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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Ridgefield in Clark County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)
 

Early Highway of the West

The Great Columbia River

 
 
Early Highway of the West Marker image. Click for full size.
By Douglass Halvorsen, December 31, 2012
1. Early Highway of the West Marker
Inscription. The Columbia River, located a few miles west of here, was one of the first highways in the West. American Indians used canoes as their principal transportation between camps and villages along the river, carrying fish, roots, berries, baskets and other trade goods as cargo.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition traveled through this region in 1805 and 1806. Native people from villages along the Columbia River often met the explorers on the water and sometimes joined the voyage for short distances. In March 1806, a large flotilla of canoes accompanied Lewis and Clark as they paddled upstream. Lewis wrote, "their principal object I believe was merely to indulge their curiosity in looking at us."
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November 6, 1805
"The Indians in this part of the country have but few horses, their intercourse and business being chiefly by water." ~ Patrick Gass
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March 30, 1806
"there were several large canoes drawn out on shore and several natives seting in a canoe apparently waiting our arrival; they joined the fleet and continues with us some miles.... we were joined by several other canoes of natives from the Island." ~ Meriweather Lewis
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Handsome Canoes
Expedition
Early Highway of the West Marker image. Click for full size.
By Douglass Halvorsen, December 31, 2012
2. Early Highway of the West Marker
members marveled at the canoes of the American Indians of the Lower Columbia. Carefully crafted from large cedar trees, the canoes were designed to glide smoothly through rough waters.

Some canoes were decorated with carved figures on the bow and stern. Lewis and Clark described and illustrated five styles of Indian canoes used for different purposes on the river, including the one shown above. Clark wrote, "They prize their Canoes very highly: we have been anxious to obtains Some of them, for our journey up the river...."
 
Erected by Washington State Parks.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Lewis & Clark Expedition marker series.
 
Location. 45° 47.957′ N, 122° 40.817′ W. Marker is in Ridgefield, Washington, in Clark County. Marker can be reached from Interstate 5. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Ridgefield WA 98642, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Fort Vancouver (a few steps from this marker); Harley H. Hall (approx. 5 miles away); down the trodden path... (approx. 7.2 miles away in Oregon); Lewis & Clark Discovery Trail (approx. 7.2 miles away in Oregon); Warrior Rock Fog Bell (approx. 7.2 miles away in Oregon); Woodland Community Veterans Memorial (approx. 7.7 miles away); The Finn Hall (approx. 10 miles away); Thomas KcKay (approx. 10.1 miles away in Oregon).
 
More about this marker. Marker is located within the Fort Gee Rest Area (southbound)
 
Categories. ExplorationNative AmericansRoads & Vehicles
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 21, 2018. This page originally submitted on January 18, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon. This page has been viewed 48 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 18, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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