Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"'Boat of Discovery', Vancouver Monument, Vancouver, Washington"
Includes ... Boat of Discovery ... Vancouver Monument ... Captain George Vancouver ... Lieutenant William Broughton ... Vancouver, Washington ...
Image, 2007, Vancouver Monument, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
"Boat of Discovery", Vancouver Monument, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken April 1, 2007.

Vancouver Monument ...
In downtown Vancouver, Washington, on the northwest side of the Interstate 5 Bridge and at the foot of Columbia Street, lies a monument to Captain George Vancouver. In October 1792 Captain Vancouver's Lieutenant, William Broughton, sailed up the Columbia River as far as Point Vancouver, passing the location of today's Vancouver, and claimed the territory for the British Empire. Captain Vancouver believed that his Lieutenant was the first to journey up the Columbia River, as he considered the Lower Columbia River Estuary, as far as American Robert Gray traveled in May of 1792, only a bay.

"... "Having now passed the sand bank," says Mr. Broughton, "I landed for the purpose of taking our last bearings; a sandy point on the opposite shore bore S.80E., distant about 2 miles; this point terminating our view of the river, I named it after Captain Vancouver; it is situated in latitude 45o 27', longitude 237o 50'." ... Previously to his departure, however, he formally took possession of the river, and the country in its vicinity, in His Britannic Majesty's name, having every reason to believe, that the subjects of no other civilized nation or state had ever entered this river before; in this opinion he was confirmed by Mr. Gray's sketch, in which it does not appear that Mr. Gray either saw, or was ever within five leagues of, its entrance ..." [Vancouver/Broughton, October 30, 1792]

This monument to Captain Vancouver can be found along Vancouver's Waterfront Renaissance Trail.

Image, 2007, Vancouver Monument, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Vancouver Monument and the Interstate 5 Bridge. Image taken April 1, 2007.
Image, 2007, Vancouver Monument, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
"Boat of Discovery", Vancouver Monument, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken April 1, 2007.

"Boat of Discovery" ...
The Smithsonian Institution's "Art Inventory Catalogue" has Vancouver, Washington's "Vancouver Monument" listed as a sculpture titled "Boat of Discovery". The scupture is approximately 4 feet by 7 1/2 feet by 29 feet, with each base approximately 8 1/2 feet high and 16 to 27 inches wide.
"... The unclad keel of a long boat made of steel and painted red. It sits high over a walkway, and is supported by two pyramidal concrete bases with polished black granite facings, one under each end. The bases are on either side of the brick-walled walkway and the boat keel acts as an arch over it. The sculpture is placed in a plaza of sloping, rounded brick-topped walls. Set in one wall of the plaza is a series of three plaques. Starting at the top of the plaque on the proper right, a replica of the original charted map of the Columbia River continues across and down the other two plaques, to end near the bottom of the plaque on the proper left. ..."

The "Boat of Discovery" was created by artist, Jay Rood, and coincided with the bicentennial celebration of the exploration and naming of the Columbia River in 1792. The monument was dedicated on October 31, 1992.

Image, 2007, Vancouver Monument, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Captain George Vancouver Monument, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken April 1, 2007.
Image, 2007, Vancouver Monument, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
"Boat of Discovery", Captain George Vancouver Monument, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken April 1, 2007.
Image, 2007, Vancouver Monument, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Captain George Vancouver Monument, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken April 1, 2007.

From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 4, 1805 ...
A cloudy cool morning wind from the West we Set out at 1/2 past 8 oClock [from their camp on the north side of Government Island, approximately across from Fisher's Landing], one man Shannon Set out early to walk on the Island [Government Island] to kill Something, he joined us at the lower point with a Buck. This island is 6 miles long and near 3 miles wide thinly timbered     (Tide rose last night 18 inches perpndicular at Camp) near the lower point of this diamond Island [Government Island] is The head of a large Island Seperated from a Small one by a narrow chanel [Lewis and Clark show two large islands on their maps, both in today's Government Island area], and both Situated nearest the Lard Side, those Islands [even today the Government Island reach is a complex of many islands] as also the bottoms are thickly Covered with Pine &c. river wide, Country low on both Sides; [since 1983 the Interstate 205 bridge crosses Government Island connecting Oregon to Washington]     on the Main Lard Shore a Short distance below the last Island we landed at a village of 25 Houses: [near Portland International Airport]; ...     This village contains about 200 men of the Skil-loot nation ...

at 7 miles below this village passed the upper point of a large Island [Hayden Island] nearest the Lard Side, a Small Prarie [Jolie Prairie, today the location of Fort Vancouver and Pearson Airpark. Lewis and Clark camp on this prairie on their return] in which there is a pond [one of the many ponds which use to dot this area] opposit on the Stard. here I landed and walked on Shore, about 3 miles a fine open Prarie for about 1 mile, back of which the countrey rises gradually and wood land comencies Such as white oake, pine of different kinds, wild crabs with the taste and flavour of the common crab and Several Species of undergroth of which I am not acquainted, a few Cottonwood trees & the Ash of this countrey grow Scattered on the river bank, ...     joined Capt. Lewis at a place he had landed with the party for Diner. ...

dureing the time we were at dinner those fellows Stold my pipe Tomahawk which They were Smoking with [Tomahawk pipe, thus giving rise to the name Tomahawk Island] ...    we proceeded on

[The men have passed through the area which, 20 years later, Dr. John McLoughlin would choose for a trading post of the Hudson's Bay Company, later to become Fort Vancouver and eventually the city of Vancouver, Washington.]

met a large & a Small Canoe from below, with 12 men the large Canoe was ornimented with Images carved in wood the figures of <man &> a Bear in front & a man in Stern, Painted & fixed verry netely on the <bow & Stern> of the Canoe, rising to near the hight of a man [Lewis and Clark then named Hayden Island "Image Canoe Island"]     two Indians verry finely Dressed & with hats on was in this canoe passed the lower point of the Island [Hayden Island] which is nine miles in length haveing passed 2 Islands on the Stard Side of this large Island [the location of Vancouver Landing and since 1917 the Interstate 5 Bridge connecting Oregon to Washington State], three Small Islands at its lower point [The downstream end of Hayden Island was at one time composed of small islands. One of these, Pearcy Island, would become today's Kelley Point.]. the Indians make Signs that a village is Situated back of those Islands on the Lard. Side and I believe that a Chanel is Still on the Lrd. Side [it wasn't until Lewis and Clark's return trip they would discover the mouth of the Willamette River] as a Canoe passed in between the Small Islands, and made Signs that way, probably to traffick with Some of the nativs liveing on another Chanel, at 3 miles lower [Sauvie Island is located at this stretch, but it is not until the return that Lewis and Clark recognize it as a separate island], and 12 Leagues below quick Sand river [Sandy River] passed a village of four large houses on The Lard. Side [on Sauvie Island], near which we had a full view of Mt. Helien [Mount St. Helens, Washington] which is perhaps the highest pinical in America from their base it bears N. 25 E about 90 miles- This is the mountain I Saw from the Muscle Shell rapid [Umatilla Rapids, Captain Clark actually saw Mount Adams] on the 19th of October last Covered with Snow, it rises Something in the form of a Sugar lofe- about a mile lower passed a Single house on the Lard. Side, and one on the Stard. Side, passed a village on each Side and Camped near a house on the Stard. Side [Post Office Lake vicinity, today within the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge] we proceeded on untill one hour after dark with a view to get clear of the nativs who was constantly about us, and troublesom, finding that we could not get Shut of those people for one night, we landed and Encamped on the Stard. Side ...

This evening we Saw vines much resembling the raspberry which is verry thick in the bottoms. A range of high hills at about 5 miles on the Lard Side [Portland's West Hills'] which runs S. E. & N W. Covered with tall timber the bottoms below in this range of hills and the river is rich and leavel, Saw White geese with a part of their wings black. The river here is 1 miles wide, and current jentle. opposite to our camp on a Small Sandy Island [one of the small sandy islands prevelent in this stretch of the Columbia. Today the Willow Bar Islands on the east side of Sauvie Island lie across from Post Office Lake.] the brant & geese make Such a noise that it will be impossible for me to Sleap. we made 29 miles to day

Vancouver PlainsReturn 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

  • City of Vancouver, Washington, website, 2008;
  • Smithsonian Institution website, 2008, "Art Inventory Catalogue";

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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July 2008