Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Grant, Oregon"
Includes ... Grant ... Rufus ... Great Flood of 1894 ...
Image, 1897 Railroad Map, Lyle to Rufus, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
HISTORICAL MAP, 1897, "Post Route Map of the State of Washington", showing the Columbia River from Lyle, Washington, to Rufus, Oregon. The now-gone community of Grant was located between Biggs, Oregon, and Rufus. Original Map courtesy Washington State Libraries, 2006.

Grant ...
Grant, Oregon, is located at Columbia River Mile (RM) 211, two miles downstream of Rufus, Oregon and three miles upstream of Biggs. Grant was wiped out during the "Great Flood of 1894".

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

"Grant (SHERMAN) ... Grant was a station on the railroad in the north part of Sherman County. A post office named Villard was established here on May 19, 1880, about the time railroad construction began. The name was changed to Grant on April 9, 1883, and the office was discontinued in 1908. Villard was in honor of Henry Villard, the great railroad man. The later name, Grant, was for William Grant of The Dalles. In 1883, the community was burned. The town site was platted in November 1883 by William Murray and W. Lair Hill. The Columbia River flood in 1894 practically wiped out the town, and citizens were forced to seek hillsides for safety."

Flood of 1894 ...
At Grant.

"Sheriff E. M. Leslie, of Sherman county, states that the entire population of Grant had been forced to remove from the town, and that a number of buildings had been washed away. Smith's store, Hale & Slade's livery stable and a number of dwelling houses have gone. The distillery remains, but is said to be badly damaged. The machine shop of Mackenzie & Sons was strongly braced, but the force of the current was so great as to almost wreck the building, though the braces held it in position. Almost all the railroad track between Grant and Arlington is reported to be destroyed, and nearly all the poles of the Western Union telegraph line are down and the whole line wrecked. The fisheries have been suffering constantly. In addition to begin forced to desist from fishing, the greater part of the wheels here have been washed away. There are now but two or three stationary wheels left."

Source:    "The Daily Astorian", June 12, 1894, courtesy Historic Oregon Newspapers Archives, Unviversity of Oregon Libraries, 2016.


Grant History ...

"This is the name of a postoffice on the line of the Oregon Railroad & Navigation Company, in the northern portion of Sherman county, and on the Columbia river 23 miles east of The Dalles. The railway station is called, however, Grant's, Grant, or Grant's, is the remnant of a once most prosperous village. "Grant's station" came into existence with the building of the Oregon Railroad & Navigation Company's line, and for several years was an important shipping point, freight being distributed from this place throughout a large territory. Alluding to this point November 30, 1880, The Dalles Times said:

"Grant's Station -- This is the name of a side track about seven miles beyond Celilo, where freight is discharged for Columbis whence it is ferried over the river. At present there are no buildings at this place, but it being contiguous to the large tract of country beyond the Des Chutes, it is not presumptuous to think presumptous to think that a small town will be started here at an early day."

In the spring of 1881 a town began to evolve at "Grant's Landing." J.W. Fox opened a general merchandise store in March, and here John McDonald conducted a blacksmith shop. But there is an anterior history of Grant's. With the construction of a railway and the construction of a town, a postoffice was established and given the name of Villard in honor of the builder of the Oregon Railroad & Navigation Company's line, Henry Villard. The name of this office was subsequently changed to Grant, while the station still retains its original name of Grant's. When the townsite was platted, in 1883, it was named Grant. It is undeniably true that the growth of "Villard" for a period was rapid, and within a year or two after the founding of the town quite a little city appeared, and the amount of buisness, especially traffic, was considerable. ...

[Fire burns the town, June 18, 1883, section not included here]

Grant remained the shipping point for a large scope of the country, but did not improve greatly during the '80s. ...

In 1894 Grant was visited by a destructive flood. Vast volumes of water washed through the town and citizens were forced to seek the hillsides for personal safety. September 7th the Antelope Herald said: "The old station house is still standing on one end, and like two-thirds of the other standing buildings at that place, is in a sorrowful looking condition. We would never have recognized the location of Grant had we not known that it was really the place. There are a few houses yet standing, but they are located amongst sand dunes, near deep washouts, and outside of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, it is the most dilapidated place we have ever seen."

From the effects of this flood the town never recovered. The construction of the Columbia Southern Railway into the interior of the county sounded its death knell; the only tangible excuse for Grant's existence had been its advantage as a practical shipping point for the interior."

Source:    State of Oregon, 1905, "An Illustrated History of Central Oregon: Embracing Wasco, Sherman, Gilliam, Wheeler, Crook, Lake, and Klamath Counties".

From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 22, 1805 ...

columbia_plateauReturn 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

  • Historic Oregon Newspapers Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2016;
  • McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, "Oregon Geographic Names", Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland;
  • State of Oregon, 1905, "An Illustrated History of Central Oregon: Embracing Wasco, Sherman, Gilliam, Wheeler, Crook, Lake, and Klamath Counties";

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.
November 2016