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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Bridal Veil, Oregon"
Includes ... Bridal Veil ... Bridal Veil Falls ... Bridal Veil Creek ... Bridal Veil Falls State Park ... Bridal Veil Falls State Scenic Viewpoint ... Camas Root ... Bridal Veil Historical Archeological Site ... National Register of Historic Places ... The Golden Age of Postcards ... Bridal Veil Lumbering Company ... Bridal Veil Post Office ... Bridal Veil Lodge ... Palmer ...
Image, 2009, Bridal Veil Falls, Bridal Veil, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Bridal Veil Falls, Bridal Veil, Oregon. Image taken April 26, 2009.


Bridal Veil ...
Bridal Veil is a small Oregon community located on the western edge of the Columbia River Gorge, at Columbia River Mile (RM) 132. Once the center of the logging trade, today Bridal Veil is famous for it's "bridal veil" falls and its Post Office. Bridal Veil lies upstream of the Pillars of Hercules and Latourell Falls, and downstream of Angels Rest and Dalton Point. Across the Columbia are the massive cliffs of Cape Horn, Washington. The now-gone community of Palmer, lies upslope.

Bridal Veil Falls ...
Bridal Veil Falls is one of the many falls in the Columbia River Gorge which can be seen along the Historic Columbia River Highway east of Portland, Oregon. The world-famous Multnomah Falls is is located four miles upstream of Bridal Veil. Across the Columbia on the Washington side is the basalt feature of Cape Horn with many waterfalls along the cliff. Bridal Veil Falls is a tiered falls on Bridal Veil Creek, with the upper falls dropping 60-100 feet and the lower falls dropping 40-60 feet. Bridal Veil Creek heads on Larch Mountain. The name Bridal Veil has been associated with these falls since pioneer days. A Bridal Veil Post Office was established in 1887.

Image, 2009, Bridal Veil Falls, Bridal Veil, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Bridal Veil Falls, Bridal Veil, Oregon. Image taken April 26, 2009.
Image, 2009, Bridal Veil Falls, Bridal Veil, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Bridal Veil Falls, Bridal Veil, Oregon. Image taken April 26, 2009.


Bridal Veil Creek ...
Bridal Veil Creek heads on Larch Mountain.

Image, 2009, Bridal Veil Creek, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Bridal Veil Creek, Bridal Veil, Oregon. View from near Bridal Veil Falls. Image taken April 26, 2009.
Image, 2009, Bridal Veil Creek, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Bridal Veil Creek, Bridal Veil, Oregon. View from near Bridal Veil Falls. Image taken April 26, 2009.


Bridal Veil Falls State Scenic Viewpoint ...
Bridal Veil Falls State Scenic Viewpoint is a day-use park located off of the Historic Columbia River Highway. One trail leads to a fantastic view of the Cape Horn and the Columbia River Gorge, and another leads downslope to view the falls. The Cliff House was located here.
[More]

Image, 2006, Trail, Bridal Veil Falls Scenic Viewpoint, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Trail, Bridal Veil Falls State Scenic Viewpoint. Image taken October 21, 2006.
Image, 2004, Cape Horn, Washington, from Bridal Veil, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Cape Horn, Washington, as seen from Bridal Veil, Oregon. Image taken October 11, 2004.


Early History ...

"AN OVERVIEW"
by Tom Cowling

"Bridal Veil evolved as a company mill town in the 1880s when one of Oregon's first paper mills was established on Bridal Veil Creek. A small community developed around the papermaking mill for the families of the workers. It was followed by the Bridal Veil Falls Lumbering Company that consisted of a logging operation and saw-mill on Larch Mountain, and a planing mill at Bridal Veil.

In 1886, the Company started construction of the mill buildings and residential dwellings east of the paper mill. A saw-mill and logging town, later known as Palmer, was built one and one-half miles south of Bridal Veil on Larch Mountain. It was located up Bridal Veil Canyon, on Bridal Veil Creek and was connected to Bridal Veil by Palmer Mill Road and a two-mile, wooden, v-shaped flume. Timber was rough-cut and then flumed down the mountain to the planing mill at Bridal Veil.

The Bridal Veil and Palmer communities and mills worked in tandem, dependent upon each other, for nearly fifty years until fire destroyed some of the planing mill buildings at Bridal Veil in 1936. As the timber supply on the mountain was nearly depleted, and the country was in The Depression, a decision not to rebuild those buildings was made.

In 1937, the mill buildings and town were sold to "Wood Specialties Company", later named "Bridal Veil Lumber and Box Company". This company produced wooden cheese boxes for the Kraft Food Company. Ammunition boxes for the Army and Navy were manufactured during the war years. In 1950, the Company decided to diversify and began producing molding, doorjambs and window frames.

By 1960 the Company had ceased operations. Bridal Veil's nearly 75-year history as a company mill town came to an end."


Source:    In 2001 Tom Cowling published a nice collecion of history, information, and remembrances about early Bridal Veil and nearby communities such as Palmer. (Cowling, Tom, 2001, "Stories of Bridal Veil, A Company Mill Town, 1886-1960", produced for Crown Point Country Historical Society, and published by Stuart F. Cooper Company, L.A., Calfornia).


A Community around the Lumber Mill ...
"Bridal Veil Falls gave the company's mill town its name. ...   When the settlement gained a post office, the official name became Bridal Veil. The town grew as Bridal Veil Lumbering Company prospered. Only two primitive wagon roads served the town; a branch road off the old Latourell Road and the exceedlingly steep road to Palmer, Brower and beyond. Of course, the principal means of transportation was the OR&N line, which had a station at Bridal Veil. Bridal Veil had many single-family company homes as well as three larger structures: a "hotel" for single workers, a store and the Cliff House, the home of one of the firm's partners. ..."


Source:    Mershon, C.E., 2006, The Columbia River Highway.

Historic Columbia River Highway ...
The Historic Columbia River Highway runs through Bridal Veil, with the Bridal Veil Lodge on the south and the Bridal Veil State Scenic Viewpoint on the north.

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

Bridal Veil along the Highway ...
"... Bridal Veil Lodge, built by Virgil and Lillie Amend. Amend, who worked at the Bridal Veil mill, had purchased land along Bridal Veil Creek from the lumber company. When the highway came through [Historic Columbia River Highway], he started an auto court. Later, he added a lodge ...   Another early development included a garage and service station near Amend's business complex. In 1948, the Ellesson family purchased the historic Cliff House and associated property. The Ellessons built a restaurant and a motel where Bridal Veil State Park is now situated. The State of Oregon purchased the site for park purposes in 1969."


Source:    Mershon, C.E., 2006, The Columbia River Highway.

Bridal Veil in 1939 ...
From "Federal Writers' Project, 1939, "Oregon Trail: The Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean"; ":

"... BRIDAL VEIL, (40 alt., 204 pop.), is a lumber-mill town tucked in a recess below the highway. Since most of the waters are confined in a lumber flume, Bridal Veil Falls rumble scantily over the cliff, and flow under the bridge spanning Bridal Veil Creek. This beautiful mountain stream is the only one along the Columbia that has been harnessed for commercial use.

Directly across the river are the CAPE HORN PALISADES, a series of cliffs rising perpendicularly from the river to a height of more than 400 feet. ..."


Bridal Veil in 1940 ...
From the Oregon State Archives "A 1940 Journey Across Oregon":

"... BRIDAL VEIL, 162.7 m. (40 alt., 204 pop.), is a lumber mill town in a small valley below the highway. Formerly Bridal Veil Falls was noted for its beauty but the waters now are confined in a lumber-flume. ..."


Views ...

Image, 2008, Bridal Veil Falls, Bridal Veil, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Bridal Veil Falls, Bridal Veil, Oregon. Image taken April 27, 2008.
Image, 2008, Bridal Veil Falls, Bridal Veil, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Below Bridal Veil Falls, Bridal Veil, Oregon. Image taken April 27, 2008.
Image, 2008, Bridal Veil Falls, Bridal Veil, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Bridal Veil Creek, Bridal Veil, Oregon. Image taken April 27, 2008.


Bridal Veil, etc.

  • Bridal Veil Bluffs ...
  • Bridal Veil Bridge ...
  • Bridal Veil Garage ...
  • Bridal Veil Historical Archeological Site ...
  • Bridal Veil Lodge ...
  • Bridal Veil Lodge and Cliff House, Bridal Veil State Scenic Viewpoint ...
  • Bridal Veil Lumbering Company ...
  • Bridal Veil Post Office ...


Bridal Veil Bluffs ...
The Bridal Veil Bluffs and nearby Pillars of Hercules are parts of massive basalt flows of the Columbia River Basalt Group (CRBG), which, according to Norman and Roloff (2004) are overlain by Troutdale gravels, which are capped in turn by olivne basalt flows from Larch and Pepper Mountains, both Boring Lava Cones. The Bridal Veil State Scenic Overlook is located on top of the Bridal Veil Bluffs offering great views of Cape Horn.

Image, 2006, Bridal Veil Bluffs and one of the Pillars of Hercules, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Bridal Veil Bluffs (left) and one of the Pillars of Hercules (right). View from moving car on Interstate 84, Oregon. Image taken September 23, 2006.
Image, 2007, Bridal Veil Bluffs and one of the Pillars of Hercules, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Interstate 84 and Bridal Veil Bluffs (left) and one of the Pillars of Hercules (right). View from moving car on Interstate 84, Oregon. Image taken January 15, 2007.


Bridal Veil Bridge ...
(to come)

Image, 2016, Historic Columbia River Highway, Bridal Veil Bridge, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Historic Columbia River Highway, Bridal Veil Bridge, looking east. Image taken March 17, 2016.
Image, 2016, Historic Columbia River Highway, Bridal Veil Bridge, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Historic Columbia River Highway, Bridal Veil Bridge, looking east. Image taken March 17, 2016.
Image, 2016, Historic Columbia River Highway, Bridal Veil Bridge, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Historic Columbia River Highway, Bridal Veil Bridge. Image taken March 17, 2016.
Image, 2016, Historic Columbia River Highway, Bridal Veil Bridge, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Historic Columbia River Highway, Bridal Veil Creek and Bridge. Image taken March 17, 2016.


Bridal Veil Garage ...
BRIDAL VEIL GARAGE
Machine Shop, Supplies,
Repairing, Service Car

One half mile west of Bridal Veil Falls, Three miles from Benson Park
J.L. COOK, Proprietor



Source:    Add appearing in "Official Columbia Highway Tour", 1916, Published by The Scenic Tours Company, Portland, Oregon.

Bridal Veil Historical Archeological Site ...
In 1996 a "Bridal Veil Historical Archeological Site" was added to the National Register of Historic Places (Site #96000884), address protected.

Bridal Veil Lodge ...
In 1927 the Bridal Veil Lodge and Auto Camp opened along the Historic Columbia River Highway. The Lodge was built in 1926 from timber harvested from the Gorge and milled at the Bridal Veil Mill. The lodge closed shortly after World War II and became a family residence. However in 1987, the great-grandaughter of the original owners returned to the lodge, restored it to fine glory, and today the Lodge is open as a Bed & Breakfast. (Note, as of summer 2014 the Lodge is listed "For Sale".)
[More]

Image, 2006, Bridal Veil Lodge, Bridal Veil, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Bridal Veil Lodge, Bridal Veil, Oregon. Image taken October 21, 2006.


Bridal Veil Lodge and Cliff House, Bridal Veil State Scenic Viewpoint ...
[More State Scenic Viewpoint]

"... In 1916 Henderson, a Portland lumberman, purchased property overlooking the Columbia River near Bridal Veil Falls. His estate, Sunset Gables, included a mansion, a carriage house, a tennis court, a lake and landscaped grounds planted to exotic trees, shrubs and flowers. The elegant estate is not visible from the highway. Immediately beyond Henderson Road, another structure of interest is Bridal Veil Lodge, built by Virgil and Lillie Amend. Amend, who worked at the Bridal Veil mill, had purchased land along Bridal Veil Creek from the lumber company. When the highway came through, he started an auto court. Later, he added a lodge (Bridal Veil Lodge), which remains in the family and is now operated as a bed and breakfast by Amend's Great-granddaughter ...   Another early development included a garage and service station near Amend's business complex. In 1948, the Ellesson family purchased the historic Cliff House and associated property. The Ellessons built a restaurant and motel where Bridal Veil State Park is now situated. The State of Oregon purchased the site for park purposes in 1969."


Source:    Clarence E. Mershon, 2006, The Columbia River Highway, From the Sea to the Wheat Fields of Eastern Oregon.


Bridal Veil Lumbering Company ...
The Bridal Veil Lumbering Company came into existence in 1886 and became one of Oregon's oldest lumber companies. It was located near the base of Bridal Veil Falls. After 75 years the company shut its doors in 1960 as profits dwindled. In 1991 the Trust for Public Lands acquired the property intending to donate it to the State of Oregon for a park. The buildings were removed. As of 2003 (McArthur and McArthur, 2003) this ownership exchange had not yet been done. When this web author visited in September and October 2006 the area appeared to be a holding area for road construction equipment.
[More]

Penny Postcard, Logging Camp, Bridal Veil, Oregon, ca.1910
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Penny Postcard: Logging Camp, Bridal Veil, Oregon, ca.1910. Penny Postcard, ca.1910, "Logging Camp, Bridal Veil Falls, Oregon." Published for the J.K. Gill Co., Portland, Ore., by M.R., L.A. Card #3985. Made in Germany. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Image, 2006, Bridal Veil Lumbering Company area, Bridal Veil, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Area which once was the Bridal Veil Lumbering Company. View from the Bridal Veil Post Office. Image taken October 21, 2006.


Bridal Veil Post Office ...
The Bridal Veil Post Office is one of the smallest Post Office buildings in the country, at only 10 feet by 14 feet. It once was a toolshed for the Bridal Veil Lumber Mill. The Bridal Veil Post Office itself was established in 1887, and moved to its present location in the 1930s. Over 240,000 wedding invitations yearly are hand-stamped at the post office (personal communication, Bridal Veil postmaster, October 2006).

Image, 2005, Bridal Veil Post Office, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Bridal Veil Post Office, Bridal Veil, Oregon. Image taken June 29, 2005.
Image, 2005, Bridal Veil Post Office, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Bridal Veil Post Office, Bridal Veil, Oregon. Image taken June 29, 2005.
Image, 2005, Bridal Veil Post Office, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Sign, Bridal Veil Post Office, Bridal Veil, Oregon. Image taken June 29, 2005.


... October 2006 ...
In October 2006 this web author's parents came to visit and did a tour of the Columbia River Gorge. A visit to Bridal Veil included stopping at the Post Office.

Image, 2006, Bridal Veil Post Office, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Parents, Bridal Veil Post Office, Bridal Veil, Oregon. This web author's parents, Dolores and Walter Topinka, at the Bridal Veil Post Office. They have been married nearly 60 years. Image taken October 21, 2006.
Image, 2006, Bridal Veil Post Office, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Parents, Bridal Veil Post Office, Bridal Veil, Oregon. This web author's parents, Dolores and Walter Topinka, at the Bridal Veil Post Office. They have been married nearly 60 years. Image taken October 21, 2006.


"The Golden Age of Postcards" ...

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

Bridal Veil Falls ...

Penny Postcard, Bridal Veil Falls, Oregon, ca.1910
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Penny Postcard: Bridal Veil Falls, Oregon, ca.1910. Penny Postcard, ca.1910, "Bridal Veil Falls on the Columbia River, Oregon." Published by M Reider, Los Angeles, California. Card #4013. Made in Germany. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Bridal Veil Falls, Oregon, ca.1910
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Penny Postcard: Bridal Veil Falls, Oregon, ca.1910. Penny Postcard, ca.1910, "Bridal Veil Falls, Columbia River. On Line O. W. R. & N. Co." Published by Edward H. Mitchell, San Francisco. Card #2416. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Bridal Veil Falls, Oregon, ca.1930
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Penny Postcard: Bridal Veil Falls, Oregon, ca.1930. Penny Postcard, ca.1930, "Bridal Veil Falls. Columbia River Highway, Oregon. 180 feet. Masterpiece of Scenic Beauty.". Published by Angelus Commercial Studio, Portland, Oregon. Card #9087. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.


Bridal Veil Lumbering Company ...

Penny Postcard, Logging Camp, Bridal Veil, Oregon, ca.1910
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Logging Camp, Bridal Veil, Oregon, ca.1910. Penny Postcard, ca.1910, "Logging Camp, Bridal Veil Falls, Oregon." Published for the J.K. Gill Co., Portland, Ore., by M.R., L.A. Card #3985. Made in Germany. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 2, 1805 ...
Examined the rapid below us [from their camp at Fort Rains, looking at the Cascade Rapids] more pertcelarly the danger appearing too great to Hazzard our Canoes loaded, dispatched all the men who could not Swim with loads to the end of the portage below, I also walked to the end of the portage with the carriers where I delayed untill everry articles was brought over and canoes arrived Safe. here we brackfast and took a Meridn. altitude 59 45' 45" about the time we were Setting out 7 Squars came over loaded with Dried fish, and bear grass neetly bundled up, Soon after 4 Indian men came down over the rapid in a large canoe.     passed a rapid at 2 miles & 1 at 4 miles opposite the lower point of a high Island on the Lard Side [Bradford Island], and a little below 4 Houses on the Stard. Bank, a Small Creek on the Lard Side [Tanner Creek] opposit Straw berry Island [Hamilton Island], which heads below the last rapid, opposit the lower point of this Island [Hamilton Island] passed three Islands covered with tall timber [today there are two, Ives and Pierce] opposit the Beatin rock [Beacon Rock]    Those Islands are nearest the Starboard Side, imediately below on the Stard. Side passed a village of nine houses [indentified on Atlas map#79 as the "Wah-clallah Tribe of Shahala Nation", location near today's Skamania and Skamania Landing], which is Situated between 2 Small Creeks [Woodard Creek and Duncan Creek], and are of the Same construction of those above; here the river widens to near a mile, and the bottoms are more extensive and thickly timbered, as also the high mountains on each Side, with Pine, Spruce pine, Cotton wood, a Species of ash, and alder.     at 17 miles passed a rock near the middle of the river [Phoca Rock], about 100 feet high and 80 feet Diamuter,     proceed on down a Smoth gentle Stream of about 2 miles wide, in which the tide has its effect as high as the Beaten rock [Beacon Rock] or the Last rapids at Strawberry Island [Hamilton Island],- Saw great numbers of waterfowl of Different kinds, Such as Swan, Geese, white & grey brants, ducks of various kinds, Guls, & Pleaver [today just below Beacon Rock is Franz National Wildlife Refuge]. ...     we encamped under a high projecting rock on the Lard. Side [Rooster Rock, with Crown Point rising above it],     here the mountains leave the river on each Side [leaving the Columbia River Gorge, Steigerwald Land NWR is on the north and the Sandy River delta is on the south], which from the great Shute to this place is high and rugid [Columbia River Gorge]; thickly Covered with timber principalley of the Pine Species. The bottoms below appear extensive and thickly Covered with wood.     river here about 2 miles wide.     Seven Indians in a Canoe on their way down to trade with the nativs below, encamp with us, those we left at the portage passed us this evening and proceeded on down The ebb tide rose here about 9 Inches, the flood tide must rise here much higher- we made 29 miles to day from the Great Shute [Cascade Locks]-





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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:    Bridal Veil Lodge Bed & Breakfast website, 2006;    Cowling, Tom, 2001, Stories of Bridal Veil, A Company Mill Town (1886-1960), produced for Crown Point Country Historical Society, published by Stuart F. Cooper Company, L.A., Calfornia;    Federal Writers' Project, 1939, "Oregon Trail: The Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean";    McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland;    Mershon, C.E., 2006, The Columbia River Highway, From the Sea to the Wheat Fields of Eastern Oregon, Guardian Peaks Enterprises, Portland;    National Register of Historic Places website, 2005;    Norman, D.K., and Roloff, J.M., 2004, A Self-Guided Tour of the Geology of the Columbia River Gorge - Portland Airport to Skamania Lodge, Stevenson, Washington, Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources Open File Report 2004-7, March 2004;    Oregon State Archives website, 2005, "A 1940 Journey Across Oregon";    "PDXHistory.com" website, 2006;    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. Forest Service website, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, 2005; 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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Images are NOT to be downloaded from this website.
February 2013