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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Clatskanie, Oregon"
Includes ... Clatskanie ... "Tlatskanai" ... April 13, 1949 Earthquake ... Benson Timber Company ... Clatskanie River ... Flippin House ... Lewis and Clark carving ...
Image, 2012, Clatskanie, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Street scene, Clatskanie, Oregon. View taken through moving car. Image taken July 31, 2012.


Clatskanie ...
The Oregon community of Clatskanie first appeared on the official post office list as established on December 1, 1871. It is located where Oregon Highway 30 crosses the Clatskanie River, three miles upstream of the Clatskanie River's merging into Wallace Slough.

"Tlatskanai" ...
"Clatskanie was named after the Tlatskanai tribe of American Indian, who lived in the hills south of the Clatskanie River in the upper Nehalem Valley. The Tlatskanai, linguistically an Athapascan tribe, originally lived in the flat lands bordering the Chehalis River in Washington State. As game became scarce and their food supply diminished, they left the area, heading south, and crossed the Columbia River to occupy the hills traditionally occupied by the Chinook Indians, who were a large Indian tribe living along the Oregon Coast. After driving away the more peaceful Chinook Indians, the Tlatskanai established themselves within the Clatskanie-Westport area, and extended their numbers into the head of the Nehalem. The word "Tlatskanai" was used by these Indians to denote the route they took to get to a particular meeting place, applying to particular steams and not to others. White men carelessly applied this work to the name of the steam. One source lists "Tlatskanai" as meaning "swift running water." The Clatskanie is indeed a swift beautiful steam. Other names that existed for the Tlatskanai were the Clackstar, Klatskanai and Klaatshan, among others."

Source:    Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce website, 2004.

Early Clatskanie ...
In 1810 Captain Nathan Winship attempted to settle on the Oregon side of the Columbia across from today's Oak Point, Washington. Local flooding and unfriendly Indians forced him to relocate.

In 1852 four men including E.G. Bryants traveled down the Columbia to settle in the Clatskanie area. E.G. Bryant named his town "Bryantville". Bryantville became a part of Clatskanie when Columbia County was formed in 1854.

In 1871, the Clatskanie Post Office first showed up on official lists.

The Astoria-Portland Railroad arrived in 1898 and in 1918 the Columbia River Highway was completed, linking Clatskanie to Portland and Astoria.


Street scenes ...

Image, 2012, Clatskanie, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Street scene, Clatskanie, Oregon. View taken through moving car. Image taken July 31, 2012.
Image, 2012, Clatskanie, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Fruit Stand, Clatskanie, Oregon. View taken from moving car. Image taken October 1, 2012.


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

"Descending, the highway crosses ubiquitous BEAVER CREEK, 51.4 m. Within the next 15 miles westward the road spans the stream a dozen times. The country now presents wide expanses of logged off land.

CLATSKANIE (cor. Ind., Tlatskanie), 64.8 m. (16 alt., 739 pop.), bears the name of a small tribe of Indians that formerly inhabited the region. The town is on the Clatskanie River near its confluence with the Columbia and is surrounded by rich bottom lands devoted to dairying and raising vegetables for canning. In 1852 E. G. Bryant took up the land upon which a settlement grew up with the name of Bryantsville. In 1870 the name of the town was changed to Clatskanie and it was incorporated as a city in 1891. State Fisheries Station No. 5, for restocking the river with fingerling salmon, is at this point."



Clatskanie, etc.

  • April 13, 1949 Earthquake ...
  • Benson Timber Company ...
  • Clatskanie River at Clatskanie ...
  • Historical Flippin House ("The Castle") ...
  • Lewis and Clark Chain Saw Carving ...


April 13, 1949 Earthquake ...
On April 13, 1949, at 11:55 a.m., a 7.1 magnitude earthquake occured in Western Washington. The quake was centered between Olympia and Tacoma, and was (as of 2002) the largest earthquake in Puget Sound since European exploration and settlement. Eight people were killed and dozens received serious injuries. ...  The ground shook for about 30 seconds and was felt over a 230,000-square-mile area. The earthquake affected all of Washington state, northwest Oregon and south along its coast to Cape Blanco, southwest British Columbia, north Idaho panhandle, and even northwest Montana. The quake's epicenter was located at 47 degrees 06 00" North Latitude 122 degrees 42 00" West Longitude.

The Clatskanie Chief, Friday, April 15, 1949, vol.54, no.26:
Quake is Worst in Clatskanie History
Most Damage Minor but Mounts in the Aggregate

"A rumble, a tremble and then a real shaking, and Clatskanie along with the entire Pacific Northwest suffered its worst earthquake in history just before noon Wednesday.

Residents rushed from the business houses and homes out into the open as they realized what was happening. Business houses, as well as homes shook and almost swayed during the several seconds of the quake.

The damage in the Clatskanie area alone will run into several thousands of dollars, despite the fact that it was mainly of a minor nature.

Three or four water mains were broken in Clatskanie and repairs were quickly completed.

Heaviest damage reported was at Mayger where the Point Adams Fish Co. station reports a loos of approximately $4,000 when several pilings were taken out by the quake and the building itself was moved about five feet toward the Washington side of the river. p> Lou Fluhrer reports his dock, which extends to the Point Adams building from his store, was damaged somewhat.

Slides blocked the S. P. and S. railway line east of Mayger but the tracks were quickly cleared.

Heaviest individual damage in Clatskanie was probably suffered at the Clatskanie Drug Co., where ..."


Benson Timber Company ...
The Benson Timber Company began operations in Clatskanie, Oregon in 1902 and lasted until 1936 when it closed its doors. Simon Benson, along with partner O.J. Evenson, were the originators of the unique cigar-shaped ocean-going log raft, known as the "Benson raft". From the mill in Clatskanie, these rafts of logs were then assembled on the quiet waters of Wallace Slough and towed to San Diego, California.
[More]

Image, 2013, Clatskanie, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Benson Timber Company's Wigwam Burner on Beaver Slough, Clatskanie, Oregon. Image taken October 17, 2013.


Clatskanie River at Clatskanie ...
The Oregon community of Clatskanie lies three miles upstream on the Clatskanie River, where Oregon Highway 30 crosses the Clatskanie.
[More]

Image, 2004, Clatskanie River from Clatskanie City Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Clatskanie River, Oregon, looking downstream from Clatskanie City Park. Image taken February 11, 2004.
Image, 2004, Clatskanie River from Clatskanie City Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Clatskanie River, Oregon, looking upstream from Clatskanie City Park. Image taken February 11, 2004.


The Historical Flippin House ... ("The Castle") ...
"The Flippin House National Historic Site locally and affectionately known as The Castle is build high on a hill above the town of Clatskanie on Highway 30 just 60 miles from Portland and 35 miles from Astoria. The original owners of The Castle were Thomas and Florence Flippin who established the West Oregon Lumber mill where Tom began saving the best lumber for the grand house he was determined to build in Clatskanie. When their children were old enough to go to school, they purchased property adjacent to the school and construction began on this Victorian-style mansion in 1898. The Flippin family, which included two sons and a daughter, moved in to the house in 1900. To Thomas Flippin, building this house represented his moving up in society as a prosperous lumber man, but to his wife Florence, who had also worked in their lumber company; it represented a refined way of life that she disliked. After living there only three years, the couple moved out, and then separated. Later owners of The Castle included the Hempel and Holman families. For many years in the middle part of the 20th century, The Castle was divided into apartments. In the early 1970s it was purchased by George and Ann Salmi and was sold to the Clatskanie Senior Citizens Inc. in 1979 who own it today."

Source:    "clatskaniecastle.com" website, 2013

Image, 2012, Flippin House, Clatskanie, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Flippin House, Clatskanie, Oregon. Image taken November 13, 2012.
Image, 2012, Flippin House, Clatskanie, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Flippin House, Clatskanie, Oregon. Image taken November 13, 2012.
Image, 2012, Flippin House, Clatskanie, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Flippin House, Clatskanie, Oregon. Image taken November 13, 2012.


Lewis and Clark Chain Saw Carving ...
Clatskanie's Lewis and Clark carving was dedicated on November 6, 2005, celebrating the 200th anniversay of the day Lewis and Clark passed the area. The sculpture project was sponsored by the Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce and was funded by numerous donations. The nearly nine-foot-high sculpture was created by local chain saw artist Susan Miller.

Image, 2013, Clatskanie, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Lewis and Clark chain saw carving, Clatskanie, Oregon. Image taken October 17, 2013.
Image, 2013, Clatskanie, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Lewis and Clark chain saw carving, Clatskanie, Oregon. Image taken October 17, 2013.
Image, 2013, Clatskanie, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Lewis and Clark chain saw carving, Clatskanie, Oregon. Image taken October 17, 2013.
Image, 2013, Clatskanie, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Lewis and Clark chain saw carving, Clatskanie, Oregon. Image taken October 17, 2013.
Image, 2013, Clatskanie, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Lewis and Clark chain saw carving, Clatskanie, Oregon. Image taken October 17, 2013.
Image, 2013, Clatskanie, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Lewis and Clark chain saw carving, Clatskanie, Oregon. Image taken October 17, 2013.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 6, 1805 ...
A cool wet raney morning we Set out [from their camp at Prescott Beach] early at 4 miles pass 2 Lodges of Indians in a Small bottom on the Lard Side I believe those Indians to be travelers. opposit is <the head of a long narrow Island close under the Starboard Side [Cottonwood Island], back of this Island two Creeks fall in about 6 miles apart,> [Cowlitz River delta, Longview, Washington. Today the "two Creeks" are the Cowlitz River and Coal Creek Slough.] and appear to head in the high hilley countrey to the N. E. opposit <this long Island is 2 others one Small and about the middle of the river> the other larger and nearly opposit its lower point [today the location of Walker Island and Lord Island complex], and opposit a high clift of Black rocks [Green Point, location of Mayger, Oregon] on the Lard. Side at 14 miles; ...     here the hills leave the river on the Lard. Side, a butifull open and extensive bottom [Clatskanie River delta] in which there is an old Village, one also on the Stard. Side a little above both of which are abandened by all their inhabitents except Two Small dogs nearly Starved, and an unreasonable portion of flees The Hills and mountains are covered with Sever kinds of Pine ...     Some willow on the waters edge,   passed an Island 3 miles long and one mile wide [Crims Island ... Crims Island is separated from the Oregon shore by the Bradbury Slough.], <one> close under the Stard. Side below the <long narrow Island> below which the Stard Hills are verry from the river bank and Continues high and rugid on that Side all day, ... [Lewis and Clark pass, but do not mention today's Germany Creek, Abernethy Creek, and Mill Creek]     we came too to Dine on the long narrow Island [Crims Island] found the woods So thick with under groth that the hunters could not get any distance into the Isld. ...     river about one mile wide hills high and Steep on the Std. [cliffs of Oak Point] no place for several Miles suffcently large and leavil for our camp we at length Landed at a place [Eagle Cliff and Cape Horn, Wahkiakum County] which by moveing the Stones we made a place Sufficently large for the party to lie leavil on the Smaller Stones Clear of the Tide     Cloudy with rain all day we are all wet and disagreeable, had large fires made on the Stone and dried our bedding and Kill the flees, which collected in our blankets at every old village we encamped near     I had like to have forgotten a verry remarkable Knob [Mount Coffin, Longview, Washington, now destroyed] riseing from the edge of the water to about 80 feet high, and about 200 paces around at its Base and Situated <on the long narrow Island> [Longview, Washington area, the Cowlitz River delta] above and nearly opposit to the 2 Lodges we passed to day, it is Some distance from the high land & in a low part of the Island [Cowlitz River delta]






Clark, March 25, 1806 ...
Last night and this morning are cool wend hard a head and tide going out, after an early brackfast we proceeded on [from their camp near Aldrich Point] about 4 miles and came too on the south side to worm and dry our Selves a little. Soon after we had landed two Indians Came from a War kia cum village on the opposite Side with 2 dogs and a fiew Wappato to Sell neither of which we bought. Som Clatsops passed down in a Canoe loaded with fish and Wappato. as the wind was hard a head and tide against us we Concluded to delay untill the return of the tide which we expected at 1 oClock, at which hour we Set out ...     we crossed over to an Island [Puget Island] on which was a Cath lahmah fishing Camp of one Lodge; here we found <one> 3 man two woman and a couple of boys who must have for Some time for the purpose of taking Sturgeon which they do by trolling. they had 10 or 12 very fine Sturgeon which had not been long taken; [White Sturgeon] ...     we remained at this place about half an hour and then Continued our rout. the winds in the evening was verry hard, it was with Some dificuelty that we Could find a Spot proper for an encampment, the Shore being a Swamp for Several miles back; at length late in the evening opposit to the place we had encamped on the 6th of Novr. last [near Cape Horn, Wahkiakum County]; we fouond the enterance of a Small Creek [one of the many mouths/sloughs/drainages of the Clatskanie River system, near Wallace Island and Wallace Slough] which offered us a Safe harbour from the Winds and Encamped. the Ground was low and moist tho' we obtained a tolerable encampment. here we found another party of Cathlahmahs about 10 in number, who had established a temporary residence for the purpose of fishing and takeing Seal ...     here we found Drewyer and the 2 Fields' who had been Seperated from us Since Morning; they had passed on the North Side of the large Island [Puget Island] which was much nearest. the bottom lands are Covered with a Species of Arspine, the Growth with a broad leaf which resembles ash except the leaf. the under brush red willow, broad leafed Willow, Seven bark, Goose berry, Green bryor, and the larged leaf thorn; the latter is Now in blume, the nativs inform us that it bears a <leaf> fruit about an Inch in diamieter which is a good to eate. the red willow and 7 bark begin to put foth their leaves. The green bryor which I have before mentioned retains leaves all winter. made 15 Miles.



Lewis, March 25, 1806 ...
The morning being disagreeably cold we remained and took breakfast. at 7 A. M. we set out [from their camp near Aldrich Point] and continued our rout along the South Coast of the river against the wind and a strong current, our progress was of course but slow. at noon we halted and dined. ...     after dinner we passed the river to a large Island [Puget Island] 2 and continued our rout allong the side of the same about a mile when we arrived at a Cathlahmah fishing cam of one lodge; here we found 3 men 2 women and a couple of boys, ...     they had a good stock of fish on board, but did not seem disposed to sell them. we remained at this place [Puget Island] about half an hour and then continued our rout up the Island to it's head and passed to the south side. the wind in the evening was very hard. it was with some difficulty that we could find a spot proper for an encampment, the shore being a swamp for several miles back; at length late in the evening opposite to the place we had encamped on the 6th of November last [Cape Horn, Wahkiakum County]; we found the entrance of a small creek [one of the many mouths/sloughs of the Clatskanie River system] which afforded us a safe harbour from the wind and encamped. the ground was low and moist tho' we obtained a tolerable encampment. here we found another party of Cathlahmahs about 10 in number who had established a temperary residence for the purpose of fishing and taking seal. ...   :  here we found Drewyer and the Feildses who had been seperated from us since morning; they had passed on the North side of the large Island [Puget Island] which was much nearer. the bottom lands are covered with cottonwood, the growth with a broad leaf which resembles ash except the leaf. the underbrush red willow, broad leafed willow, sevenbark, goosburry, green bryer & the larged leafed thorn; the latter is now in bloom; the natives inform us that it bears a freut about an inch in diameter which is good to eat.-





Clark, March 26, 1806 ...
The wind blew So hard untill 8 A M. that we detained [at their camp on the Clatskanie River/Beaver Slough, across from the upstream tip of Wallace Island], we gave a Medal [Jefferson Peace Medals] to a Man by the name of Wal-lal-le a principal man among the Cath lah mahs, he appeared very thankfull for the honor Confured on him and presented us with a large Sturgion [Columbia River White Sturgeon]. we Continued our rout up the river to an old Village on the South Side where we halted for dinner. we met on the way the principal Chief of the Cathlahmahs, Sh-hh-wh-cop, who had been up the river on a trading voyage, he gave us some Wappato and fish, we also purchased Some Wappato Soon after halted for dinner at an Old Village <at> on the South point [today's Port Westward, originally was called "Oak Point"] opposit the lower pt. of Fannys Island [Crims Island]. ...     here our hunters joined us haveing killed 3 Eagles and a large Wild goose. I had now an oppertunity of Comparing the bald <and> with the grey Eagle; I found the grey Eagle about 1/4 largest, its legs and feet were dark which those of the bald eagle were of a fine orrange yellow; the iris of the eye is also of a dark yellowish brown, while that of the Grey is of a light Silvery colour with a Slight admixture of yellow.     after dinner I walked on Shore through an eligant bottom on the South Side [Clatskanie River/Beaver Slough Delta] opposit to Fannys Island [Crims Island]. This bottom we also Call fannys bottom it is extensive and an open leavel plain except near the river bank which is high dry rich oak land [Oak Point]. I saw Some deer & Elk at a distance in the Prarie. we continued untill late in the evening and encamped on a Small Island near the Middle of the river [Walker Island] haveing made 18 Miles. 2 Indians Visited us this evining.





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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:    Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce website, 2004, 2013;    "HistoryLink.org" website, 2012, Earthquake hits Puget Sound area on April 13, 1949, Washington's Online history website;    McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press;    NOAA Nautical Charts, U.S. Coast Pilot for the Columbia, Willamette, and Snake River, adapted from the U.S. Coast Pilot 7, 31st Edition;    Oregon State Archives website, 2009, "A 1940 Journey Across Oregon";    The Clatskanie Chief, April 15, 1949;   

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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October 2013