Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Plymouth, Washington"
Includes ... Plymouth ... Plymouth Park ... Campsite of April 26, 1806 ... North Bank Road ...
Image, 2004, Interstate 82/395 Bridge, from McNary Dam Overlook, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Interstate 82/395 Bridge, from McNary Dam Overlook. Plymouth, Washington, is in the background and Umatilla, Oregon, in the foreground. Image taken September 24, 2004.


Plymouth ...
Plymouth, Washington, is located in Benton County at Columbia River Mile (RM) 289, across from Umatilla, Oregon, and the mouth of the Umatilla River. Two miles upstream is the Interstate 82/395 Bridge and five miles upstream is the McNary Dam. Ten miles upstream is Hat Rock, a basalt feature named by Lewis and Clark. Downstream is the Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge, the Blalock Islands, Canoe Ridge, and Crow Butte. Forty-five miles downstream is the Washington community of Roosevelt.

Early Plymouth ...
Robert Hitchman wrote in "Place Names of Washington" (1985, Washington State Historical Society):

"Plymouth (T5N R28E) ... Hamlet near Columbia River, opposite Umatilla, Oregon, extreme south central Benton County. The name was chosen because a huge basaltic rock projects into the river at this point; it is so extensive that it was drilled for an 800-ft. railroad tunnel. The name suggested by the railroad was Gilbraltar, but patriotic settlers settled for the present American name. The original Indian name or the locality is said to have been So-loo-sa."

From the Tacoma Public Library's "Washington Place Names" database (2019):

"Plymouth ... is a community near the Columbia River oppostie Umatilla, Oreogn in south-central Benton County. The name was chosen because of a huge basalt rock that projets into the river. The name suggested by the railroaders was Gibraltar, but patriotic settlers settled on the American name for the famous rock in Massachusetts. The Native American name for the locality is said to be "So-loo-sa.""

Early Maps ...

Historic Map, 1907, Plymouth and Umatilla, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
1907 Topographic map detail, Plymouth, Washington, and Umatilla, Oregon. Includes Umatilla and the Umatilla River, Oregon, and Plymouth and Sillusi Butte, Washington, along with the Columbia River and the "Devils Bend Rapids" and "Umatilla Rapids". Original map 1:125,000 "Umatilla Quadrangle", Washington-Oregon, U.S. Geological Survey, 1908 edition.


Lewis and Clark and Plymouth ...
Lewis and Clark spent the night of April 26, 1806, on the Washington banks of the Columbia River in the area of today's Plymouth.

Campsite of April 26, 1806 ...
Lewis and Clark's camp of April 26, 1806, is unmarked on their route maps, but historians believe it was below or in the vicinity of the present-day Plymouth, Washington, and opposite the mouth of the Umatilla River, seven miles above their camp of October 19, 1805 near Irrigon, Oregon.

"... after dinner we Continued our march through a leavel plain near the river 16 miles and encamped about a mile below 3 Lodges of the fritened band of the Wallah wallah nation, and about 7 miles above our encampment of the 19th of Octr. last. ..." [Clark, April 26, 1806]

"... We travelled about 25 miles and encamped at a small grove of willows. ..." [Gass, April 26, 1806]

"... came 20 odd miles this day & Camped on the bank of the river. only small willows to burn &C- ..." [Ordway, April 26, 1806]

Lewis and Clark's previous campsite was located near Alderdale, Washington and their camp of April 27, 1806, was near Yellepit, Washington, opposite the mouth of the Walla Walla River.



Plymouth, etc.

  • North Bank Road ...
  • Plymouth Park ...


North Bank Road ...
The Great Northern Railway and Northern Pacific Railroad, competitors in the transcontinental business, launched the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway in 1905 and built a line along the north side of the Columbia River. This line was known as "The North Bank Railroad", "The North Bank Road", "Columbia River Scenic Route", and "The Northwests Own Railway". The tracks were started in October 1905 and completed in February 1908, with a celebration being held on March 11th at Sheridan Point upstream of the Fort Rains Blockhouse location. On March 19th, regular passenger service between Vancouver and Pasco was begun. The journey took eight hours.

STATIONS ON THE NORTH BANK
Between Vancouver and Pasco There Will Be 43 Stops.

"LYLE, Wash., July 24, 1907. -- (Special.) -- Chief Surgeon Irvine, of the North Bank Road says there will be 43 stations about five miles apart on the line between Vancouver and Pasco. From west to east the stations will appear on the new map as Image, Fisher, Bourne, Seal, Cruzatt, Butler, Cascades, Stevenson, Ash, Collins, Cooks, Hood, Bingen, Villa, Lyle, Skadat, Grandalles, Spedis, Avery, Timms, Columbus, Cliffs, Towal, Harbin, Fountain, Sanda, Roosevelt, Moonax, McCredie, Carley, Luzon, Sage, Patterson, Coolide, Gravel, Plymouth, Colbia, Mottinger, Tomar, Yellepit, Hoover and Finley. He also reports the track is being blasted as fast as laid."


Source:    "Morning Oregonian", July 25, 1907, courtesy Historic Oregon Newspapers Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2019.

[More]



Plymouth Park ...
Plymouth Park is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Park located in Plymouth, Washington. Good views of Sillusi Butte and the Interstate 82/395 Bridge can be seen from the park.

Image, 2005, Plymouth Park, Washington, with McNary Dam, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Plymouth Park, Plymouth, Washington. Image taken May 24, 2005.
Image, 2005, Sillusi Butte from Plymouth Park, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Sillusi Butte from Plymouth Park, Plymouth, Washington. Image taken May 24, 2005.
Image, 2005, Interstate 82-395 Bridge from Plymouth Park, Washington, with McNary Dam, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Interstate 82/395 Bridge with McNary Dam, from Plymouth Park, Plymouth, Washington. Image taken May 24, 2005.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 19, 1805 ...





Clark, April 26, 1806 ...
This morning early we proceeded on [from their campsite at Alder Creek, Washington] and at the distance of three miles entered a low leavel plain Country of great extent.   :  here the river hills are low and receed a great distance from the river this low Country Comenced on the South Side about 10 miles below our Encampment of the last night [Alder Creek], those plains are Covered with a variety of herbatious plants, Grass and 3 Species of Shrubs.     at the distance of 12 miles halted near Some willows which afforded us a Sufficient quantity of fuel to cook our dinner which Consisted of the ballance of the dogs we had purchased yesterday evening and Some jerked Elk....     the roads dusty ...    after dinner we Continued our march through a leavel plain near the river 16 miles and encamped [near Plymouth, Washington, across from the mouth of the Umatilla River] about a mile below 3 Lodges of the fritened band of the Wallah wallah nation, and about 7 miles above our encampment of the 19th of Octr. last. [near Irrigon, Oregon] ...     made 28 miles



Lewis, April 26, 1806 ...
This morning early we set forward and at the distance of three miles entered a low level plain country of great extent. here the river hills are low and receede a great distance from the river this low country commence on the S. side of the river about 10 miles below our encampment of last evening [near Alder Creek, Washington]. these plains are covered with a variety of herbatious plants, grass, and three speceis of shrubs specimines of which I have preserved. at the distance of twelve miles we halted near a few willows which afforded us a sufficient quantity of fuel to cook our dinner which consisted of the ballance of the dogs we had purchased yesterday evening and some jirked Elk. ...     after dinner we continued our march through the level plain near the river 16 Ms. and encamped [near Plymouth, Washington] about a mile below three lodges of the Wollah wollah nation, and about 7 Ms. above our encampment of the 19 of October last [near Irrigon, Oregon].


Gass, April 26, 1806 ...
Last night Capt. Lewis and Capt. Clarke got each a horse, and we set out early, had a fine morning, and proceeded on very well, most of the men having their knapsacks carried on the horses. At noon we halted and took a little of our dried meat, which is the only food we have. At 2 o'clock we continued our journey, and the officers were obliged to go on foot again, to let some of the men ride whose feet were very sore. The country is level and has a most beautiful appearance. On the plains there is a species of clover, as large as any I have seen, and has a large red handsome blossom. The leaves are not quite so large as those of the red clover cultivated in the Atlantic States, but has seven and eight leaves on a branch. We were overtaken and passed by a great number of the natives, with large droves of horses, that look well and are in good order. We travelled about 25 miles and encamped at a small grove of willows.


Ordway, April 26, 1806 ...
Set out proced on over a low level Smooth Sandy plain about 12 miles & halted & dined on a little dry Elk meat as we have nothing else. the day warm. we delayed about 1 hour and proceed. on ...     Saw considerable of Snow on the mountains to the South & S East. came 20 odd miles this day & Camped on the bank of the river. only small willows to burn &Có




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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:
  • Historic Oregon Newspapers Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2019;
  • Hitchman, R., 1985, "Place Names of Washington", Washington State Historical Society;
  • Tacoma Public Library, 2001, "Washington Place Names" database, Gary Fuller Reece (Compiler), Tacoma Plubic Library's Northwest Room/Special Collections, IN: "McNary-John Day Transmission Line Project: Environmental Impact Statement", 2002;


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