Thursday, April 10, 2008

Historic Landmarks of The Dalles

Known as the end of the Oregon Trail, The Dalles was where pioneers loaded their wagons onto rafts or barges and floated down the Columbia to the mouth of the Willamette River, then upriver to Oregon City. The Barlow Trail was constructed later to permit an overland crossing.

Lewis & Clark Historic Site (1805-06) . Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery camped on both legs of their journey; October 1805, and again in April 1806. They called this site at the mouth of “Que-neet Creek,” or RockFort Camp. Memorial plaque and interpretive signage located on site.
( Oregon trail begins in the state of MO.)

In April of 1806, Lewis and Clark stayed at a spot they called "Rockfort" camp. As salmon ran up the swift water, Indians were spearing them from the rocks of Celilo Falls or scooping them out of the water with long handled nets. These Indians menaced the whites as they portaged the rapids, and Lewis and Clark as well as the 1811 Stuart Party paid them tribute. Despite this, the Indians stole what they could and so earned the reputation of being the worst thieves between the Missouri River and the Pacific Ocean. William Clark himself came near to shooting an Indian -- any Indian -- when his dog was stolen (happily for all concerned, he soon got it back).
  • In 1838, the Methodists built a branch mission named Wascopam at The Dalles Oregon Trail emigrants described the mission as two dwellings, a schoolhouse, stable, barn, garden, and cleared fields next to the wooden huts of an Indian village
  • What History does not speak of is that my best girl friend lived right next to the marker for the trail. It was never ever really kept up by anyone. It was just there . In fact my friend Cindy, and I proped it up many times. This all changed when the county decided to start a push for tourism<--- :-(

Ezra Meeker Oregon Trail Marker The Dalles City Park, Fifth & Union Streets
This marker was placed by Ezra Meeker in the early 1900's. Meeker was an advocate for preserving the Oregon trail, and he came to The Dalles on a journey to re-traced the Oregon Trail, traveling by covered wagon pulled by a team of oxen.

In 1906 Ezra Meeker and the people of Dalles City, Oregon, erected a monument near the city center proclaiming the "End of the Old Oregon Trail 1843-1906." It is incorrect in dates, location, and facts.Meeker had a policy of placing monuments at city centers or parks where they could get the best exposure. He is to be commended for this. If he had placed a plaque at Crates Point that said, "Temporary End of the Overland Portion of the Old Oregon Trail 1843-1845," few people would have given it notice.

Pulpit Rock, a curious thumb of rock near the corner of 12th and Court Streets, combines geology and theology. From this natural pulpit, early Methodist missionaries preached to the Native Americans. The rock still serves as a pulpit for local Easter services. I have been to the rock many times is was one half of a block from my child hood home. It was always a big deal Easter morning for my grandmother, and I to walk to the rock for sunrise services. We did it each year..