Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Fort Canby, Washington"
Includes ... Fort Canby ... Fort Canby State Park ... Battery 247 ... Cape Disappointment ... Cape Disappointment State Park ...
Image, 2004, Cape Disappointment State Park, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cape Disappointment State Park, formerly Fort Canby State Park. Image taken April 9, 2004.

Fort Canby ...
In 1862 Cape Disappointment was armed with smoothbore cannons to protect the mouth of the Columbia River from enemies. It was generally known as "Fort Cape Disappointment". In 1865 Fort Stevens, complete with a moat and drawbridge, was established across the Columbia on the Oregon side of the Columbia. For the next ten years these two forts protected the mouth of the Columbia.

In 1875 "Fort Cape Disappointment" was improved and became Fort Canby. Fort Canby was named after General Edward Canby, who was killed in the Modoc Indian War.

According to Jon Schmidt, an interpretive specialist at Cape Disappointment State Park, January 2008:

"... When the U.S. military constructed 22 cannons around the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse during the Civil War, the fort was unofficially known as "Fort Cape Disappointment". It wasn't until 1874 (86 years after Meares' disappointment) that the cape was given the label, "Fort Canby." The secretary of state officially renamed the fort to honor General Edward Canby, who was assassinated druing the Modoc Indian Wars. The moniker Fort Canby was to stay with the landscape for the next 129 years. Even when the fort was closed after World War II, the state park that took its place continued the military name. ..."

"... Then the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial arrived, and at the same time, a major "master plan." The Washington State Parks Commission determined to honor the older history of the cape, and once again renamed the headland Cape Disappointment. ..."

In 1896 Fort Columbia was built and in 1897 Fort Stevens was improved. The mouth of the Columbia River was now protected with three forts.

From Larry J. Weathers in The Sou'wester (1989, Pacific County Historical Society and Museum):

"... FORT CANBY: A deactivated military fort on Cape Disappointment overlooking Baker Bay / Columbia River. An Executive Order, dated February 26, 1852, reserved Cape Disappointment for military purposes. Cape Disappointment Lighthouse was placed in operation October 15, 1856, but construction of a post and fortifications were delayed until August 1863. The fort was not activated until April 15, 1864. For a number of years after its establishment the fort was generally known as "Fort Cape Disappointment". Finally, on February 13, 1875, the government designated the post "Fort Canby" in honor of Brevet Major General Edward Richard Sprigg Canby, who had been killed by the Modoc Indians, April 11, 1873. A post office was established June 30, 1890 and continued until January 31, 1923, when it was closed. Fort Canby was deactivated on March 28, 1947. ..."

Battery 247 ...
Battery 247, in operation between 1943 and 1947, was located on the top of McKenzie Head at Fort Canby. Battery 247 was one of three Batteries surrounding the mouth of the Columbia River. Battery 245 was located at Fort Stevens, Oregon, and Battery 246 was located at Fort Columbia, located at Chinook Point, Washington.

Cape Disappointment State Park ...
Fort Canby State Park ...
Cape Disappointment State Park -- formerly Fort Canby State Park -- is a 1,882-acre camping park, offering 27 miles of ocean beach, two lighthouses, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, and many hiking trails.

"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, November 18, 1805

Journey to the PacificReturn 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

  • Schmidt, J. (interpretive specialist, Cape Disappointment State Park), 2008, "Park Happenings: "Where's Fort Canby?, IN: "Coastweekend", Arts & Entertainment, online, January 15, 2008;
  • Weathers, L.J., 1989, IN: The Sou'wester, 1989, Pacific County Historical Society and Museum;

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 2008