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The Volcanoes of
Lewis and Clark
April 9, 1806
Columbia River Gorge - Shepperd's Dell to Bonneville
 
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The Volcanoes of Lewis and Clark

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October 1805 to June 1806

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The Journey of Lewis and Clark

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PREVIOUS

April 6-8
Columbia River Gorge, Cottonwood Beach Camp to Shepperd's Dell
April 9

Columbia River Gorge,
Shepperd's Dell to Bonneville

Cape Horn, Multnomah Falls, Lava Flows and Gorge Waterfalls, Beacon Rock and Beacon Rock State Park, Hamilton Island, Bradford Island, Bonneville Dam
CONTINUE

April 10-11
Columbia River Gorge, Bonneville Vicinity
 

On October 7, 1805, Lewis and Clark and the "Corps of Discovery" began their journey down the Clearwater River and into the volcanics of the Pacific Northwest. The Corps travelled from the Clearwater to the Snake and down the "Great Columbia", finally reaching the Pacific Ocean on November 15, 1805. Along the journey they encountered the lava flows of the Columbia Plateau, river channels carved by the great "Missoula Floods", and the awesome beauty of five Cascade Range volcanoes.

Map, Lewis and Clark in the Pacific Northwest, click for brief
                         summary
[Click map for brief summary about the area]


 
Heading for Home - April 1806
Columbia River Gorge - Shepperd's Dell to Bonneville
 

Lewis and Clarks camp from April 6 through April 8, 1806, was in the area of today's Shepperd's Dell State Park, Oregon.

Wednesday, April 9, 1806
The wind having moderated, we reloaded the canoes, and set out by seven o'clock. We stopped to take up two hunters who had left us yesterday, but were unsuccessful in the chase, and then proceeded to the Wahclellah village, situated on the north side of the river, about a mile below Beacon rock. [Beacon Rock] During the whole of the route from our camp, we passed along under high, steep, and rocky sides of the mountains, which now close on each side of the river, forming stupendous precipices [Cape Horn is on the Washington side], covered with the fir and white cedar.


Along the Journey - April 9, 1806
Cape Horn, Washington, 2003

Cape Horn:
Flows of Grande Ronde Basalt of the Columbia River Basalt Group form the steep cliffs of Cape Horn, with Troutdale formation gravels capping the basalt unconformably. The gravels in turn are overlain by lavas of the small Mount Zion olivine basalt shield, of the Boring Lava Field. -- Norman and Roloff, 2004, Washington State DNR Open-File Report 2004-7.


Map, 1854, Columbia River, Fort Vancouver area, click to enlarge Map, 1911 USGS topo map of the Rooster Rock - Phoca Rock area, click to enlarge Map, 1985, Cape Horn and Phoca Rock, click to enlarge Image, 1867, Cape Horn near Celilo, click to enlarge Image, ca.1879-1909, Cape Horn, click to enlarge Stereo Image, 1867, Cape Horn, click to enlarge Stereo Image, 1867, Cape Horn from upstream, click to enlarge Penny Postcard, ca.1920, Steamer passing Cape Horn, click to enlarge Image, 2003, Cape Horn, Washington, as seen from Dalton Point, Oregon
  1. 1853-54 Map, Columbia River, including the Fort Vancouver area (section of original). (Click to enlarge). Includes Longview, Washington (Monticello), Coweeman River (Minter R.), Kalama River (Ca-la-ma R.), Lewis River (Cath-la-pootle R.), Willamette River, Fort Vancouver, Cape Horn, and "The Cascades". Vancouver Lake is depicted but not labeled. Original Map: "Rocky Mountains to Puget Sound : from explorations and surveys / made under the direction of the Hon. Jefferson Davis, Secretary of War by Isaac I. Stevens Governor of Washington Territory, 1853-4." Inset: (Supplementary sketch) Reconnaissance of the railroad route from Wallawalla to Seattle via Yak-e-mah River & Snoqualmie Pass. By A. W. Tinkham in January 1854. Drawn by J. R. P. Mechlin. 20 x 28 cm. Topographer, John Lambert, Published in Washington D.C., 1859, 1:1,200,000, Notes: From the U.S. War Department, Explorations and Surveys for a Railroad Route from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, Topographical Maps, to Illustrate the Various Reports, U.S. Library of Congress American Memories Reference "LC Railroad Maps #156". -- U.S. Library of Congress, American Memories Website, 2004
  2. 1911 Map (section of original), from Mount Hood and Vicinity 1:125,000 topographic quadrangle. (Click to enlarge). Cape Horn is on the Washington side of the Columbia, just below Mount Zion. Original map surveyed in 1907 and 1909-1911, contour interval of 100 feet. -- University of Washington Library Collections Website, 2002
  3. 1985 Map (section of original), Cape Horn and Phoca Rock. (Click to enlarge). Office of Coast Surveys, Historical Maps and Charts, Columbia River, Vancouver to Bonneville, 1985, Chart#18531, 1:40,000. -- NOAA Office of Coast Survey Website, 2004
  4. 1879-1909, Cape Horn on the Columbia River. (Click to enlarge). Pictured is a scene in the region served by the Oregon Railway & Navigation Company between 1879 and 1909. Photograph Date: 1879-1909. Oregon State Archives, Salem Public Library Collections. -- Oregon State Archives Website, 2002
  5. 1867, Stereo view, Cape Horn. (Click to enlarge). Cape Horn from downstream. Caption on image: Cape Horn, Columbia River. Photographer: Carleton E. Watkins. Phototraph Date: 1867. University of Washington Sterocard Collection #STE028, Stereocard Collection No. 58. -- University of Washington Libraries Collection Website, 2003
  6. 1867, Stereo view, Cape Horn, from downstream. (Click to enlarge). Cape Horn from downstream with railroad tracks in foreground. Caption on image: Cape Horn, near Celilo, Columbia River. Photographer: Carleton E. Watkins. Photograph Date: 1867. University of Washington Stereocard Collection #STE027, Stereocard Collection No. 58. -- University of Washington Libraries Collection Website, 2003
  7. 1867, Stereo view, Cape Horn, from upstream. (Click to enlarge). Cape Horn from upstream, with boats in foreground. Caption on image: Cape Horn, Columbia River. Photographer: Carleton E. Watkins. Photograph Date: 1867. University of Washington Stereocard Collection #STE029, Stereocard Collection No. 58. -- University of Washington Libraries Collection Website, 2003
  8. ca.1920, Penny Postcard, Steamer passing Cape Horn. (Click to enlarge). The Steamer "Dallas City", one of the many steamers out of Portland, passes Cape Horn, Columbia River. #248, Chas. S. Lipschuetz Company, Portland, Oregon. Postmarked August, 1921. -- L.Topinka private collection, 2001, used with permission.
  9. 2003, Cape Horn, Washington, as seen from Dalton Point, Oregon. (Click to enlarge). Copyright © 2003 Lyn Topinka, private archives, used with permission.


Down these heights frequently descend the most beautiful cascades, one of which a large creek, throws itself over a perpendicular rock three hundred feet above the water, while other smaller streams precipitate themselves from a still greater elevation, and evaporating in a mist, again collect and form a second cascade before they reach the bottom of the rocks [Multnomah Falls ???]. We stopped to breakfast at this village. ......


Along the Journey - April 9, 1806
Multnomah Falls, Oregon, 2003

Multnomah Falls:
Multnomah Falls, plummeting 620 feet from its origins on Larch Mountain, is the second highest year-round waterfall in the United States. Nearly two million visitors a year come to see this ancient waterfall making it Oregon's number one public destination. Fed by underground springs from Larch Mountain, the flow over the falls varies usually being highest during winter and spring. Multnomah Falls offers one of the best places in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area to study geology exposed by floods. Five flows of Yakima basalt are visible in the fall's cliff face. The two falls are produced because of a more easily eroded zone at the base of the upper falls. -- U.S. Forest Service Website, 2002, and Beeson and Tolan, 1987


Map, 1911 USGS topo map of the Multnomah Falls area, click to enlarge Image, ca.1879-1909, Multnomah Falls, click to enlarge Image, 2003, Multnomah Falls, Oregon
  1. 1911 Map (section of original), from Mount Hood and Vicinity 1:125,000 topographic quadrangle. (Click to enlarge). Original map surveyed in 1907 and 1909-1911, contour interval of 100 feet. -- University of Washington Library Collections Website, 2002
  2. ca.1879-1909, Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge. (Click to enlarge). Pictured is a scene in the region served by the Oregon Railway & Navigation Company between 1879-1909. Oregon State Archives, Salem Public Library Collection. Photograph Date: 1879-1909, -- Oregon State Archives Website, 2002
  3. 2003, Multnomah Falls, Oregon. (Click to enlarge). Copyright © 2003 Lyn Topinka, private archives, used with permission.


Lava Flows and the Gorge Waterfalls:
The presence of prominent vertical cooling joints in most of the lava flows, combined with the weak interflow zones result in steep cliffs and abundant waterfalls. Observations of waterfalls occurring over Columbia River basalt flows have shown that falls often occur where flows are flat lying or dipping upstream. This condition allows blocks produced by vertical cooling joints to be stable until support is withdrawn by erosion of the weaker interflow material at the base of the flows. The rate of erosion of interflow material probably largely controls the rate of retreat of the falls. The amphitheater-shaped valley common to many of the falls within the gorge is due to freeze-thaw action of water from splash mist that penetrates the joints. Most waterfalls are limited to the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge because landslides modify the steepness on the Washington side. The entire region's bedrock material is tilted slightly southward. When it is water saturated, the upper basaltic layers on the north side of the river slide into the Gorge. Thus, waterfalls on the Washington side are fewer and smaller. -- Beeson and Tolan, 1987



As these people had been very kind to us as we descended the river, we endeavoured to repay them by every attention in our power. After purchasing, with much difficulty, a few dogs and some wappatoo from the Wahclellahs,
"... a large creek puts in close above the village which we did not discover last fall [Woodward Creek ???] . when we passd down we dined and proceed. on ..." [Ordway, April 9, 1806]
we left them at two o'clock, and passing under the Beacon rock [Beacon Rock], reached in two hours the Clahcellah village. This Beacon rock, which we now observed more accurately than as we descended, stands on the north side of the river, insulated from the hills. The northern side has a partial growth of fir or pine. To the south it rises in an unbroken precipice to the height of seven hundred feet, where it terminates in a sharp point, and may be seen at the distance of twenty miles below. This rock may be considered as the commencement of tide-water, though the influence of the tide is perceptible here in autumn only, at which time the water is low. What the precise difference at those seasons is, we cannot determine; but on examining a rock which we lately passed, and comparing its appearance now with that which we observed last November, we judge the flood of this spring to be twelve feet above the height of the river at that time. From Beacon rock as low as the marshy islands [area of Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge, near the mouth of the Columbia], the general width of the river is from one to two miles, though in many places it is still greater. ......
"... this remarkable rock which stands on the North shore of the river is unconnected with the hills and rises to the hight of seven hundred feet; it has some pine or reather fir timber on it's nothern side, the southern is a precipice of it's whole hight. it rises to a very sharp point and is visible for 20 miles below on the river ..." [Lewis, April 6, 1806]
"... at 2 oClock P. M. we set out and passed under the Beacon rock on the North Side of two small Islds. situated nearest the N. side [Two islands of today are Pierce Island and Ives Island.] ..." [Clark, April 9, 1806]


Along the Journey - April 9, 1806
Beacon Rock basalt columns, 2003

Beacon Rock and Beacon Rock State Park:
Beacon Rock is an eroded olivine basalt plug that rises 840 feet above river level. The ice-age floods through the Columbia River Gorge eroded the softer material away, leaving this unique geological structure standing by itself on the northern bank of the Columbia River. This basalt monolith is second in size only to the Rock of Gibraltar. "Beacon Rock" was originally named by Lewis and Clark on their expedition to the Pacific Ocean, altho in Clark's journal he calls it "Beaton Rock", a spelling which was corrected by Lewis and also corrected in the Biddle/Allen publication of 1814. It was near Beacon Rock that they first measured tidal influences from the ocean on the Columbia River. In 1811, Alexander Ross of the John Jacob Astor expedition called the rock "Inoshoack Castle." The rock was known as "Castle Rock" until 1916 when the United States Board of Geographic Names restored the name "Beacon Rock". Henry J. Biddle (an heir of Nicholas Biddle, editor of the 1814 journals) purchased the rock, built a trail to the top, and in 1935 his heirs turned the rock over to the state for use as a park. Additional development was done by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Today, Beacon Rock stands at the head of Washington State's Beacon Rock State Park. -- Norman and Roloff, 2004, Washington State DNR Open-File Report 2004-7, Washington State Historical Society Website, 2004, "Lasting Legacy", and Washington State Parks and Recreation Website, 2001.


Map, the Volcanoes of Lewis and Clark, click to enlarge Map, 1911 USGS topo map of the Beacon Rock area, click to enlarge Map, 1985, Beacon Rock vicinity, click to enlarge Image, ca.1879-1909, Beacon Rock, click to enlarge Image, ca. 1902, Beacon Rock, click to enlarge Image, 1913, Beacon Rock from above, click to enlarge Image, 1915, Downstream Columbia River towards Beacon Rock, click to enlarge Image, 1927, Beacon Rock, click to enlarge Image, 1927, Downstream Columbia River towards Beacon Rock, click to enlarge Image, 2003, Beacon Rock basalts, click to enlarge
  1. Location Map, Volcanoes of Lewis and Clark, November 2, 1805, Lewis and Clark pass Beacon Rock (#3)
  2. 1911 Map (section of original), from Mount Hood and Vicinity 1:125,000 topographic quadrangle. (Click to enlarge). Map shows the Columbia River Gorge from Bonneville Dam downstream to Multnomah Falls. Includes Bonneville, Bradford Island, Hamilton Island, Beacon Rock, St. Peters Dome, and Oneonta Hills. Original map surveyed in 1907 and 1909-1911, contour interval of 100 feet. -- University of Washington Library Collections Website, 2002
  3. 1985 Map (section of original), Beacon Rock vicinity, including Pierce and Ives Islands, and Hamilton Island. (Click to enlarge). Office of Coast Surveys, Historical Maps and Charts, Columbia River, Vancouver to Bonneville, 1985, Chart#18531, 1:40,000. -- NOAA Office of Coast Survey Website, 2004
  4. ca.1879-1909, "Castle Rock" (today's Beacon Rock, Washington). (Click to enlarge). A scene in the region served by the Oregon Railway & Navigation Company between 1879 and 1909. "Castle Rock" is now known as "Beacon Rock". Oregon State Archives, Salem Public Library Collection #0RN1. Photograph Date: ca.1879-1909. -- Oregon State Archives Website, 2002
  5. ca.1902, Beacon Rock looking north. (Click to enlarge). "Castle Rock - looking north", by Lily E. White, ca. 1902. Oregon Historical Society Archives #OrHi67893. -- Oregon Historical Society Archives Website, 2002
  6. 1913, Columbia River and Beacon Rock from upstream. (Click to enlarge). Photo by Albert Henry Barnes, ca.1913. University of Washington A.H. Barnes Collection. -- University of Washington Library Archives, 2003
  7. 1915, The Columbia River downstream of Beacon Rock. (Click to enlarge). Columbia River Highway near Multnomah Falls, Beacon Rock in the background. By George Weister, 1915. Oregon Historical Society #OrHi70768. -- Oregon Historical Society Archives Website, 2002
  8. 1927 photograph of Castle Rock (now known as Beacon Rock), located on the north side of the Columbia River, in Skamania County, Washington. The wooden fishing platforms stretch out into the river, and were used for dip netting and spear fishing for salmon. (Click to enlarge). Oregon State Archives, Private Donation #OPD0011, Photograph Date: 1927. -- Oregon State Archives Website, 2002
  9. 1927, The Columbia River downstream of Beacon Rock. (Click to enlarge). Photograph of the Columbia River Highway, U.S. Highway 30, in the Columbia River Gorge. The highway was constructed between 1913 and 1922. Beacon Rock in in the background. Photograph Date: 1927. Oregon State Archives, Private Donation #OPD0022. -- Oregon State Archives Website, 2002
  10. 2003, Beacon Rock basalt columns. (Click to enlarge). Copyright © 2003 Lyn Topinka, private archives, used with permission.


As our large canoes could not ascend the rapids on the northside we passed to the opposite shore, and entered the narrow channel which separates it from Brant island [Bradford Island].
"... at 4 P. M. we arived at the first rapid at the head of Strawberry island at which place on the N W. Side of the Columbia here we found the nativs from the last village rebuilding their habitations of the bark of their old village ... as we could not pass with the large canoes up the N.W. Side for the rocks, the wind high and a rainey disagreeable evining. our smallest canoe being too low to cross through the high waves, we sent her up on the N W. Side with Drewyer and the two Fields and after purchaseing 2 dogs crossed and into the sluce of a large high Island seperated from the S.E. Side by a narrow channel. in this chanel we found a good harbor and encamped on the lower side. evening wet & disagreeable ..." [Clark, April 9, 1806]

Lewis and Clark have passed "Strawberry Island" (Hamilton Island), and reached Bradford Island, the area of today's Bonneville Dam, and camped on the Oregon side of the Columbia behind Bradford Island, upstream of Tanner Creek and across from the downstream tip of Bradford Island.


Along the Journey - April 9, 1806
Hamilton Island, 1928

Hamilton Island:
Lewis and Clark called this island "Strawberry Island", as it seemed to be cultivated with woodland strawberry vines. The physiography of Hamilton Island has changed greatly since Lewis and Clark's time with the construction of Bonneville Dam. -- Washington State Historical Society Website, 2004, "Lasting Legacy"


Map, 1911 USGS topo map of the Bonneville area, click to enlarge Map, 1948, Bonneville Dam, Hamilton Island, Bradford Island, click to enlarge Map, 1985, Bonneville Vicinity, click to enlarge Image, 1928, Columbia River and Hamilton and Bradford Islands, click to enlarge Image, Aerial view, Bonneville Dam, looking east, annotated, click to enlarge Image, Aerial view, Bonneville Dam, looking west, annotated, click to enlarge
  1. 1911 Map (section of original), from Mount Hood and Vicinity 1:125,000 topographic quadrangle. (Click to enlarge). Original map surveyed in 1907 and 1909-1911, contour interval of 100 feet. -- University of Washington Library Collections Website, 2002
  2. 1948 Map (section of original), Bonneville area including Bonneville, Bonneville Dam, Hamilton Island, and Bradford Island. (Click to enlarge). Office of Coast Surveys, Historical Maps and Charts, Columbia River, Vancouver to Bonneville, 1948, Chart#6156, 1:40,000. -- NOAA Office of Coast Survey Website, 2004
  3. 1985 Map (section of original), Bonneville Vicinity, including Hamilton Island, Bradford Island, and Bonneville Dam. (Click to enlarge). Office of Coast Surveys, Historical Maps and Charts, Columbia River, Vancouver to Bonneville, 1985, Chart#18531, 1:40,000. -- NOAA Office of Coast Survey Website, 2004
  4. 1928, Columbia River, Hamilton and Bradford Islands, and vicinity, prior to the construction of the Bonneville Lock and Dam. (Click to enlarge). View is looking upstream with Washington State on the left and Oregon on the right. The Bonneville Landslide is prominent jutting into the Columbia River from the Washington side (upper third of photo). Hamilton Island is the big island in the foreground and Bradford Island is across from the Bonneville Landslide. U.S. Corps of Engineers Historical Archives #700-64. Photograph Date: April 11, 1928. -- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Website, 2002
  5. Aerial view, Columbia River and Bonneville Dam, looking east, annotated. (Click to enlarge). Washington State is on the left with a good view of the Bonneville Landslide jutting into the Columbia River. Oregon is on the right. Bradford Island is crossed by the Bonneville Dam. Hamilton Island is in the foreground. Annotation includes Columbia River, Bonneville Dam, Interstate 84, Bonneville Landslide, Hamilton Island, and Bradford Island. -- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Website, 2003
  6. Aerial view, Columbia River and Bonneville Dam, looking west, annotated. (Click to enlarge). Oregon is on the left and Washington State is on the right. Includes annotation for the Columbia River, Bonneville Dam, I-84, Bradford Island, Hamilton Island, Ives Island, Pierce Island, and Beacon Rock. -- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Website, 2003



Bradford Island

Bradford Island:
Bradford Island was once an old Indian burial ground in the middle of the Columbia River. The island now is part of the Bonneville Dam structure. Lewis and Clark called the island "Brant Island", and was so named because of the large flocks of Lesser Canadian Geese observed in the vicinity. Returning eastbound in 1806, the corps stopped on the island to dine prior to heading to the southern mainland to camp before attempting the portage of the "Grand Rapids." The south end of Bonneville Dam is presently on the island, now named for the Bradford brothers, who operated steamboats on the river. -- Center for Columbia River History Website, 2004, and Washington State Historical Society Website, 2004, "Lasting Legacy".


Map, 1814, Lower Falls of the Columbia, click to enlarge Map, 1911 USGS topo map of the Bonneville area, click to enlarge Map, 1948, Bonneville Dam, Hamilton Island, Bradford Island, click to enlarge Map, 1985, Bonneville Vicinity, click to enlarge Image, 1928, Columbia River and Hamilton and Bradford Islands, click to enlarge Image, 1937, Columbia River and Bradford Island, click to enlarge Image, Aerial view, Bonneville Dam, looking east, annotated, click to enlarge Image, Aerial view, Bonneville Dam, looking west, annotated, click to enlarge
  1. 1814 Map, Lower Falls of the Columbia, by Lewis and Clark. (Click to enlarge). Brant Island is in the location of Bradford Island. This map is found in Travels to the source of the Missouri River and across the American continent to the Pacific Ocean : performed by order of the government of the United States, in the years 1804, 1805, and 1806, by Captains Lewis and Clarke. Published from the official report, 1814. -- University of Washington Library Collections Website, 2002
  2. 1911 Map (section of original), from Mount Hood and Vicinity 1:125,000 topographic quadrangle. (Click to enlarge). Original map surveyed in 1907 and 1909-1911, contour interval of 100 feet. -- University of Washington Library Collections Website, 2002
  3. 1948 Map (section of original), Bonneville area including Bonneville, Bonneville Dam, Hamilton Island, and Bradford Island. (Click to enlarge). Office of Coast Surveys, Historical Maps and Charts, Columbia River, Vancouver to Bonneville, 1948, Chart#6156, 1:40,000. -- NOAA Office of Coast Survey Website, 2004
  4. 1985 Map (section of original), Bonneville Vicinity, including Hamilton Island, Bradford Island, and Bonneville Dam. (Click to enlarge). Office of Coast Surveys, Historical Maps and Charts, Columbia River, Vancouver to Bonneville, 1985, Chart#18531, 1:40,000. -- NOAA Office of Coast Survey Website, 2004
  5. 1928, Columbia River, Hamilton and Bradford Islands, and vicinity, prior to the construction of the Bonneville Lock and Dam. (Click to enlarge). View is looking upstream with Washington State on the left and Oregon on the right. The Bonneville Landslide is prominent jutting into the Columbia River from the Washington side (upper third of photo). Hamilton Island is the big island in the foreground and Bradford Island is across from the Bonneville Landslide. U.S. Corps of Engineers Historical Archives #700-64. Photograph Date: April 11, 1928. -- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Website, 2002
  6. 1937, Bradford Island and the construction Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. (Click to enlarge). Oregon State Archives, Oregon Department of Transportation #OHDM004. Photograph Date: April 1937, Photographer: Brubaker Aerial Surveys. -- Oregon State Archives Website, 2002
  7. Aerial view, Columbia River and Bonneville Dam, looking east, annotated. (Click to enlarge). Washington State is on the left with a good view of the Bonneville Landslide jutting into the Columbia River. Oregon is on the right. Bradford Island is crossed by the Bonneville Dam. Hamilton Island is in the foreground. Annotation includes Columbia River, Bonneville Dam, Interstate 84, Bonneville Landslide, Hamilton Island, and Bradford Island. -- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Website, 2003
  8. Aerial view, Columbia River and Bonneville Dam, looking west, annotated. (Click to enlarge). Oregon is on the left and Washington State is on the right. Includes annotation for the Columbia River, Bonneville Dam, I-84, Bradford Island, Hamilton Island, Ives Island, Pierce Island, and Beacon Rock. -- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Website, 2003



Bonneville Dam

Bonneville Dam:
Bonneville Lock and Dam and Lake Bonneville are in the Columbia River Gorge, one of the most scenic areas in the Pacific Northwest. The walls of the gorge rise 2,000 feet above Lake Bonneville in many places and can be seen from any of the 10 recreation areas around the reservoir. Bonneville Dam spans the Columbia River from Oregon to Washington, a distance of 1,100 feet. Bradford Island, an old Indian burial ground separating the river's two channels, is at the center of the mammoth barrier. Bonneville Dam was begun in 1933 and completed in 1938, and was the first of the major power dams on the Columbia. The dam is a 1,230-foot-long gravity-type, concrete spillway dam across the center channel of the Columbia River and measures 180 feet wide at its base. It has two 350-ton gantry cranes which operate from a service roadway 99 feet above the water, to regulate the 18 movable-crest steel gates. The project required 750,000 cubic of concrete. It cost $88.4 million to build the spillway dam on one side of Bradford Island, a powerhouse, and navigation locks on the other side of the island. The Bonneville Power Administration added a second powerhouse in the 1980s and dug a channel through Bradford Island. Bonneville Dam was named for Captain Benjamin de Bonneville. -- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Website, 2004, Oregon State Archives Website, 2002, and Center for Columbia River History Website, 2004


Map, 1814, Lower Falls of the Columbia, click to enlarge Map, 1887, Cascade Locks vicinity, click to enlarge Map, 1911 USGS topo map of the Bonneville area, click to enlarge Map, 1948, Bonneville Dam, Hamilton Island, Bradford Island, click to enlarge Map, 1985, Bonneville Vicinity, click to enlarge Image, ca.1913, Columbia River, Bonneville vicinity, click to enlarge Image, ca.1915, Columbia River at Bonneville, click to enlarge Image, 1938, Bonneville Dam, click to enlarge Aerial view, Bonneville Dam, looking east, click to enlarge Image, Aerial view, Bonneville Dam, looking east, annotated, click to enlarge Aerial view, Bonneville Dam, looking west, click to enlarge Image, Aerial view, Bonneville Dam, looking west, annotated, click to enlarge Aerial view, Bonneville Dam, first powerhouse, looking east, click to enlarge
  1. 1814 Map, Lower Falls of the Columbia, by Lewis and Clark. (Click to enlarge). This map is found in Travels to the source of the Missouri River and across the American continent to the Pacific Ocean : performed by order of the government of the United States, in the years 1804, 1805, and 1806, by Captains Lewis and Clarke. Published from the official report, 1814. -- University of Washington Library Collections Website, 2002
  2. 1887 Map (section of original), Columbia River and the Cascade Locks vicinity. (Click to enlarge). Original Map: The Columbia River from Celilo to the mouth showing locations of the salmon fisheries, 1887. Scale ca. 1:375,000, Relief shown by hachures. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Office, G.P.O. 1888. University of Washington Archives #UW128. -- University of Washington Library Archives Website, 2002
  3. 1911 Map (section of original), from Mount Hood and Vicinity 1:125,000 topographic quadrangle. (Click to enlarge). Original map surveyed in 1907 and 1909-1911, contour interval of 100 feet. -- University of Washington Library Collections Website, 2002
  4. 1948 Map (section of original), Bonneville area including Bonneville, Bonneville Dam, Hamilton Island, and Bradford Island. (Click to enlarge). Office of Coast Surveys, Historical Maps and Charts, Columbia River, Vancouver to Bonneville, 1948, Chart#6156, 1:40,000. -- NOAA Office of Coast Survey Website, 2004
  5. 1985 Map (section of original), Bonneville Vicinity, including Hamilton Island, Bradford Island, and Bonneville Dam. (Click to enlarge). Office of Coast Surveys, Historical Maps and Charts, Columbia River, Vancouver to Bonneville, 1985, Chart#18531, 1:40,000. -- NOAA Office of Coast Survey Website, 2004
  6. 1913, Columbia River, Bonneville vicinity, below the cascades. (Click to enlarge). Photo by Albert Henry Barnes, ca.1913. University of Washington A.H. Barnes Collection #BAR021. -- University of Washington Library Archives, 2003
  7. ca.1915, Columbia River at Bonneville. (Click to enlarge). Oregon State Archives, Oregon Water Resources Department #OWR0102, Photograph Date: ca. 1915, -- Oregon State Archives Website, 2002
  8. 1938, View of the spillway of the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River forty miles east of Portland in Multnomah County. The view is of the churning water below the dam. (Click to enlarge). Oregon State Archives, Oregon Department of Transportation #OHD0601. Photograph Date: ca. 1938. -- Oregon State Archives Website, 2002
  9. Aerial view, Columbia River and Bonneville Dam, looking east. (Click to enlarge). Washington State is on the left with a good view of the Bonneville Landslide jutting into the Columbia River. Oregon is on the right. -- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Website, 2003
  10. Aerial view, Columbia River and Bonneville Dam, looking east, annotated. (Click to enlarge). Washington State is on the left with a good view of the Bonneville Landslide jutting into the Columbia River. Oregon is on the right. Bradford Island is crossed by the Bonneville Dam. Hamilton Island is in the foreground. Annotation includes Columbia River, Bonneville Dam, Interstate 84, Bonneville Landslide, Hamilton Island, and Bradford Island. -- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Website, 2003
  11. Aerial view, Columbia River and Bonneville Dam, looking west. (Click to enlarge). Oregon is on the left and Washington State is on the right. -- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Website, 2003
  12. Aerial view, Columbia River and Bonneville Dam, looking west, annotated. (Click to enlarge). Oregon is on the left and Washington State is on the right. Includes annotation for the Columbia River, Bonneville Dam, I-84, Bradford Island, Hamilton Island, Ives Island, Pierce Island, and Beacon Rock. -- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Website, 2003
  13. Bonneville Dam, first powerhouse. (Click to enlarge). -- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Website, 2004


The weather was very cold and rainy, and the wind so high, that we were afraid to attempt the rapids this evening, and therefore, finding a safe harbour, we encamped for the night [on the Oregon side of the Columbia across from the downstream tip of Bradford Island.]. ......


Along the Journey - April 9, 1806
The Camp - April 9, 1806:
Lewis and Clark camped on the Oregon side of the Columbia River, at a location now near the Bonneville Dam, upstream of Tanner Creek and across from the downstream tip of Bradford Island.



 
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June/July 2004, Lyn Topinka
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