This photograph is identified as the Middle Blockhouse at the Cascades. In 1855, the Middle Blockhouse (or Fort Rains) was built on the north side of the Columbia River between the present sites of Bonneville Dam and the Bridge of the Gods to defend white settlers at the Middle Cascades of the Columbia River. It was subject of a three day siege in 1856 (part of the "Cascades Massacre"), after which forts were built at the upper and lower rapids. Fort Rains was abandoned by 1857 and destroyed in 1876. In 1927 a model of it was built, but that is also gone.
I've seen pictures of the 1927 replica, but this is the original. I ran across this same image in a collection of Carleton Watkins photos, and it is dated to 1867. Watkins published it in a series of stereo views, and I suspect our image is a copy made from a stereo card.
Category: [Cascade Locks]
I do recall the replic, when I was very little. Probably it was a smaller version of the original. Too bad it is gone.
The account of the Cascades Massacre is very interesting. It was after this affair that Chief Chenoweth with about 8 others of his small tribe were rounded up and hanged. It is thought that he had no involvement of it, but the soldiers from Ft. Vancouver were on an "indian hunt" and the first ones they ran into was the Chief and his very small tribe. The rest is history. It is thought that the Yakimas were on the rampage, hit along the Columbia and then headed for the high hills. One of my relatives married into the Chenowith family, which became the Underwood family.
charlott on 3rd January 2013 @ 7:04am
I don't think I have ever seen a photo of the original!
There is still a sign where the fort originally stood and I always think...."what a dark dreary place to be stuck."
I once read, that years later a farmer in the Cascades area was working up some farm ground and came across human bones. It was decided they probably belonged to a group of wood cutters who were in the area cutting cord wood during the massacre. It was known the Indians had killed them.
l.e. on 3rd January 2013 @ 7:30am
In the 1940's, when I lived next to Kramer's Texaco in the Downing Bldg, The couple in the NW apartment of the building were Albo Horn and his wife, Georgia. Albo was the Great-Great Grandson of Chief Chenowith.
Bill Seaton on 3rd January 2013 @ 10:43am
With Charlott's help, I now know that Albo was the Great-Great-Great-Grandson of Chief Chenowith. (3 greats)
Bill Seaton on 5th January 2013 @ 10:48am
I believe the fort actually landslided into the river, as opposed to being intentionally destroyed.
Scott Cook on 8th January 2013 @ 5:49pm
From a 1947 Skamania County Pioneer history publication:
"The original blockhouse was built out on Sheridan's Point, but this caved in and the point slid into the river, so rebuilding of the blockhouse in 1927 was erected and dedicated by the Skamania County Historical Society."
l.e. on 17th February 2013 @ 9:29pm
Yes this again certainly looks like a Watkins photo. He was a great photographer, but a bad businessman. He did not pay his bills, so while he was on this or one of his trips to Yellowstone, his creditors seized his business and sold it to a competitor. The competitor in turn printed up Watkins photo's and sold them as his own.
Lesa on 14th March 2013 @ 9:40pm
I am reading a recently published history of Stevenson. There is an earlier interview of a resident who said the Blockhouse was a little farther upstream from the Bridge of Gods. He thought the original had been washed away by the 1894 flood.
There are some markers down below the parking lot on the Washington side of the Bridge. I don't think they are actual graves, but names are engraved on the stones
l.e. on 12th December 2014 @ 5:59pm
From the article I am reading, I am under the impression the blockhouse was in the area of this Historic Hood River photo.
Scott Cook might say differently.
l.e. on 12th December 2014 @ 6:08pm
The Hood River Glacier, December 29, 1894
The Old Block House at the Cascades
Sheridan’s block house, opposite Cascade Locks, Oregon, on the Columbia river, has tumbled down, its heavy, hand-hewn timbers, relics of stormy days in the northwest country, still sound save a few near the foundation, have been used by the vandal fishermen to build fish ways, until the old river, scandalized by the desecration, swept them all away during the great flood of this summer, and now nothing remains to mark the old stronghold of the pioneer but a few moss-grown and rotten timbers.
An incident in the early history of General (then lieutenant) Phil Sheridan is recalled by the ruins of this old building, which is thus related by the veteran river pilot, Captain J. McNulty, who fought the Indians here as a volunteer during the campaign of 1856, with “Little Phil,” and who is yet making regular trips as a pilot on the middle Columbia.
The “fishing Indians,” mostly Wascos, Snakes and Cascades, with renegades from many other tribes, a regular hotchpotch of “Siwashes,” whose love of the succulent salmon was greater than tribal ties, and whose lodges lined the river near the spearing rocks at the falls and cascades, had long been turbulent and aggressive, but had made no serious outbreak until March 25, 1856. On that day a band of them attacked Brown’s mill, situated just above Cascade Locks, on the north, now Washington side, killing and horribly mutilating Mr. Brown and his wife. The other whites living at the mill, together with the captain and the crew of a little steamer, the Mary, then tied up at the landing, had gone several miles up the river to spend the day, leaving only the engineer, Buck Minster, and a small boy, Jimmie Watkins, on board. Luckily for these, there was a little fire banked under the boilers.
The attack was so sudden that before Minster could realize the danger the Indians were upon him. The foremost reached the shore-end of the gang plank as he did the other, to draw it aboard. A quick shot from his pistol sent the red man headlong into the river. The plank was drawn in, while the boy cut the shore line, and the little Mary began drifting at once, under a hail of bullets and arrows, from one great danger into another – that of the terrible current above the rapids.
Sending the boy to the wheel, Minster threw everything inflammable within reach into the furnace – some bacon, oil and even furniture – and made steam enough for headway, the boy, under orders, making for an eddy behind an island near the head of the rapids, out of reach of the Indians. The little fellow had proven himself a real hero, for in going to the wheel he had been exposed freely to hostile bullets, one striking him in the leg, but he crawled manfully to his post and saved the boat.
As soon as full steam could be made the steamer was headed across the river to Atwells, where alarm was given of the outbreak. Messengers were sent to Fort Dalles and Fort Vancouver. From the former Colonel Wright came to the rescue with a company of United States troops, with Lieutenant Phil Sheridan, with a troop from Fort Vancouver, embarked on the steamer Belle, bringing one cannon. Landing at Lower Cascades, he was quickly on the ground and rounded up a number of the hostiles. A company of volunteers from the Willamette valley came on the boat Jennie Clark, piloted by Captain McNulty. The troops soon subdued the Indians, but not before a dozen or more whites had been killed. Nine Indians were hung near the smoking ruins of Brown’s mill. The officers decided then to build a block house here for the protection of scattered pioneers, a rallying place for them during later Indian scares.
This was done during the same year, 1856, and it was always called Sheridan’s, but just why, no one seems to know now. A point of rocks on the river a short distance from the rapids is also called Sheridan’s point. Soon the last of the pioneers will have passed away, as has this, their moss-covered old log stronghold, and little incidents like Jimmie Watkins’ heroism and even Sheridan’s prompt trip, too trivial to be noted in history, will have been lost save for dim tradition. So it may be well to give one passing moment to the old block house that nestled for so many years under the shadow of the House mountain, itself the scene of one of the strangest Indian legends in the northwest country – George P. Morgan, in Chicago Blade.
Jeffrey Bryant on 1st February 2015 @ 7:07pm
Thanks Jeffrey for that news clip.
Photo http://historichoodriver.com/index.php?showimage=1048 should probably be noted with this one since they both deal with Sheridan's point and the history of the area.
And perhaps this one, http://historichoodriver.com/index.php?showimage=691
I think it is looking across at Sheridan's point.
l.e. on 2nd February 2015 @ 6:45am