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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Youngs Bay, Oregon"
Includes ... Youngs Bay ... Youngs Bay Bridge ... Old Youngs Bay Bridge ... "Meriwether Bay" ... Campsite of November 29, 1805 (Lewis) ...
Image, 2013, Youngs Bay and Saddle Mountain, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Youngs Bay and Saddle Mountain, Oregon. Image taken February 2, 2013.


Youngs Bay ...
Youngs Bay is a body of water just west of Astoria, Oregon, and east of the communities of Warrenton and Hammond. It receives the waters of Youngs River and the Lewis and Clark River.

Youngs Bay is crossed by U.S. Highway-101 (Highway-26), from which there are good views of the Coast Range, Saddle Mountain, and Astoria, Oregon.


Youngs Bay in 1792 ...
In 1792, Lieutenant Broughton of Captain George Vancouver's expedition, explored Youngs Bay and named today's Lewis and Clark River "Youngs River" for Sir George Young of the Royal Navy. The bay then took its name from the mis-named river.

Lewis and Clark and Youngs Bay ...
In 1805 Lewis and Clark named today's Youngs Bay "Meriwether Bay" after Captain Meriwether Lewis, and they named the eastern point of the bay "Meriwether Point", now Smith Point, Astoria, Oregon.

"... proceeded around this Bay which I have taken the liberty of calling Meriwethers Bay the Cristian name of Capt. Lewis who no doubt was the 1st white man who ever Surveyed this Bay ..." [Clark, December 7, 1805]

"... Meriwethers Bay is about 4 miles across deep & receves 2 rivers the Kil how-â-nah-kle and the Ne tul and Several Small Creeks - we had a hard wind from the N. E. and Some rain about 12 oClock to day which lasted 2 hours and Cleared away. ..." [Clark, December 7, 1805]

Image, 2003, Youngs Bay and Astoria, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Youngs Bay as seen from the Youngs Bay Bridge, Astoria, Oregon. Image taken August 2, 2003.


Campsite of November 29, 1805 (Captain Lewis) ...
On November 29, 1805, Captain Lewis and five men left the main camp at Tongue Point and proceeded down the Oregon side of the Columbia River looking for a place for their winter camp. Captain Lewis's camp of November 29 was approximately two miles into Youngs Bay along the eastern shore. On November 30, Lewis and his men proceeded up the Bay and explored the Skipanon River and the Lewis and Clark River before setting up camp on Youngs River, approximately six miles up from its mouth with Youngs Bay.

"... continued our rout up the large arm of the bay about 6 miles and encamped on the Stard. side on the highland. the water was quite sweet. therefore concluded that it must be supplyed from a large crick. at our camp it is 120 yds. wide, tho' it gets narrower above. <about 2 miles> ..." [Lewis, November 30, 1805]

On December 1, 1805, Captain Lewis is still at camp on the Youngs River. Here his journal entries end. Captain Lewis rejoins Captain Clark at Tongue Point on December 5.


From the "Coast Pilots" ... 1869, 1903, 1942
From the 1869 U.S. Coast Survey "Coast Pilot":

"... Young's Point, on the southern side of the river, is the first point made after passing eastward of Clatsop Beach. Immediately behind it the land is high and densely wooded; and around its southern face opens Young's River. It was called "Point George" by Broughton in 1792; "George Point" by Belcher in 1839; "Young's Point" by the United States exploring expedition in 1841; "Smith's Point" by the Coast Survey, in the triangulation of 1852; but it is, we believe, generally known as Young's Point. ..."

"... Young's Bay lies between the eastern part of Clatsop Beach (called Tansey Point) and Young's Point. Into it empty Young's River, discovered, examined, and named by Broughton; Lewis and Clarke's Rivers, examined by them in 1805; and one or two small streams or slues."

From the 1903 U.S. Coast Survey "Coast Pilot":

"... Youngs Bay, about 7 miles inside the entrance on the south bank of the river, is the widening of the mouth of Youngs River, which enters at this point. It is of no commercial importance, being traversed only by light-draft steamers navigating Youngs River. The Astoria and Columbia River Railroad crosses the bay on trestlework, a suitable drawbridge being situated in the channel. ..."

From the 1942 U.S. Coast Survey "Coast Pilot":

"... Youngs Bay, on the southern side of the river, about 10 miles inside the entrance, is shoal; it receives the waters of Youngs River and Lewis and Clark River. Traffic on these two rivers is confined chiefly to towboats handling log rafts from rafting grounds just above the two highway bridges. Small towboats operate to the town of Olney, but only at high tide, as the channel is reported bo be practically dry at low tide. The portion of the bay southeastward of Smith Point is under improvement intended to privide additional frontage for the city of Astoria. The shipyards of Youngs Bay are no longer in operation. A power house with a prominent white concrete stack is located on the northern shore of the bay, just westward of the highway bridge. On the eastern side of the highway bridge at its northern end, are the moorings of the Astoria Yacht Club.

The project for Youngs Bay and River provides for a channel 10 feet deep from the Columbia River to the foot of Haven Island. In June 1941, the controlling depths were 9 feet below the highway bridge and 10 feet to Haven Island; thence about 4 feet for 1.5 miles to the head of navigation.

Youngs Bay is crossed by a railway and a highway bridge. The railway bridge has 130 feet width of openings; vertical clearance when closed is 10.5 feet. The signal for opening is one long blast of the whistle, followed quickly by one short blast. The highway bridge has 150 feet width of opening; the vertical clearance when closed is 6 feet. The signal for opening is one long blast followed quickly by two short blasts. The Lewis and Clark River is crossed by a highway bridge with a draw span of the bascule type, having an opening of 87 feet clear and a vertical clearance, when closed, of 5 feet. The signal for opening is 1 long blast, followed by 3 short blasts. ..."

Views of Youngs Bay ...
Astoria, Oregon, Coxcomb Hill and the Astoria Column, and Saddle Mountain, Youngs River, and the Lewis and Clark River all surround Youngs Bay. A good place to view the "overall picture" of Youngs Bay would be from Coxcomb Hill and the Astoria Column.

Image, 2003, Youngs Bay and Astoria, Oregon, from the west, click to enlarge
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Youngs Bay and Astoria, Oregon, from the west. Coxcomb Hill and the Astoria Column are visible in middle skyline. Image taken August 2, 2003.
Image, 2004, Youngs Bay and Astoria, Oregon, from mouth of the Lewis and Clark River, click to enlarge
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Youngs Bay and Astoria, Oregon, from mouth of the Lewis and Clark River. Looking across Youngs Bay. Image taken May 25, 2004.
Image, 2005, Astoria and Youngs Bay, from mouth of the Lewis and Clark River, click to enlarge
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Astoria and Youngs Bay, from mouth of the Lewis and Clark River. Image taken November 15, 2005.
Image, 2004, Coxcomb Hill from Youngs Bay, click to enlarge
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Coxcomb Hill and the Astoria Column as seen from across Youngs Bay. Image taken May 25, 2004.
Image, 2004, Saddle Mountain across Youngs Bay, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Saddle Mountain across Youngs Bay, Oregon. Image taken May 25, 2004.
Image, 2005, Youngs River from Coxcomb Hill, click to enlarge
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Youngs Bay and Youngs River, Oregon, as seen from Coxcomb Hill. Mouth of the Youngs River entering Youngs Bay. Image taken April 19, 2005.
Image, 2005, Lewis and Clark River from Coxcomb Hill, click to enlarge
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Youngs River (bottom) and Lewis and Clark River (top), as seen from Coxcomb Hill. View of the mouth of the Lewis and Clark River entering Youngs Bay. The old Youngs Bay Bridge is visible on the bottom and the Lewis and Clark River Bridge on the top. Image taken April 19, 2005.


Youngs Bay Places, etc.

  • Fishing Boats ...
  • "Net Pens" ...
  • "Old" Youngs Bay Bridge ...
  • Youngs Bay Bridge ...

Fishing Boats ...

Image, 2004, Youngs Bay, dock at Tide Point, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Tide Point dock and Youngs Bay. Image taken May 25, 2004.
Image, 2004, Towards mouth of the Youngs River, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Mouth of the Youngs River, Oregon, from east side of Youngs Bay. View from docks near Tide Point, along east side of Youngs Bay, looking at mouth of Youngs River. Image taken May 25, 2004.
Image, 2004, Fishing boats, Youngs Bay, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Fishing boats, Youngs Bay, Oregon. View from docks near Tide Point, along east side of Youngs Bay. Image taken May 25, 2004.
Image, 2004, Fishing nets, Youngs Bay, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Nets, Fishing boats, Youngs Bay, Oregon. View from docks near Tide Point, along east side of Youngs Bay. Image taken May 25, 2004.


"Net Pens" ...
Since 1976 Clatsop County, Oregon, has maintained a project along the Lower Columbia River, with salmon "net pens" first set up in Young Bay, and, as the project proved worthwhile, net pens were added in Blind Slough and near Tongue Point. Fingerlings were raised and then released in the Columbia River as smolts.
[More]

Image, 2005, Across Youngs Bay towards Cooks Slough, click to enlarge
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View across Youngs Bay from Tide Point. Looking towards entrance to Cook Slough. Fish-rearing pens (net pens) in the foreground. View from Tide Point along east side of Youngs Bay. Image taken April 19, 2005.


"Old" Youngs Bay Bridge ...
The original Youngs Bay Bridge, now referred to as the "old" Youngs Bay Bridge, was built in 1921, and is an example of a "double leaf bascule drawspan", designed by Conde B. McCullough. The buildings located at the bascules are the bridge operator's houses. McCullough designed many of the bridges along the Coast Highway 101, including the nearby Lewis and Clark River Bridge. Good views of the old Youngs Bay Bridge and the Lewis and Clark River Bridge can be had from Coxcomb Hill and the Astoria Column. A nice view of the old Youngs Bay Bridge can also be had from the deck of the restaurant/grocery/marina at "Tide Point".

Image, 2005, Youngs River Bridge, click to enlarge
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Old Youngs Bay Bridge, Astoria, Oregon. View from Tide Point, upstream of the old Youngs Bay Bridge. Image taken April 19, 2005.


Youngs Bay Bridge (Highway 101) ...
Youngs Bay is crossed the U.S. Route 26/101 vertical-lift highway bridge with clearances of 45 feet down and 80 feet up. The 4,200-foot-long bridge is located approximately 0.3 miles above the mouth of Youngs Bay.

Image, 2004, Youngs Bay towards Highway 101 Bridge, click to enlarge
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Looking towards mouth of Youngs Bay towards Highway 101 Bridge. Image taken May 25, 2004.
Image, 2005, Youngs Bay Bridge from Coxcomb Hill, click to enlarge
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Youngs Bay Bridge (Highway 101) as seen from Coxcomb Hill. Image taken April 19, 2005.
Image, 2005, Crossing Youngs Bay Bridge, click to enlarge
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Crossing Youngs Bay Bridge. Image taken November 15, 2005.
Image, 2003, Astoria, Oregon, and the Astoria-Megler Bridge, from U.S. Highway 101, click to enlarge
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Smith Point, Astoria, Oregon, with Astoria-Megler Bridge. View of the Astoria-Megler Bridge and Smith Point, with the eastern end of the Youngs Bay Bridge reaching Smith Point (on the right). View from car while crossing the Youngs Bay Bridge (U.S. Highway 101). Image taken August 2, 2003.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Lewis, November 29, 1805 ...
the wind being so high the party were unable to proceed with the perogues. I determined therefore to proceed down the river on it's E. [Oregon side] side in surch of an eligible place for our winters residence and accordingly set out early this morning [from their camp on the west side of the neck of Tongue Point] in the small canoe accompanyed by 5 men. drewyer R. Fields, Shannon, Colter & labiesh. proceeded along the coast.

S. 40 W. 5 m. to a point of land passing twow points one at 3 m. bearing

S 10 W. and the 2ed at 1½ further a little retreating from the 1st land high and woods thick.

S. 35 W. 2 ml. along the point [Smith Point, location of Astoria, Oregon], land still high and thickly timbered here a deep bay commences runing [Youngs Bay]

S. 40 E. 2 m. along the bay. the land more open, pass a small prarie at 1 M.

send out the hunters they killed 4 deer 2 brant a goos and seven ducks, it rained upon us by showers all day. left three of these deer and took with us one encamped [on the shores of Youngs Bay] at an old Indian hunting lodge which afforded us a tolerable shelter from the rain, which continued by intervales throughout the night.






Lewis, November 30, 1805 ...
cloudy morning set out before sun rise and continued our rout up the bey [Youngs Bay] -

S. 60 E. 1 ½ to a point. land not very high and open woods a little back from the bay

S. 80 E. 3 m. to the center of a bend passing a point at 1 m. land the <same as in last course> from the commenct. of this course

S. 35 W. 2 ½ m across the bay to a point of marshey ground which for three miles in width borders this coast-

S. 60 W 2 m. to a point of marshey ground-

S. 50 W ¾ m. to a marshey point at arm of the bay. from this point a point of highland bore

S. 25 E. 3 miles distant-

N. 80 W. 2 ½ to a marshey point passing the arm [Youngs River] of the bey [Youngs Bay] ¼ of a mile wide --- the country to the S. E. appears to be low for a great distance and is marshey and untimbered for three miles back, from this point, the eastern point or commencement of the bay [Youngs Bay] bore N. 15 E. 3 miles.-

N. 60 W. 3 miles passing an inlet [Lewis and Clark River] of 100 yds. wide at 4 m. to a point of marshey ground, here an inlet [Skipanon River] of from 40 to 60 yds. in width comes in just opposite to the upper point of a shore which we have heretofore thought and island but which I am now convinced is the main land [Point Adams]. we asscended this stream [Skipanon River] about 2 m. it's course being S. 15 E. we halted near a small cops of timbered land to which we walked and dined <after which>

Sent out three men to examin the country to the S. & W. they returned after about 2 hours and informed me that the wood was so thick and obstructed by marrasses & lakes that they were unable to proceed to the ocean which could not be at any considerable distance from the apparent sound of the waves breaking on the Coast. we now returned and asscended the inlet which we had last passd [Lewis and Clark River] no fresh appearance of Elk or deer in our rout so far. asscend the inlet as we intended about 1 m. found it became much smaller and that it did not keep it's direction to the high land which boar S. 10 W. but inclined West. therefore returned to the large arm of the bay which we passed this morning [Youngs River], here we expect to meet with the Clât-sop Indians, who have tantilized us with there being much game in their neighbourhood. this information in fact was the cause of my present resurch, for where there is most game is for us the most eliguble winter station.- continued our rout up the large arm of the bay [Youngs River and Youngs Bay] about 6 miles and encamped on the Stard. side on the highland. the water was quite sweet. therefore concluded that it must be supplyed from a large crick. at our camp it is 120 yds. wide, tho' it gets narrower above. <about 2 miles> it rained but little on us today tho' it was cloudy generally.- Wind from N. E.- saw a great abundance of fowls, brant, large geese, white brant sandhill Cranes, common blue crains, cormarants, haulks, ravens, crows, gulls and a great variety of ducks, the canvas back, duckinmallard, black and white diver, brown duck- &c &c-






Clark, December 4, 1805 ...
Some rain all the last night [the men are camped on the west side of Tongue Point],     this morning it increased with the wind from the S. E. I Set out Sergiant Pryor and 6 men to the Elk he had killed with directions to Carry the meat to a bay [Youngs Bay] which he informed me was below and as he believed at no great distance from the Elk, and I Should proceed on to that bay as Soon as the wind would lay a little and the tide went out in the evening— ...     a Spring tide to day rose 2 feet higher than Common flood tides and high water at 11 oClock— Hard wind from the South this evening, rained <hard> moderately all day and the waves too high for me to proceed in Safty to the bay as I intended, in Some part of which I expected would be convenient for us to make winter quarters, the reports of seven huntes agreeing that elke were in great abundance about the Bay below. no account of Capt. Lewis. I fear Some accident has taken place in his craft or party [Captain Lewis is out searching for a place to build their winter camp - Fort Clatsop]






Clark, December 7, 1805, first draft ...
Some rain from 10 to 12 last night this morning fair, we Set out at 8 oClock down to the place Capt Lewis pitched on for winter quarters [Fort Clatsop], when he was down proceeded on against the tide at the point No. 2 we met our men Sent down after meet

To point Adams [Point Adams] is West

To pt. Disapointment [Cape Disappointment] N 75 W

They informed me that they found the Elk after being lost in the woods for one Day and part of another, the most of the meat was Spoiled, they distance was So great and uncertain and the way bad, they brought only the Skins, york was left behind by Some accident which detained us Some time eer he Came up after passing round the pt. No. 2 in verry high swells, we Stopd & Dined in the commencement of a bay, [Youngs Bay] after which proceeded on around the bay to S E. & assended a Creek [Lewis and Clark River] 8 miles to a high pt. & Camped [near Fort Clatsop] haveing passed arm [Youngs River] makeing up to our left into the countrey

Mt. St. Helens [Mount St. Helens] is the mountain we mistook for Mt. Reeaneer [Mount Rainier, Clark mis-identified the peak on November 25, 1805, as viewed "from the mouth of this river"] ...



receved 2 Small Brooks on the East [Youngs River and the Lewis and Clark River], extencive marshes at this place of Encampment [Fort Clatsop] We propose to build & pass the winter, The situation is in the Center of as we conceve a hunting Countrey— This day is fair except about 12 oClock at which time Some rain and a hard wind imedeately after we passed the point [Smith Point, location of Astoria, Oregon] from the N. E which Continued for a about 2 hours and Cleared up. no meat ...


Clark, December 7, 1805 ...
Some rain from 10 to 12 last night, this morning fair, have every thing put on board the Canoes and Set out to the place Capt Lewis had viewed and thought well Situated for winter quarters [Fort Clatsop] - we proceeded on against the tide to a point [Smith Point, Astoria] about [blank] miles here we met Sergt Pryor and his party returning to the Camp we had left without any meat, the waves verry verry high, as much as our Canoes Could bear rendered it impossible to land for the party, we proceeded on around the point [Smith Point, Astoria] into the bay [Youngs Bay] and landed to take brackfast on 2 Deer which had been killed & hung up, one of which we found the other had been taken off by [s]ome wild animal probably Panthors or the Wild [cat?] of this Countrey ... I delayed about half an hour before York Came up, and then proceeded around this Bay which I have taken the liberty of calling Meriwethers Bay [Youngs Bay] the Cristian name of Capt. Lewis who no doubt was the 1st white man who ever Surveyed this Bay, we assended a river [Lewis and Clark River] which falls in on the South Side of this Bay [Youngs Bay] 3 miles to the first point of high land on the West Side, the place Capt. Lewis had viewed and formed in a thick groth of pine about 200 yards from the river [Fort Clatsop], this situation is on a rise about 30 feet higher than the high tides leavel and thickly Covered with lofty pine. this is certainly the most eligable Situation for our purposes of any in its neighbourhood.

Meriwethers Bay [Youngs Bay] is about 4 miles across deep & receves 2 rivers the Kil how-â-nah-kle [Youngs River] and the Ne tul [Lewis and Clark River] and Several Small Creeks - we had a hard wind from the N. E. and Some rain about 12 oClock to day which lasted 2 hours and Cleared away. From the Point above Meriwethers Bay [Smith Point, Astoria, above Youngs Bay] to Point Adams [Point Adams, Oregon] is West

to point Disapointment [Cape Disappointment] is N. 75° W."



Gass, December 7, 1805 ...
About 12 last night the rain ceased and we had a fine clear morning. We put our canoes into the water, loaded them, and started for our intended wintering place [Fort Clatsop]. We coasted down the south side about a mile, and then met with the six men, who had gone for meat. They had brought four of the skins but no meat, the distance being great and the weather very bad. The swells being too high here to land we went two miles further and took the men in. We then proceeded round the bay [Youngs Bay] until we came to the mouth of a river [Lewis and Clark River] about 100 yards broad, which we went up about 2 miles to the place fixed upon for winter quarters, [Fort Clatsop] unloaded our canoes, and carried our baggage about 200 yards to a spring, where we encamped.


Ordway, December 7, 1805 ...
the morning clear we put our canoes in the water loaded up and set out and proceeded on down the River. the Shore is covred thick with pine and under brush. passd. Several Spring runs. the waves ran verry high. we could not land untill we turned a point [Smith Point, location of Astoria, Oregon] in a bay [Youngs Bay] where we halted and cooked a young Deer which the hunters had killed the other day. ...     we proceed. on round a bay [Youngs Bay] then went up a River [Lewis and Clark River] abt. 3 miles and landed at the place appointed for winters quarters [Fort Clatsop]. this River [Lewis and Clark River] is about 100 yds wide at this place but the tide water extends further up. we unloaded the canoes and carried all our baggage about 2 hundred yards on a rise of ground and thicket of handsom tall Strait pine and balsom fir timber and Camped here we intend to build a fort and Stay if game is to be found thro. this winter Season.—


Whitehouse, December 7, 1805 ...
This morning clear & cold, We put our Canoes into the River & loaded them. We set off to go to the place appointed for our Winter Quarters [Fort Clatsop] & proceeded down along the Coast. We passed a number of fine Springs or Spring runs, which came in along the Shore. The Country was covered with pine Trees & under brush.— The wind rose, & the wind caused the Waves to rise also. We saw our 6 Men, who had been for the Elk meat, on the Shore. The Waves ran so high, that we could not land where they were, and had to turn a point of land [Smith Point, Astoria, Oregon], to make a harbour; the 6 Men joined us at this place. ...     We set off, the Waves running very high.— Captain Clarks negroe Man servant, not having come up, with the Men whom he had went out with, he waited with his Canoe for him. We proceeded on to a deep bay [Youngs Bay] about 8 Miles, & went up <the> a River, [Lewis and Clark River] which was about 100 yards wide. We then unloaded our Canoes & carried all our baggage, about 200 yards to piece a rising ground in a thicket of tall pine Trees; where we intend building Cabbins, & stay if Game is to be had through the Winter season




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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: NOAA Nautical Charts, U.S. Coast Pilot for the Columbia, Willamette, and Snake River, adapted from the U.S. Coast Pilot 7, 31st Edition; NOAA Office of Coast Survey website, 2004, 2005; Oregon Department of Transportation website, 2006; Washington State Historical Society website, 2004, "Lasting Legacy".

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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October 2012