Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"White Salmon, Washington"
Includes ... White Salmon ...
Image, 2011, White Salmon from Hood River, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
White Salmon, Washington, on the ridge, as seen from Hood River, Oregon. View from moving car. Image taken August 22, 2011.


White Salmon ...
The Washington community of White Salmon lies on the north side of the Columbia River at Columbia River Mile (RM) 170, on the ridge above the community of Bingen. White Salmon's early history is tied closely with Bingen's. Across the river is the Oregon community of Hood River. Three miles downstream is the mouth of the White Salmon River, after which the community was named.

Early White Salmon ...
The first settlers in the White Salmon area were E.S. and Mary Joslyn, who arrived in 1853 from Massachusetts. According to the "a2zgorge.info" website, their diary states that the name "White Salmon" was in common use at that time, and since the folks across the river named their community "Hood River" after the river, the folks at White Salmon did likewise.

According to Robert Hitchman in Place Names of Washington (1985):

"... When a post office was established in 1872, it was named for White Salmon River, directly west. Rivalry with Bingen, a town directly adjoining White Salmon on the southeast and on Spokane, Portland, and Seattle Railway line, caused the station to be barked with both town names. Efforts to combine the towns have been made for many years, but so far have proven fruitless. In 1931, Bingen took the matter of naming the railway station to court, without satisfaction to either town. ..."

The community of White Salmon was incorporated in 1907.


Street scenes ...

Image, 2010, White Salmon street scene, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Building mural, White Salmon, Washington. View from moving car. Image taken June 5, 2010.
Image, 2010, White Salmon street scene, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Street scene, White Salmon, Washington. View from moving car. Image taken June 5, 2010.
Image, 2010, White Salmon street scene, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Street scene, White Salmon, Washington. View from moving car. Image taken August 11, 2010.
Image, 2010, White Salmon street scene, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Street scene, Inn of the White Salmon, White Salmon, Washington. View from moving car. Image taken August 11, 2010.


White Salmon, etc.

  • Bluff Stairway ...
  • White Salmon Blockhouse ...
  • White Salmon River ...


Bluff Stairway ...
At one time a wooden stairway linked the two Washington communities of Bingen (below the bluff) and White Salmon (on top of the bluff).
[More]

Image, 2014, Bingen, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Bluff Stairway trace between Bingen (at base of bluff) to White Salmon (on top of bluff), as seen from the Hood River Bridge. Image taken July 26, 2014.


Old stairway path is visible on the left and goes from red-roofed house down to the river, appearing here ending at the bridge/railing junction.
Image, 2011, Bingen, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Bluff Stairway trace between Bingen (at base of bluff) to White Salmon (on top of bluff), as seen from the Hood River Bridge. Image taken February 2, 2011.


Old stairway path is visible on the left and goes from red-roofed house down to the river, appearing here just above and to the right of the road sign on the left.


White Salmon Blockhouse ...
[More]


White Salmon River ...
The White Salmon River originates in south central Washington along the south slope of Mount Adams, and then flows south for 45 miles before entering the Columbia River (Bonneville Reservoir) at River Mile (RM) 167.5, at Underwood, Washington. The White Salmon River was named after the abundance of spawning salmon returning to the creek, whose flesh turned color from red to pinkish white. Upstream are the Washington communities of White Salmon (on the hill) and Bingen, Washington (at the base of the hill). Five miles downstream is located Drano Lake and the Little White Salmon River, where Lewis and Clark camped on October 29, 1805. Directly across from the White Salmon River is Hood River, Oregon.
[More]

Image, 2004, Mount Adams and the mouth of the White Salmon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
White Salmon River with Mount Adams. Mouth of the White Salmon River (bridge), Washington, as seen from Hood River, Oregon. Mount Adams is in the background. Image taken March 20, 2004.

"... pass the mouth of a large rapid Stream on the Stard. Side ... in this creek the Indians above take their fish, here we Saw Several canoes, which induced us to call this Canoe Creek it is 28 yards wide ..." [Clark, October 19, 1805]



From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 29, 1805 ...
A cloudy morning wind from the West but not hard, we Set out at day light [from their camp on Rocky Island at Crates Point], and proceeded on about five miles Came too on the Stard. Side at a village of 7 houses built in the Same form and materials of those above, here we found the Chief we had Seen at the long narrows [The Dalles] ...     they are hospitable and good humered Speak the Same language of the inhabitants of the last village, we call this the friendly village [vicinity of Dougs Beach]. ...     after brackfast we proceeded on, the mountains are high on each Side [high basalt cliffs of the Rowena Gap, with Rowena Crest on the south and the Chamberlain Lake area on the north], containing Scattering pine white oake & under groth, hill Sides Steep and rockey; at 4 miles lower we observed a Small river falling in with great rapidity on the Stard. Side [Klickitat River] below which is a village of 11 houses [today the town of Lyle is on the upstream side of the Klickitat], here we landed to Smoke a pipe with the nativs and examine the mouth of the river, which I found to be 60 yards wide rapid and deep, The inhabitants of the village are friendly and Chearfull; those people inform us also those at the last village that this little river is long and full of falls, no Salmon pass up it, it runs from N. N. E. that ten nations live on this river and its waters, on buries, and what game that Can kill with their Bow & arrows

we purchased 4 dogs and Set out- (this village is the of the Same nation of the one we last passed) and proceeded on The Countrey on each side begin to be thicker timbered with Pine and low white Oake; verry rockey and broken [passing Mayer State Park on the Oregon side]. passed three large rocks in The river the middle rock is large long and has Several Squar vaults on it. we call this rockey Island the Sepulchar [Memaloose Island] - The last river we passed we Shall Call the Cataract River [Klickitat River] from the number of falls which the Indians say is on it- passed 2 Lodges of Indians a Short distance below the Sepulchar Island [Memaloose Island] on the Stard. Side river wide, at 4 mile passed 2 houses on the Stard. Side, Six miles lower passed 4 houses above the mouth of a Small river 40 yards wide on the Lard. Side [Hood River]    a thick timbered bottom above & back of those houses; those are the first houses which we have Seen on the South Side of the Columbia River, (and the axess to those dificuelt) for fear of the approach of their common enemies the Snake Indians, passed 14 houses on the Std. Side Scattered on the bank- from the mouth of this little river which we shall Call Labeasche River [Hood River], the falls mountain [Mount Hood] is South and the top is covered with Snow.    one mile below pass the mouth of a large rapid Stream on the Stard. Side [White Salmon River], opposit to a large Sand bar [from Hood River], in this creek the Indians above take their fish, here we Saw Several canoes, which induced us to call this Canoe Creek [White Salmon River] it is 28 yards wide, about 4 miles lower and below the Sand bar [Hood River sandbar] is a butifull cascade falling over a rock of about 100 feet [Wah Gwin Gwin Falls, location of the Columbia Gorge Hotel],

[On the route map (Moulton, vol.1, map#78) a "C___ Spring" is shown on the north side of the river, today the location of Spring Creek and Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, with no mention of it in any text. On the south side, at the location of Wah Gwin Gwin Falls, only "Cascade" is labeled and "4 Houses of Indians".]

a Short distance lower passed 4 Indian houses on the Lard. Side in a timbered bottom, a fiew miles further we came too at 3 houses on Stard. Side, back of which is a pond [today the location of Drano Lake. The Little White Salmon River empties into Drano Lake.] in which I Saw Great numbers of Small Swan, Capt. Lewis and went into the houses of those people ...     Here the mountains are high on each Side, those to the Lard. Side has Some Snow on them at this time, more timber than above and of greater variety.






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:   

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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July 2014