Home of some of the Klickitat County wineries and beautiful views of the Columbia River Gorge.
Bickleton, Washington is called the Bluebird Capital of the world because of the thousands of bluebirds that spend most of the year in the area. The majority are Mountain Bluebirds with a few Western Bluebirds in or near the forest.
Although quite small (population 90), there are interesting events and places in or near town. Bickleton is home to the states oldest tavern, The Bluebird, and the states oldest rodeo. The next Pioneer Picnic And Rodeo will be the 104th annual. At the picnic and rodeo grounds is one of the west’s oldest carousels. A 1905 Herschell-Spillman. It is set up and used only on rodeo week-end, which is always the second week-end in June. It was purchased from Oaks Park in Sellwood, Oregon in 1929 and moved to Bickleton. Just 11 miles south of town is the Whoop N Holler Ranch and Museum where there are many interesting local antiques and old vehicles.
About 17 miles south of town is one of the largest landfills in the country. Owned, by Allied Waste Industries, it provides much needed jobs and capitol for Klickitat County. The landfill gas created by the decomposing waste is used to generate electrical power. A few miles south of town is the area’s first large wind power electrical generating plant. It consists of 133 wind powered turbines.
Good food is available at the Market Street Cafe and the Bluebird Inn.
Situated in the richest section of the rich Klickitat valley and encompassed by picturesque scenes of grandeur is the little town of Centerville. It is located on a slight elevation alongside of what is known as the Swale, a tract of rich bottom land about five by ten miles in area, and for miles in every direction it is surrounded by the rolling farm lands of the Klickitat valley. The low-lying valley with its fields of golden grain, the rugged Columbia hills to the southward, the timber-covered Simcoe range to the north, away to the west the Cascades with their giant snow-capped peaks, all unite to form a picture of marvelous beauty.
Centerville is on the line of the Columbia River & Northern railroad, about thirty-two miles from the terminus at Lyle and seven miles from Goldendale. The site of the present town was taken as a pre-emption by Albert J. Brown in 1877. Two years later Charles Pomeroy built a blacksmith shop there, and in 1882 Mr. Brown secured the location of a postoffice at that point and named the place Centerville.
In August of 1890, an independent weekly newspaper, the Klickitat Leader, stated: “Centerville, in the central part of the county, is a prosperous, thriving little city, whose citizens are noted for their enterprise and push.”
Cleveland was first settled in 1879 by Ripley Dodge, who named it for the city of his native state of Ohio.
Cleveland contains an old cemetery and a rodeo. The rodeo, the oldest in the state, has been completely refurbished. Also on the rodeo grounds is a 100-year-old Spillman carousel that has been completely refurbished thanks to grants and private funds. The closest town is Bickleton. An annual rodeo is held the 2nd weekend in June along with Pioneer days in which the carousel is restored to operating conditions as it was back in 1907, with the original carousel horses which are housed in the Museum in Bickleton.
Per R. Bollinger, former owner “The Oaks” Amusement Park / benefactor Oaks Park Association (the non-profit he set up to perpetuate “The Oaks”), this carousel was one of the few rides owned by “The Oaks” when it opened May 30, 1905. It was sold to the Bickleton/Cleveland group in 1928 along with the band organ and ticket booth. Through the years, the method used to turn this machine was modified from donkeys or small horses to steam engine to tractor engine. The communities of Bickleton and Cleveland have kept this machine in beautiful condition.
Traditionally a site of the Wishram tribe (Called Echeloots by Lewis and Clark), who lived on the north bank of the Columbia about 10 miles in both directions from The Dalles, Oregon. Although the Wishrams were included in the Treaty of Yakima, they resisted removal to the Yakama Reservation. Indian burials from Memaloose Island in the Columbia were removed to the Wish-ham Cemetery near Dallesport prior to the filling of Lake Celilo. The loss of their traditional fishing grounds at Celilo Falls during the construction of The Dalles Dam in March 1957 dealt both a spiritual and an economic blow to the tribe.
Originally called Rockport or Rockland Flats, this was the site of the first Ferry crossing in the area, beginning in 1854. Rockland Flats was the original seat of Clickitat County (The name of the county was spelled with a ‘C’ until an official name change in 1869), and remained so until 1878. Riverboat traffic moved up and down the river, but could not pass the falls at the Dalles and Celilo Falls. Portage was originally via a 19-mile long wagon road circumventing the falls. The Oregon Portage Railroad allowed passage of goods and travelers by rail beginning in 1863, but shippers chafed at the monopoly. in 1905, Congress approved 8.5-mile canal with locks on the north shore to bypass the falls. The Dalles-Celilo Canal opened May 5, 1915. The canal incorporated 5 locks with a total 90-foot lift. The canal remained in use until it was flooded by the Dalles Dam in 1957.
The idea of a bridge crossing at this location was talked about beginning in the late 19th century, but was not approved until 1947. The Dalles Bridge remained unbuilt until Congress approved the Dalles Dam in 1951. The bridge was opened December 18, 1953.
The name Glenwood was first used for this locale around 1880. Glenwood post office was established in 1886, though it was not always in the same location. In the 1920s, the Gales Creek and Wilson River Railroad had a terminal station there named “Aagard” (or “Aagaard”) after Olaf Aagard, owner of the Aagard Lumber Company. The name of the station was soon changed to Glenwood to match the post office.
Glenwood has a Forest Grove mailing address, but the Postal Service will deliver mail addressed to Glenwood, Oregon. The ZIP code is 97116.
Glenwood has a store, and from 1957 until 1995, the community was the site of the Oregon Trolley Museum, which is now part of Antique Powerland in Brooks.
Glenwood is located South East of Mt. Adams in Washington State, in a small valley, 13 miles below it’s timberline. Glenwood hosts an annual rodeo and has some nice area attractions as well as a small town feel.
In 1872 the town was given its name by the early homesteader John Golden. The Golden House is still viewable at Columbus and Collins St. in downtown Goldendale. In 1878 Goldendale became the county seat. Other early towns in the county were White Salmon, Lyle, Bingen, Glenwood, Dallesport and Bickleton, all still in existence. Goldendale was officially incorporated on November 14, 1879.
Goldendale has remained the employment, business, commercial and banking center for the valley and, as the county seat, is the location for Klickitat County’s courts and government offices. In recent years this small community has suffered from severe economic decline. After a local aluminum plant that once employed many residents closed, the small community struggled economically. The loss of tax base has taken its toll on the funds available for maintaining the city’s infrastructure. In recent years there has been an interest in installing wind turbines that would generate power. While it has provided some jobs, this industry has not been the economic solution for which many residents hoped.
On June 9, 1918, William Wallace Campbell, Director of the Lick Observatory in San Jose, CA, and astronomer Heber Curtis journeyed to Goldendale to view a total eclipse. The purpose of the observation was to photograph the sun’s corona and the apparent distorted placement of stars due to the sun’s gravitational pull on those star’s rays while passing by the sun. Lacking proper equipment and instead only using multiple cameras Campbell and Curtis were unable to confirm stars’ deflection. However, by November 1919, their efforts would be vindicated by British astronomers and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was confirmed.
On October 13, 1973 the Goldendale Observatory, the main attraction of the city, was dedicated. It is one of the larger free, public observatories. Because of a relatively small population, Goldendale offers excellent stargazing as well.
In 2008 Goldendale hosted the International Gravity Sports Association’s ‘Festival of Speed,’ on a segment of the historic Maryhill highway
Goldendale’s tourist attractions include the Goldendale Observatory, the nearby Maryhill Museum with a collection of 87 works by Auguste Rodin & a contemporary architectural construction by Portland based firm Allied Works Architecture, and the Maryhill Stonehenge, a life-size cement replica of the original Stonehenge, situated ten minutes south of Goldendale. The replica, completed in 1930, is a memorial of those who died in World War I.
In downtown Goldendale, the Presby Mansion, now the Presby Museum, is also a tourist attraction featuring a newly restored 1898 Russel Steam Tractor and housing the Klickitat County Historical Society.
The site where the town is located was originally called Wrights after one of the original settlers. This was the name given to the rail stop there. The rail stop down the river at milepost 7.2 was named Klickitat and the railroad later switched the two signs when the carbonated beverage company Klickitat Pop (operating near the town) gained fame. On February 7, 1910 the name of the town post office was officially changed to Klickitat.
The first non-native settlers arrived in 1890 seeking land to homestead. The abundance of timber drew in other settlers during the early 1900s. Travel through the Klickitat canyon and up to the plateau was arduous until the completion of a rail line in 1903. The rail line eased travel and facilitated the transportation of people, crops, livestock and timber. The lumber mill was the primary employer in town, with the first major mill formed 1909, until 1994 when the mill was permanently closed. The naturally carbonated mineral springs just north of town gave rise to heath spas, a carbonated beverage company, and a large dry ice plant which operated until 1957.
Activities include fishing and kayaking in the Klickitat River. Biking and hiking can be done along the Klickitat Trail, which follows the river north from the Columbia River past the town of Klickitat. Washington State Route 142 provides a scenic drive through the canyon. Two miles north of town is the remains of the dry ice plant, now a camp site. The sole remaining building is now the home of Vaux’s Swifts.
Established around 1859, the original name of the community was Klickitat Landing. The first European settler was Egbert French, who arrived from Ohio. In 1866 French sold his holdings to James O. Lyle from The Dalles, Oregon, and moved to White Bluffs. After initially farming on the opposite shore (the Oregon side) for a few years, Lyle moved to the north bank of the Columbia.
A post office was soon established with Lyle as the first postmaster, and mail delivered by steamer from the opposite shore. Steamboat operation lasted until the North shore railroad was completed. When the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway came to town in 1907, its line passed somewhat north of the town. The present townsite was plotted in 1909, and the older townsite became known as ‘downtown’. In 1941 there was a small airport in Lyle.
Today Lyle has two main areas: that part which is built on the north banks of the Columbia River, including the “downtown,” and that part which is built on the hills above the river. The downtown area has one grocery store (which is a super-sized quick-mart), two churches, a tavern, a restaurant/cafe, a gas station and vehicle repair shop, a second-hand store, an espresso stand, and a hotel. Other small businesses come and go, and all are located in the downtown area.
Residential areas flank downtown and extend east and west. Newer residences have sprung up on the northern hill overlooking downtown, with row upon row of homes on terraces. Less than 30 years ago, there were fewer than half a dozen homes on the entire hill. Now there are dozens, all seemingly vying for the best view of the Columbia River. Prices for hillside property are high for such a small town, and are based primarily on the view.
Although Lyle is 70+ miles east of Portland/Vancouver, it can be considered a bedroom community. The ease of freeway transportation on the “Oregon side” makes the commute a mere 60 minutes.
Because Lyle has no grade school, children of grade-school age are transported by bus to a school in Dallesport, an even smaller burg a few miles east of Lyle. The area’s middle school and high school, which incorporate students from Dallesport and Murdoch (also just east of Lyle) lie at the northernmost part of town, high on the hill overlooking Lyle. The student body is small and combines with nearby towns to make up teams for some sports.
Although tiny, somewhat rustic, and usually quiet, Lyle has attracted some attention because it lies very near several popular windsurfing beaches, including Doug’s Beach. The area is also home to six boutique wineries: Cor Cellars, Domaine Pouillon, Jacob Williams Winery, Klickitat Canyon Winery, Memaloose, and Syncline.
Maryhill is named after the wife and daughter of regional icon Sam Hill, who purchased land and envisioned a community there shortly after the turn of the 20th century. Earlier the area was known as “Columbia” or “Columbus”.
Hill used his Maryhill property to build the first paved roads in the Pacific Northwest, the Maryhill Museum of Art (originally intended as a grand residence for the Hills), Maryhill Stonehenge, a monument to the World War I dead of Klickitat County in the form of a Stonehenge replica, and a planned community. Born a Quaker, Hill hoped to attract a Quaker community to eastern Washington. His plans never materialized, and the town buildings he constructed burned down several years later.
Hill intended the Stonehenge replica to express that modern warfare (like Druid sacrifices as he understood them) was a form of needless human sacrifice.
Murdock, Washington, a rural peninsula community located on the Columbia River in the south central portion of Klickitat County.
Roosevelt Washington, is located on the Washington banks of the Columbia River directly across from Arlington, Oregon. Five miles downstream is the orchard community of Sundale. Roosevelt was named by T.B. Montgomery to honor Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States.
The area of Wishram was located 1/2 mile above the head of the great Celilo Falls on the Columbia, and as a result has been populated for an extended period. For about 15,000 years, native peoples gathered to fish and exchange goods. They built wooden platforms out over the water and caught salmon with dipnets and long spears on poles as the fish swam up through the rapids and jumped over the falls. Celilo Falls and The Dalles were strategically located at the border between Chinookan and Sahaptian speaking peoples and served as the center of an extensive trading network across the Pacific Plateau. It was noted by early explorers and historians of the area.
In 1892 the U.S. government completed a set of locks to bypass Celilo Falls on the southern shore, across from Wishram. Built at a cost of $5,000,000 these locks saw limited service as much of the freight in and out of the Pacific Northwest began to travel by rail.
In 1912 the unincorporated town was then known as Fallbridge, named in recognition of the southern extension of the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway, which crossed the Columbia on the Oregon Trunk Rail Bridge constructed on the basalt rock of Celilo Falls.
The Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway was chartered in 1905 by James J. Hill for the purposes of connecting the two transcontinental railroads owned by him, the Northern Pacific and Great Northern, to Portland, Oregon from Spokane, Washington, in order to gain a portion of the lumber trade in Oregon, a business that at the time was dominated by E.H. Harriman’s Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads. Construction began in 1906 under the name Portland & Seattle Railway, proceeding eastward from Vancouver, Washington. 1906 also saw the start of construction of the line between Vancouver and Portland. This railroad included the first bridge of any kind to be built across the lower Columbia River: the bridge now known as the BNSF Railway Bridge 9.6, in Vancouver.
Within a year, and despite legal challenges from Harriman, who wished to block its construction, the line had been built as far as Pasco, Washington along the Columbia River, where there was a connection with Northern Pacific lines. The first section to open was from Pasco west through Wishram to cliffs (near Maryhill), a length of 112 miles (180 km), on December 15, 1907. Operation was extended west to Lyle, another 145 miles (233 km), on January 15, 1908, as construction continued on the 221-mile (356 km) section from there to Vancouver.
The town of Wishram (then known as Fallbridge) was fortuitously situated at a location which made bridging the Columbia River relatively easy. It was possible to construct a bridge that had piers resting on normally exposed basalt rock above the water fall during low water periods such that during periods of high water, when this stretch of the Columbia River became raging rapids, the piers supported a bridge spanning the entire flood. This bridge over Celilo Falls became known as the Oregon Trunk Rail Bridge or the fallbridge. The location of this bridge also allowed construction of rail along the Deschutes River canyon, allowing access to eastern Oregon’s high desert plateau and eastern Cascade Mountains.
As a result, the SP&S was extended southward from Wishram, Washington toward Bend, Oregon. Hill and Harriman engaged in a head-to-head battle up the Des Chutes grade, with intense competition for any advantageous routing. After the competition reached what has been described as ridiculous levels, Hariman died in 1909 and an agreement that this extension was to be jointly operated with a Union Pacific subsidiary, the Oregon-Washington Railway & Navigation, was reached. This southern extension relied upon the Oregon Trunk Rail Bridge – the “fall bridge” – constructed just downstream of Wishram at the waterfall on the Columbia. James J. Hill inaugurated this route, driving a golden spike in Bend in 1912. Fallbridge served as a passenger terminal, roundhouse and freight switch yard for traffic into Bend. Recognizing its central location, a 300-ton automatic coaling station was erected for the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railroad at Fallbridge in 1920.
The name was officially changed to Wishram in 1926. However, the name of Fallbridge continues to appear in various documents. In 1931 the official schedules for the railway used “Wishram (Fallbridge)” as the designation for the stop at Wishram. The town still appears as Fallbridge in 1940 U.S. Army. Corps of Engineers port directories, and in 1941 in standard textbooks.
In 1931 the SP&S line to Bend was connected via Klamath Falls, Oregon to Bieber, California, providing a shortcut to connect with the Western Pacific Railroad in Northern California.
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