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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Hood River in Hood River County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)
 

The Henderson

Gone But Not Forgotten

 
 
The Henderson Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 12, 2015
1. The Henderson Marker
Inscription.
Sternwheeler traffic on the Columbia River reached a fevered-pitch with the completion of Cascade Locks in 1896. Steam-powered paddlewheelers provided a vital link between The Dalles and Portland. The trip averaged six hours on a good day, and competition was stiff among shipping lines vying to transport timber, produce, and passengers.

The 160-foot sternwheeler M. F. Henderson was built by the Shaver Transportation Co. in 1901 as a combination freighter and tow-boat. In 1911, during an overhaul, she lost the initials “M.F.” and became the Henderson. The Henderson enjoyed a long and distinguished career on the Columbia towing log rafts, pushing barges, and tugging ships. By 1950, the Henderson was one of only two wood-hulled sternwheelers still working the river.

In December 1956, with a grain ship in tow, the Henderson encountered heavy swells near the mouth of the Columbia. The vessel's hull pounded so hard against the unyielding tow that the crew was forced to beach her near Columbia City. Declared a "constructive total loss," the Henderson languished on the shore until she was burned to salvage scrap metal in 1964.
 
Erected by Hood River Lions Foundation Trust.
 
Location.
Marker detail: The <i>Henderson</i> and the <i>Shaver</i> image. Click for full size.
Oregon Historical Society, Hood River County Museum
2. Marker detail: The Henderson and the Shaver
Sternwheelers Henderson (above left) and Shaver with log raft near Astoria, 1908.
The Henderson overhauled and ready for work, 1912 (above right).
45° 42.662′ N, 121° 30.425′ W. Marker is in Hood River, Oregon, in Hood River County. Marker is on East Port Marina Drive north of Interstate 84, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker and subject paddle wheel are located on the Hood River Waterfront trail, near the Hood River County History Museum entrance. Marker is at or near this postal address: 300 East Port Marina Drive, Hood River OR 97031, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A School with Roots (within shouting distance of this marker); OWR & N Company Railroad Depot (approx. ¼ mile away); Hood River (approx. ¼ mile away); The Mount Hood Hotel Annex (approx. ¼ mile away); The Blowers Building (approx. ¼ mile away); Sproat Building (approx. ¼ mile away); Hood River Garage (approx. ¼ mile away); Hotel Waucoma (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hood River.
 
Also see . . .
1. Stern Drives on the Columbia River.
The wooden sternwheelers of that era were all driven hard and not built to last long. After 15 years, Shaver's top two boats were scrapped and the steam engines were removed and re-used in new boats carrying the same name. However, 1901 saw the launch of a sternwheel tug that proved to be the exception: the Henderson lived a charmed life, despite numerous mishaps. It was sunk and rebuilt in 1912, rebuilt and re-engined in 1929, and sunk and raised again in 1950. (Submitted on February 10, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Marker detail: The <i>Henderson</i> image. Click for full size.
Oregon Historical Society
3. Marker detail: The Henderson
The Henderson with oil barge in tow approaching Portland, 1933.
The Henderson’s career peaked in 1952, when she played the River Queen in the film Bend of the River.
 

2. Portland (steam tug 1947).
The Portland is a sternwheel steamboat built in 1947 for the Port of Portland, Oregon, in the United States. On January 24, 1952, the Portland raced against the older sternwheel tug Henderson in a staged race on the Columbia River in order to promote the upcoming Jimmy Stewart film Bend of the River (with the stars riding on the Henderson). The Henderson won by a length and a half. (Submitted on February 10, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. "Bend of the River". The last steamboat race on the Columbia was held in 1952, between the Henderson and the new steel-hulled Portland, both towboats. This was actually more of an exhibition than a race. The famous actor James Stewart and other members of the cast of the recently-filmed movie Bend of the River were on-board the Henderson. The race was witnessed by Capt. Homer T. Shaver, who stated that as both were running fast for their design, as towboats, the speeds were not much compared to what he'd seen as a young man on the river. (Submitted on February 10, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels
 
Marker detail: The <i>Henderson</i> (left) beats the <i>Portland</i> image. Click for full size.
July 12, 2015
4. Marker detail: The Henderson (left) beats the Portland
In 1952, the Henderson participated in the last sternwheeler race on the Columbia River. Although favored to beat the Port of Portland’s new steel-hulled sternwheeler the Portland, the Henderson fell behind early in the race when she lost steam. The engine crew quickly shunted live steam into her low pressure cylinders unit the paddlewheel approached 30 rpm. Actor Jimmy Stewart and other cast members of the film Bend of the River were on board to cheer the vessel on – the Henderson came from behind and beat the Portland in the 3.6-mile race.
The Henderson Marker (<i>wide view; the Henderson Paddle Wheel in background</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 12, 2015
5. The Henderson Marker (wide view; the Henderson Paddle Wheel in background)
Henderson Paddle Wheel Plaque (<i>mounted directly on the paddle wheel</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 12, 2015
6. Henderson Paddle Wheel Plaque (mounted directly on the paddle wheel)
The "M. F. Henderson" was launched in 1901. Being a work-class steamer, she towed log rafts, grain barges and pushed ships. During an overhaul in 1912 she lost her initials and became known as the "Henderson".

During World War II she moved powerless ships through Portland's harbor bridges. In 1952 she starred in the movie "Bend of the River" under the name of "River Queen".

"The Henderson" had a long life for a wood steamer. Her end came in 1956 near Astoria. Heavy winds and surging waves smashed her against the steel side of her tow. Damaged beyond repair, she was beached near Columbia City.

John Hounsell, Hood River orchardist and boat builder, obtained permission to remove the wheel, which he renovated at this site in 1977.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 11, 2018. This page originally submitted on February 10, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 66 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on February 10, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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