Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Home Regions Campsites Penny Postcards My Corps of Discovery Image Index Links About This Site
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Wallula, Washington"
Including ... Wallula ... Wallula Landing ... Wallula Junction ... Port of Walla Walla ... Fort Nez Perce ... "Old Fort Walla Walla" ... Fort Walla Walla ... Crescent Island ... Badger Island ...
Image, 2005, Wallula Junction from Highway 730, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Wallula Junction from Highway 730, Wallula Gap. Looking at the Port of Walla Walla between basalts of the Wallula Gap. Image taken September 25, 2005.


Wallula ...
Today's town of Wallula is located on the left bank of the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 316, upstream of the Wallula Gap and the Walla Walla River, and approximately 20 miles downstream of the junction of the Snake River with the Columbia. Badger Island and Crescent Island lie offshore with the location of Yellepit across the river. The Port of Walla Walla (more information below) is upstream at RM 317. On October 18, 1805, Lewis and Clark passed this location, a spot which would later become the location of Fort Nez Perce, Fort Walla Walla, and the town of Wallula, Washington.

Image, 2005, Wallula Gap basalts with Wallula, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Wallula Gap basalts, with the Port of Walla Walla, Wallula, Washington in the distance. Right bank, as seen from Highway 730. Image taken September 24, 2005.
Image, 2005, Wallula, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Wallula, Washington, from downstream. Right bank, as seen Highway 730. Image taken September 25, 2005.


Early Wallula ...
Between 1818 to 1857 the location around todays Wallula was occupied by fur trading posts and forts owned successively by the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company.

A river town called "Wallula Landing" was established in 1858.

The 1861 cadastral survey (tax survey) for T7N R31E Section 27 shows the Walla Walla River and to the north the "Old H.B. Ft. Walla Walla and the name "J.M. Vansyckle & Co." right next to it, and slightly above the name "Walula".

In March 1862, the first town of Wallula was named and platted by James Milton Vansyckle and Seth W. Tatem on the site of the original Fort Nez Perce and Fort Walla Walla. It became an important steamboat landing for journey to the Idaho and Montana gold fields.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records (2007) show John M. Vansyckle begin granted title to 159.75 acres of T7N R31E, Sections 27 and 28, on April 1, 1865, under the 1820 Sale-Cash Entry.

In 1882 the Northern Pacific Railway built through the area and a railroad town called "Wallula Junction" was built one mile to the east.

Both Wallula and Wallula Junction were inundated by the rising waters of the reservoir behind the McNary Dam.

In 1952 a new town of Wallula came into existence on high ground on the east side of the highway, with a view of Wallula Gap.

According to Robert Hitchman in Place Names of Washington (1985, Washington State Historical Society), "Wallula" has the same meaning as "Walla Walla" in the Nez Perce language, meaning "plenty of water" or "place of many waters".


Fort Nez Perce or "Old Fort Walla Walla" ...
Fort Nez Perce (also called "Fort Numipu", the Nez Perce name for themselves meaning "The People") was constructed in 1818 by Donald McKenzie, a fur trader with the Montreal-based North West Company. Fort Nez Perce was located on the left bank of the Columbia River six miles below the mouth of the Snake River and 1/2 mile above the mouth of the Walla Walla River. This was the original "Fort Walla Walla", often today referred to as "Old Fort Walla Walla", and is not to be confused with three later military-based Fort Walla Wallas built around the community of Walla Walla. The 1818 fort was a combined fort and fur-trading post. Today, a historical marker, made from the actual stones from Fort Walla Walla, has been erected at a highway turnout on Highway 730 near the site.
[More]

Image, 2004, Fort Walla Walla sign, Wallula, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Sign, Fort Walla Walla, Wallula, Washington. Image taken September 26, 2004.


Port of Walla Walla ...

The Port of Walla Walla operates no public facilities, but leases property at Wallula Junction. A grain elevator, warehouse, and chemical company are located there.

Image, 2005, Port of Walla Walla, Wallula, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Port of Walla Walla, Wallula, Washington. View from downstream. Image taken September 25, 2005.


Views from Wallula ...

Wallula, Washington, lies on the upstream end of the Wallula Gap, and good views of the Gap can be seen. The small Crescent Island lies off the shoreline from Wallula, with Badger Island slightly upstream. Many islands use to exist before Lake Wallula waters covered them.

Image, 2005, Wallula Gap as seen from Wallula Viewpoint, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Wallula Gap as seen from Wallula Viewpoint, Washington. Image taken September 24, 2005.
Image, 2005, Wallula Gap as seen from Wallula, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Wallula Gap as seen from Wallula, Washington. Image taken September 25, 2005.
Image, 2005, Wallula Gap as seen from Wallula, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Wallula Gap as seen from Wallula, Washington. The mouth of the Walla Walla River is visible on the left. Image taken September 25, 2005.
Image, 2004, Crescent Island from Wallula, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Crescent Island as seen from Wallula, Washington. Image taken September 26, 2004.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 18, 1805 ...
This morning Cool and fare wind from the S. E. ...     Took our leave of the Chiefs and all those about us [from their camp, the location of today's Sacajawea State Park] and proceeded on down the great Columbia river     passed a large Island at 8 miles about 3 miles in length, a Island on the Stard. Side the upper point of which is opposit the center of the last mentioned Island and reaches 3½ miles below the 1st. Island and opposit to this near the middle of the river nine Lodges are Situated on the upper point at a rapid which is between the lower point of the 1st Island and upper point of this; great numbers of Indians appeared to be on this Island, and emence quantites of fish Scaffold     we landed a few minits to view a rapid which Commenced at the lower point, passd this rapid which was verry bad between 2 Small Islands two Still Smaller near the Lard. Side, at this rapid on the Stard. Side is 2 Lodges of Indians Drying fish, at 2½ miles lower and 14½ below the point passed an Island Close under the Stard. Side on which was 2 Lodges of Indians drying fish on Scaffolds as above

[Today this reach has been inundated by the waters of Lake Wallula, the reservoir behind the McNary Dam. The Burbank Slough - part of the McNary National Wildlife Refuge - dominates the eastern bank of the Columbia and two islands which remain offshore of Wallula are Crescent Island and Badger Island.]    

at 16 miles from the point [junction of the Snake River with the Columbia, location of today's Sacajawea State Park] the river passes into the range of high Countrey at which place the rocks project into the river from the high clifts [Wallula Gap] which is on <both> the Lard. Side about 2/3 of the way across those of the Stard Side about the Same distance, the Countrey rises here about 200 feet above The water and is bordered wth black rugid rocks [Columbia River Basalt],     at the Commencement of this high Countrey [Wallula Gap] on Lard Side a Small riverlet falls in [Walla Walla River] which appears to passed under the high County in its whole cose     Saw a mountain bearing S. W. conocal form Covered with Snow [Mount Hood, Oregon].    passed 4 Islands, at the upper point of the <first> 3rd is a rapid, on this Island is two Lodges of Indians, drying fish, on the fourth Island Close under the Stard. Side is nine large Lodges of Indians Drying fish on Scaffolds as above [Yellepit area]; at this place we were called to land, as it was near night and no appearance of wood [Lewis and Clark are in the Port Kelley area, where today the islands offshore are under the waters of Lake Wallula.],     we proceeded on about 2 miles lower to Some willows, at which place we observed a drift log     formed a Camp on the Lard Side [Spring Gulch] under a high hill nearly opposit to five Lodges of Indians; Soon after we landed, our old Chiefs informed us that the large camp above "was the Camp of the 1st Chief of all the tribes in this quarter [Chief Yellepit], and that he had called to us to land and Stay all night with him, that he had plenty of wood for us &" This would have been agreeable to us if it had have been understood perticelarly as we were compelled to Use drid willows for fuel for the purpose of cooking, we requested the old Chiefs to walk up on the Side we had landed and call to the Chief to come down and Stay with us all night which they did;     ... we made 21 miles to day.





Snake River ConfluenceReturn to
Menu
 



SNAKE RIVER CONFLUENCE | COLUMBIA PLATEAU
COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE | VANCOUVER PLAINS | JOURNEY TO THE PACIFIC
CASCADE RANGE VOLCANOES | CAMPSITES


HOME | REGIONS | PENNY POSTCARDS | MY CORPS OF DISCOVERY
IMAGE INDEX | LINKS | ABOUT THIS SITE



*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: Early Canadiana Online Website, 2006, "William Henry Gray's A history of Oregon, 1792-1849, drawn from personal observation and authentic information, published in 1870."; Hitchman, R., 1985, Places Names of Washington, Washington State Historical Society; Mountain Men and the Fur Trade Website, 2004, "John Ball, Across the Plains to Oregon, 1832"; National Libary of Canada and National Archives of Canada Website, 2005, Canadian Institute of Historical Microreproductions; NOAA's "United States Coast Pilot", 31st edition; Oregon Historical Society Website, 2004, "The Oregon History Project"; Oregon Historical Quarterly Website, 2007, G. Thomas Edwards, "Town Boosterism on Oregon's Mining Frontier: James Vansyckle and Wallula, Columbia Riverport, 1860-1870", in Spring 2005 issue; Oregon State Department of Transportation Website, 2004; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District Website, 2004; U.S. Bureau of Land Management Website, 2007; U.S. GenWeb Project Website, 2006, "History of the Pacific Northwest, Oregon and Washington, 1889, Vol.1"; U.S. National Park Service Website, 2004, Whitman Mission National Historic Site; Washington State Historical Society Website, 2004, "Lasting Legacy"; Washington State University Website, 2005, "Early Washington Maps: A Digital Collection".

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.
LewisClarkColumbiaRiver/Regions/Places/wallula.html
EnglishRiverWebsite.com
© 2007, Lyn Topinka, English River Website, All rights reserved.
Images are NOT to be downloaded from this website.
March 2007