Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Chenoweth Creek, Oregon"
Includes ... Chenowith Creek ... Crates Point ... Oregon Trail ...
Image, 2013, Chenoweth Creek, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Sign, Chenoweth Creek, The Dalles, Oregon. Image taken May 8, 2013.


Chenoweth Creek ...
Chenoweth Creek rises in the hills west of The Dalles and merges with the Columbia River at Columbia River Mile (RM) 187, approximately two miles southeast of Crates Point. Upstream of Chenoweth Creek is Rock Fort, Mill Creek, and The Dalles. Downstream is Crates Point and Squally Point.

Lewis and Clark and Chenoweth Creek ...
In his draft of October 28, 1805 Captain Clark wrote "passed the mouth of a Small Creek". This is today's Chenoweth Creek. The creek is shown on the route map (Moulton, vol.1, #78). The creek is not named.

Early Chenoweth Creek ...
Chenoweth Creek was named for Justin Chenoweth, an Oregon pioneer who was born in Illinois and headed west in 1849.

In the early years of the Oregon Trail, pioneers would use the quiet harbor at the mouth of Chenoweth Creek as their embarking area for their final journey down the Columbia River. The rested their stock as they built rafts. Beginning in 1846 the Oregon Trail pioneers had the option of using the Barlow Road around the south side of Mount Hood and the stopping place at Chenoweth Creek became less important.

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

"Chenoweth Creek (WASCO) ... Chenoweth Creek rises in the hills west of The Dalles, and after flowing across Chenoweth Flat reaches the Columbia River southeast of Crates Point. This stream was named for Justin Chenoweth, who was a prominent pioneer of Oregon. ... He settled on a claim west of The Dalles and carried the mail between The Dalles and the Cascades in a small boat. He was actively engaged in surveying public lands, both as a private surveyor and as United States surveyor at the Vancouver land office. His cousin, Francis A. Chenoweth, was one of the promoters of the tramway at the Cascades, and it is a family tradition that Justin surveyed the line. He left The Dalles about 1866. He died in Portland March 16, 1898. ... Nathan Olney owned a store near Crates Point before Chenoweth settled there, and Chenoweth Creek was then known as Olney Creek, but that name did not persist. The name of the geographic feature near The Dalles is frequently spelled Chenowith, but the USBGN has officiallly adopted the form Chenoweth. Dr. William C. McKay was authority for the statement that the Wasco name for the locality of Chenoweth Creek was Thlemit, which means a caving or washing away of the banks."

In 1867 Justin Chenoweth was granted a Donation Land Claim of 320.77 acres west of The Dalles in T2N R13E, parts of Sections 19, 20, 29, and 30 (1850 Oregon-Donation Act).

In 1915 the U.S. Board of Geographic Names made "Chenoweth Creek" the official spelling over "Chenowith Creek". An even earlier name for the creek was "Olney Creek", after Nathan Olney who owned a store near Crates Point before Justin Chenoweth arrived.


Views ...

Image, 2013, Chenoweth Creek, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Chenoweth Creek looking downstream, The Dalles, Oregon. Image taken May 8, 2013.


Chenoweth Creek, etc.

  • Historic Columbia River Highway ...
  • Oregon Trail and Chenoweth Creek ...


Historic Columbia River Highway ...
Chenoweth Creek Brdige marks the eastern end of the Columbia River Highway Historic District.

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

  • HMP 88.0 ... Chenoweth Creek Bridge (1920)
  • HMP 88.4 ... The Dalles

  • Chenoweth Creek Bridge (1920):   "This bridge is a 60-foot reinforced-concrete deck girder span consisting of three 20-foot multi-beam spans. Its original reinforced-concrete parapet rails have been replaced with steel "W" rail. Chenoweth Creek Bridge marks the eastern end of the CRH Historic District." [National Historic Landmark Nomination Form, 1996]

    "This reinforced concrete bridge is 60 feet long and consist of three 20-foot multi-beam spans. ...   The bridge is near The Dalles city limits and is the eastern terminus of the historic district." [National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, 1983]



The Oregon Trail and Chenoweth Creek ...
Early Oregon Trail pioneers used the protected harbor at the mouth of Chenoweth Creek as a embarking area for the 83-mile journey down the Columbia River to Fort Vancouver.
[More]

"... The last of the emigrants had just left the Dalles at the time of our arrival, traveling some by water and others by land, making ark-like rafts, on which they had embarked their families and households, with their large wagons and other furniture, while their stock were driven along the shore. ..." [John C. Fremont, November 6, 1843]

"At Crates Point, a protected harbor at the mouth of Chenoweth Creek, the Oregon Trail pioneers put into the river. John McLoughlin, despite orders from his superiors, sent bateaux and food here to assist (and occasionally rescue) weary emigrants. Nearby were many pine trees to cut for building immense rafts that could hold up to six wagons. Writing in 1843, explorer John C. Fremont described them as "ark-like rafts, on which they had embarked their families and households, with their large wagons and other furniture, while their stock were driven along the shore.""


Source:    Oregon-California Trails Association website, 2011, "The Dalles, Oregon, End of the Old Oregon Trail".

Image, 2013, Chenoweth Creek, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Chenoweth Creek drainage, The Dalles, Oregon. View looking west at the Chenoweth Creek drainage (trees), approximately 1/2 mile from the mouth of Chenoweth Creek. Image taken May 8, 2013.
Image, 2013, Chenoweth Creek, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Flat area west side of the Chenoweth Creek drainage, looking towards the Columbia River. View approximately 1/2 mile from the mouth of Chenoweth Creek. Image taken May 8, 2013.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 28, 1805, first draft ...
a windey morning loaded our Canoes and Set out at 9 oClock a m ...     Wind from West

N. 50 W. 2 miles Cove in a Lard. bend Clift of rocks on each Side of 90 feet high, fiew pine

N. 10 W. 2 miles to an Indian village of the Chee-luck-it-te-quar nation of 8 houses in the form of those above, passed the mouth of a Small Creek [Chenoweth Creek]

... the wind rose and we were obliged to lie by about 1 mile below on the Lard. Side

North 1 mile to a rock Island on the Stard. Side. we had not landed long eer an Indian Canoe Came from below with 3 Indians in it, those Indians make verry nice Canoes of Pine. Thin with aporns & Carve on the head imitation of animals & other heads; ...     rained all the evenig & blew hard from the West encamped on the Lard Side opsd. an Rock in a verry Bad place [today's Rocky Island]



Clark, October 28, 1805 ...




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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:
  • McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, "Oregon Geographic Names", Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland;
  • U.S. Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office (GLO) Records database, 2005, 2006;
  • U.S. Geological Survey's Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) database, 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.
/Regions/Places/chenoweth_creek.html
May 2013