This great view of the construction of the canal at Cascade Locks is dated December 1, 1883. Construction spanned the years from 1878 to 1896.
It is an unusually large photographic print for the era (18"x22"), rich in detail of the construction project. The scale is hard to understand until you start to pick out all the men amongst the boulders. Every time I look I see more, but there are at least 24 in this view. It's impressive to see the size of those boulders that were split, lifted, and carried away by steam power. You can see a cart with a full load of boulders at the near end of the track which winds its way through the canal and out of the frame.
The photographer is none other than Carleton Watkins, one of the most famous men to document the commerce and beauty of the Columbia River in the 19th century. Most of his 1300 "mammoth negatives" were tragically lost in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, so period prints such as are in most cases all that is left of his work. I've verified that there are other copies of this print in existence, but we're lucky to have an example in our museum.
Category: [Cascade Locks]
What an undertaking that project was.
Charlott on 8th May 2012 @ 7:04am
I wonder if the boulders are from the historic landslide that came tumbling down from the mountains?
What a tremendous undertaking. Lots of steam donkeys working.
What are the walls constructed of? Are those concrete blocks?
And notice the Washington side. You can almost reach out and touch it.
l.e. on 8th May 2012 @ 8:33am
Yet another amazing photograph!!! It continues to be sad to hear about all the materials that were lost in the SP earthquake and fire. Much of the Southern Pacific railroad history was also lost then.
But then the wonder of what has been preserved is also amazing. The Oregon Pony steam locomotive on display in the Cascade Locks Marine park is one great example. The 1862 San Francisco built locomotive was originally used at this portage and is the first steam locomotive in the Pacific Northwest......and many other firsts....
Arlen Sheldrake on 8th May 2012 @ 9:02am
Willard Young was in charge of the canal at the time this photo was taken.
The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine
By Genealogical Society of Utah
24. Willard" Young, (Brigham* John," Joseph,2 William,1) son of Brigham Young and Clarissa Ross (Chase) Young was born 30 Apr., 1852, Salt Lake City, Utah. Entered the Military Academy at West Point, 1871 and graduated in 1875 with rank of Second Lieutenant (Corps of Engineers). He was in active service of the government on surveys from 1875 to 1879. Returning to West Point was appointed instructor of civil and military engineering, acting as assistant professor in that department until 1883. From 4 Oct., 1883, to 16 July, 1887, he was in local charge of construction of the Cascade Locks in the Columbia River, Oregon, being appointed captain of a Corps of Engineers in 1886. (The locks were not completed until November 5, 1896).
Jeffrey Bryant on 9th May 2012 @ 3:36am
The little museum there at Cascade Locks is well worth going to see.
Charlott on 9th May 2012 @ 5:46am
Arthur, this image is a "flipped" image...the proper way to orient this photo is the reverse of this...give it a try and it'll make immediate sense with Washington on the right-hand side, looking downriver.
Those boulders would have been remnants of the Bonneville Slide I think.
Scott Cook on 13th May 2012 @ 10:20pm
oops, I was wrong. This is looking downstream, with the peaks of Oregon on the west shore. Good on ya Arthur for correcting my errant "correction"!
Scott Cook on 14th May 2012 @ 11:40am