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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Major Creek, Washington"
Includes ... Major Creek ... Majors Creek ... Campsite of April 14, 1806 ... Dorr Lumber Company ... Major Creek Lumber Company ... Hewett's Landing ...
Image, 2004, Major Creek, looking upstream, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Major Creek, Washington, looking upstream. View from Washington State Highway 14. Image taken November 11, 2004.


Major Creek ...
Major Creek is located on the Washington side of the Columbia at River Mile (RM) 177.5, downstream of Hewett Lake, Chamberlain Lake, and the Klickitat River. Major Creek is upstream of Catherine Creek, Rowland Lake, the Bingen Gap and the White Salmon River. Across the Columbia and slightly upstream of Major Creek is Memaloose Island, a place Lewis and Clark called "Sepulchar Rock".

Major Creek Drainage ...
According to the U.S. Forest Service website (2006):

"... Major Creek, Catherine Creek, and a host of smaller, unnamed drainages flow primarily from northwest to southeast. Between each of the drainages is an even, sloping ridge with a southeastern aspect. Major Creek, the largest drainage, has cut a deep, rugged canyon. Catherine Creek is a much smaller drainage. Tracy Hill separates these two drainages. Following the same northwest-southeast trend is a series of sheer cliffs. The largest of these cliffs is Coyote Wall. The second large cliff overlooks the eastern edge of Rowland Lake, called the Rowland Wall. ..."

Image, 2004, Major Creek drainage, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Major Creek drainage, Washington, as seen from Oregon. View from Memaloose Overlook off of Interstate 84, Oregon. Image taken March 20, 2004.
Image, 2012, Major Creek, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Major Creek drainage, Washington. View from Washington Old Highway 8, looking south towards the Columbia River. Image taken June 15, 2012.


Lewis and Clark and Major Creek ...
Lewis and Clark camped at Major Creek on April 14, 1806.

Campsite of April 14, 1806 ...
Lewis and Clark's campsite of April 14, 1806, was on the Washington side of the Columbia River at Major Creek. Just upstream was Memaloose Island, which the men called "Sepulchar Rock".

"... after dinner we pursued our voyage; Capt. Clark walked on shore with Charbono. I ascended the river about six miles at which place the river washed the base of high clifts on the Lard. side, here we halted a few minutes and were joined by Capt. C. and Charbono and proceeded on to the entrance of a small run on N. side a little below a large village on the same side opposite the sepulchre rock. ..." [Lewis, April 14, 1806]

"... I joined Capt Lewis and the party at 6 miles, at which place the river washed the bottom of high Clifts on the N. Side. Several Canoes over take us with families moveing up. we passed 3 encampments and came too in the mouth of a Small Creek on the N. Side imediately below a village and opposit the Sepulchar rock. ..." [Clark, April 14, 1806]

"... halted at a small creek on the north side, where there are a number of Indian lodges ..." [Gass, April 14, 1806]

Lewis and Clark's previous campsite was on the right bank of Dog Creek. Their campsite of April 15 to the 17th, 1806, was on the Oregon side of the Columbia River at Rock Fort.


Early Major Creek ...
The name "Majors Creek" appears on an 1869 cadastral survey (tax survey) for T3N R12E. The name "Major Creek" appears on the upper reaches of the creek in an 1874 cadastral survey for T3N R11E.

As written in 1913 ("A Geographic Dictionary of Washington", Washington Geological Survey Bulletin No. 17):

"Majors Creek. A tributary of Columbia River, from the north, west of Lyle, in southwestern Klickitat County."

Image, 2012, Road sign, S. Major Creek, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Road sign, Major Creek, Washington. View from Old Highway 8. Image taken June 15, 2012.
Image, 1869, Cadastral Survey, Majors Creek, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cadastral Map detail, 1869, showing "Majors Creek". Original map courtesy U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Cadastral Survey Database, 2017.


Views ...

Image, 2015, Major Creek from Washington State Route 14, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Major Creek as seen from Washington State Route 14. View from moving car heading west. Image taken September 26, 2015.


From Old Highway 8 ...

Image, 2014, Major Creek, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Major Creek looking upstream, Washington. View from Washington Old Highway 8. Image taken February 22, 2014.
Image, 2014, Major Creek, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Major Creek looking downstream, Washington. View from Washington Old Highway 8. Image taken February 22, 2014.


Major Creek, etc.

  • Dorr Lumber Company ...
  • Major Creek Lumber Company ...
  • Hewett's Landing (Hewitt's Landing) ...


Dorr Lumber Company ...
"The Swan-Haman Lumber Company, with offices in White Salmon, had an early-day sawmill at Bristol atop Burdoin Mountain - almost within view of their downtown headquarters. Their lumber was flumed down the Catherine Creek drainage to a barge landing on the Columbia, later to an S. P. & S. Railway siding when the North Bank Line opened in 1908. A similar flume operation was started at the head of Major Creek by the Dorr Lumber Company. Their mill town, like Bristol, had their own post office during their heyday in the teens and '20's."


Source:    Keith McCoy, 1987, in Mount Adams Country: Forgotten Corner of the Columbia River Gorge".

Major Creek Lumber Company ...
1908:
"Bryan H. Dorr has bought the sawmill property at Pine Flat, Wash., formerly owned and operated by L.W. Wood & Co. The purchase is in the interests of the St. Paul and Pacific Timber Syndicate, a corporation of which Mr. Dorr is president. The local branch will be known as the Major Creek Lumber Co. The mill will be in charge of L.W. Wood. Additional machinery and equipment will be installed, which will increase the capacity 25 per cent."


Source:    "Wood Craft: A Journal of Woodworking", November 1908, p.60, Gardner Print Company.

1912:
LOG FLUME TO BE BUILT
Orchard Tract Will Be Sold After Timber Is Removed.

"WHITE SALMON, Wash., June 16. -- (Special.) -- Bryan R. Dorr, president of the Major Creek Lumber Company, has returned from Portland, where he engaged a crew of carpenters for the immediate construction of a seven-mile lumber flume from the mill to the Spokane, Portland, & Seattle Railway. Mr. Dorr organized the company in New York last Winter with a capitalization of $250,000.

Fir and pine products will be cut and the land afterwards platted and sold to orchardists."


Source:    "Morning Oregonian", June 17, 1912, courtesy Historic Oregon Newspapers Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2016.

1912:
"Major Creek Lumber Co., White Salmon, are contemplating the building of a sawmill at White Salmon. ...

Work on a seven-mile flume for the Major Creek Lumber Co., of White Salmon, has commenced. It is the intention of the company to build a mill. ...

Major Creek Lumber Co., operating a mill in the White Salmon district, is planning to increase the capacity of their mill to 40,000 feet per day: to build a seven-mile flume to the North Bank Railroad and the Columbia River, where they will install a planing mill and dry kiln to handle the lumber flumed down from their mill."


Source:    "The Timberman", June 1912, p.41, M. Freeman Publications.



Hewett's Landing (Hewitt's Landing) ...
Hewett's Landing (also seen as "Hewitt's Landing" or "Hewitts Landing") was located at the mouth of Major Creek.
[More]

Image, 2015, Twin Bridges Museum, Lyle, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
"Major Creek Lumber Company" and "Hewitt's Landing", Twin Bridges Museum, Lyle, Washington. Image taken September 26, 2015.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, April 14, 1806 ...
This morning at 7 oClock we were joined by Sgt. Pryor and they three hunters they brought with them 4 deer which drewyer had killed yesterday. we took brackfast and departed at 9 A. M. [from their camp near Dog Mountain]     the wind rose and <proceeded on> Continued to blow hard all day but not so violent as to prevent our proceeding. we kept Close allong the N. Shore all day. the river from the rapids [Cascade Rapids] to the Commencement of the narrows [The Dalles] is from to of a Mile in wedth, and possesses but little Current. the bead is rock except at the enterence of Labiech's river [Hood River] which heads in Mt. Hood [Mount Hood, Oregon] and like the quick Sand River [Sandy River] brings down from thence Vast bodies of Sand     the Mountains through which the river passes nearly to Cataract River [Klickitat River] are high broken rocky, particularly Covered with fir and white Cedar, and in maney places very romantic scences. Some handsom Cascades are Seen on either Side tumbling from the Stupendious rocks of the mountains into the river. I observe near the river the long leafed Pine which increas as we assend and Superseeds the fir altogether about the Sepulchre rock [Memaloose Island]. We find the trunks of maney large pine trees Standing erect as they grew, at present in 30 feet water [Submerged Forest]; they are much doated and none of them vegitateing. at the lowest water of the river maney of those trees are in 10 feet water. the Cause I have attempted to account for as I decended.     at 1 P M. we arrived at a large village Situated in a narrow <village> bottom on the N. Side [between the White Salmon River and Bingen, Washington] a little above the enterance of Canoe Creek [White Salmon River]. their houses are reather detached, and extend for Several Miles. they are about 20 in number. those people Call themselves Wil-la-cum. ...     We halted at this village Dined ...     after dinner we proceeded on our voyage. I walked on Shore with Shabono on the N. Side through a handsom bottom [Bingen area].     met Several parties of women and boys in Serch of herbs & roots to Subsist on maney of them had parcels of the Stems of the Sun flower. I joined Capt Lewis and the party at 6 miles, at which place the river washed the bottom of high Clifts on the N. Side [Bingen Gap]. Several Canoes over take us with families moveing up. we passed 3 encampments and came too in the mouth of a Small Creek [Major Creek] on the N. Side imediately below a village and opposit the Sepulchar rock [Memaloose Island]. this village Consists of about 100 fighting men of Several tibres from the plains to the North Collected here waiting for the Salmon. ...     made [blank] miles





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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:    McCoy, K., 1987, in Mount Adams Country: Forgotten Corner of the Columbia River Gorge";    "The Timberman", June 1912, p.41, M.Freeman Publications;    U.S. Forest Service, Gifford Pinchot National Forest website, 2006;    Washington Geological Survey, 1913, Bulletin No. 17, "A Geographic Dictionary of Washington";    "Wood Craft: A Journal of Woodworking", November 1908, p.60, Gardner Print Company;   

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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September 2008