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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Knappton and Knappton Cove, Washington"
Includes ... Knappton ... "Cementville" ... Knappton Cove ... Knappton Cannery ... Eureka and Epicure Packing Company ... Columbia River Quarantine Station ... Knappton Cove Camp ... "Ellis Island of the Columbia River" ... National Register of Historic Places ...
Image, 2004, View from Knappton, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
View from Knappton Site, Washington, towards Grays Point. Image taken April 9, 2004.


Knappton ...
Knappton is located on the Washington side of the Columbia at approximately River Mile (RM) 18. Upstream is Grays Point, Gray's Bay, and Harrington Point while downstream is Cliff Point and Hungry Harbor and the small community of Megler. Today all that remains of the former Knappton community are old pilings and a stone monument ("Knappton Site") on the riverbank west of the old town location. A historic Quarantine Station is located around the point on the eastern shore of Knappton Cove, with the former hospital building now serving as a museum. Views of Grays Point and Harrington Point can be seen from the highway near Knappton.

Image, 2004, Knappton site marker, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
"Knappton site" marker along the Columbia River. Image taken April 9, 2004.
Image, 2004, Knappton site pilings, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
"Knappton site" piling remains. Image taken April 9, 2004.


Knappton Cove ...
Knappton Cove is located downstream of the town of Knappton and the "Knappton Site" marker, and upstream of Cliff Point. In 1876 the east side of the Cove became the home of the Knappton Cannery, and in 1899 it became the location of a U.S. Quarantine Station known as the "Ellis Island of the Columbia River". The Station - also known as the "Columbia River Quarantine Station" and "Knappton Cove Camp" - housed emigrants arriving by passenger ship who possibly carried disease.

Early Knappton ...
Knappton was founded in 1867 by Jabez B. Knapp, who called the community "Cementville" after discovering an outcrop of rock good for cement production. The venture failed however after two years as raw materials diminished. Knapp then formed the Columbia Riaver Manufacturing Company and built a sawmill for lumber production.

In 1871 a Post Office was established and the town name was changed to "Knappton" to honor the founder. The Post Office was discontinued in 1943.

In 1876, Knapp's mill was sold to Captain Asa M. Simpson, who, in 1909, sold his interest to the Brix brothers Grays Bay Logging Company. The onset of the depression crippled the Knappton mill but a mill fire in 1936 closed it for good and destroyed most of the homes on the adjoining hillside as well.

In 1876 the Hume brothers, who brought salmon canning to the Columbia River in 1867, built a cannery just west of Knappton. Eventually known as the "Eureka and Epicure Packing Company", the cannery operated until 1897 when it was abandoned.

In 1899 the U.S. Government bought the old cannery site for use as a Quarantine Station. Between 1899 and 1938, hundreds of Chinese, Japanese, and European laborers went through the station. The station closed in 1938. The station's hospital building, built in 1912, is now a museum. In 1971 the wharf was damaged by a storm making it unsafe. It was demolished in 1975.

Between 1950 and 1956 the old quarantine station operated as a fishing resort for the Clarence and Katherine Bell family. They purchased the site at a U.S. government surplus property auction.

In 1980 the Knappton Quarantine Station was added to the National Register of Historical Places (#80004007). Since 1995 the hospital building has housed the Knappton Cove Heritage Center.


More Early Knappton ...
The 1888 U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries's "Chart of the Columbia River from the Ocean to Portland, Oregon, Illustrating the Condition of the Salmon Fishery, Season of 1888-9" had "Knappton Cannery" located on the upstream side of the point and further upstream the town of Knappton was labeled "Cementville".

At various times the area was also known as "Todd Bay" and "Centerville".

From the 1909 NOAA "Coast Survey":

"... Between Astoria and Portland there are numerous landings and settlements, dependent either on the fisheries or acting in some cases as shipping points for the country immediately behind them; these are ports of call for the regular river steamers. Deep-draft vessels do not as a rule stop between Astoria and Portland, except for lumber cargoes at Rainier, Goble, Westport, Knappton, and some small mills. ..."

From the 1942 NOAA "Coast Pilot":

"... There is a lumber wharf at Knappton 675 feet long, with a depth alongside of 33 feet at the lower end and 17 feet at the upper end. Vessels drawing up to 30 feet come to this dock. There is ferry service with Astoria. ..."

From the Pacific County Historical Society and Museum ...
"KNAPPTON: Abandoned sawmill town overlooking the Columbia River, south of Naselle, on Highway 401. In 1868, Portland businessman Jabez Burrell Knapp, found suitable rocks for the manufacture of cement near the Columbia River home of Job Lamely. Knapp and partners purchased the waterfront site from Francis Hopkinson, a music teacher, and in 1868-69 built a large kiln and a barrel factory to package the cement. Knapp called his manufacturing settlement Cementville. The raw material for making cement proved limited however, and the venture failed after two years. Knapp next organized the Columbia River Manufacturing Company and went into the sawmill business. He continued to make cement and barrels but those works were scaled down. In 1870 Knapp quit his Portland business and moved permanently to the settlement he now called Knappton (contraction of Knapp Town). The name was confirmed when a post office was established April 13, 1871; it was discontinued November 15, 1943. In 1876, the mill was sold to Captain Asa M. Simpson, who eventually sold his interest to the Brix brothers Grays Bay Logging Company in 1909. The onset of the depression crippled the Knappton mill but a mill fire in 1936 closed it for good and destroyed most of the homes on the adjoining hillside as well."

"COLUMBIA RIVER QUARANTINE STATION: Abandoned United States quarantine station at Knappton Cove / Columbia River on Highway 401. The site was part of the Job Lamley Donation Land Claim 1853 to 1876. The Hume brothers, who brought salmon canning to the Columbia River in 1867, had a cannery on the site from 1876 to 1899. The Federal Government bought the site for $8,000 and opened a quarantine station May 1899. The station caretakers and medical personnel were the only inhabitants of the station but there were several families living near the station and Knappton was just over the hill to the east of the site. Ships with infestation or disease went to Knappton for fumigation. Hundreds of Chinese, Japanese, and European laborers went through the station until it was closed in 1938. The Clarence Bell family bought the property at auction in August 1950 and operated a fishing resort on the site until 1956. The old station hospital, mess hall, caretakers / medical personnel quarters and repair shop are still used by the Bell family. The wharf was dismantled due to the danger posed by rotting pilings."

Source:    Larry J. Weathers in The Sou'wester 1989, Pacific County Historical Society and Museum


Knappton in 1941 ...
From "The New Washington: A Guide to the Evergreen State, Federal Writers' Project, 1941":

"... South of Naselle on State 12-B is KNAPPTON, (133 alt., 39 pop.), a cluster of ancient buildings around a ferry slip. The KNAPPTON-ASTORIA FERRY (car and driver, $1; passengers, 25c; 4 times daily) crosses the Columbia River to Oregon. ..."



Knappton, etc.

  • Columbia River Quarantine Station ...
  • Knappton Cannery ...
  • Knappton-Astoria Ferry ...
  • View towards Oregon ...


Columbia River Quarantine Station ...
In 1899 the abandoned Knappton Cannery site became the location of a U.S. Quarantine Station known as the "Ellis Island of the Columbia River". The Station - also known as the "Columbia River Quarantine Station" and "Knappton Cove Camp" - housed emigrants arriving by passenger ship who possibly carried disease. The station was closed in 1938. In 1950 Clarence and Katharine Bell purchased the site at government auction and for the next 15 years they operated a summer sport fishing campground and moorage. In 1980 the former Quarantine Station was accepted to the National Register of Historical Places (Building #80004007), and in 1995 the historic hospital building became the Knappton Cove Heritage Center housing a small museum.

Image, 2007, Knappton Quarantine Station, hospital, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Knappton Quarantine Station hospital building, view from Highway 101. Image taken October 13, 2007.
Image, 2007, Knappton Quarantine Station hospital building, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Knappton Quarantine Station hospital building. Image taken October 13, 2007.
Image, 2007, Knappton Quarantine Station, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Sign, Knappton Quarantine Station. Image taken October 13, 2007.


Knappton Cannery ...
In 1876 the Hume brothers, who brought salmon canning to the Columbia River in 1867, built a cannery just west of the small Washington community of Knappton.

In 1885 the Eureka & Epicure Packing Co. was formed, comprised of the following plants: Knappton Packing Co., Knappton; North Shore Packing Co., just below Knappton; and the Eureka Packing Co.

In 1897 the Knappton Cannery was abandoned, and in 1899 the rest of the Eureka & Epicure Packing Company became part of the Columbia River Packers Association.

In 1899 the U.S. Government bought the old cannery site for use as a Quarantine Station. Between 1899 and 1938, hundreds of Chinese, Japanese, and European laborers went through the station. The station closed in 1938. The station's hospital building, built in 1912, is now a museum. In 1971 the wharf was damaged by a storm making it unsafe. It was demolished in 1975.



Knappton-Astoria Ferry ...
From "The New Washington: A Guide to the Evergreen State, Federal Writers' Project, 1941":

"... South of Naselle on State 12-B is KNAPPTON, (133 alt., 39 pop.), a cluster of ancient buildings around a ferry slip. The KNAPPTON-ASTORIA FERRY (car and driver, $1; passengers, 25c; 4 times daily) crosses the Columbia River to Oregon. ..."



View towards Oregon ...

Image, 2004, Knappton site looking towards Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
View towards Oregon as seen from the historic "Knappton Site". Image taken April 9, 2004.
Image, 2007, Knappton Quarantine Station, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
View from the Knappton Quarantine Station location. View of Saddle Mountain and the Columbia River. Image taken October 13, 2007.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, ...
 




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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:    Federal Writers' Project, 1941, "The New Washington: A Guild to the Evergreen State";      Hay, K.G., 2004, The Lewis and Clark Columbia River Water Trail, Timber Press, Portland;      Hitchman, R., 1984, Place Names of Washington, Washington State Historical Society;      National Register of Historic Places website, 2005;      National Register of Historic Places Columbia River Quarantine Statin Nomination form, 1980;      NOAA Office of Coast Survey website, 2006;      Pacific County Historical Society website, 2005, "Place Names of Pacific County" by Larry J. Weathers, IN: The Sou'wester, Centennial Edition 1989, Vol.XXIV, No.1-4;      Washington State University Library Archives website, 2005, "Early Washington Maps: A Digital Collection";      Washington Trust For Historic Preservation Newsletter, Summer 2004;     

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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February 2013