NP Units in Seattle and near Portland OR

October 26, 2022

9/11 Sun – Helen picked me up at 9:45am at the Four Points Sheraton near the SEA-TAC airport and we drove to the Seattle Unit of Klondike Gold Rush NHP.  We visited the Skagway Alaska Unit of the NHP in July 2011 – see Blog.  We also visited this unit on our way home that same year, but I lost my photos.  The Visitor Center is in the 1890 Cadillac Hotel.

As we went through the displays, we dutifully did the embossing stamps and rubbings in our “My Journey” booklet.

Gold, Gold, Gold – over 100,000 people went on the quest to “Strike it Rich!”

How many made over $15,000 in Gold (worth $330,000 in 2005)?  Spin the Wheel –

The Cadillac Hotel is in the Pioneer Square National Historic District of downtown Seattle. Before the City – A Duwamish Village

Pioneer Place Pergola –

Pioneer Building (1892)

Chief Seattle

In the afternoon, we visited the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience an Affiliated NP Unit.  It is in Seattle’s Chinatown ­International District ($15).

Wing Chong Luke immigrated to the U.S. in 1931 when he was six.  He earned the Bronze Star in World War II and was elected to the Seattle City Council in 1965.  He fought discrimination throughout his life and was an advocate for the benefits of cultural diversity.  When he died in a plane crash in 1967, this museum was established as a memorial.

I found it interesting that the museum includes many Asian cultural groups and religions.  Magnify this photo to get a sense of the vast coverage.

Examples of different Asian altars

Muslim sculpture – Marriage

Central Gallery

Diversity as Struggle and Strength

Special Exhibition Gallery – Where Beauty Lies

Afterward, drove to Portland for a family dinner and stay with Vera

9/12 M – It was a 2hr drive to Ecola State Park on the Pacific Ocean, which is a part of Lewis and Clark NHP.  On January 8, 1806, Captain William Clark led a group to a Tillamook Village on a creek that he named Ecola or Whale Creek.  Clark purchased 300 pounds of oil and whale blubber from the Indians.

My next stop was the Historic Netul River Canoe Landing site of the L&C expedition.  The river is now named the Lewis & Clark River. The landing site is about 2mi upstream from the Columbia River.

After the Louisiana Purchase (from France in 1803), President Thomas Jefferson recruited Captain Meriwether Lewis to lead an expedition to explore the Missouri River to its source, establish the most direct water route to the Pacific Ocean, and make scientific and geographic observations along the way.  Lewis then selected Captain William Clark, his friend and former commander, to share responsibilities.  The expedition left the St Louis area on May 5, 2004.  The expedition was known as the “Corp of Discovery Expedition.”

On November 7, 1805, they saw the Pacific Ocean from the mouth (estuary) of the Columbia River.

A couple of weeks later they started building Fort Clatsop, named after the local tribe.  A re-creation of the fort is located near the Visitor Center.  I was here in 1969 and 2007 but had only one photo.

My only photo of Fort Clatsop from 2007 visit – tour guide

The Story of Sacagawea –

Statue of Sacagawea (Shoshone) and her son Jean Baptiste

Lewis & Clark River (rt) emptying into the Columbia River

The Lewis and Clark Expedition returned to the Saint Louis area on September 23, 1806 – making this a 2 year, 4 month, and 10 day adventure!

My next stop was the “Wreck of the Peter Iredale” in Fort Stevens SP, which is a unit of L & C NHP

According to Wikipedia, “The Peter Iredale was a four-masted steel bark built in Maryport, England, in 1890 . . . On September 26, 1906, the Iredale left Salina Cruz, Mexico, bound for Portland, where it was to pick up a cargo of wheat for the United Kingdom.”  While waiting for a pilot to enter the Columbia River, a heavy wind and strong current caused the ship to run aground.

I continued to Astoria OR – do you remember the movie “Goonies?”

I then crossed the Columbia River into WA and visited the “Dismal Nitch.”  The Lewis & Clark Expedition was stranded here by weather for over two weeks before crossing the Columbia River to what would become Fort Clatsop.

A bit West is Station Camp (Middle Village) in Fort Columbia SP (WA), an additional area related to L & C NHP.

The Search for the Northwest Passage – interesting history

This was the site of a Chinook Village.  Ninety percent of Chinooks would die within two generations of foreigners entering this area.  In the 1850s, the McGowan Family built a town, salmon cannery, and church here.

In 2007, Bill and I visited Cape Disappointment SP, which is in WA at the mouth of the Columbia River.  It is another unit of L & C NHP, Cape Disappointment Lighthouse – you can see Oregon across the mouth of the Columbia River.

North Head Lighthouse in Cape Disappointment SP

9/13 Tu – 10min drive to the McLoughlin House in Oregon City, which is part of Fort Vancouver NHS.  Dr. John McLoughlin was a trained physician who ran Hudson’s Bay Company’s Fort Vancouver from 1825 to 1845. He was responsible for overseeing a vast fur trading operation that stretched from Northern California to Alaska. He built this house in 1846 by Willamette Falls in Oregon City near the end of the Oregon Trail.  He owned a gristmill, granary, and general store.  He loaned money to emigrants to start businesses in the area and served as Mayor of Oregon City.  In 1844, it was the largest town west of the Missouri River.

Margaret and John McLoughlin

Model of McLoughlin House located in Oregon City Library

A 30min drive brought us to Fort Vancouver NHS on the north bank of the Columbia River in WA.  It was the Pacific Northwest’s home of the Hudson’s Bay Company (English) in the early 1800s.

Helen and Vera

English Garden

Chief Factor’s House – Dr. John McLoughlin family home at Fort Vancouver

Bakehouse (white)

Blacksmith Shop

Post Surgeon

Carpenter Shop (left) and Counting House

Fur Storage


In the early 20th century, a polo field at Fort Vancouver was a place for aviation enthusiasts to try out their aircraft.  During the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Expedition in Portland OR, an airship named the “City of Portland” landed at Fort Vancouver.

When the U.S. entered World War I (1917), the field became the site for the largest wood processing facility in the world – the Spruce Mill – run by the government!  The U.S. military took over the logging industry to quickly produce light weight spruce wood for airplane construction.

After the war, the plant was demolished and the area became an airport.  It was named “Pearson Air Field” in honor of Alexander Pearson and was the home of the 321st Observation Squadron.

The airport was in the news in 1937 when the Russian Chkalov Transpolar Flight landed there.

I did not know that Pearson Field had become part of the Fort Vancouver NHS and Vancouver National Historic Reserve.  It was a pleasant surprise as I have always had an interest in airplanes. 

Statue honoring early Aviation Pioneers

The Pearson Air Museum was a delight –

Model of the government Spruce Mill

Vintage Aircraft

We said our goodbyes to Vera and drove to the Days Inn by the SEA-TAC airport for the night.

9/14 W – Our flight from Seattle to Columbus left at 10:40am.  We picked up our car from long term parking and were back home at 8pm.

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