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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Shepperd's Dell, Oregon"
Includes ... Shepperd's Dell ... Shepperd's Dell State Natural Area ... Young Creek ... Bishops Cap ... Historic Columbia River Highway ... Shepperd's Dell Bridge ... Forest Hall ... Campsite of April 6-8, 1806 ... Hunters' Campsite of April 4, 5, and 6-8, 1806 ... The Golden Age of Postcards ...
Image, 2005, Shepperd's Dell from  Bridge, click to enlarge
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Shepperd's Dell, Oregon. View from Historic Columbia River Highway Bridge. The Columbia River is in the background. Image taken October 22, 2005.


Shepperd's Dell ...
Shepperds Dell is a Natural Area located on the Oregon side of the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 131, upstream of Rooster Rock, Crown Point, and the Latorell/Guy Talbot area. The area is downstream of Bridal Veil and the Pillars of Hercules. Multnomah Falls is located another 5 miles upstream. Across the Columbia on the Washington side is Cape Horn. Shepperds Dell is off of the Historic Columbia River Highway. Bishops Cap (see below) is a large basalt feature which the Highway winds around, and is located just upstream of the Shepperds Dell Bridge. Young Creek flows through the area.

Columbia Valley ...
April 6, 1806, on the Corps return journey:
"... We are now at the head of the Columbia valley; which is a fine valley about 70 miles long, abounding with roots of different kinds, which the natives use for food, especially the Wapto roots which they gather out of the ponds.   The timber is mostly of the fir kind, with some cherry, dog-wood, soft maple and ash; and a variety of shrubs which bear fruit of a fine flavour, that the natives make use of for food. ..." [Gass, April 6, 1806]

Image, 2004, Columbia River from Shepperd's Dell Bridge, click to enlarge
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Columbia River from Shepperd's Dell Bridge, Oregon. Image taken October 11, 2004.


Campsite of April 6-8, 1806 ...
Campsite of hunters from April 4, 1806 ...
On April 4, 1806, and again on the morning of April 5, 1806, Lewis and Clark sent groups of hunters across the river to a "large bottom" to hunt and to wait then for the main group of men to show up.

"... About noon we dispatched Gibson Shannon Howard and Wiser in one of the light canoes, with orders to proceed up the Columbia to a large bottom on the South side about six miles above us and to hunt untill our arrival. ...     we directed Drewyer and the two Feildses to ascend the river tomorrow to join Gibson and party, and hunt untill our arrival. ..." [Lewis, April 4, 1806]

"... Joseph Fields and Drewyer departed this morning agreeably to their orders of last evening. ..." [Lewis, April 5, 1806]

The rest of the group left on April 6. In the journals, Captain Lewis writes that their camp of April 6 is 10 miles from their previous camp which was at Cottonwood Beach, and Captain Clark writes that it is 9 miles.

"... early we had all the meat packed up and our Canoes loaded ready for to Set out and after an early brackfast at which time all things were ready and we Set out and proceeded to the Camp of Gibson & party about 9 miles, they had killed 3 Elk at no great distance and Wounded two others so badly that we expect to procure them. Sent a party of Six men with Shannon who had killed the Elk to bring in the Elk, and formed a Camp ..." [Clark, April 6, 1806]

"... at the distance of ten miles from our encampment we met with our hunters in the upper end of the bottom to which we had directed them on the South side of the river.     they had killed three Elk this morning and wounded two others so badly that they expected to get them.     we therefore determined to encamp for the evening at this place in order to dry the meat ..." [Lewis, April 6, 1806]

Using today's River Miles (RM) from NOAA Charts, Cottonwood Beach is at RM 124, Cottonwood Point at RM 125, Rooster Rock at RM 129, Latourell Falls at RM 130, and Shepperd's Dell at Young Creek is at approximately RM 131.

Historians have debated the location of the Lewis and Clark camp of April 6, 7, and 8, 1806, as conflicts appear between the journal text and Lewis and Clark's maps. According to Moulton (1991, Vol.7):

"... Atlas map 79 leads one to believe that the camp of April 6 can be combined with that shown for April 7 and 8 and easily solve the problem. But that location is in error also. On April 9, after the party left the camp established on April 6, Lewis records that they passed several cascades (shown on Atlas map 79); these would be the Multnomah and other falls in the area. But they are all beyond the camp designated for April 7-8 on the Atlas map. According to mileage estimates and general descriptions, the party's camp for April 6, where they remained until the morning of April 9, was in Multnomah County, above present Latourell Falls and Rooster Rock State Park, in an area known as Sheppards Dell. ..."

As Captain Lewis wrote in his journal on April 9, 1806:

"... on our way to this village we passed several beautifull cascades which fell from a great hight over the stupendious rocks which cloles the river on both sides nearly, except a small bottom on the South side in which our hunters were encamped. the most remarkable of these casscades falls about 300 feet perpendicularly over a solid rock into a narrow bottom of the river on the south side. it is a large creek, situated about 5 miles above our encampment of the last evening. several small streams fall from a much greater hight, and in their decent become a perfect mist which collecting on the rocks below again become visible and decend a second time in the same manner before they reach the base of the rocks. ..." [Lewis, April 9, 1806]

The "village" refered to is at the location of today's Skamania and Skamania Landing, shown on the Route Map (Moulton, vol.1, map#79) as nine lodges located between two unnamed creeks, today's Duncan Creek and Woodard Creek. The "hunters" mentioned were Reuben and Joseph Field, who had left, along with George Drouillard (Drewyer), the morning of April 7 to head upriver to a "small bottom" to hunt and then wait for the party to catch up to them.

"... we also directed Drewyer and the two Feildses to ascend the river early in the morning to a small bottom a few miles above and hunt untill our arrival ..." [Lewis, April 6, 1806]

"... This morning early the flesh of the remaining Elk was brought in and Drewyer with the Feildses departed agreeable to the order of the last evening. ..." [Lewis, April 7, 1806]

Drouillard returned that night:

"... Drewyer returned down the river in the evening & informed us that the nativs had Sceared all the Elk from the river above. Joseph & reuben Fields had proceeded on further up the river in the canoe, he expected to the village. ..." [Clark, November 7, 1806]

Interesting note: on the Route Map (Moulton, vol.1, map#79), the location for the camp of April 7 and 8, 1806, is directly across from the village, the location of today's Skamania and Skamania Landing, near today's Dodson, Oregon.

Lewis and Clark's previous campsite was on the Washington side of the Columbia at Cottonwood Beach and their campsite of April 9, 1806 was on the Oregon side of the Columbia at Tanner Creek.


Penny Postcard, Shepperds Dell Highway, looking downstream, ca.1920
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Penny Postcard: Shepperd's Dell Highway looking downstream, ca.1920 Penny Postcard, ca.1920, Shepperd's Dell Highway and Shepperd's Dell Bridge, looking downstream. Caption at top reads "820 Looking West from Shepperd's Dell Dome, Columbia River Highway, Oregon". In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Image, 2004, from Shepperd's Dell looking downstream, click to enlarge
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From Shepperd's Dell, looking downstream, Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon. View from the middle of the Shepperd's Dell Bridge. Image taken October 11, 2004.


George Shepperd ...
"From Latourell to Shepperd's Dell, the highway [Historic Columbia River Highway] is fairly level as it traverses the valley floor below Gorge cliffs. Shepperd's Dell is one of the more noted scenic spots on the highway. The arched, reinforced, concrete, 100-foot bridge, designed by K.P. Billner, spans a narrow gorge above Young Creek some 140-feet below. Settler George Shepperd, elated at the prospect of a decent road to his property, donated the right-of-way across his land for the highway. He also donated eleven acres along the creek for a park to honor his wife, Matilda*. Samuel Lancaster described the parcel as "unexcelled" ..."


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

* In error. George Shepperd donated the land for Shepperds Dell in honor of his second wife Martha (known as "Mattie"), and not his first wife Matilda. George and Matilda divorsed in 1895 and he married Mattie in 1896. Mattie died in 1903. See more below.

George Shepperd donates Shepperd's Dell ...
Rosemary Shepperd Guttridge, great-great granddaughter of George Shepperd, writes (personal communication, August 2014):

"Wonderful pictures. George Shepperd donated the land for Shepperds Dell in honor of his second wife, Martha (Mattie) not Matilda his first wife. Rosemary Shepperd."

"Sunday Oregonian", May 9, 1915 ...
DELL GIVEN TO CITY
G.S. Shepperd Presents Scenic Spot to Portland.
BEAUTY TO BE PRESERVED
Canyon and Waterfall Along Columbia Highway Where Man and Wife Now Dead Passed Many Happy Hours Is Gift.

"Shepperd's Dell, on the Columbia River Highway, has been presented to the people of Portland as a permanent playground.

Through the generosity of G. Shepperd, owner of this charming scenic attraction, the place will become the property of the people and its natural beauties will be kept inviolate.

The deed transferring title to the property to the City of Portland was delivered to Mayor Albee last week. Mr. Shepperd donated the land to the city without charge as a lasting monument to himself.

The property consists of about 11 acres and is 27 miles from Portland. It consists of a beautiful wooded canyon, a delicate waterfall and a series of high, rocky pinnacles, rising, some of them, to an elevation of 600 feet above the river. Above the canyon is a flat plain upon which observatories can be built.

Higher Ground Accessible.

This higher ground is accessible by wagon road from the main Columbia Highway and also can be reached by a series of steps from the canyon itself.

One of the most artistic bridges on the highway spans the chasm at Shepperd's Dell. The place is one of the most attractive on the whole route. Now that it has become the property of the city, it can be used for picnic grounds.

The deed specifies that it is to be used only "for park and recreation purposes," and Mr. Shepperd desires that its natural beauty be undisturbed.

Spot Has Sentimental Value.

To Mr. Shepperd the spot has a sentimental as well as a scenic value. He acquired a quarter section of land, including the famous dell, a few years ago. The Columbia Highway then was unthought of and the scenic charm of the little canyon and the waterfall had not been discovered.

He and his wife lived in a little cottage not far from the dell. Both were lovers of nature and on Sundays would go there and sit, charmed by the scenery for hours.

Mrs. Shepperd is dead now, and it was his desire to commemorate her that prompted Mr. Shepperd in his generous act. He could have sold the property for more than $10,000. He is not a rich man, and in view of this fact his donation is considered all the more noble."



Historic Columbia River Highway ...
The Shepperd's Dell Bridge was built in 1914 and spans Young Creek on the Historic Columbia River Highway. The bridge is a graceful reinforced concrete deck arch with a main arch span of 100 feet and consists of two parabolic arch ribs with open spandrels. It was designed by K.R. Billner under the supervison of Samuel C. Lancaster. The structure was constructed by the Pacific Bridge Company, Portland, at a cost of $10,800. A stairwell and trail to the Shepperd's Dell Falls is at the east end of the bridge. The Shepperd's Dell Bridge is located in Shepperd's Dell State Natural Area. The land was donated as parkland by the owner, George Shepperd, a local farmer in memory of his wife. Upstream of the bridge lies Bishops Cap, a once-spectacular basalt feature on the side of the Historic Highway.

[More Historic Columbia River Highway]
[HCRH Route]

  • HMP 27 ... Milepost Marker
  • HMP 27.4 ... Shepperd's Dell Bridge, Concrete Staircase, and Masonry Guard Wall on Paved Trail to Youngs Creek (1914)
  • HMP 27.4 ... Shepperd's Dell State Park (created 1915)

  • Shepperd's Dell Bridge (1914):   "This bridge consists of a single 100-foot, open spandrel, reinforced-concrete ribbed deck arch. Total length with approaches is 150 feet. It has a 17-foot-wide roadway, two sidewalks, and spindle-and-cap railings. A staircase at the eastern end leads down to a masonry-walled pedestrian trail that takes visitors to the stream. A bronze plaque on the southeast masonry railing end post." [National Historic Landmark Nomination Form, 1996]

    "The one-span reinforced concrete deck arch has a main arch span of 100 feet which consists of two parabolic arch ribs with open spandrels. The total length is 150 feet. ...   It is in Shepperd's Dell State Park, and the falls is south of the bridge. A stairwell and trail to the falls originates at the east end of the bridge." [National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, 1983]

  • Concrete Staircase and Masonry Guard Wall on Paved Trail to Young Creek (1914):   "From the Shepperd's Dell Bridge's souteast corner, a short reinforced-concrete staircase leads to a narrow pedestrian trail leading around the face of an alcove to Young Creek. A concrete-capped masonry guard wall flanks the path, and a small viewing platform near the stream marks its endpoint." [National Historic Landmark Nomination Form, 1996]

  • Shepperd's Dell State Park (created 1915):   "The first area obtained for this park was 10.03 acres, given to the city of Portland by George G. Shepperd on May 6, 1915, as a memorial to his wife." [National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, 1983]

Penny Postcard, Shepperds Dell Highway, ca.1920 Shepperd's Dell Highway, Oregon. Penny Postcard, ca.1920, Shepperd's Dell Highway. Caption along the bottom reads "305. Shepperd's Dell, Columbia River Highway, Oregon". #305, Chas. S. Lipschuetz Co., Portland, Oregon In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Image, 2005, Shepperd's Dell Bridge, click to enlarge
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Shepperd's Dell Bridge, Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon. Image taken March 6, 2005.


Shepperd's Dell in 1940 ...
From the Oregon State Archives "A 1940 Journey Across Oregon":

"... In the shadowy grotto of SHEPPERD'S DELL, 163.7 m., a sparkling waterfall leaps from a cliff. A white concrete arch bridges a chasm 150 feet wide and 140 feet deep. Near the bridge the highway curves round a domed rock known as BISHOP'S CAP or MUSHROOM ROCK. ..."


Views ...

Image, 2004, Shepperd's Dell Bridge, click to enlarge
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Looking west, Shepperd's Dell Bridge, Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon. Image taken June 27, 2004.
Image, 2004, Shepperd's Dell Bridge, click to enlarge
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Looking east, Shepperd's Dell Bridge, Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon. Image taken October 11, 2004.
Image, 2015, Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Milepost Marker 27, Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon. Image taken March 30, 2015.


Shepperd's Dell, etc.

  • Bishops Cap ...
  • Box Culvert ...
  • Forest Hall ...
  • Luscher's Fram ...
  • Mirror Lake ...
  • Shepperd's Dell State Natural Area ...
  • Shepperd's Dell State Park in 1946 ...
  • Shepperd's Dell State Park in 1965 ...
  • Young Creek ...
  • Young Creek Falls ...


Bishops Cap ...
Bishops Cap is the end of a basalt flow located on the Historic Columbia River Highway, just upstream of the Shepperds Dell Bridge.
[More]

Penny Postcard, Bishops Cap, Shepperds Dell, ca.1930
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Penny Postcard: Bishops Cap at Shepperd's Dell, ca.1930 Caption reads: "Bishop Cap at Shepperd's Dell, Columbia River Highway, Oregon". Copyright Cross & Dimmitt. Angelus Commercial Studio, Portland, Oregon. Caption on back reads: "Probably no scenic Highway in America, except the 1600 mile long Oregon Coast Highway, offers such magnificent scenery in concentrated variety as that which borders the Columbia River highway in Oregon." In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Image, 2013, Bishop's Cap, Historic Columbia River Highway, click to enlarge
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Bishop's Cap, Historic Columbia River Highway. Image taken March 3, 2013.


Box Culvert ...
Immediately east of Shepperd's Dell and Bishop's Cap is a "box culvert" was built to take a small stream under the highway. An early photograph in Mershon's publication "The Historic Columbia River Highway" shows the culvert soon after completion, with guard rocks at its top, lining the side of the highway. In 1995 a stone wall barrier, in "historic style" was built around the culvert.

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

  • HMP 27.55 ... Masonry Culvert (1914)
  • HMP 27.5 ... Masonry Culvert Barrier (1995)

  • Masonry Culvert (1914):   "This culvert consists of a single 8-foot reinforced-concrete deck slab span with masonry walls and floor". [National Historic Landmark Nomination Form, 1996]

  • Masonry Culvert Barrier (1995):   "This three-sided basalt masonry structure is just east of Shepperd's Dell Bridge. It is of the slip-for grout-lock design with concrete caps and end posts. Its style blends well with the architectural elements of other structures associated with the CRH. The barrier prevents pedestrians and bicyclists from falling into a deep masonry culvert that diverts runoff under the roadway." [National Historic Landmark Nomination Form, 1996]

Images, 2015, Culvert, Shepperd's Dell, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Box Culvert near Shepperd's Dell, Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon. Image taken March 30, 2015.
Images, 2015, Culvert, Shepperd's Dell, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Box Culvert near Shepperd's Dell, Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon. Bishop's Cap is visible in the background. Image taken March 30, 2015.


Forest Hall ... ("Maxwell House") ...
Forest Hall, also known as "Maxwell House", was built in 1915 and was one of the many roadhouses along the Columbia River Highway. Forest Hall was located 1/4 mile east of Shepherd's Dell. Today it is a private residence.
[More]

Images, 2013, Forest Hall, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Forest Hall, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon. Image taken March 3, 2013.


Luscher's Farm ...
One-quarter of a mile east of Shepperd's Dell is the historic Luscher Farm. A "Cattle Pass" was built into the Columbia River Highway to allow the cows to pass from one side of their fields to the other.

[More Luscher Farm]
[More HCRH Route]

  • HMP 27.75 ... Cattle Pass (1914)
  • HMP 27.75 ... Luscher Barn (1895)

  • Cattle Pass (1914):   "This culvert consists of a single 8-foot reinforced-concrete deck slab span. The underpass also has concrete walls and floor. A local landowner required construction of this Cattle Pass so that his herd could migrate to both sides of a pasture bisected by the highway's construction." [National Historic Landmark Nomination Form, 1996]

  • Lusher Barn (1895):   "He [Fred Luscher] was born up here, on the family's steep-side dairy farm, in 1895; ...   He points out the barn, built the year he was born, but explains that the old house is gone, its three stories considered too old." [Interview with Fred Luscher, "The Oregonian", January 21, 1980]

Images, 2015, Cattle Pass, Luscher Farm, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Cattle Pass to the Luscher Barn, looking west, Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon. Image taken April 10, 2015.
Images, 2015, Cattle Pass, Luscher Farm, Oregon, click to enlarge
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South entrance, Cattle Pass to the Luscher Barn, looking west, Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon. Image taken April 10, 2015.
Images, 2015, Cattle Pass, Luscher Farm, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Path, Cattle Pass to the Luscher Barn, Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon. Image taken April 10, 2015.


Mirror Lake ...
Latourell Creek merges with Young's Creek (Shepperd's Dell) and flows westward across the flats of Rooster Rock State Park, forming Mirror Lake. Mirror Lake then flows past the base of Crown Point where it merges with the Columbia at Columbia River Mile (RM) 129, at the Rooster Rock boat ramp.
[More]

Shepperd's Dell State Natural Area ...
Shepperd's Dell State Natural Area, once called Shepperd's Dell State Park, is a 519-acre park located 13 miles east of Troutdale, Oregon. It can be reached by the Historic Columbia River Highway. In 1915 the area was donated as parkland by the owner, George Shepperd, a local dairy farmer in memory of his wife.


Shepperd's Dell State Park in 1946 ...
SHEPPERD'S DELL STATE PARK

"Eastward, the next state park is Shepperd's Dell, at Mile Post 27.38. This unusual park site was given to the City of Portland by George W. Shepperd, for "park and recreational purposes". For a number of years it was under Portland's stewardship. Situated at Young's Creek, it is described by metes and bounds as being in Section 28, Township 1 North of Range 5 East, W.M., Multnomah County, containing 10.03 acres. It was a gift to the State of Oregon by the City of Portland, the deed dated October 14, 1940.

Shepperd's Dell itself is a slightly rock bound, hill side cove, down which Young's Creek wends its broken every-hurrying way in a series of cascades and minor falls that angle in almost every direction. The highway approach to this charming spot, from either east or west, is along the side of an almost vertical wall of massive basalt. Particularly noticeable is the unique, overhanging cliff of finely jointed basalt, overlying a splendid natural palisade base of heavy basalt columns, just east of the bridge, the striking contrast between the two forms of rock being very apparent, even to the casual observer. At this time there are no facilities nor are there other park improvements. Its scenic highway approaches and surroundings, in connection with its impressive geologic formations, win and hold attention as one of the unusual and picturesque features of highway construction in this area." ."

Signed:
W.A. Langille, State Parks Historian.

RECOMMENDATIONS:
"This park should be kept in its natural state. Larger parking area if possible."

Signed:
S.H. Boardman, State Parks Superintendent, March 25, 1946.


Source:    W.A. Langille and S.H. Boardman, 1946, State Parks Historical Sketches: Columbia Gorge State Parks, courtesy of Oregon State Archives website, 2014.



Shepperd's Dell State Park in 1965 ...
SHEPPERD'S DELL STATE PARK

"Shepperd's Dell State Park is located at Youngs Creek, approximately 27 miles east of the city of Portland, on the Columbia River Scenic Highway in Multnomah County.

The first area obtained for this park was 10.03 acres, first given to the city of Portland by George G. Shepperd on May 6, 1915, as a memorial to his wife, and then from the city to the state on September 4, 1940. Seven additional areas were purchased from 1952 to 1962, ranging in size from one acre to 187 acres. One exchange of land was made with Fritz Luscher, whereby Mr. Luscher gave to the state 6.25 acres of timberland in exchange for 12 acres of grazing land from the Rooster Rock State Park area. These transactions made a total of 292.29 acres in the park at the close of 1963.

Preservation of the small, picturesque area, which had long been known as Shepperd's Dell, was the reason for acquiring the first parcel of land. The park is named for this area. The idea was expanded in about 1953 to include preservation of the scenic features of the Columbia River Gorge.

Shepperd's Dell itself is a comely, rock-bound, sheltered nook, located near the highway, through which flows Youngs Creek in a series of rapid cascades and small falls that tumble in almost every direction in the stream's course. The tree-shaded, fern-covered slopes of the creek gorge, dotted with an outcropping of dark-colored rocks, are surprising to the highway traveler going in either direction as he emerges into the area from along the side of an almost vertical wall of massive basalt. The highway bridge, a narrow, early-type, arched structure with high railings spanning Youngs Creek, offers excellent views of the creek, the dell and the Columbia River.

Improvements include a small roadside car parking area, trails along the creek to the larger falls and a marker indicating that George Shepperd donated the original tract to the city of Portland in 1915.

No active use has been made of the area."


Source:    Chester H. Armstrong (compiler), 1965, "History of the Oregon State Parks: 1917-1963, published by Oregon State Parks.



Young Creek ...
A good view of Young Creek, Latourell Creek, and the eastern part of Rooster Rock State Park can be seen from Crown Point. Young Creek, once leaving the Shepperd's Dell area, flows westward through Rooster Rock State Park, where it merges with Latourell Creek and forms Mirror Lake, which then merges with the Columbia River just below Rooster Rock.
[More]

Image, 2004, Rooster Rock State Park and Young Creek, click to enlarge
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Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon, and Latourell and Young Creeks. From Crown Point looking upstream at Rooster Rock State Park. Latourell Creek (right) and Young Creek (left) meander through the foreground. Shepperds Dell is to the right off of Young Creek. Image taken October 10, 2004.
Image, 2005, Young Creek as seen from Crown Point, click to enlarge
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Latourell and Young Creeks, Rooster Rock State Park, as seen from Crown Point. From Crown Point looking upstream at Rooster Rock State Park. Latourell Creek (right) and Young Creek (left) meander through the foreground. Shepperds Dell is to the right off of Young Creek. Image taken March 6, 2005.
Image, 2005, Young Creek as seen from Shepperds Dell, click to enlarge
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Young Creek as seen from below the Shepperd's Dell Bridge. Image taken March 6, 2005.


Young Creek Falls ...
A stairwell and trail to Young Creek Falls is at the east end of the Shepperd's Dell Bridge. The falls is a tiered falls nearly 300 feet in total length, with five drops. Most of the falls is not visible from the Shepperds Dell turnout on the Historic Columbia River Highway. Youngs Creek Falls is one of the many falls in the Columbia River Gorge which can be seen along the highway.
[More]

Image, 2004, Youngs Creek Falls, click to enlarge
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Young Creek Falls. Image taken October 11, 2004.
Image, 2005, Youngs Creek Falls, click to enlarge
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Gene and Riley, Young Creek Falls. Image taken March 6, 2005.


Views from Shepperd's Dell ...

Image, 2004, Crown Point from Shepperd's Dell Bridge, click to enlarge
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Crown Point as seen from Shepperd's Dell Bridge, Oregon. Image taken October 11, 2004.
Image, 2005, Crown Point from Shepperd's Dell Bridge, click to enlarge
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Crown Point as seen from Shepperd's Dell Bridge, Oregon. Image taken October 22, 2005.
Image, 2005, Shepperd's Dell from  Bridge, click to enlarge
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Trees, Shepperd's Dell, Oregon. View from Historic Columbia River Highway Bridge. Image taken October 22, 2005.
Image, 2004, Shepperd's Dell Bridge, click to enlarge
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View from Shepperd's Dell Bridge, Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon. Image taken June 27, 2004.


"The Golden Age of Postcards" ...

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

Penny Postcard, Shepperds Dell Highway, looking downstream, ca.1920
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Penny Postcard: Shepperd's Dell Highway looking downstream, ca.1920 Penny Postcard, ca.1920, "Looking West from Shepperd's Dell Dome, Columbia River Highway, Oregon". Card #820. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Shepperds Dell Highway, ca.1920
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Penny Postcard: Shepperd's Dell Highway, Oregon, ca.1920. Penny Postcard, ca.1920, "Columbia Highway, Oregon". Caption on top reads: "At Shepherd's Dell, the clif had to be cut away to make room for autos to pass.". Published by Chas. S. Lipschuetz Co., Portland, Oregon, Card #262. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Shepperds Dell Highway, ca.1920
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Penny Postcard: Shepperd's Dell Highway, Oregon, ca.1920. Penny Postcard, ca.1920, "Shepperd's Dell, Columbia River Highway, Oregon". The view shows the Columbia River, the Shepperds Dell Bridge, and Bishops Cap (the basalt feature on the left). Image Copyright Weister Co. Published by Chas. S. Lipschuetz Co., Portland, Oregon. Card #305. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Shepperds Dell Bridge, ca.1920
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Penny Postcard: Shepperd's Dell Bridge, Oregon, ca.1920. Penny Postcard, ca.1920, "Shepperd's Dell Bridge, Columbia River Highway, Oregon." Caption on back reads: "Shepperd's Dell Bridge. The Shepperd's Dell Bridge is 160 feet aove the stream, which is spanned with a reinforced concrete arch 100 feet long, the total length being 150 feet." Image Copyright Weister Co. Published by Chas. S. Lipschuetz Company, Portland, Oregon. Card #326. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Shepperds Dell Bridge, ca.1930
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Penny Postcard: Shepperd's Dell Bridge, Oregon, ca.1930. Penny Postcard, ca.1930, "Shepperd's Dell, Columbia River Highway, Oregon". Caption on back reads: "Probably no scenic Highway in America, except the 1600 mile long Oregon Coast Highway, offers such magnificent scenery in concentrated variety as that which borders the Columbia River Highway in Oregon.". Published by Angelus Commercial Studio, Portland, Oregon. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Shepperds Dell Bridge, cars, with Bishops Cap, ca.1920
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Penny Postcard: Shepperd's Dell Bridge, cars, with Bishops Cap, Oregon, ca.1920. Penny Postcard, ca.1920, "Shepperd's Dell, Columbia River Highway, Oregon". Caption on back reads: "Shepperd's Dell is one of the most picturesque spots along the highway. Eleven acres at this point was given to Portland by George Shepperd for a public park. This is a very interesting piece of construction, the 24 foot road having been cut out of solid rock. 'On Union Pacific System'." Image Copyright Weister Co. Published by Chas. S. Lipscheutz Company, Portland, Oregon, Card #324. 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]-






Clark, April 6, 1806 ...
Two Indians Came last night very late to our Camp [Cottonwood Beach, Washougal, Washington] and continued all night. early we had all the meat packed up and our Canoes loaded ready for to Set out and after an early brackfast at which time all things were ready and we Set out and proceeded to the Camp of Gibson & party about 9 miles [on the Oregon side of the Columbia near Shepperds Dell], they had killed 3 Elk at no great distance and Wounded two others so badly that we expect to precure them. Sent a party of Six men with Shannon who had killed the Elk to bring in the Elk, and formed a Camp, near which we had a Scaffold made ready to dry the meat as Soon as it Should arive. ...     in the evening late the Indians left us and returned to their village. we derected that fires be kept under the meat all night. and tha Drewyer and the two Fields proceed on to the next bottom and hunt untill we Should arive. 9 miles


Lewis, April 6, 1806 ...
This morning we had the dryed meat secured in skins and the canoes loaded [at their camp at Cottonwood Beach, Washougal, Washington]; we took breakfast and departed at 9 A. M. we continued up the N. side of the river nearly to the place at which we had encamped on the 3rd of Nov. [in error, Lewis meant their camp of November 2, 1805, which was at Rooster Rock] when we passed the river to the south side in quest of the hunters we had sent up yesterday and the day before. from the appearance of a rock near which we had encamped on the 3rd of November last [November 2, 1805, Rooster Rock] I could judge better of the rise of the water than I could at any point below. I think the flood of this spring has been about 12 feet higher than it was at that time; the river is here about 1 miles wide; it's general width from the beacon rock [Beacon Rock, Washington] which may be esteemed the head of tide water, to the marshey islands [Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge, Cathlamet Bay, near Astoria] is from one to 2 miles tho' in many places it is still wider. it is only in the fall of the year when the river is low that the tides are persceptable as high as the beacon rock [Beacon Rock]. this remarkable rock which stands on the North shore of the river is unconnected with the hills and rises to the hight of seven hundred feet; it has some pine or reather fir timber on it's nothern side, the southern is a precipice of it's whole hight. it rises to a very sharp point and is visible for 20 miles below on the river. at the distance of ten miles from our encampment [Cottonwood Beach] we met with our hunters in the upper end of the bottom to which we had directed them on the South side of the river [Shepperds Dell]. they had killed three Elk this morning and wounded two others so badly that they expected to get them. we therefore determined to encamp for the evening at this place in order to dry the meat, in surch of which we sent a party immediately and employed others in preparing scaffoalds and collecting firewood &c against their return. ...  : : p the party whom we sent for the flesh of the Elk which Shannon had killed returned in the evening with that of four, one had by some mistake been omitted. Drewyer and shannon found the two wounded Elk and had killed them. we set all hands at work to prepare the meat for the saffoald they continued their operations untill late at night. we directed Shannon to go out early in the morning with a party to bring in the Elk which had been left last evening in mistake. we also directed Drewyer and the two Feildses to ascend the river early in the morning to a small bottom a few miles above and hunt untill our arrival.


Gass, April 6, 1806 ...
We had a fine morning, with some fog; about 10 o'clock we set out; passed a beautiful pairie on the north side [area of Steigerwald National Wildlife Refuge], which we could not see for the fog as we went down; proceeded on about 9 miles and came to our hunters' camp [Shepperds Dell]. they had killed 5 elk; so we halted, sent out for the meat and began to dry it. We are now at the head of the Columbia valley; which is a fine valley about 70 miles long, abounding with roots of different kinds, which the natives use for food, especially the Wapto roots which they gather out of the ponds. The timber is mostly of the fir kind, with some cherry, dog-wood, soft maple and ash; and a variety of shrubs which bear fruit of a fine flavour, that the natives make use of for food.




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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:    Armstrong, C.H., (compiler), 1965, "History of the Oregon State Parks: 1917-1963, published by Oregon State Parks;    Hay, K.G., 2004, The Lewis and Clark Columbia River Wtaer Trail, Timber Press, Portland;    Mershon, C.E., 2006, The Columbia River Highway, From the Sea to the Wheat Fields of Eastern Oregon, Guardian Peaks Enterprises, Portland;    Oregon State Department of Transportation website, 2004;    Oregon State Parks and Recreation website, 2004;    "Rootsweb.com" website, 2005;    University of Oregon Libraries Columbia River Basin Digital Collection, 2013, "Official Columbia Highway Tour", 1916, Published by The Scenic Tours Company, Portland, Oregon;    University of Oregon Libraries Historic Oregon Newspapers Collection, 2014, "Morning Oregonian", 1915;    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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June 2014