Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Council Crest, Oregon"
Includes ... Council Crest ... Council Crest Amusement Park ... "Dreamland of the Northwest" ... "Big Tree Observatory" ... Lewis and Clark 1905 Exposition ... Tualatin Mountains ... Portland West Hills ...
Penny Postcard, Council Crest, Portland, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Council Crest, Portland, Oregon. Penny Postcard, Divided Back (1907-1915), "Council Crest, the Dreamland of Portland, Oregon". Copyright - 1911 - J. Weinstein, 9-2-11. Postmarked April 29, 1912. Published by the Portland Post Card Co., Portland, Oregon. Card #A-1252. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Caption on back: "Council Crest is 1200 feet above the City. All the Mountains surrounding Portland can be seen from this Point. Tourists will find this one of the most pleasant spots of recreation."

Council Crest ...
Council Crest, at 1,073 feet, is the high point of the Tualatin Mountains and overlooks the location of the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition. From 1907 until 1929, Council Crest was once the home of an amusement park. Today it is a Portland, Oregon, city park. The Columbia River and five different Cascade Range volcanoes can be seen from the top.

Council Crest Amusement Park ...
One of the enjoyments of the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition was a "Big Tree Observatory" built on the top of Council Crest.

From "PDXHistory.com" website (2011):

"In 1905, a huge tree was hollowed out and placed at the top of Council Crest. The Lewis & Clark Elevator went to the top of the tree to an Observation Tower. The Big Tree was so popular that an amusement park was built and The Dreamland of the Northwest, opened on Memorial Day in 1907. Council Crest’s dance hall at the “Top of the Town” was the hottest place to go on a Summer evening. There was a Scenic Railway (roller coaster) and the Columbia River Water Log Ride, which encircled the park. Just as the nation was heading into the great Depression, the park closed on Labor Day 1929 after several seasons of falling revenues. ..."

Council Crest Park ...
The City of Portland acquired the property of the former Council Crest Amusement Park in 1937, tore down the third wooden observation tower in 1941, and replaced it with a 500,000 gallon water pipe. During the ensuing years various observation platforms, walks, landscaping, and improvements were made. Unfortunately the story of the hill being an Indian council spot was carved into stone in the park and spreads the false legend of how the hill got its name.

Early Council Crest ...
Council Crest has had different names throughout Portland's history, including Talbot Mountain, Glass Hill, and Fairmont, until being named Council Crest in 1898, when a group of delegates to the Triennial National Council of Congregational Churches ascended to the top of the hill. They elected to call the hill "Council Crest" in honor of the conference then being held in Portland. According to McArthur and McArthur in Oregon Geographic Names" (2003):

"... On July 11, 1898, a group of the delegates to the Triennial National Council of Congregational Churches, then meeting in Portland, journeyed to the top of this hill. Some discussion was had concerning a good name for it. Dr. Leavitt H. Hallock, pastor of the 2nd Congregational Church of Portland, Maine, suggested Council Crest in honor of the conference. This name was at once approved by George H. Himes, who was present. Himes later asserted the name was applied because the group was convinced that Indians had met for councils on the summit. There is no historic record of any such activity, and if Indians used the crest as a meeting place and signal station becuase of its wide outlooke they couldn't have seen much, as the hill was heavily forested before settlement by Talbot. ..."

Council Crest originally was part of the John B. Talbot donation land claim, and subsequently owned by C.A. Beal, James Steel, and Graham Glass, Sr.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office (GLO) Records database (2011) shows title for 640 acres being granted to John B. Talbot and Sara Ann Talbot on July 24, 1873, for parts of T15N, R1E, Sections 8 and 9, under the 1850 Oregon-Donation Act.

Views ...

Penny Postcard, Council Crest, Portland, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Council Crest, Portland, Oregon, with Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams, and Mount Hood. Penny Postcard, Divided Back (1907-1915), "Council Crest". Published by Council Crest Company, Portland, Oregon. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.

"The Golden Age of Postcards" ...

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

From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, April 2, 1806 ...

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

  • McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, "Oregon Geographic Names", Oregon Historical Society Press;
  • "PDXHistory.com" website, 2011;
  • U.S. Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office (GLO) Records database, 2011;

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.
September 2016