Management website, 2008).

The 1880 Federal Census (found on "Rootsweb.com") lists Amos Underwood, age 43, farm laborer, color "W", and his wife Ellen Underwood, age 40, color "W", and 3 children, Jefferson, age 18, Mary, age 15, and John, age 11. The 1880 census also lists Ed Underwood, age 24, farmer, color "W", and his wife Lavinia, age 23, keeping house, and 3 children, Gracie, age 7, Maggie, age 5, and Isabel, age 1 (Rootsweb.com website, 2008).

The Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office Records (2007) show Amos Underwood being granted title to 160 acres of parts of T3N R10E, Sections 21 and 22, on July 7, 1885 (1862 Homestead Entry Original), and 164.5 acres for parts of T3N R10E, Section 23, on July 21, 1896 (1820 Sale-Cash Entry). The records show Edward Underwood being granted title to 160 acres for parts of T3N R10E, Section 22, on February 10, 1882 (1862 Sale-Cash Entry), and Edward Underwood being granted title to 160 acres for parts of T3N R10E Section 15, on October 26, 1892 (1862 Homestead Entry Original).

In 1979 the U.S. Board of Geographic Names made "Underwood" the official name for the community.

Views ...

Image, 2006, Underwood Mountain and Broughton Mill as seen from the Columbia Gorge Hotel, click to enlarge
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Underwood Mountain and the Broughton Mill, as seen from the Columbia Gorge Hotel, Hood River, Oregon. Image taken May 10, 2006.
Image, 2014, Underwood Mountain, Washington, from Ruthton Park, Hood River, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Underwood Mountain, Washington, as seen from Ruthton Park, Hood River, Oregon. Image taken November 10, 2014.

Underwood, etc.

  • Amos Underwood ...
  • Mary Lane and Emma Underwood ...
  • Cook-Underwood Road ...
  • Hood River to Underwood Ferry ...
  • Jefferson Peace Medal ...
  • Mount Hood ...
  • "North Bank Highway" ...
  • "North Bank Road" (Railroad) ...
  • Underwood Mercantile Company ...
  • Underwood Tribal "In-lieu" Fishing Access Site ...
  • Washington State Highway 14 ...
  • Wild Turkey ...

Amos Underwood ...

Amos Underwood, a pioneer resident of Underwood, well known in Hood River, died Saturday at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Mary V. Olson at Underwood.

Mr. Underwood was 83 years old and came to Oregon from Iowa in 1852. He was a veteran of early Indian wars and served as Corporal in Company B, Oregon volunteers. He was a member of the party which captured the famous Cayuse chief, Pepe Mux Mux. Later, when an Indian uprising threatened the settlement of Hood River, Mr. Underwood rendered valuable assistance to troops sent from the Dalles to protect the settlement.

Mr. Underwood was active in the development of the Underwood section, where he and a brother, Edward, took up a homestead and from whom the town of Underwood received its name. For many years they operated a ferry between Underwood and Hood River, while they also operated flat boats from Cascade Locks to The Dalles for many years before there were steamers plying the middle Columbia river. ...

Source:    "The Hood River Glacier", Hood River, Oregon, December 19, 1917, courtesy "rootsweb.com", 2008.

Mary Lane and Ellen Underwood ...

(Editor's note: Mrs. Lane, who passed away on Saturday of last week, was born at North Bonneville, Wn., at the time of the Civil War and was known and respected throughout the mid-Columbia region. The following tribute by Mrs. Brumbaugh should be of interest to all residents.)

Mary Underwood Lane was born on April 17, 1864 in North Bonneville, Wn., at the home of Aunt Wac-oo'-bule in Chief Wa-bana-ha's village. She died in White Salmon hospital February 14 and was buried in the family cemetery at Underwood, Wn. on Tuesday, February 2(sic).

Her parents were Amos and Ellen (Chenowuth Lear) Underwood. Her father was born on December 2, 1833, in Ohio and died in 1917 at Underwood. He came to Oregon from Missouri in 1852 and was a private in the Yakima war in 1855. He first homesteaded, or purchased, the pre-emption of Peter Rudio in Hood River county (then Wasco county) in 1859. He took out his patent in February 10, 1864, and sold out to John Marden later. He then moved to Skamania county, Wn., where he homesteaded with a soldier's warrant west of White Salmon river (then in Klickitat county), buying railroad, timber and stone land until he owned 320 acres. He also had 10 gold mines along the river, operated at ferry between White Salmon and Hood River and owned a saloon at Underwood, Wn., which was named for him. He was familiarly known as "Captain Ame." He had a hotel and ferry at John Day with Day Leonard and owned three freighting scows also.

Mrs. Lane's mother was Ellen Chen-O-wuth of the Royal Columbia river Indian family. She was born in 1841 at Wy-yac-eck, Cascades Falls, Ore. Ellen had married Lt. William King Lear in 1856, to which union was born a daughter, Isabella, on May 21, 1857. A separation followed in 1858. Amos and Ellen were married in an Indian ceremony in 1861. They were married later by the Rev. Thomas Condon, as was the custom. Ellen died the same year as her husband. ...

Source:    "The Hood River News", Hood River, Oregon, February 24, 1950, courtesy "rootsweb.com", 2008.

Cook-Underwood Road ...
The Cook-Underwood Road traverses nearly 15 miles along the slopes of the Columbia River Gorge, north of Washington Highway 14, and stretches from Cook, on the west bank of the Little White Salmon River (RM 161.5), to Underwood, on the west bank of the White Salmon River (RM 168.5).

Image, 2013, Old house on Cook-Underwood Road, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Old house on Cook-Underwood Road, Washington, near Cook. Image taken March 18, 2013.

Hood River to Underwood Ferry ...
In the early 1900s a ferry took passengers from Hood River, Oregon, to Underwood, Washington.

Jefferson Peace Medal ...
On April 11, 1806, during Lewis and Clark's return trip, the Captains handed out a "Medal of the Small size" to the Chief of the "Clah-clel-lah" tribe. This medal, one of the "Washington Season medals", ended up at the Maryhill Museum by way of the Chief's grand-daughter, Mary Underwood Lane.

Mount Hood ...

Image, 2005, Mount Hood, Oregon, from Underwood, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mount Hood, Oregon, from Underwood, Washington. Underwood is just downstream of the White Salmon River, looking towards Mount Hood. Hood River, Oregon is just upstream. View from Washington State Highway 14. Image taken May 24, 2005.

"North Bank Highway" ...

"North Bank Road" (Railroad) ...
The Great Northern Railway and Northern Pacific Railroad, competitors in the transcontinental business, launched the Seattle Portland & Seattle Railway in 1905 and built a line along the north side of the Columbia River. This line was known as "The North Bank Road", "The North Bank Railroad", "Columbia River Scenic Route", and "The Northwests Own Railway". The tracks were started in October 1905 and completed in February 1908, with a celebration being held on March 11th at Sheridan Point upstream of the Fort Rains Blockhouse location. On March 19th, regular passenger servcie between Vancouver and Pasco was begun. The journey took eight hours.

Underwood Mercantile Company ...

The Underwood Mercantile company installed a soda fountain in their store to please the taste of their customers whose number has been increased by the installation of Ray Meggs’ service station. This service has grown from one pump to four and now demands all the time of the owners so he has had to sell the repair shop he formerly operated.

Source:    The Skamania County Pioneer, Stevenson, Washington, January 15, 1926, as found on "rootsweb.com" website, 2011.


The Underwood Mercantile Company, one of the largest mercantile establishments in the country has been sold to Grover Brothers of Cascade Locks, Oregon, and the new owners have taken charge of the business.

The new owners are experienced mercantile men and will put forth every effort to make the business a credit to the Underwood district and a financial success. The Underwood Mercantile Company was owned by a stock company formed of local people and carried a large general line of merchandise, the stock being valued between $12,000 and $15,000 and did a large volume of business. ...

Source:    The Enterprise, White Salmon, WA., January 7, 1927, found on "rootsweb.com" website, 2011.


For the first time in nearly 100 years there will be no store at Underwood. George Balsiger announced this week that the Underwood Mercantile will be closed as soon as the merchandise is sold. ...

Although he is closing the store, he is not selling the fixtures. He is hopeful of finding a buyer to carry on the tradition that started with an Indian trading post nearly a century ago.

Source:    The Mt. Adams Sun, Bingen, Washington, May 14, 1964, as found on "rootsweb.com" website, 2011.

Underwood Mercantile Building ...

Image, 2011, Underwood, Washington, click to enlarge
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Underwood Mercantile building, Underwood, Washington. View from moving car on Washington Highway 14. Image taken May 14, 2011.
Image, 2014, Underwood, Washington, click to enlarge
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Underwood Mercantile building, now the While Salmon Vineyard building, Underwood, Washington. View from moving car on Washington Highway 14. Image taken July 21, 2014.
Image, 2018, Underwood, Washington, click to enlarge
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Underwood Mercantile building, now the While Salmon Vineyard building, Underwood, Washington. View from moving car on Washington Highway 14. Image taken February 12, 2018.
Image, 2018, Underwood, Washington, click to enlarge
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Underwood Mercantile building, now the While Salmon Vineyard building, Underwood, Washington. View from moving car on Washington Highway 14. Image taken June 6, 2018.

Underwood Tribal "In-lieu" 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).

Washington State Highway 14 ...

"Nobody," unless they live in Underwood, can realize what the new highway along the North Bank is going to mean to the community which has for many years, nestled under the hills at the mouth of the White Salmon River." Many Hood River people have traveled over the old Evergreen Highway in good weather, on their way to one or other of the resorts in Skamania or Klickitat counties. Nobody ever traveled over this old road in bad weather, because there were too many thrills to suit even the most ambitious. The result was that Underwood, often for many weeks at a time, has been completely cut off as far as road travel was concerned.

With the completion of the new water level highway sometime this year, Underwood will at times have easy access to the outside world, and, in addition it will get very much of the travel that in the past has either passed the community up or has gone over the Columbia River highway by way of the ferry at the White Salmon landing.

During the past year a number of improvements have borne witness to the spirit of optimism which now prevails in the Underwood community. In addition to new warehouses and an improved depot, a number of changes are being made at the big store of the Underwood Mercantile Co., in anticipation of the good times which are near at hand. Improvement of travel conditions, too, will mean that many of the Underwood people, including those living on the heights, will more frequently visit Hood River, the road between Underwood and the orchards section above having been widened out and graveled until now it now ranks as a first class highway.

As Mr. Smith says, the future of Underwood now looks very bright, which proves the value of a water grade highway.

Source:    "Hood River News", Hood River, Oregon., January 5, 1923, courtesy "rootsweb.com" website, 2011.


Wild Turkey ...
Wild Turkey wander through the backyards and streets of Underwood.

Image, 2011, Underwood, Washingotn, click to enlarge
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Turkey Crossing sign, Underwood, Washington. Image taken February 2, 2011.
Image, 2011, Underwood, Washingotn, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Wild Turkey, Underwood, Washington. Image taken February 2, 2011.

From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 29, 1805 ...
A cloudy morning wind from the West but not hard, we Set out at day light [from their camp on Rocky Island at Crates Point], and proceeded on about five miles Came too on the Stard. Side at a village of 7 houses built in the Same form and materials of those above, here we found the Chief we had Seen at the long narrows [The Dalles] ...     they are hospitable and good humered Speak the Same language of the inhabitants of the last village, we call this the friendly village [vicinity of Dougs Beach]. ...     after brackfast we proceeded on, the mountains are high on each Side [high basalt cliffs of the Rowena Gap, with Rowena Crest on the south and the Chamberlain Lake area on the north], containing Scattering pine white oake & under groth, hill Sides Steep and rockey; at 4 miles lower we observed a Small river falling in with great rapidity on the Stard. Side [Klickitat River] below which is a village of 11 houses [today the town of Lyle is on the upstream side of the Klickitat], here we landed to Smoke a pipe with the nativs and examine the mouth of the river, which I found to be 60 yards wide rapid and deep, The inhabitants of the village are friendly and Chearfull; those people inform us also those at the last village that this little river is long and full of falls, no Salmon pass up it, it runs from N. N. E. that ten nations live on this river and its waters, on buries, and what game that Can kill with their Bow & arrows

we purchased 4 dogs and Set out- (this village is the of the Same nation of the one we last passed) and proceeded on The Countrey on each side begin to be thicker timbered with Pine and low white Oake; verry rockey and broken [passing Mayer State Park on the Oregon side]. passed three large rocks in The river the middle rock is large long and has Several Squar vaults on it. we call this rockey Island the Sepulchar [Memaloose Island] - The last river we passed we Shall Call the Cataract River [Klickitat River] from the number of falls which the Indians say is on it- passed 2 Lodges of Indians a Short distance below the Sepulchar Island [Memaloose Island] on the Stard. Side river wide, at 4 mile passed 2 houses on the Stard. Side, Six miles lower passed 4 houses above the mouth of a Small river 40 yards wide on the Lard. Side [Hood River]    a thick timbered bottom above & back of those houses; those are the first houses which we have Seen on the South Side of the Columbia River, (and the axess to those dificuelt) for fear of the approach of their common enemies the Snake Indians, passed 14 houses on the Std. Side Scattered on the bank- from the mouth of this little river which we shall Call Labeasche River [Hood River], the falls mountain [Mount Hood] is South and the top is covered with Snow.    one mile below pass the mouth of a large rapid Stream on the Stard. Side [White Salmon River], opposit to a large Sand bar [from Hood River], in this creek the Indians above take their fish, here we Saw Several canoes, which induced us to call this Canoe Creek [White Salmon River] it is 28 yards wide, about 4 miles lower and below the Sand bar [Hood River sandbar] is a butifull cascade falling over a rock of about 100 feet [Wah Gwin Gwin Falls, location of the Columbia Gorge Hotel],

[On the route map (Moulton, vol.1, map#78) a "C___ Spring" is shown on the north side of the river, today the location of Spring Creek and Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, with no mention of it in any text. On the south side, at the location of Wah Gwin Gwin Falls, only "Cascade" is labeled and "4 Houses of Indians".]

a Short distance lower passed 4 Indian houses on the Lard. Side in a timbered bottom, a fiew miles further we came too at 3 houses on Stard. Side, back of which is a pond [today the location of Drano Lake. The Little White Salmon River empties into Drano Lake.] in which I Saw Great numbers of Small Swan, Capt. Lewis and went into the houses of those people ...     Here the mountains are high on each Side, those to the Lard. Side has Some Snow on them at this time, more timber than above and of greater variety.

Columbia River GorgeReturn to




*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

  • Burkhardt, D.C.Jesse, 2004, Railroads of the Columbia River Gorge, Images of the Rail, Arcadia Publishing, San Francisco;
  • Carrick, M., 2000, Oregon Chapter of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, September 2000 Newsletter, vol.II, no.IV.
  • Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission website, 2016;
  • DeKay, L., and Hurd, T., 2011, Columbia River Gorge Chapter Ice Age Floods Institute, 2011 Field Trip;
  • Hinkle, S.R., 1996, Age of Ground Water in Basalt Aquifers near Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery, Skamania County, Washington, U.S. Geological Survey Water Investigations Report 95-4272;
  • Hitchman, R., 1985, Place Names of Washington, Washington State Historical Society;    Mistretta, S., 2008, personal communication;
  • Norman, D.K, Busacca, A.J., and Teissere, R., 2004, Geology of the Yakima Valley Wine Country -- A Geologic Field Trip Guide from Stevenson to Zillah, Washington, Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources Field Trip Guide 1, June 2004;
  • "Rootsweb.com" website, 2008, information on the passing of Mary V. Lane, from The Hood River News, Hood River, Oregon, February 24, 1850, page.1;
  • Scott, W.E., Gardner, C.A., Sherrod, D.R., Tilling, R.I., Lanphere, M.A., and Conrey, R.M., 1997, Geologic History of Mount Hood Volcano, Oregon - A Field-Trip Guidebook, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 97-263;
  • U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) 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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January 2016