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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Viento Creek and Viento State Park, Oregon"
Includes ... Viento Creek ... Viento Ridge ... Viento State Park ... Viento ... The Golden Age of Postcards ...
Image, 2016, Viento State Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Sign, Viento State Park, Oregon. Image taken February 8, 2016.


Viento ...
(to come)

The Name ...
Current accepted explanation says the name "Viento" came from the first two letters of the names of three railroad men, Villard, Endicott, and Tolman. It is just co-incident that the name "Viento" is Spanish for "windy", which fits this area as it is one of the windiest spots in the Gorge.

According to the information sign at Viento State Park:

"Villard, Endicott, and Tolman:   "Viento is a fitting name for this windswept location, but the name is more the result of a remarkable coincidence than design. Viento is actually named for railroad tycoon Henry Villard, capitalist William Endicott, and a railroad contractor named Tolman."

and, according to "Oregon Geographic Names" (McArthur and McArthur, 2003):

"Viento, Hood River. Dr. T.L. Eliot of Portland, who was familiar with the history of Hood River and vicinity told the writer [Lewis A. McArthur, 1927] that this railroad station on the Union Pacific west of Hood River was named by taking the first two letters of the names Villard, Endicott, and Tolman. William Endicott of Boston was a capitalist who was heavily interested in Henry Villard's railroad enterprise. Tolman was a railroad contractor. Viento is also a Spanish word meaning wind, and this word is peculiarly fitting when applied to this station, but Doctor Eliot said the Spanish origin had nothging to do with the matter." [McArthur and McArthur, 2003, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press]

HOWEVER --- the April 14, 1882 "Willamette Farmer" newspaper (courtesy Historic Oregon Newspapers Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2016) mentions the name Viento is Spanish, meaning "windy".

"New Railroad Stations:   The O.R. & N. Co.'s station on the Oregon side at the lower Cascades has been named Bonneville, in honor of Capt. Benjamin L.E. Bonneville, the distinguished explorer. The next station above is the Cascade locks. Wyethe is the next station, seven miles above the locks. The fourth station is Viento, six miles above Shell Rock. It is opposite Wind mountain, and the name is Spanish, signifying windy. The fith station is Hood River, and the sixth Mosier's. The last station, Rowena, is seven miles below The Dalles." ["Willamette Farmer", April 14, 1882, Salem, Oregon]

Viento Creek ...
Viento Creek heads from Viento Ridge and enters the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 161. The lower section of Viento Creek flows through Viento State Park. Upstream is Perham Creek and Mitchell Creek and Mitchell Point. Downstream is Starvation Creek and Starvation Creek State Park. Further downstream is Shellrock Mountain. Across the Columbia River is Dog Mountain, the Dog Creek drainage, Cook and Cook Hill, and Drano Lake and the Little White Salmon River.

VIENTO CREEK

"Viento Creek is a salmon recovery stream.
Please, do not disturb the structure of the stream.
Please, do not let children or pets play in the stream.
Please, do not put any debris in the stream.
Please, observe the no-fishing rules of a salmon recovery stream.
Thank You, Park Staff."


Views ...

Image, 2016, Viento Creek, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Viento Creek looking downstream, Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon. Image taken February 8, 2016.
Image, 2016, Viento Creek, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Viento Creek looking downstream, Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon. Image taken February 8, 2016.
Image, 2016, Viento Creek, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Viento Creek "Salmon Stream", Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon. Image taken February 8, 2016.


"From TRAILS to RAILS" ...
From TRAILS to RAILS

"Viento means wind in Spanish, but travel was anything but a breeze for the early emigrants venturing through the Columbia River Gorge. Perilous rapids, rocks, and currents threatened those who traveled by water. Steep cliffs, thick forests, and muddy quagmires made land travel just as challenging.

With thousands of settlers trekking to Oregon, impassable segments of the Columbia River provided golden opportunities for entrepreneurs. The region's first railroads followed portage trails around rapids at the Cascades and The Dalels. The first of these opened on the Washington side of the river in 1851, and within six years another operated on the Oregon side.

Although these railways were little more than flat-cars drawn along wooden rails by mules, they held promise. Competing railroad owners eventually joined forces, and within 30 years, Oregon's link to the Northern Trans-continental Railroad was forged throught he Columbia River Gorge on iron rails."

VILLARD ENDICOTT TOLMAN

"Viento is a fitting name for this windswept location, but the name is more the result of a remarkable coincidence than design. Viento is actually named for railroad tycoon Henry Villard, capitalist William Endicott, and a railroad contractor named Tolman."


Source:    Information Sign, Viento State Park, visited February 8, 2016.


Image, 2016, Viento Creek, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Viento "From TRAILS to RAILS" sign, Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon. Image taken February 8, 2016.
Image, 2016, Viento Creek, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Detail, Viento "From TRAILS to RAILS" sign, Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon. Image taken February 8, 2016.
Image, 2016, Viento Creek, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Detail, Viento "From TRAILS to RAILS" sign, Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon. Image taken February 8, 2016.


Early Viento ...
The Viento post office operated from January 1896 to May 1918.

Viento State Park ...
Viento State Park lies on the Oregon side of the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 161, one mile upstream of Starvation Creek State Park and two miles downstream of Mitchell Point.

Viento State Park History ...
"The land was acquired between 1925 and 1967 by purchase from private owners. The purchase of the first tract was financed by Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company to compensate for damage to trees when the company cleared its line rights-of-way in Oregon park areas. The park was established to provide a shaded picnic and rest area for travelers on the old Columbia River Highway. Initial development was carried out by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Overnight camping facilities were added in the 1950s. Although viento is the Spanish word for wind, and trees in the area show the shaping effects of strong winds in the Columbia Gorge, the park name was taken from a nearby station on the railroad -- the title of which supposedly was composed of the first letters of surnames of the railroad builder Henry Villard, capitalist William Endicott, and a contractor named Tolman. These men were active in railroad building along the Columbia River in the 1870s and 1880s. Viento was a station on the Oregon-Washington Railway and Navigation Company line (now Union Pacific)."

Acreage: 270.11


Source:    Oregon State Parks and Recreation website, 2016.


Viento State Park Views ...

Image, 2016, Viento State Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Sign, Viento State Park, Oregon. Image taken February 24, 2016.
Image, 2016, Viento State Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Sign, Viento State Park, Oregon. Image taken February 8, 2016.
Image, 2016, Viento State Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Map, Viento State Park, Oregon. Image taken February 8, 2016.
Image, 2005, Viento State Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Trail to the Columbia River, Viento State Park, Oregon. Image taken September 25, 2005.
Image, 2005, Viento State Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Columbia River from Viento State Park, Oregon. Image taken September 25, 2005.


Viento, etc.

  • Happy Dell Auto Camp ...
  • Historic Columbia River Highway ...
  • Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail ...
  • Milepost Marker 58 ...
  • The Dalles and Sandy Wagon Road ...
  • Viento in 1939 ...
  • Viento in 1940 ...
  • Viento State Park in 1965 ...
  • Views from Viento State Park ...


Happy Dell Auto Camp ...

Penny Postcard, Happy Dell Auto Camp, Viento, Oregon, ca.1935
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Happy Dell Auto Camp, Viento, Oregon, ca.1935.
Penny Postcard, Postmarked 1935, "Happy Dell Auto Camp - Viento, Oregon - Columbia River Highway." Sawyer image. Card 14-909. Card is postmarked September 8, 1935. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.


Historic Columbia River Highway ...
[More Historic Columbia River Highway]
[More HCRH Route]


Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail ...
The Starvation Creek to Viento Creek segment of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail is one mile long and connects Starvation Creek State Park with Viento State Park.
[More]

Image, 2016, Viento State Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
HCRH State Trail, Viento State Park to Starvation Creek State Park, Oregon. Image taken February 8, 2016.


Milepost Marker 58 ...
The last original milepost in the Gorge for the Historic Columbia River Highway is Milepost 58 located at Viento. It can be seen from a short walk west along the State Trail.

"The mile post marker is the only remaining marker on the Columbia River Highway within the historic district. Originally, these markers were placed at one-mile intervals along the entire highway. The marker is of reinforced concrete and triangular in shape. The numbers "58" are recessed into the concrete, are vertically placed, and appear on two sides of the triangular post." [National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, 1983]

[More]


Image, 2016, HCRH Milepost Marker 58, Viento, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Milepost Marker 58, located along the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail heading west from Viento, Oregon. Image taken February 24, 2016.
Image, 2016, HCRH Milepost Marker 58, Viento, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Milepost Marker 58, located along the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail heading west from Viento, Oregon. Image taken February 24, 2016.
Image, 2016, HCRH Milepost Marker 58, Viento, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Milepost Marker 58, located along the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail heading west from Viento, Oregon. Image taken February 24, 2016.
Image, 2016, HCRH Milepost Marker 58, Viento, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Milepost Marker 58, located along the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail heading west from Viento, Oregon. Image taken February 24, 2016.
Image, 2016, HCRH Milepost Marker 58, Viento, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Milepost Marker 58, located along the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail heading west from Viento, Oregon. Image taken February 24, 2016.


The Dalles and Sandy Wagon Road ...
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 would 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]

[More]



Viento in 1939 ...
From "Federal Writers' Project, 1939, "Oregon Trail: The Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean"; ":

"... The village of VIENTO (Sp., wind), is fittingly named, for the wind blows constantly and often violently through the gorge. Old-fashioned touring cars have sometimes lost their tops during the winter gales that sweep with terrific force over the highway. VIENTO STATE PARK, is an attractive wooded area that is popular as a picnic ground; through it runs scenic Viento Creek.". ..."


Viento in 1940 ...
From the Oregon State Archives "A 1940 Journey Across Oregon":

"... The village of VIENTO (Sp., wind), (103 alt., 14 pop.), is fittingly named, for the wind blows constantly and often violently through the gorge. VIENTO STATE PARK is a wooded area that is popular as a picnic ground; through it runs scenic Viento Creek. ..."



Viento State Park in 1965 ...
VIENTO STATE PARK

Viento State Park is located on both sides of Interstate Highway 80N, at mile post 54.36, approximately eight miles west of Hood River in Hood River County.

The first land in this park was a 3.6-acre tract, purchased on May 13, 1925, from J. O. and Theresa D. Jones at a cost of $3,000. This sum was paid by the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company to make amends for damages by the company's clearing crews cutting trees in park areas. The next addition to the park was 25 years later when seven tracts, aggregating 240.23 acres, were purchased. The park contained a total of 243.83 acres at the close of 1963.

Acquisition of the area was to provide a resting place and picnic facilities for the motoring public in the cool, shady grove of young fir and maple trees growing along the banks of Viento Creek, a small, rippling, mountain stream flowing through the area.

Viento park was named after the stream, which, no doubt, was named after a nearby railroad station. According to Lewis A. McArthur in Oregon Geographic Names, the name Viento was coined by taking the first two letters of the names Villard, Endicott and Tollman. Endicott was a Boston capitalist who was heavily interested in Villard's railroad enterprise. Tollman was a railroad contractor. McArthur further states that Viento is also a Spanish word meaning wind, but the Spanish origin had nothing to do with the naming of the railroad station.

The terrain north of the highway slopes gently toward the Columbia River. South of the highway the gradient rises steeply and becomes abrupt some distance back from the road. Tree cover is fir and maple with the usual native shrubs for undergrowth.

The first developing done in the park was by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It included an entrance road, picnic tables, benches, stoves and water supply. They built a rustic foot bridge over Viento Creek and controlled menacing stream erosion. Sanitary facilities were constructed in 1927 and the drinking fountain with its grotesque face was erected by the parks crew.

After the highway was revised, small overnight camps were constructed on both sides of the highway in order to accommodate travelers of the divided highway. The 45 overnight tent sites are equipped with the usual facilities, such as roads, car parking spots, tables, stoves, benches, water and sanitary facilities. The stone drinking fountain is located at the picnic area north of the highway.

A residence and a few cabins on the property when it was acquired are now being used as park headquarters.

Park attendance during 1963 totaled 90,584 day visitors and 12,045 overnight stays."


Source:    Chester H. Armstrong (compiler), 1965, "History of the Oregon State Parks: 1917-1963, published by Oregon State Parks.


Views from Viento State Park ...
Viento State Park offers good views of Shellrock Mountain, Dog Mountain, the Dog Creek drainage, Cook Hill and Cook, Washington, and the Little White Salmon River bridge.

Image, 2005, Viento State Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Columbia River, view downstream, as seen from Viento State Park, Oregon. Shellrock Mountain is on the left and Dog Mountain rises on the right. Image taken September 25, 2005.
Image, 2005, Viento State Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Dog Creek and Cook Hill, Washington, as seen from Viento State Park, Oregon. Image taken September 25, 2005.
Image, 2005, Cook, Washington, from Viento State Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Cook, Washington, as seen from Viento State Park, Oregon. Image taken September 25, 2005.
Image, 2005, Viento State Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Little White Salmon River bridge, Washington, as seen from Viento State Park, Oregon. Shellrock Mountain is on the left and Dog Mountain rises on the right. Image taken September 25, 2005.


"The Golden Age of Postcards" ...

The early 1900s was the "Golden Age of Postcards". The "Penny Postcard" became a popular way to send greetings to friends and family. Today the Penny Postcard has become an snapshot of history.

Penny Postcard, Happy Dell Auto Camp, Viento, Oregon, ca.1935
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Happy Dell Auto Camp, Viento, Oregon, ca.1935.
Penny Postcard, Postmarked 1935, "Happy Dell Auto Camp - Viento, Oregon - Columbia River Highway." Sawyer image. Card 14-909. Card is postmarked September 8, 1935. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 30, 1805 ...
A cool morning, a moderate rain all the last night, after eating a partial brackfast of venison we Set out [from their camp near Drano Lake and the Little White Salmon River]     passed Several places where the rocks projected into the river & have the appearance of haveing Seperated from the mountains and fallen promiscuisly into the river, Small nitches are formed in the banks below those projecting rocks which is comon in this part of the river, Saw 4 Cascades caused by Small Streams falling from the mountains on the Lard. Side,

[The possiblities in a two-mile area are - upstream to downstream - Starvation Creek and Falls, the seasonal Cabin Creek and Falls, Warren Creek and Falls, Wonder Creek and Lancaster Falls, Lindsey Creek and Falls, and Summit Creek and Falls.]

a remarkable circumstance in this part of the river is, the Stumps of pine trees [Submerged Forest]

[The Submerged Forest existed along the reach from above Dog Mountain/Viento Creek on the upstream edge and Wind Mountain/Shellrock Mountain on the downstream edge.]

are in maney places are at Some distance in the river, and gives every appearance of the rivers being damed up below from Some cause which I am not at this time acquainted with [Bonneville Landslide],     the Current of the river is also verry jentle not exceeding 1 1/2 mile pr. hour and about 3/4 of a mile in width. Some rain, we landed above the mouth of a Small river on the Stard. Side [Wind River] and Dined ...   :  here the river widens to about one mile large Sand bar in the middle, a Great [rock] both in and out of the water, large <round> Stones, or rocks are also permiscuisly Scattered about in the river, ...     The bottoms above the mouth of this little river [Wind River] <which we Call> is rich covered with grass & firn & is about 3/4 of a mile wide rich and rises gradually, below the river (which is 60 yards wide above its mouth) the Countery rises with Steep assent. we call this little river <fr Ash> New Timbered river from a Speces of Ash <that wood> which grows on its banks of a verry large and different from any we had before Seen, and a timber resembling the beech in bark <& groth> but different in its leaf which is Smaller and the tree smaller. passed maney large rocks in the river and a large creek on the Stard. Side in the mouth of which is an Island [Rock Creek near Stevenson, Washington], passed on the right of 3 Islands <on> near the Stard. Side, and landed on an Island close under the Stard. Side at the head of the great Shute [head of the Cascades Rapids], and a little below a village of 8 large houses on a Deep bend on the Stard. Side, and opposit 2 Small Islands imediately in the head of the Shute, which Islands are covered with Pine, maney large rocks also, in the head of the Shute. Ponds back of the houses, and Countrey low for a Short distance. The day proved Cloudy dark and disagreeable with Some rain all day which kept us wet. The Countary a high mountain on each Side thickly Covered with timber, Such as Spruc, Pine, Cedar, Oake Cotton &c. &c.     I took two men and walked down three miles to examine the Shute and river below proceeded along an old Indian path, passd. an old village at 1 mile [vicinity of Ice House Lake] ...     I found by examonation that we must make a portage of the greater perpotion of our Stores 2 1/2 miles, and the Canoes we Could haul over the rocks, I returned at Dark ...     a wet disagreeable evening, the only wood we could get to burn on this little Island on which we have encamped [near Ashes Lake, the island is now under the waters of the Bonneville Reservoir. Ashes Lake was near the head of the Cascade Rapids. Across from Ashes Lake is Cascade Locks, Oregon.] is the newly discovered Ash, which makes a tolerable fire. we made fifteen miles to daye





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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:    Armstrong, C.H., (compiler), 1965, "History of the Oregon State Parks: 1917-1963, published by Oregon State Parks;    Federal Writers' Project, 1939, "Oregon Trail: The Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean";    Historic Oregon Newspaper Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2016;    McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland;    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;    Oregon State Archives website, 2009, "A 1940 Journey Across Oregon";    Oregon State Parks and Recreation website, 2016;   

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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February 2016