Tillamook And The Clatsop Plains Commentary (1981)

Horner Museum Tour Guide Series

Tillamook and the Clatsop Plains Commentary

By Kenneth Munford

(Originally published in the Horner Museum Tour Guide Series, 1981)

Good morning, Tourists! Welcome to Horner Museum Historical Tour #23. Today we are going out to the land of cheese, trees, and ocean breeze. Tomorrow we will visit the rolling, corrugated sand dunes known as the Clatsop Plains. In museums and throughout the countryside we will view artifacts--"products of human workmanship"--to help us understand and appreciate our pioneer heritage. We will visit sites of historical significance, two of them 175 years old, and areas with legends much older than that.

North on 99W "Open Space"

Living in western Oregon we have long enjoyed the freedom and exhilaration of open country. We have found it surrounding whatever towns we have lived in. But what is going to happen to this open space? Will it survive? Back when I was in college, which was more than several years ago, I took a course in Economic Geography. The text we used predicted that in the future the series of valleys between Bellingham, Wash., and Eugene, Ore., would become one of the world's most densely settled centers of population. Perhaps a megalopolis like the corridor on the east coast between Washington and Boston or the urban sprawl of Los Angeles and San Jose.

What will become of the Willamette Valley's verdure when a city the size of London--which is about the same size as Benton County--spreads out over the fertile plains? Will we have any open space left? Will we have the courage and foresight to leave farm and orchard lands, woodlots, and parks? Can we discipline ourselves, as many European countries have, to preserve strict borders between town and country?

Charlie Ross, an OSU forester, has long campaigned to have us adopt European-type restraints to preserve the scenic, hygienic, and psychological benefits of open country. He and his wife Elsie have shown their determination in preparing for the future by making possible a large city park on the top of I-V hill, the new Chip Ross Park. They would like to see Corvallis ringed by similar tracts of open space.

Along 99W between Corvallis and Lewisburg, the open country along the highway and railroad is fast filling in with industrial plants, business concerns, and housing developments. Just as I-5 through the center of the valley is becoming a continuous string-bean of trailer-sales lots, warehouses, and manufacturing plants, 99W is moving in the same direction.

As we learned on our last tour, the forest lands of the OSU School of Forestry give us a bit of permanent open space northwest of Lewisburg: Peavy Arboretum, Dunn Forest, and McDonald Forest. We get a good view of the extent of McDonald Forest. See the television broadcasting antenna for KOAC-TV on the top of Vineyard Hill. The McDonald Tract encompasses the whole ridge to the northeast. The eastern face of that ridge is losing its open-space status. You can see the private homes being built along the winding road that climbs up the hillside to the water storage tanks at the summit.

On this your we will see other areas that have been set aside for public use and recreation: Helmick Park on the Luckiamute, the Van Duzer Corridor along the Salmon River Highway, Boyer State Park, lands along the Salmon River estuary that the federal government is buying up. But what of the rest of the verdant Coast Range? Will it be logged off and left as barren hillsides to be filled with tiny subsistence farms and country estates? The Forest Service owns much land in the Coast Range but is under pressure to open its holdings for multiple and private use. As the valley population pushes out on all sides, the Forest Service will be under even more pressure to turn its lands into other than tree-growing and recreational uses. An informed citizenry is one of our best safeguards against Californication of western Oregon.

Adair: Village and Camp

Conversion of a large part of the cantonment area of Camp Adair into a wild life and pheasant farm leaves some open country. Benton County Parks has inherited a club house and park area at Adair Village.

A number of people, including new residents of Adair Village, have been asking where the Adair name came from. Since the Adair family lived in the area we are going to visit tomorrow, this might be a good time to discuss the origin of the name given to Camp Adair when it was dedicated in October 1942. On one of our tours last month, Dan Robertson, director of the Benton County Museum (and formerly director in Clatsop County) gave an impromptu talk on the Adairs, but he admitted later that he had left out some important details. Let's set the record straight.

John Adair, Sr., was a native of Kentucky who had graduated from Harvard University. He had practiced law in the south and had been a Congressman from Kentucky and Governor of that state. When Congress organized the Oregon Country as a Territory of the United States in 1848, President Polk appointed the officers to administer it. Among those appointed were General Joseph Lane as Governor, Joseph Meek (Polk's cousin) as Marshal, and John Adair as Customs Collector. Adair brought his family west by way of Panama and came from San Francisco to Oregon on a ship commanded by Captain Nathaniel Crosby (an ancestor of Bing Crosby). Adair filed a land claim in what is now Upper Astoria, calling it Adairville. Here he opened the first U.S. Customs House on the Pacific Coast.

Adair and his wife, the former Mary Ann Dickinson, had 13 children. One of them was also named John. John, Jr., received an appointment to West Point and graduated in 1861. He was stationed at Walla Walla for a time but when ordered to return to Washington he deserted and fled to Victoria, B.C. He was dismissed from the service but was sometimes referred to as Colonel Adair. One of his sons, Henry Rodney, also received an appointment to West Point. After Rodney's mother died, his father married Dr. Bethenia Owens, the controversial lady doctor who had been forced to give up her practice in Roseburg. She is remembered today as Dr. Bethenia Owens-Adair.

After graduation from West Point, Rodney was commissioned as a lieutenant of cavalry. In 1916 the Mexican bandit, Pancho Villa, began raiding U.S. border towns. In March he raided and killed 18 Americans in Columbus, New Mexico. President Wilson sent General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing with a force to protect the border. One of his officers was Lt. Rodney Adair. On a mission into Mexico, at Carrizal, 90 miles south of El Paso, Lt. Adair's small detachment was surprised by a large force of Mexicans. In the battle, Adair was killed. It was in memory of this Lt. Henry Rodney Adair that Camp Adair was named in 1942.

Beyond Suver

One area of open space we can count on for some time is the flood plain of the Luckiamute. Regardless of how many flood-control dams are built, in periods of high water, Helmick Park and the adjacent agricultural land will be flooded. Even though this rich alluvial plain is covered with water almost every year, you will note that circular irrigation sprinkler systems have been installed to keep crops growing through the dry summer months.

Luckiamute River


Valley & Siletz Railroad


Fir Crest Cemetery





For a long time this Rickreall settlement was known as Dixie. Nathaniel Ford from Virginia and Missouri and his clan of relatives and a family of black slaves arrived here 1844-45. Ford staked out 640 acres on the left straddling La Creole Creek for himself and his wife. He staked out 640 acres for his sister and her husband, Mrs. and Mr. David Goff, on the right. The Goff's daughter Pauline married James Nesmith, an ambitious young pioneer of 1843, and they built a house which, much remodeled, still stands a quarter of a mile to the right. Nesmith Park and cemetery is on the south side of Rickreall Creek, just north of the Polk County fairgrounds. As we cross the intersection at Rickreall, the large white house with a porch around it is the Burch house, built by other Ford relatives.

Highway 22

A year ahead of the Ford clan, the Applegates came this way in 1843-44. The three families, those of the brothers Charles, Lindsay, and Jesse, spent part of the winter in the abandoned buildings of Jason Lee's Methodist mission--the present mission--near Wheatland ferry. Bob Torley, our sometime tour guide, likes to tell the story of how the Applegates built a ferry to take their household goods, wagons, and equipment across the Willamette. To keep the boat from leaking, they caulked it with paper they found lying around the old mission, including a number of religious tracts. This is one instance, Bob says, in which the Methodist's religious teachings "held water."

Seeking fertile, free land, the three brothers, coming into this area from the northeast, were delighted with the prospects of the Salt Creek Valley we are entering. Where the road from Dallas to Perrydale crosses Highway 22, Charles Applegate staked his claim. Brother Lindsay settled a mile west, and Jesse a mile beyond. The town where Dallas now stands was first called Cynthia Ann, for Mrs. Jesse Applegate. More of this topic on our September tour. When the Applegate brothers opened the Applegate Trail to the south in June 1846, they found the Yoncalla country in northern Douglas County more appealing. All of them moved there in l849-50.

Buell, in the valley over the next hill...

This pleasant valley also attracted early settlers. On Mill Creek, which we cross, A.H. Reynolds built a grist mill. This is the same Reynolds who built the grist mill for Rowland and Lovisa King Chambers in Kings Valley. He later built a mill at Walla Walla and finally became one of the first bankers in what is now southeast Washington state.

Elias Buell was the first permanent settler in this valley. A post office was established here in 1900. This little valley did not prove as fertile as it appeared to early settlers. It is under laid with a vast amount of gravel, which has been mined periodically for road building. The soil was thin and did not produce good crops.

South Yamhill Valley, over the next hill...

Westward through this level valley, grizzled old Joe Gervais, a French-Canadian voyageur who had been in the Oregon Country since 1812, guided the first honeymooners of record to the Oregon coast. He guided Jason Lee and his bride Anna Maria Pitman and Cyrus Shepard and his bride in August 1837, a month after their weddings at the Methodist mission. Traveling on horseback through this level valley presented no problems, but the Old Elk Trail over the Coast Range, through heavy underbrush and over many down logs, was very difficult. Poor Susan Downing Shepard had never ridden a horse before. How she must have suffered ... but she was made of sturdy stuff. She outlived the others. Anna Maria died in childbirth about nine months after this trip. Jason Lee died of tuberculosis a few years later on a trip to the United States. Cyrus Shepard was not well from the time he arrived in Oregon and died a few years after the honeymoon. Susan and her two daughters outlived them all.

Approaching Fort Hill...

The first trail and wagon road ran along the side of the hill on the right. As we approach Fort Hill, we see a notch in the mountain. The early road ran through that notch. Fort Yamhill, including the blockhouse still preserved at Dayton, was just the other side, overlooking the fertile valley called Grand Ronde. There Indian agent Joel Palmer bought land and created a reservation for the Calapooia Indians.

As described in the tour-guide booklet (pp. 12-13), an early trail and later highway connected the Willamette Valley with Tillamook by climbing over the mountains northwest from here. State Highway 7, which we have been following still goes that way. From Portland and Salem to Lincoln County beaches and Tillamook, that was the way to go by auto until the Salmon River Cut-Off was opened in 1930. We could go that way today. It is a beautiful drive through timberland, but is winding and somewhat monotonous. Instead of trying to follow the oldest road we can find, as we often do, today we are taking a more modern highway over the mountains, a route that is only 50 years old as a state highway.

Grand Ronde

Sawmill and railroad town built as New Grand Ronde after the Grand Ronde Indian agency was closed in 1925. Note elaborate depot for this small town. Two former warehouses converted into book and antique stores, on the right as we leave Grand Ronde, are examples of the type of new businesses spreading out into the hinterland.

Boyer and Boyer State Park

Those of you who took Horner Museum Historical Tour #12 in 1979 or 1980, may remember the story of John and Julia Boyer. They were the first settlers in the upper Salmon River country. They started a post office near the state park where we are going to make a rest stop in a few minutes.

They converted the Old Elk Trail along the Salmon River into a wagon road and operated it as a toll road from 1908 to 1920. About 1915 they discontinued the post office and moved about four miles eastto a pleasant little valley on the Little Nestucca and Pheasant Creek. This is the place called Boyer today. A son of the Boyers built a log service station, but motorists eager to get to the beach or to get back home zoomed past it and it never prospered. It finally burned down. The Boyer house was on the far (western) side of Pheasant Creek Valley. It too burned down, and has been replaced by a nondescript one-story affair. The Boyer Toll Road marker is just beyond, on the left side. (I'll have the driver go slow through this area.)

Rest Stop at Boyer State Park Rose Lodge

We leave Highway 18 here and cross the Salmon River, taking the older road. On the bridge, suggest to the tourists that they look for salmon coming up the stream. As we follow down the north bank of the Salmon River, we see groups of mobile homes and other houses, both vacation and permanent homes. We may get a glimpse of the now defunct Pixy land amusement park, which the stockholders hope the federal government will buy as part of their program to make a permanent reserve of the estuary of the Salmon River. They already own much of Cascade Head, the mountain at the mouth of the river and are buying more land to create a research and ecological appreciation area preserving open country.


Might be a good place to talk about Indian place names beginning with "Ne" along this northwest Oregon coast. The "Ne" prefix is said to be derived from an Indian term meaning "a place where people live." Let's see how many "Ne" places we can find on this trip. If we had gone on to Lincoln City on Highway 18 we would have passed Neotsu. We will pass Neskowin. Later we will see Neacoxie, Neahkahnie, Neawanna, Necanicum, Nehalem, Nestucca, and Netarts. Elsewhere in Tillamook County are Neamusa Falls and Nestocton. In compiling a list of "Ne" place names, Newport, Nelscott, and Newburg do not count.

On the Way to Tillamook...

First we follow the Nestucca River, then over a low summit drop down into the valley of the Tillamook River. In the early days of cheese manufacture, each settlement had its own cooperatively owned cheese plant to which dairymen could bring their milk by horse and wagon. Some of these early buildings remain. Others are depicted in photographs on the walls of the visitors' center at the cheese factory we will visit this afternoon. We may be able to identify the older factory buildings at Cloverdale, Hebo, Beaver, and Hemlock, and tomorrow at Banks and Gaston.

Many of them had round metal ventilators on the roof, which is one means of identification. Most of Tillamook Cheese manufacturing is now centralized in the one plant north of Tillamook, where milk is brought in by truck on well-paved roads.

Hereabouts places were not only given Indian names but also those of wildlife found in the forest: Beaver Creek, Buzzard Butte west of Beaver, Bear Creek, Wolf Creek, even Tiger Creek. Some of the big wildcats may have looked like tigers.

Tillamook Industrial Park

Built on the grounds and using some of the buildings of the former Tillamook Naval Air Station, this area serves a variety of purposes. The local school district, for example, has its offices out here. The gate we enter has a guard station that was used by the Air Station to keep people out. Now it is used as an information booth to welcome people in.

Blimp Hangar

Louisiana Pacific plant manager, Myron "Moose" Moore, is supposed to meet us in the hangar and tell about the building of these structures in 1942. Then we go through a side door to the LP offices where photos are on display. Restrooms available.

SP Railroad

End of the line for this Southern Pacific branch at TNAS. We will see more of this railroad as we go north along the beach and will join it again tomorrow in the Tualatin Valley.

Tillamook High School

Football field of the Cheesemakers on right.

Tillamook County Museum

Unload in front of Museum. Buses can park just beyond.

Allow two hours for viewing museum and getting lunch at nearby restaurants. Tillamook Cheese Factory exhibits and audio-visual display are self-explanatory. Suggest to tourists that they pick up copies of Tillamook Times, vol. 4, which tells the story of Bay Ocean.

Tillamook County has a population of 20,000, about half that of Corvallis. 4,300 live in the city of Tillamook. Annual rainfall (90.82 inches) is nearly three times that of Corvallis.

Tillamook Bay

This is what Captain Robert Gray called Murderers' Bay, because his personal servant, Marcus Lopez, was killed here. (Tour guide booklet, p. 3.) Across from Bay City (named for Bay City, Mich., in 1888), is the ill-fated Bay Ocean.

See story in Tillamook Times.


John Hobson started a salmon cannery here in 1885.

Miami Cove and River

From "Mi-me Chuck," Indian for a tributary stream entering downstream.


Named for Guiseppe Garibaldi, the Italian patriot and revolutionary who was a hero of D.D. Bayly, first postmaster here in 1870. Once a bustling mill town. Now probably most famous for the wholesale/retail fish market on the left as we leave town.


Isn't that a nice sounding name for a resort community?

Camp Magruder

A mile from Barview we come upon Smith Lake.

On the far side is Camp Magruder, a Methodist youth camp and retreat. Named for one of its supporters, Dr. F.A. Magruder, OSC professor of political science and author of American Government, which he revised annually and kept in print for decades as the most widely used high school textbook in this subject.

Twin Rocks

A resort started in 1914, soon after rail service began between Portland and Tillamook.


Promoted by a Portland company, taking name from the famous Long Island, N.Y., resort.

Lake Lytle

The lake on the right and a tall five-story resort hotel that stood on the sand ridge on the left were named for Elmer E. Lytle, who built railroads for E.H. Harriman, owner of the Southern Pacific. He built this 91-mile line from Tillamook to Hillsboro beginning at both ends in 1906. Construction was delayed by the depression of 1907 but completed in October 1911.

Manhattan Beach

Nedonna Beach

Aha, another "Ne" name for our collection.


We parallel the railroad along the estuary of the Nehalem River. The railroad leaves us here and heads over the mountains to the Tualatin Plains.

Coleman Wheeler, a big-time wheeler and dealer in lumbering, took advantage of this location on both the railroad and Nehalem Bay to build a large sawmill. He bought large tracts of fine timber along the upper Nehalem to supply the mill. Seagoing vessels at one time could come up the bay this far to pick up loads of lumber.

The town of Wheeler is probably best known for the arthritis clinic established here by Dr. Harvey Rinehart in the 1920s. Rinehart, a 1907 graduate of Oregon Agricultural College, received his M.D. degree at the medical school in Portland. In practice in Wheeler, he became well known for his treatment of arthritic patients. People came from all over the United States and from many parts of the rest of the world to be treated in this salubrious climate by Dr. Rinehart and his growing staff of professional people. His offices originally were in the two-story building on the right that was once a hotel. The clinic now operates adjacent to the hospital; note sign pointing up the hill to the right as we come into town. Dr. Fred Brauti, a Corvallis radiologist, grew up in Wheeler. His parents operated the local pharmacy, at first in the same building as the Rinehart Clinic and later at the present drugstore location a block down the street. Dr. Brauti does not consider the Clinic miracle workers. He says they have no secrets for the treatment of arthritis that are not generally known elsewhere.


Wheeler's rival on the lower Nehalem River, the town of Nehalem, is much older than Wheeler, having had a post office since 1870. Both towns have had between 200 and 300 people for decades, but Nehalem seems to be gaining. The Nehalem is quite a river. It drains northern Tillamook County, southern Clatsop County, northwest Washington County, and much of Columbia County. Its headwaters lie within 15 miles of the Columbia at St. Helens. It does not seem large for covering such a large area of some of the rainiest mountains in the country. Must be that the dense vegetation absorbs much of the precipitation before it has a chance to run off.

Robert Hamill of Corvallis once lived on the upper Nehalem in Columbia County. His father told him that in the early days the salmon runs were so massive that farmers would back their wagons into the stream and with pitchforks fill the wagon bed with fish. They spread them out over their fields and plowed them under for fertilizer.

Manzanita Beach

Resort platted in 1912, given Spanish name for "little apple" shrub that grows along the Oregon coast.

Neahkahnie Mountain

A region of legend and mystery; tales of pirates and buried treasure abound. One of the Manila Galleons, which sailed annually between New Spain (Mexico) and its colony in the Philippines for more than 100 years, may have been wrecked on the beach here. A large quantity of beeswax which may have been in transit to New Spain for candles in the churches and cathedrals has been found at the foot of Neahkahnie Mountain. Horner Museum has pieces of the beeswax.

Oswald West State Park

Viewpoint stop. Towns on the beach below are Neahkahnie Beach and Manzanita. Should have been here last month! Migrating whales were playing in the surf.

Cape Falcon

The precipitous headland known as Cape Falcon is nearly all in the Oswald West State Park--one piece of Oregon coast preserved as open country.

To get around it we swing inland for about three miles and then come out through a tunnel at:

Arch Cape

First settlers came here about 1912.

Cannon Beach

Approaching Cannon Beach we see the cannon for which the beach was named mounted on the right. Drive in and read sign.

Tolvana Park

This southern section of Cannon Beach is a name bestowed by the Warren brothers, Mark and William, who had spent time around Tolvana in central Alaska and who platted property here. The separate towns of Tolvana Park and Cannon Beach divide at Haystack Rock.

Tillamook Rock

This 80-foot-high rock was considered by the early lighthouse builders to be more accessible than the roadless Tillamook Head on the mainland. The lighthouse depicted on the cover of your tour guide booklet was constructed in 1879-80, with some loss of life. All building materials and supplies had to be landed by derrick, as depicted in the drawing. The Tillamook Rock Lighthouse served as an aid to navigation for many decades, but its light is now extinguished. The Rock is now privately owned.

Saturday, May 16, 1981

Lewis and Clark Salt Cairn

After breakfast at Jeri's in Seaside, view the L&C Salt Cairn.


Drive through town and cross Neawanna Creek on way out. Note that again we join a railroad, this one running north to Astoria and up the Columbia to Portland. (See tour guide booklet, p. 13.) This section dates from 1890s.


On the donation land claim of Philip Gearhart, Portlanders developed a summer resort when this rail line was put into operation. They built the first golf course in Oregon. Same group later built Waverly Country Club, the first golf course in Portland.

Pioneer Cemetery

Adjacent to Camp Rilea (formerly Camp Clatsop), which has long been the summer training ground for the Oregon National Guard. We park at the cemetery entrance and walk in to the Smith memorial. Talk by KM:

"Nathaniel Wyeth, a Cambridge, Mass., businessman, came west in 1832 in an attempt to break the HBC monopoly of trade in the Oregon Country. When his endeavor failed he gave his employees the option of staying in Oregon or returning east with him. Three men originally from northern New England decided to stay: Calvin Tibbetts, John Ball, and Solomon Howard Smith. Tibbetts was a stone mason from Maine; we don't know much more about his early life. Ball and Smith had been born in upstate New Hampshire. Ball had graduated from Dartmouth College, had taught school, and had practiced law in New York state. He was 38. Solomon Smith had studied medicine at Norwich Academy in Vermont, just across the Connecticut River from Dartmouth, but had not graduated when, at age 23, he signed on with Nathaniel Wyeth for the western adventure.

"Tibbetts, Ball, and Smith were well treated by Dr. McLoughlin at Fort Vancouver, but they did not want to live as freeloaders at the Fort in the winter of 1832-33. Tibbetts and Smith made themselves useful in various ways. At McLoughlin's suggestion, John Ball started a school for the numerous children running around the Fort--the first school in the Oregon Country. After a few months of this Ball decided to try his hand at farming near the French-Canadian settlement on French Prairie. After harvesting his first crop of wheat, Ball returned east via HBC vessel in 1833.

"When Ball moved to French Prairie, Solomon Smith took over Ball's school-teaching duties, including wives as well as children in his classes. One of the wives he met (she may have been one of his students) was Celiast, daughter of Coboway, the C1atsop Chief who had befriended Lewis & Clark and to whom they gave Fort Clatsop when they left in March 1806.

"Celiast was living with Basil Poirier, a French-Canadian baker at the Fort, and their children. When McLoughlin learned that Poirier had another wife back in Canada, he put an end to this polygamous arrangement and set Celiast free. She took her children and went off to French Prairie to the home of her sister Yiamust, wife of Joe Gervais. Solomon Smith followed her and they were later formally married by one of the Methodist missionaries. As they began to raise their own family, Celiast sent her other children back to their father. She and Solomon Smith eventually had seven of their own.

"Having had school experience at the Fort, Solomon and Celiast began teaching the Gervais children and others in the vicinity, and thereby became the first school teachers in what is now the state of Oregon. When Jason Lee, his nephew Daniel Lee, and two other Methodist missionaries arrived in the fall of 1854, Solomon and Celiast assisted them in opening their school.

"Ewing Young needed help in building a grist mill on Chehalem Creek; that's across the Willamette from French Prairie in the vicinity of present Newberg. Solomon moved his family to Chehalem to help build the mill. They were living there in early 1840 when Daniel Lee came down from the mission he had opened at The Dalles and paid them a visit. Daniel Lee knew that his fiancee, Maria Ware, was due to arrive soon at the mouth of the Columbia on the Lausanne and asked Smith to go with him to meet her. Celiast was all for the idea. "Let's go," she said. She wanted to return to her girlhood home. She bundled up the children, including little Silas, who in later years became an authority on Clatsop Indian language and culture, and they all took off for the Clatsop Plains. They met the Lausanne at the mouth of the Columbia and in due time Daniel Lee and Maria Ware were married, eventually producing eight children.

"Also on the Lausanne in 1840 was Rev. J.H. Frost, another missionary. Jason Lee had long considered opening a mission among the Clatsops. Now with Frost available and Celiast and Solomon volunteering to go along, he assigned Frost to this duty. Urged on by Celiast's enthusiasm to be among her people again, Smith decided to move permanently to Clatsop Plains. Solomon persuaded his old buddy, Calvin Tibbetts, to come along and help with the work.

"When Rev. Frost arrived on the Clatsop Plains on Sept. 1, 1840, he found the Smiths on the 'Neacoxy' in the vicinity of present Gearhart, where they had 'laid up the body of a log-cabin.' Frost liked a more central location on the Plains for building the mission, on what was to become known as Smith Lake about a mile north of here. The Smiths agreed to move to that location. They hired Indians but found them only reasonably efficient laborers. They needed draft animals. Smith went back to the Chehalem and bought two horses from Ewing Young. He drove them up the old pack trail and over the Tualatin Mountains (Scapoose) and put them on a raft to float down the Columbia and up the Skipanon to the canoe landing place a mile from the Plains. This was a hairy experience that he did not want to repeat.

"The next summer (1841) they decided to try to find an overland route to the Willamette Valley over which they could bring draft animals and cattle to provide beef, hides, and milk for making cheese and butter. In August 1841, Frost, Smith, a sailor who had deserted his ship, an Indian guide, and one of Smith's horses started south across the Plains. They used the beaches wherever possible but spent most of their efforts climbing around Tillamook Head, over Arch Cape, Cape Falcon, Neahkahnie Mountain, and Cape Kiwanda, and skirting the swamps around Nehalem and Tillamook bays and other estuaries. They followed approximately the same route we came north on yesterday. After seven days they found the little-used elk trail up the Salmon River and hacked their way over the mountains. In another week they reached the Methodist mission at its new location in Salem.

"After resting and buying stock for eight days, they started the return trip with 55 head of horses and cattle. Despite almost insurmountable obstacles they completed the drive back to Clatsop Plains in two more weeks and arrived with 50 of the 55 head they had started with. Today we would call the feat incredible!

"The next summer (1842) Calvin Tibbetts, who had gained cattle-driving experience with Ewing Young in 1837 bringing a herd from California, brought more cattle over the Frost/Smith trail to the Clatsop Plains.

"Frost and his helpers labored vigorously in usually inclement weather to build the mission and by the spring of 1843 he could write, 'Our little community began to present the appearance of civilization.' Both he and his wife had been suffering from poor health for some time. In August 1843 they left to return to the United States. Rev. J.L. Parrish with his family had taken charge of the mission house by this time.

"Smith, Tibbetts, and Parrish attended the Champoeg Meeting of May 2, 1843, and voted in favor of organizing a Provisional Government. In 1844 when the mission on the plains was closed, Parrish bought the land and stock. In 1846 Smith and Tibbetts went over to Oregon City and filed Provisional Land Claims. Smith's 640 acres extended west from Smith Lake (a mile north of here) to the ocean. Tibbetts' claim was on the other side of the lake. Smith eventually obtained clear title to his land under the Donation Land Act of 1850, but poor Tibbetts did not fare so well. When gold was discovered in California he went south. He prospered in the mines but contracted cholera. Returning home by vessel he died and was buried at sea.

"The Smiths became permanent residents of the Plains. They started a store at the canoe landing on the Skipanon River, now in south Warrenton. Solomon operated a sawmill on the nearby Lewis & Clark River. He prospered by shipping produce and building materials to California. After the Methodists closed their Clatsop mission, he helped the Presbyterians establish a church. He helped Lucy Fisher start a subscription school. He held several local offices and in 1874 was elected to the State Senate. He died before the end of the term. He and Celiast are buried here, and this stone and plaque have been placed here in their memory. Read the inscription.

[Manuscript addition:
"Beneath this native stone lies Oregon?s first school teacher, Solomon
Howard Smith of New Hampshire--Pioneer, missionary, millwright,
farmer, merchant, State Senator--and his wife, Helen Celiast, Princess,
daughter of Coboway, Chief of the Clatsops.
Solomon Howard Smith, 1809-1876
Helen Celiast Smith, 1831-1891."
end Manuscript addition]

"The chapel to the east of us, I understand, was the third Presbyterian church building in this vicinity. Funds for its erection, I have been told, were provided by Jacob Kamm, a Swiss immigrant who became a ship builder and chief engineer for the Oregon Steam Navigation Co. It is a memorial to his wife Caroline, daughter of the early missionary and historian William Gray, whom he had married in 1859."

Impact Site 14

As we move on toward Fort Stevens, we pause for a bit to view the marker erected at the spot where one of the 17 shells lobbed in the general direction of Fort Stevens by the Japanese submarine I-25 on the night of June 21, 1942, exploded. For the full story read Retaliation by Bert Webber, published by the Oregon State University Press in 1975.

Battery Russell

Unload and give tourists time to view the exhibits and climb to the top of the emplacement.

South Jetty

On a crisp, clear October day in 1792, Captain George Vancouver anchored his ship, the Discovery, off the mouth of the Columbia. "The clearness of the atmosphere," he wrote in his journal, "enabled us to see [a] high round snowy mountain [which] seemed covered with perpetual snow. This I have distinguished by the name of Mount St. Helens, in honor of his Britannic Majesty's ambassador at the court of Madrid." Alleyne Fitzherbert, British ambassador to Spain, had been dubbed Baron St. Helens because he had negotiated a treaty which enabled the English to trade and explore along the Northwest Coast without interference from the Spanish, an authorization Vancouver greatly appreciated in his explorations.

In December 1842, Rev. J.H. Frost also viewed the mountain from this vicinity. "Having Mount St. Helens in full view," he wrote in his journal, "we discovered a vast column of smoke ascending from the north-west side of the mount near its top, which proved to be a volcanic eruption."

Note the remnants of the railroad running out toward and along the Jetty. This A.B. Hammond line was used to carry huge boulders out into the surf to provide the protective wall on this side of the mouth of the Columbia. An abandoned water tower on this line was used by the Coast Artillery Corps as a lookout tower in World War II. (Webber, p. 54.)

Fort Stevens Headquarters

Unload and go into Museum. Susan Scully's staff will be available to show a short movie of the coastal defense guns firing in practice before World War II. Susan herself may be on vacation this week.

South En Route to Astoria

We drive through Hammond, named for the railroad and lumber tycoon A.B. Hammond, who at one time owned the Oregon Pacific and renamed it the Corvallis & Eastern. He operated the line from Yaquina to Detroit before selling the line to the Southern Pacific.

At Warrenton we cross the Skipanon River, which early settlers used as their access to the Clatsop Plains. Their landing was less than two miles from the mission site on Smith Lake.


Driving through downtown Astoria we can point out the Flavel House County Museum and the Maritime Museum. Then return to Pig n' Pancake for lunch. May be able to see the Astor Column on the top of the hill.

Fort Clatsop

Self-explanatory. Allow an hour's stay here.

Starting Home

A good time to let the tourists rest and congregate as we return via U.S. 101 through Gearhart and Seaside and via U.S. 26, the Sunset Highway, go over the mountains through Elsie. You have to be alert to see Elsie; there is not much of her.


From an elevation of more than 1,000 feet at the tunnel on the summit of the Coast Range, we drop down to 225 feet at Buxton in four miles. We are now on the northwest finger of the Tualatin Plains. The land is flat from here to Forest Grove, Hillsboro, Beaverton, and Portland's West Hills. There is no more than 125 feet variation in elevation along the highway from here to Eugene and Cottage Grove. Westside railroad builders Joseph Gaston and others took advantage of this remarkably level grade to build the first line to Corvallis west through the Tualatin Valley and then south to Corvallis.

We have once again joined the Southern Pacific branch line we left yesterday afternoon at Wheeler. It scoots off across the plain to Hillsboro. This valley of West Dairy Creek was partially grassland, partially oak groves, when the first settlers came. The surrounding hills were densely forested, mostly with Douglas-fir. Sawmills sprang up along this railroad both back in the mountains and along this little valley. Back in the mountains, logged-off land to a large extent has been allowed to return to natural vegetation. Along this valley, however, hillsides have been cleared for farming. In one period, before Prohibition, they were dotted with hop yards. Before World War II they were covered with strawberry fields cultivated by Japanese farmers. Buxton was first settled in 1884 and had a post office in 1886, but it never developed.


Banks came along later, got its start when the railroad came through about 1907. It was a bustling little country town when my parents moved here in 1908. Its growth has not been rapid. In 70 years it has increased at a rate of about 2 percent a year to reach the present 490-500 population.

As we enter Banks, on the right is the Brown Derby restaurant, a fairly new addition. A little beyond it on the left is a hardware store. The vacant lot south of it is where my father had his drug store and doctor's office. It was a two-story building with living quarters on the second floor for the pharmacist. At one time this end of Main Street also had a blacksmith shop, two two-story lodge halls, two hardware stores, a grocery, and a bakery.

The first street to the left led to a hotel/saloon, post office, dry goods store, and livery stable. The brick building on the corner housed the bank and new drug store. Next to it was the barber shop that provided not only shaves and haircuts but also hot baths. Across the street from it on the right behind the For Sale sign is the site of the four-room, two-story grade school I attended.

Turning left at the next street we see the church I attended and in which my mother was superintendent of the Sunday School. New houses have filled vacant lots where I played as a boy. All of the houses had porches, some of which have now been removed. All yards were fenced to keep out wandering stock and to keep our own in. A boardwalk ran the length of the street along the fences. Everyone had a garden. Many had chickens. Some of us kept cows. The city was incorporated in 1921 (with my mother as the first City Recorder.) Before the city water system was installed, every house had its own well, and an outhouse at the end of a long walk in the rear. Main Street was paved after Banks became a city, but this street was never paved as long as I lived here.

Next to the last house on the right side is the house my parents built in 1909. They cleared out an oak grove in front but left the trees standing in the back. After the Columbus Day storm in 1962, the owners at that time cut all of them down. I used to tether my cow Pansy to the maple tree in front of the house. The double windows on the second floor provided the first light of day I ever saw. My father was the attending physician on June 1, 1912. Being the only doctor in northern Washington County, he had a strenuous practice with many house calls. He contracted tuberculosis, at that time incurable, and died in 1918. My mother was left with an 11-year-old and a 5-year-old to raise and somehow she accomplished it. She continued to live here after I and my brother had left home. One morning in August 1945 her heart must have been distressing her. She made her way out to her favorite rocking chair on the side porch. There she died.

My brother was on his way back from the South Pacific. I was on my way to Okinawa. My wife and I inherited the house, but sold it five years later. We did not like the role of absentee landlords. I have been inside only once since.

Our next door neighbors, the Beard family on the corner, were related to Celia Lucier Beard, the granddaughter of Etienne Lucier, Oregon's first farmer.

Just an example of how recent is the history of the Willamette Valley.

Between Railroad Avenue, which we turn into, and the railroad were two large warehouses and loading docks where railroad ties were loaded on flat cars. One of the warehouses went up in a spectacular fire. The other fell down of its own accord. The large yellow SP depot stood parallel to the tracks at the end of the block. About half of it has been preserved and moved to a new location at the end of the block. Next to it on the left is a special purpose warehouse. It was refrigerated to store sword ferns picked to be shipped to eastern markets for decoration.

Do you recognize the building left of it? It was a cheese factory. My mother was the bookkeeper for the Banks Dairy Products Co. One of my jobs was to go there every day and pick up the tally sheets and bring them home for her to calculate payments to the farmers and write the checks. On my visits to the cheese factory I developed a fondness for the newly cut green cheese and often left with my pockets full of it.

We turn into Sunset Avenue. The older houses along this street were built between 1907 and 1925. Park Avenue is the street to the left where my grandmother and Uncle Charlie lived. At the end of this street is the City Park. The 70-year-old log cabin was built for the Boy Scouts when I was a senior in high school. One of the Scout dads had a sawmill. He obtained the logs and sawed them on three sides so that they would fit together and leave a flat surface on the inside wall. We will pause here to stroll through the park and examine the cabin. [No restrooms]

As we start south again on Main Street, the well-kept house on the left is the original farm house for this area, built at the turn of the century. The brick Junior High School was built as the Union High School in early 1920s. The Class of 1931 is celebrating its 50th anniversary next month.

Wilson River Highway

South of Banks we underpass the modern Wilson River Highway to Tillamook. It uses an old railroad grade through this part of the valley and over the first hills to Gales Creek.

Forest Grove

Pacific University is the second oldest degree-granting institution in the Pacific Northwest. Oldest is Willamette University in Salem. First teacher for Tualatin Academy was Tabitha Brown, the grandmother who came to Oregon on the Applegate Trail in 1846. The first college building, erected in the 1850s, was the first frame building in West Tualatin. Still in use. J. Quinn Thornton happened to be present when the people of West Tualatin were considering a new name. He suggested Forest Grove and it was accepted.

Pacific U. was started by Congregationalists but is non-denominational today. It has the only School of Optometry in the Pacific Northwest. New Congregational Church is on the right. Librarians will recognize the light-colored brick building on the campus across from the church as a Carnegie Library. Chancellor Roy Lieuallen and his wife first met when they were students at Pacific University.

The University got its start in 1849 when Rev. Harvey Clark, an independent Congregational missionary, donated 200 acres for Tualatin Academy. Others assisted. Alana Walker gave 12 acres; S.M. Marsh gave 80 acres for the campus and for selling to support the infant academy. P.U. was chartered as a degree-granting institution in 1854 and granted first degrees in l863--four years behind Willamette but seven years ahead of Linfield and Corvallis colleges. Harvey Scott, long-time editor of the morning Oregonian and historian of the Oregon Country, was the first graduate.


Here we should recognize another former cheese-manufacturing plant. Joseph Gaston--lawyer, journalist, promoter, and historian--laid out this town along the railroad he was building and lived here for a while. He started draining Wapato Lake to provide rich agricultural soil; it is now devoted largely to raising onions. The Japanese farmers who tilled these fields before World War II have now been replaced by Chicanos.


The old Track River Road to Tillamook joined the McMinnville-Forest Grove wagon road here.

Carlton, McMinnville [possible rest stop] Amity, Rickreall, Monmouth, Corvallis!