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Celebrating People, Places & the Good Life in SW Washington State
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Music, Wine, Vintage Cars, Finnish Culture and More Will Keep You Busy in July!

Welcome to July! Could there be a busier month? Here are more than 30 events  (plus a 4th of July celebration in nearly every community) to keep you active this month.

In the daylight at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge - picture it after dark with night creatures!

July 3Full-Moon Hike – Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge – Carty Unit -  Trail guides will lead you on an adventure in which owls hooting, coyotes howling, bats flying, and rustling in the brush are all possibilities. 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. The hike is free but space is limited. RSVP with Sarah Hill at 360-887-4106 or email Sarah_Hill@fws.gov

July 44th of July Celebrations – “Staggering” describes the number of 4th of July picnics, concerts, parades, a rodeo or two and fireworks displays happening in Southwest Washington. The largest is no doubt the Independence Day at Fort Vancouver. But every community celebrates in its own, fun way. Please check your local events calendar for your closest celebration and have a fun, safe 4th!

July 4-7Vancouver Rodeo – Clark County Saddle Club – This is the 42nd year of the rodeo, which will happen at the Saddle Club. The schedule is here. Admission.

July 4-27Concerts on the ColumbiaSkamania Lodge – Stevenson – Concerts on the lawn. What a setting! The series starts with Patrick Lamb. 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Admission.

July 4 – Patrick Lamb

July 27 – Michael Allen Harrison and Julianne Johnson

July 5-August 9Riverview Six to Sunset Concerts – Esther Short Park – Vancouver – Set up your lawn chair in the park and enjoy a great series of evening concerts. Purchase dinner from the food vendors or take a picnic. 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free.

   July 5 – Abbey Road Live (Beatles Tribute)

   July 12 – Hit Machine

   July 19 – Patrick Lamb

   July 26 – Stone in Love

July 6Art Walks and Special First Friday EventsVancouver, Camas and Ridgefield continue their monthly First Friday events. Camas First Friday will present the “Camas Car Show and Rock and Roll Night.” Ridgefield’s event will be in Davis Park from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

July 7LaCamas Lake Loop Bike Ride – This 32-mile bike ride starts at Clark College and travels east through Vancouver out to LaCamas Lake and back. Bakery stop included! Sponsored by Portland Wheelmen and Vancouver Bike Club but open to non-members. For more information, call the ride leader listed here.

July 8Music in the Vines with CloverdayleBethany Vineyards – The beautiful grounds of Bethany Vineyards make a great venue for summer concerts. Bring your own seating. No outside beverages. Check out concert details and restrictions here. Admission.

July 11-August 15  – Terry Lee Noon Concerts -  Esther Short Park – Vancouver – Noontime concerts draw large crowds. Don’t forget your lawn chair. Take your lunch or support the food vendors. Noon to 1 p.m. Free.

   July 11 – The Shwing Daddies

   July 18 – Justin Klump

   July 25 – Key of Dreams

July 12 - August 23Concerts at the Lake - Longview – Enjoy this Thursday night summer concert series in Lake Sacajawea Park. 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free.

   July 12 – British Export (Beatles Tribute)

   July 19 – Monroe Crossing

   July 26 – Gimme Some Lovin’

July 14Tastes &Tunes – Gardner Center in Battle Ground. Live music, food, beer and wine tasting. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Battle Ground. 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Admission.

July 144th Plain International Festival – 4th Plain and Norris Road in Vancouver – Celebrate the diversity of the 4th Plain area. International food vendors. Entertainment. Check the Web site for details. Includes the first ever Vancouver International Dodgeball Tournament! Register your team here!

July 14-15Trout Lake Festival of the Arts - Trout Lake – Enjoy music, arts and food at The Farm, 22 miles north of the Hood River Bridge. Schedule and location here. Check out the live music listings. Free.

July 14-15Art and Wine Fair - English Estate Winery – 17806 SE 1st Street, Vancouver. Enjoy the 109-year-old estate, live music and dozens of artists not to mention English Estate’s wines, which will be available for tasting.

July 14-15Clamshell Railroad DaysColumbia Pacific Heritage Museum in Ilwaco – Celebrate trains with lectures, bus tours of the old rail lines, an expanded Lego Train and The Kids Craft Caboose, and model trains. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission. Kids free.

July 21Cruisin the Gut - Vancouver – This car event just keeps getting larger and larger! Lovers of vintage autos line Main Street with lawn chairs to watch collectible cars from the past cruise Main Street from Dairy Queen down to lower downtown Vancouver and back.  The route is here. Evening event but get there early! Free.

July 20-21 – NW Outrigger RacesStevenson – Watch these mighty paddlers as they compete on the Columbia surrounded by the gorgeous Gorge and Bridge of the Gods as a backdrop. Stevenson will have lots of food and drink to offer, too, in the charming downtown area.

July 22Summer Concert SeriesThree Brothers Vineyards and Winery – The music continues in Clark County’s wine country with award-winning blues and R&B artist Lloyd Jones. Don’t forget your own lawn chairs or blankets. Take your own food (but NO liquids or beverages) or purchase catered food.  Wine, sodas and water available for purchase. Admission. 

July 25-20Sandsations and City Sandsations – Long Beach – On Wednesday, July 25, four master artists will start building in downtown Long Beach, culminating on Friday with a rodeo-themed sculpture. Construction for the sandcastle competition on the beach starts on Saturday at 10 a.m. There will also be a Sand Flea Pet Parade. Check the Sandsations Web site for details.

July 26-29Three Days of Aloha – Day one of this festival starts in Portland with a two-day Hula and Craft Workshop. Esther Short Park in Vancouver will be the site on Friday night for the Hapa Haole Hula Competition. The always popular Ho’ike and Hawaiian Festival will be held on Saturday at the park. Lots of food, music, dance, crafts! Check the festival Web site for details. Benefit for Ke Kukui Foundation.

July 26-29 -  Finnish-American Folk Festival  - Naselle High School on SR4. This festival is packed with authentic food and entertainment. The celebration of all things Finnish kicks off on July 26 with a golf tournament. Check out the event-packed schedule here.

July 27-28 – Camas Days - Downtown Camas – “Three Ring Circus” is the theme of this year’s Camas Days. Two parades, bathtub races, wine and microbrew street each evening, plus arts and crafts vendors. Lots of details here.

July 28 - Sip and Stroll – This benefit for the Hough Foundation is a great way to sample dozens of wines and beers while strolling through Uptown Village and downtown Vancouver. Check out wineries and microbreweries in downtown Vancouver and experience local shops where many of the tastings will be held. 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.  21 and up. Admission.

July 28-29Bridge of the Gods Kite Fest – Stevenson – Celebrate wind and water! Kiteboarders and watchers won’t want to miss this event on the Columbia. The schedule is here.

July  29Music in the Vines with Patrick LambBethany Vineyards – The beautiful grounds of Bethany Vineyards make a great venue for summer concerts. Bring your own seating. No outside beverages. Check out concert details and restrictions here. Admission.

Whew! What a month! And this is only a smattering of available events. See you out there.

 

 

July 1, 2012   No Comments

Road Trip! A Loop Through Southwest Washington

Ready to hit the road? Thanks to guest blogger, Joe Laing of El Monte RV Rentals for providing this post:

Southwest Washington is made for touring. You’ll want to begin your tour with Vancouver – just as if you were an early American pioneer exiting the Oregon Trail. In Vancouver, you can begin your journey with a dose of history at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

Baking hardtack at Fort Vancouver

To get here (from the south), take I-5, exit 1-C (Mill Plain Boulevard), drive east, and follow the signs. Fort Vancouver was once the center of the British Hudson Bay Company’s network of fur trading posts. But it also became the site of the region’s first hospital, school, mill, and shipbuilding. Today, the site encompasses the Fort Vancouver National Historic Reserve, where you can go on guided tours. Next to the Fort, Pearson Air Museum is also well-worth a visit.

Once you’re in Vancouver, you really can’t leave until you’ve taken the time to drive east along the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Byway, from Washougal (just east of Vancouver) to Maryhill, unless you really did just come from Oregon and spent time there along Oregon’s Historic Columbia River Highway, which runs parallel to it on the other side of the river. You’ll need to budget at least a day for this trip, however, as it will take you more than two hours of driving time to reach Maryhill, and another two hours to return to the Vancouver area. But what a beautiful and relaxing drive! Once you reach Maryhill, you can visit the Maryhill Museum of Art, or, if you are a wine connosieur, the famous Maryhill Winery.

The stunning terrace at Maryhill Winery

If you arrive in a summer month, you may manage to make it to one of Maryhill Winery’s summer concerts. (The 2011 season will feature Yes & Styx, Gipsy Kings, and Michael McDonald & Boz Scaggs.) Maryhill is also the site of a World War I memorial which was built as an exact replica of Stonehenge.

You may want to plan on camping in Maryhill, at Columbia Hills State Park, which is RV-friendly, so that you can take your time and explore the area, perhaps making short trips across the river, as well. Columbia Hills is well worth your time – you’ll be able to see ancient Native American petroglyphs and walk the Tamani Pesh-wa Trail. There are more than 12 miles of hiking trails here, and you can also go boating, sailboarding, rock climbing, swimming, or even play horseshoes. At night, take some time to observe the night sky – this is a beautiful area in which to see the stars.

Sailboarding on the Columbia River

On the way to or from Maryhill, depending on your schedule, stop in Stevenson at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum. This is the place to go if you have an RV full of fidgety kids. In addition to the museum’s extensive indoor historical exhibits, kids can climb into a historic diesel locomotive outside. In addition, you may want to take time to see the Bridge of the Gods, the third oldest bridge on the Columbia River.

Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center

Leaving Vancouver again (or leaving the first time, if you choose to skip the trip to Maryhill), drive north on I-5 and take exit 14 (Pioneer St./Washington 501 W) for Ridgefield, where you can visit the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. Here you will find not only a beautiful flood plain habitat (watch for sandhill cranes!), but also the townsite of Cathlapotle, which was visited by Lewis and Clark in 1806.

Cathlapotle Plankhouse

You can hike through the refuge or take the four-mile car tour. [Don't miss this ZEST post by Sarah Coomber on hiking with children in the refuge.]

Getting back on I-5, head for Silver Lake (get off at exit 49, Castle Rock). If you enjoy fishing or hiking, you may want to spend some time here, and camp at Seaquest State Park. To reach the visitor center, head east on 504, but don’t limit yourself to Sequest’s own visitor center – if you continue east, you’ll reach the Mount St. Helens Forest Learning Center. If you’d like an alternate route to Mount St. Helens, you can exit I-5 at exit 21 near Woodland, but that route won’t take you to the visitor’s center. The center is inside the blast zone from the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption, and includes an outdoor volcano playground and indoor virtual helicopter tour.

After May 15, when the road opens, you can proceed to the Johnston Ridge Visitor Center and Johnston Ridge Observatory.

The Road to Mount St. Helens

You can hike and climb in the Mount St. Helens area, but you will need to reserve a pass in advance, and you are required to stick to the trail. If you are old enough to remember the eruption, the trail will be amazing enough! If you aren’t old enough to remember the eruption, or would like a refresher, watch some archival footage before you get there. For a map of trails in the area, click here. If you are lucky enough to climb to the top of the crater, bring a dust mask – there is still occasional ashfall, and it isn’t good for your lungs.

From the Mount St. Helens area, you’ll want to head for the coast so you can see the sights that Lewis and Clark saw when they reached the Pacific. Head south again on I-5, but this time take highway 30 west toward the ocean. It will take you an hour or two to reach the Lewis and Clark National Historic Park, near Chinook. Continuing along the coast to Long Beach, Washington, about 200 feet above the surf itself, at Cape Disappointment State Park, you can visit the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.

The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center

View from the Interpretive Center

Take as much time as you can to enjoy this beautiful area, where you can beachcomb, hike, and relax. You can camp at Cape Disappointment overnight.

Continuing north to Ilwaco, you can visit the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, where you can see fresh and saltwater marshes and tidal estuaries. This is the place to go if you enjoy birdwatching – you can see pelicans, murrelets, bald eagles, great blue herons, and many other waterfowl and marsh birds.

Maybe you will have had enough driving by this point in your trip, but if you feel you just can’t leave Washington State without a trip to Mount Rainier, Washington’s highest peak, you can certainly make it – and it’s a glorious way to end your trip. Leaving the coast, get back onto I-5, exit at 68 (Morton/Yakima), and take US-12 E to WA-123 N. From here on east to Mount Rainier, the roads are closed seasonally, so check the dates when you plan your trip. Check the road status here. If you are taking the time to make the trip to Mount Rainier, plan on camping in the park and give yourself plenty of time to enjoy all that it has to offer.

You won’t want to leave Southwest Washington, so make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to poke around along the way-you’ll discover your own favorite locations and meet some of the friendliest people in the Pacific Northwest!

About the Author

Joe Laing is the Marketing Director for El Monte RV Rentals. For other great RV camping vacation ideas see the Monty’s Musings RV Camping Blog or the new
Monty’s RV Vacation Photo / Picture Gallery
.

June 19, 2011   3 Comments

June Calendar: Life with Father, Mamas, Pirates, Garlic and the World’s Largest Egg

Welcome, summer! Check out the incredibly diverse events going on in Southwest Washington for June. From the Long Beach to Stevenson, Vancouver to Winlock, there are plenty of choices and no excuses for staying home!

June 10 and 25Waikiki Beach Concert Series – Cape Disappointment State Park. No, you don’t have to fly to Hawaii to experience this Waikiki Beach. The summer concert series kicks off with Mighty Ghosts (country pickin’, bluegrass harmonies and back-porch folk) on June 10 and Southwest Washington’s favorites Misty Mamas (home-style bluegrass, oldtime, gospel and folk) on June 25. Concerts are at 7 p.m.

Misty Mamas

June 10-25Magenta Theater Company presents Life with Father – Vancouver. Magenta Theater presents the classic comedy set in the 1800s. Magenta’s intimate, and recently reconfigured, theater in downtown Vancouver is a very fun place to experience plays up close and personal!

Life with Father

June 11Divine Consign Home and Garden Tour – Vancouver. Tour homes and gardens in historic downtown Vancouver. Proceeds will benefit at-risk youth. Tickets and tour maps may be picked up at 1101 Officers Row in front of the Grant House on the day of the tour beginning at 11 am. $20 in advance. $25 at the door.

June 11Fleur de Lis Festival - Westport Winery, Westport. Enjoy this well-programmed festival including Art in the Vines, local blue cheese samplings, book signings, a belly dance troupe, music, French Onion Soup, grapevines for sale and 5000 blooming iris. And, of course, don’t forget the wonderful wines of Westport Winery, too.

Tasting wine at the Westport Winery

June 11The David Lanz Liverpool Trio – The Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, Stevenson. The Skamania Performing Arts Foundation presents pianist David Lanz, flutist Gary Stroutsos, and cellist Walter Gray. The trio most recently came together to perform David’s arrangements from the recording Liverpool…Re-Imagining the Beatles.

David Lanz Liverpool Trio

June 18Fort Vancouver Brigade Encampment, Vancouver. See costumed re-enactors demonstrating the annual return of the fur trappers to Fort Vancouver. Hands-on activities in the Fort Vancouver Village just west of the Fort’s stockade, on the trail to the Land Bridge.

Re-enactors at the Fort Vancouver Village in 2010

June 18-1930th Annual NW Garlic Festival – Ocean Park. More than 70 specialty food and craft vendors will offer prepare and use garlic in every imaginable way. As they say, “Just follow your nose” to the festival.

June 19 - Vancouver USA Marathon – Vancouver. It may be too late to start training, or is it?! The event includes a half marathon and welcomes walkers. Vancouver’s first marathon will should be a good one. Produced by Energy Events.

June 24-26Rusty Scupper Pirate Daze Festival – Westport. You are going to have to enter the festival Web site to learn about ALL the pirate events. Prepare to read pirate lingo or walk the plank!

Pirates on parade

June 24Gorge Blues and Brews Festival Friday Night Waterfront Jam – Skamania County Fairgrounds, Stevenson. The Gorge Blues and Brews Festival kicks off with a Friday night jam. The party starts at 6 pm and the show, featuring local musical talent, begins at 7 pm. Music will include the soulful vocals and driving rhythms of Jackbone Dixie as well as traditional sax blues from The Richard Wilkins Blues Band. Free!

June 25Gorge Blues and Brews Festival - Skamania County Fairgrounds, Stevenson. Three blues bands, 16 regional micro-breweries, 8 wineries and food vendors. Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King will be the headliners. Admission is $15 per person and includes your choice of a commemorative beer mug or wine glass. Children 12 and under are free.

Gorge Blues and Brews Festival

June 25-26Recycled Arts Festival – Vancouver. One of the most creative events of the year happens in Esther Short Park on the last weekend of June. For a preview, take a look at last year’s Festival, take a look at this ZEST blog post.

Glass garden sculptures at the 2010 Festival

June 24-2675th Annual Egg Day Festival - Winlock. The parade starts at 11 a.m. June 25 with the theme “Egg Days and Diamonds Forever.” The festival will include an Egg Day Run and royalty. Check out this charming video about the World Largest Egg and Winlock.

World's Largest Egg in Winlock

May 29, 2011   No Comments

May Meanderings: Bike rides, trains, tall ships, wine tours and more…

Spring events are in full force now in Southwest Washington. Here are a few ideas to get you out the door:

May 3 – The 39 Steps – Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts in Longview. This 2008 Tony award-winning play “The 39 Steps” is a madcap romp through one of Alfred Hitchcock’s finest films. Adapted for the stage, it became one of Broadway’s longest-running comedy thrillers. With a cast of 4, this show has more than 150 characters to keep you on the edge of your seat.

May 7 – The 28th Annual Ride Across Clark County (RACC) sponsored by the Vancouver Bicycle Club WARNING! This event may be sold out. Check the Web site for availability of this scenic and popular day-long ride. Four loops to choose from – 18, 34, 65 and 100 miles

May 7 – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. National Train Day, Historic Train Depot, 210 Railroad Ave, Centralia, WA National Train Day commemorates the anniversary of the transcontinental railroad’s inception. Special displays and events will be in the Historic Railroad Depot in downtown Centralia.

May 14 – 8 p.m. Al Stewart Concert at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center in Stevenson. Remember the Scottish singer-songwriter’s 1976 hit Year of the Cat? Skamania Performing Arts Foundation, 541-400-9792

May 14 and 15 – Vancouver Symphony Orchestra conducted by Salvador Brotons. Concert times are 3 pm on Saturday and 7 pm on Sunday. Last regular concert of the season. The program will feature Concerto for Horn by Brotons. Roman Festivals by Respighi and Audience Choice (voting now closed).

May 14, 12-4 pm – Cathlapotle Plankhouse, Carty Unit of the Ridgefield NWR, 28908 NW Main Ave., Ridgefield. Artist Judy Bridges, Cowlitz basket weaver, will demonstrate basket weaving techniques. Visitors will have the opportunity to view examples of her basketry and ask her questions about her craft.

May 15, 12-4 pm – Cathlapotle Plankhouse Carty Unit of the Ridgefield NWR, 28908 NW Main Ave, Ridgefield. Artists Greg Robinson, member of the Chinook Indian Nation, and Greg Archuleta, member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, will be in the Plankhouse doing carving and Chinookan lifeways demonstrations. Visitors will be able to see some of their beautiful artwork as well as talk to them about Chinookan art and culture.

Hawaiian Chieftain (left) and Lady Washington cruising together in Grays Harbor near Westport. Photo by Ron Arel, Coastal Images.

May 18-19 – Nautical Renaissance The Port of Ilwaco welcomes back Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Tall Ships, The Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain. Self-guided tours are hosted by the crew wearing period costumes. ($3 requested donation). Adventure and Battle Sails are also available. Visit the Web site for prices and other details. From Ilwaco on May 19th guests can book passage to Astoria where the ships will offer tours until May 22, coinciding with Astoria’s opening celebration of its 200th birthday. Contact the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority in Aberdeen (360) 532-8611 or (800) 200-5239 for details and schedules. Go to www.ladywashington.org to track the ships’ locations and purchase discounted price tickets. (Note: There will also be a sail in Ilwaco on May 3rd.)

May 21-22 – 31st Annual Herb and Garden Festival at Pomeroy Living History Farm Thousands of fresh herb and garden plants, many organic selections plus entertainment, farm café, vendors and the herb garden. Admission is free.

May 28-30 – Memorial Day Weekend Clark County Spring Wine Release Visit 11 Clark County wineries in one weekend! See the Web site for details and maps.

May 28-30 – Memorial Day Open House Weekend at Columbia Gorge Wineries Visit more than 30 wineries and tasting rooms on both sides of the river. Details on the event Web site.

Wow, what a May! This is just a small fraction of what is scheduled. See you out there in Southwest Washington!

April 27, 2011   No Comments

Dr. King Lives on in SW Washington

How do you do justice to the memory of one of the world’s most important leaders for equality and peace? The life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was remembered with music, poetry, video presentation and an inspiring sermon on Saturday, January 15 at Clark College. The Dream and the Dreamer, a breakfast celebration, also honored Vancouver’s Earl Ford, who received the Mosaic Compass Award.

From Clairece Rosati’s moving performance of Stevie Wonder’s “Visions” to the dramatic poems of Emmett Wheatfall on slavery, civil rights movement and the Constitution, it was a time to reflect on the incredible life and impact of Dr. King.

Dr. Terryl Ross of Oregon State University shared a documentary video “The Door to Equality is Voice Activated,” which interspersed clips of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement with comments from OSU students on what needs to be done now to achieve equality.

In his impassioned sermon, Pastor Matthew Hennessee of Portland’s Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church asked: “We have the stories. Do we have the courage and the heart” to make a difference and stand up for justice? “We’re too worried about what the cost will be…The problem is the 18” between our heads and our hearts,” he said. “We have the intellect to understand,” he pointed out. “We need to close the gap.” Pastor Hennessee also honored Coretta Scott King, a personal friend. “I didn’t just marry Martin,” she had said. “I married his cause.”

Event organizer Deena Pierott shared advice that she received from award winner Earl Ford. When she expressed concerns about running her company he told her she could “stay on the porch or run with the big dogs.” She chose to “run with the dogs,” working to expand her business, Mosaic Blueprint, an international job recruitment and placement firm. Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt presented Earl with the Mosaic Compass Award for outstanding community service and diversity advocacy. Earl is past president for 10 years of the Vancouver Chapter of the NAACP, among many other achievements.

You cannot remember Dr. King’ courage and actions without being inspired to do more. In his words: “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just that the first step.”

January 16, 2011   No Comments

“O! how Horriable is the day!”

“O! how Horriable is the day!” Captain William Clark entered those words in his journal on November 22, 1805 after experiencing a nasty day on the Columbia River. “Before day the wind increased to a storm…and blew with violence throwing the water of the river with emence waves out of its banks almost over whelming us I water, O! how Horriable is the day,” he wrote.

Those last six words are now the name of the annual celebration at the Knappton Cove Heritage Center. This year, the event will be held on Saturday, November 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in conjunction with the “Ocian in View” Cultural Weekend at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum in Ilwaco.

The hospital building at the Knappton Cove Heritage Center

Knappton Cove is “Columbia River’s Ellis Island.” While the East coast immigration center is well known, our own Ellis Island is a quiet, fascinating gem located at 521 Washington SR 401 just three miles east of the Astoria/Megler Bridge bridge.

The property has been a camping and fishing site for Chinook Indians. Early explorers included Captain Robert Gray, who sailed into the Columbia River in 1792 and Lt. William Broughton, who, as part of Captain George Vancouver fleet, moored the HMS Chatham at Knappton Cove later that year. For years, a fish cannery straddled the river with a long wharf and cannery buildings.

As the US Public Health Service Quarantine Station (1899-1938), Knappton Cove played a significant role in the history of US immigration. An estimated 100,000 individuals passed through the Quarantine Station from 1899 to 1938.

During that time, cargo and immigrant ships entered the Columbia River at Astoria. Upon inspection, if it was determined that disease or vermin was on board the ship, it was sent to across the river to Knappton Cove, with its deep channel and distance from the good folk of Astoria who didn’t want the facility, on the Washington side of the Columbia.

Imagine you have traveled for weeks by ship from your native country in Europe or Asia. You have survived the crossing and finally reached the shores of America. Now you need to pass health inspection and have your possessions “deloused” in large retorts. Smallpox, cholera, bubonic plague and typhoid were among the communicable concerns. If you didn’t pass the inspection, you were isolated and detained before you could travel on to the Portland naturalization office.

Ships went through a 48 hour fumigation process, which included filling the ships with fumes sulfur pots to kill rats. (Later cyanide gas was used to fumigate the ships.) In her book, The Columbia River’s Ellis Island, The Story of Knappton Cove, Nancy Bell Anderson reported that 97 sailing vessels and 35 steamships were inspected during the first year of operation including ships from such disparate locations as Russia, Peru and Japan.

Nancy Bell Anderson discusses the historic site with visitors

The Knappton Cove Heritage Center documents not only the quarantine station with its hospital (also known as lazaretto or pesthouse) but also the other uses of the property over the years including the sports fishing camp established by Nancy’s parents, who bought the property in 1950. Sans SR 401, their front yard stretched down to the river. Nancy has been involved with the site, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, since she was 12 years old. She is currently President of the Center’s Board of Directors,

The Center is the only place in the world where you will find the 100,000 Clothespin People Project and the “It’s A Small World Clothespin Museum.” Kits are available for making clothespin dolls dressed in native clothing from immigrant homelands.

Each room of the former hospital documents the history of the site and the people who passed through its wards. A small shop has books and other items available for purchase.

One of the hospital room displays

The Knappton Cove Heritage Museum is only open Saturday weekends in summer (or by appointment). So November 13 is a great day to visit no matter how “horriable” the weather.

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November 9, 2010   1 Comment