Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Latourell Falls and Latourell Creek, Oregon"
Includes ... Latourell Falls ... Latourell Creek ... Latourell Falls Chalet ... Latourell Falls Villa ... Maffett's Villa ... Guy W. Talbot State Park ... George W. Joseph State Natural Area ...
Image, 2009, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Latourell Falls, Oregon. Image taken March 22, 2009.


Latourell Falls ...
Latourell Falls plunges 249 feet, and is one of many falls in the Columbia River Gorge located off the Historic Columbia River Highway, in Oregon's Guy W. Talbot State Park. The falls is on Latourell Creek and was named after Joseph Latourell, a prominent Columbia River Gorge settler.

Latourell Falls is located at Columbia River Mile (RM) 130, approximately one mile downstream of Shepperds Dell and one mile upstream of Crown Point and Rooster Rock. Multnomah Falls is located another 6 miles upsteam. The area is downstream of Bridal Veil and the Pillars of Hercules. Across the Columbia on the Washington side is Cape Horn.

In 1911 Guy W. Talbot of Portland bought property which included Latourell Falls. In 1929 Talbot donated 220 acres of property to the State of Oregon. This became Guy W. Talbot State Park.


Latourell ...
Latourell is the small Oregon community which developed along the lower Latourell Creek, downstream of Latourell Falls.
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Latourell Creek ...
Latourell Creek reaches the flats of Rooster Rock State Park where it merges with Young Creek, flowing out of the Shepperd's Dell area. The two streams flow westward through Rooster Rock State Park to form Mirror Lake at the base of Crown Point. Mirror Lake then drains into the Columbia River at RM 129, at the boat dock at Rooster Rock.

Image, 2013, Latourell Creek, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Latourell Creek, looking downstream, as seen from the Historic Columbia River Highway. Image taken March 3, 2013.
Image, 2013, Latourell Creek, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Latourell Creek, looking upstream, as seen from the Historic Columbia River Highway. Image taken March 3, 2013.
Image, 2014, Latourell, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Latourell Creek looking downstream, as seen from Latourell Road, Latourell, Oregon. Image taken June 30, 2014.
Image, 2004, Rooster Rock State Park and Young Creek, click to enlarge
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Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon, and Young and Latourell Creeks. From Crown Point looking upstream at Rooster Rock State Park. Young Creek and Latourell Creek meander through the right side of the image, divided by a row of trees. The two creeks merge and form Mirror Lake (not visible in this image) at the base of Crown Point. The waters then enter the Columbia River at Rooster Rock. Image taken October 10, 2004.


Early Latourell Falls and Latourell Creek ...
"Latourell Falls" was the original Post Office name of the small community located near Latourell Falls. While the Latourell Falls were located on the property of Guy Talbot, Latourell Creek wound its way downslope to the floodplain of the Columbia River. Joseph Latourell was an early pioneer who settled on this floodplain and established a thriving community there.
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Various spellings of Latourell Creek have existed over the years including "Latourelle Creek", "Latourelle Falls Creek", and "Laxourell Creek". The creek has also been referred to just as "Falls Creek". The official listing is "Latourell Creek".

The U.S. Board of Geographic Names made "Latourell Falls" the official spelling in 1915. Another spelling in use was "Latourelle Falls".


Penny Postcard, Latourell Falls
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Penny Postcard: Latourell Falls, Oregon.
Penny Postcard, "Latourelle Falls, Banks of the Columbia River.". Date written on back: May 27, 1909. Published by Portland Post Card Co., Portland, Ore., and Seattle, Wash. Printed in Germany. Card No.7062. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Latourell Falls
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Penny Postcard: Latourell Falls, Oregon.
Penny Postcard, "Latourell Falls. A Sheer Drop of 225 feet. Visible from the Columbia River Highway, Oregon.". Copyright Cross & Dimmitt. Angelus Commercial Studio, Portland, Oregon. Card #16. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.


Latourell(e) Falls in 1940 ...
From the Oregon State Archives "A 1940 Journey Across Oregon":

"... LATOURELLE FALLS, 164.9 m., take a sheer drop of 224 feet into a pool at the base of an overhanging cliff. LATOURELLE BRIDGE was so placed as to give the best view of the falling waters. ..."


Views ...

Image, 2017, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Latourell Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon. Image taken June 12, 2017.
Image, 2013, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Latourell Falls as seen from the Historic Columbia River Highway, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon. Image taken March 3, 2013.
Image, 2013, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Latourell Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon. Image taken March 3, 2013.
Image, 2004, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Latourell Falls, Oregon. Image taken June 27, 2004.
Image, 2005, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Latourell Falls, Oregon. Image taken August 27, 2005.


Latourell Falls, etc.

  • George W. Joseph State Natural Area ...
  • Guy W. Talbot State Park ...
  • Historic Columbia River Highway ...
  • Latourell Roadhouses ...
    • Latourell Falls Chalet ..
    • Maffett's Villa ("Latourell Villa", "Falls Villa") ...
  • "Talbot Footbridge" ...


George W. Joseph State Natural Area ...
In 1934, the heirs of George W. Joseph, gave the State of Oregon property for a park on the upper part of Latourell Creek, a spot today known as the George W. Joseph State Natural Area. Access to the area is the trail from the parking area at Guy W. Talbot State Park. A trail leads to the top of Latourell Falls. Beyond this point the State Natural Area begins. The trail continues to Upper Latourell Falls.
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Guy W. Talbot State Park ...
Guy Webster Talbot and his family used the area of Latourell Falls as a summer estate until early 1929 when they donated 220 acres to the state of Oregon. Today, this property is the Guy W. Talbot State Park, a beautiful picnic park with a modern picnic shelter, a gently sloping grassy hill dotted with Port Orford cedars, Douglas firs, alders and maples, and a trailhead underneath the Historic Columbia River Highway Bridge to Latourell Falls.
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Images, 2013, Guy W. Talbot State Park at Latourell, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Sign, Guy W. Talbot State Park at Latourell Falls, Oregon, looking east. Image taken March 3, 2013.


Historic Columbia River Highway ...
The Historic Columbia River Highway crosses Latourell Creek just west of Latourell Falls.

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

  • HMP 26.1 ... Latourell Creek Bridge, Masonry Retaining Walls, Trails, and Falls Overlook (1914)

  • Latourell Creek Bridge (1914):   "This bridge consists of three 80-foot reinforced-concrete braced-spandrel deck arches. Total length, including approaches, is 316 feet. It has a 17-foot-wide road deck and 3-foot sidewalks. Cap-and-spindle railings here represent a member of the family of railing types found on CRH structures." [National Historic Landmark Nomination Form, 1996]

    "The structure is a three-span reinforced concrete deck arch, each rib arch being 80 feet. The total length is 316 feet including approaches. ...   The bridge is located in Guy W. Talbot State Park and was designed to obtain the best view of Latourell Falls, south of the bridge." [National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, 1983]

  • Masonry Retaining Walls, Trails, and Falls Overlook (1914):   "Masonry retaining walls similar to those seen along the CRH mark the borders of trails leading to Latourell Falls from the historic highway." [National Historic Landmark Nomination Form, 1996]

Penny Postcard, Columbia River Highway at Latourell Falls
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Penny Postcard: Columbia River Highway at Latourell Falls.
Penny Postcard, Divided Back, "Columbia River Highway at Latourelle Bridge, Ore.". Published by The Oregon News Co., Portland, Ore. Card #23. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Caption on back reads: "At this point the tourist gets his first view of the many falls that are found along this wonderful drive."
Image, 2017, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Sign, Historic Columbia River Highway at Latourell Falls, Oregon. Image taken June 12, 2017.
Image, 2009, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Historic Columbia River Highway at Latourell Falls, Oregon. Image taken March 22, 2009.
Image, 2009, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Historic Columbia River Highway Bridge at Latourell Falls, Oregon. Image taken March 22, 2009.
Image, 2009, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Historic Columbia River Highway Bridge at Latourell Falls, Oregon. Image taken March 22, 2009.
Image, 2009, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Historic Columbia River Highway Bridge at Latourell Falls, Oregon. Image taken March 22, 2009.


Latourell Falls Roadhouses ...
Two roadhouses existed along the Historic Columbia River Highway at Latourell Falls. Latourell Falls Chalet was built on the south side of the Columbia River Highway and, after it burned, Maffett's Villa was built on the north side of the Highway. Today this area is part of the Guy W. Talbot State Park.
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"... Upon completion of the highway, commercial development started immdiately. The Maffet family owned the land along Falls Creek below the falls, where the new highway bridge spanned the creek. In 1914, Margaret Henderson, who had earlier hosted at the Chanticleer Inn, built, in association with Harold Maffet, the Falls Chalet on the hillside above the highway bridge. In January, 1915, after operating only six months, the Falls Chalet burned, a temporary set back for Henderson. However, the loss did not dash her entrepeneurial spirit as she quickly found another location above Crown Point to start anew. After the fire, her "silent" parner, Harold Maffet, built his Falls Villa on the north side of the highway at the east end of the bridge. Maffet's Falls Villa opened in June, 1915, only five months after fire destroyed the Chalet. Maffet remodeled and made extensive additions to the Villa in 1923. In the late '20s, Harold Maffet and George Joseph took a "giant," a gravity-fed water cannon, to blast away the hillside across the highway to give Villa patrons a better view of Latourell Falls. A subsequent owner added a gift shop on the south side of the highway. Another commercial development included a garage and service station built near the west entry to the town of Latourell. The new highway provided Latourell residents with a route to reach other communities more easily. Consequently, when Henry Shoults' grocery store in Latourell burned in November, 1916, he did not rebuild. ..."


Source:    Clarence E. Mershon, 2006, "The Columbia River Highway, From the Sea to the Wheat Fields of Eastern Oregon, 1913-1928", Guardian Peaks Enterprises, p.113-115.

Images, 2013, Guy W. Talbot State Park at Latourell, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Guy W. Talbot State Park at Latourell Falls, Oregon, looking east. Image taken March 3, 2013.

Maffett's Villa was located on the left in this image and the Falls Chalet was located on the hill on the right in this image. Today this area is part of the Guy W. Talbot State Park.
Images, 2013, Info sign, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Roadhouse information sign, Latourell Falls, Oregon. Image taken March 3, 2013.


Talbot Footbridge ...
[More]

Penny Postcard, Footbridge, Latourell Falls
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Penny Postcard: Foot Bridge across Columbia River Highway, at Latourell Falls.
Penny Postcard, Divided Back, "Foot Bridge Over Highway Near Latourelle Falls.". Image copyright Weister Co. Chas. S. Lipschuetz Company, Portland, Oregon. Card #358. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Caption on back reads: "Artistic Foot Bridge. Over the Columbia River Highway near Latourelle Falls connecting the two parts of a country estate through which the right of way of the Highway runs. Care has been taken in this, as in all other matters connected with the highway, to preserve artistic walues.".
Image, 2014, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
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North support, Talbot footbridge, Guy W. Talbot State Park, Latourell Falls, Oregon. Image taken June 30, 2014.
Image, 2014, Latourell Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Looking east along the Historic Columbia River Highway, with the Talbot footbridge supports, Latourell Falls, Oregon. Image taken June 30, 2014.


"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 is a snapshot of history.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 2, 1805 ...




Columbia River GorgeReturn to
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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 State Historical Society Press, Portland;
  • Mershon, C.E., 2006, "The Columbia River Highway, From the Sea to the Wheat Fields of Eastern Oregon, 1913-1928", Guardian Peaks Enterprises, p.113-115.
  • Oregon State Parks and Recreation website, 2004;
  • "PDXHistory.com" website, 2006;
  • Riddell, H.H., 1914, "The Columbia River Highway": IN: Mazama, December 1914, vol.IV, no.3.;
  • "Rootsweb.com" website, 2005;
  • University of Oregon Libraries Columbia River Basin Digital Collection, 2013, "Official Columbia Highway Tour", 1916, Published by The Scenic Tours Company, Portland, Oregon;
  • U.S. Bureau of Land Management General Land Office (GLO) Records database, 2007;
  • U.S. Forest Service website, 2004, 2014, "Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area";
  • U.S. Geological Survey Georgraphic Names Information System (GNIS) database, 2007;
  • Waterfalls of the Pacific Northwest website, 2005;


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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April 2014