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Guide to the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Survey of the Columbia River, 1891

Collection Overview

Collection Description

In 1890 Congress appropriated funds for the surveying and improvement of the Columbia River in Washington state, including $10,000 for surveying the river from the international boundary line southward to Rock Island Rapids. In 1891 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made this survey as far south as the Okanogan River. William Cuthbert led the team that made the survey. His superior was Capt. Thomas W. Symons of the U.S. Engineer office at Portland, Oregon. Their reports upon the 1891 survey were published as part of the annual report in 1893 of the Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army, which is in the Report of the Secretary of War... (Washington, 1893), Vol. II, Pt. 4, pp. 3381-3399. Copies of the reports by Symons and Cuthbert are filed in the Information Folder of this collection.

Two albums contain 74 photographs (7 1/4 x 9 in.), albumen prints, from the survey of 1891 These photographs are numbered, and their numbers and content correspond to those of photographs listed in Capt. Symons' report. Sixteen of the pictures are duplicated, so there are actually 57 different scenes. The scenes are along the Columbia River in Ferry and Stevens counties in northeastern Washington from the Canadian border southward 88 miles to Elbow Bend 17 miles north of the mouth of the Spokane River. Capt. Symons wrote that “a large number of photographs was taken of the river and its vicinity,” and he sent with his report a set “of those which most clearly illustrate the river, especially at the bad places.” Most of the Photographs in these albums are views of parts of the river where there were problems for navigation. The photographs are of the following areas: the Canadian boundary, Murphy's Rapid, Sheep Creek Bend, Onion Creek, Little Dalles, Marble Mountain, Nine-mile Rapids, rapid above Marcus, Big Bend above Marcus, mouth of Kettle River, Kettle Falls, Grand Rapids, Rock Islands, Gifford's Rapid, Turtle Rapid, and Elbow Bend. The large number of photographs from the survey of 1891 included scenes further down the river as far as the mouth of the Okanogan River and perhaps others from the stretch of the Columbia River represented by the photographs in these two albums.

The photographs were made from glass plate negatives. They were numbered, but the numbers are not always visible on the prints in the albums. The numbers written in ink on the corners of the mounting boards in Album II are the photograph numbers. They should not be confused with later numbers written with a pencil which are merely name numbers. The numbers written with a blue pencil on the boards in Album I are the photograph numbers.

The photographs show the usual deterioration, but many of them retain rich brown tones. Among the 16 scenes for which there are two prints, In many cases one print is in better condition than its duplicate. These photographs are mostly scenery devoid of people and buildings, but there are a few exceptions, notably the structures at Little Dalles, Indian Ferry nearby, and on Hayes Island at Kettle Falls. The latter is only a distant view, but there are fine pictures of the tiny settlements at Little Dalles and Indian Ferry (Nos. 18, 20, 25).

The name of the photographer is not in the albums, and it was not given in the reports by Symons and Cuthbert. The albums probably belonged to the photographer or to someone on the survey, because there are notations on the reverse of the last board in Album II that strongly suggest that relationship. There is a list of numbers with the following notation: “The following negatives to be duplicated so that original one can be sent to Chicago.”

Description from the Manuscript Card Catalog located in the Duke University. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Descriptive Summary

Collection Number
RL.01325
Title
U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Survey of the Columbia River
Date
1891
Creator
United States. Army. Corps of Engineers
Extent
0.2 Linear Feet, 2 Volumes
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
English.

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Contents of the Collection

1. Album I

“No. 2. Rocks at International Boundary Line. Taken from right bank, looking down stream.”
“No. 3. Rocks at International Boundary Line. Taken on right bank, looking across river.”
“No. 4. Rocks at International Boundary Line. Taken from right bank, looking up stream, channel to the right.”
“No. 5. View of River, Just below Boundary Line. Taken on right bank, looking up and across stream.”
“No. 6. Head of Murphy's Rapid. Taken on right bank, looking down and across stream.”
“No. 7. Murphy's Rapid. From right bank, looking up stream.”
“No. 8. View of River above Sheep Creek Bend. Taken on gravel bar, off right shore, looking up stream.”
“No. 9. Big Pool or Bay, 2 Miles above Sheep Creek Bend. Taken on right bank looking square across river.”
“No. 10. Remains of Gravel Bar above Sheep Creek Bend (Water Rising). Taken on right bank looking up and across river.”
“No. 11. Channel between Rock Islands above Sheep Creek Bend. Taken on right bank, looking down and across stream.”
“No. 12. Sheep Creek Bend. Taken from right bank, looking down stream.”
“No. 13. Sheep Creek Bend. View of Mouth of Deep Creek on the Left and Entrance of Proposed Cut through Peninsular [sic] Seen through the Trees to Right of Deep Creek. Taken from right bank, looking straight across river."
“No. 14. Sheep Creek Bend. View of Channel between Rock Islands. Taken from right bank above mouth of Sheep Creek, looking down stream.”
“No. 15. Sheep Creek Bend, Width of Channel 425 Ft. Taken from mouth of Sheep Creek, on right bank, and looking across and down stream.”
“No. 16. Sheep Creek Bend. Taken from rocky point on right bank and looking across to rocky point of peninsular on left side of river.”
“No. 17. Sheep Creek Bend. Outlet of Proposed Cut through Peninsular. Taken from right bank below bend, looking across river. Point of peninsular seen at extreme left.”
“No. 18. Onion Creek and Indian Ferry at Bend of River above Little Dalles. Taken from left bank.”

Several small buildings on far bank. Man and dog on near bank.

“No. 19. Little Dalles. Taken from left bank, looking up stream.”
“No. 20. Bay above Little Dalles. Taken from right bank, looking square across.”

Includes steamboat landing and warehouse, Pete Ellensohn's store, cook and eating house, and barn on far bank. Two of these buildings are shown on a map of the Little Dalles in 1914 in Columbia River, Wash., from Rickey (or Grand) Rapids to International Boundary Line, 63rd Congress, 2nd Session, House of Representatives, Document No. 1112 (Serial Set 6622).

“No. 21. Little Dalles. Entrance. Taken on right bank, looking down stream.”
“No. 22. Little Dalles. End View of Rock in Centre. Taken from right bank, looking down stream.”
“No. 23. Little Dalles. Taken on right bank, giving side view of large rock in centre.”
“No. 24. Little Dalles. Halfway Portage Bayou. Taken from right bank looking square across.”
“No. 25. Little Dalles. Steamboat Warehouse Seen on Left Bank. Taken from right bank, looking up stream.”

Other buildings partially visible.

“No. 26. Little Dalles. Taken on left bank below Little Dalles. Looking up stream at outlet and rapid of same.”
“No. 27. Marble Mountain. Taken from left bank, looking square across.”
“No. 28. Narrow Channel at Marble Mountain. Taken from left bank, looking down stream (Marble Mtn. in centre).”
“No. 29. Head of Nine-mile Rapids. Taken from left bank, looking up stream.”
“No. 30. Nine-mile Rapids.”
“No. 31. Rapid 3 Miles above Marcus. Taken from left bank looking up stream.”
“No. 32. Big Bend 2 1/2 Miles above Marcus. Taken from left bank looking up stream.”
“No. 33. Mouth of Kettle River. Taken from left bank.”
“No. 34. Site Where Proposed Boat Railroad Enters River. Up Stream End. Taken from Hayes Island looking towards northeast.”
“No. 35. Site of Proposed Dam at Kettle Falls. Taken from Hayes Island, looking southeast.”
“No. 36. Site of Proposed Locks at Kettle Falls. Taken from Hayes Island looking south.”
“No. 37. View of River, Looking Down Stream. Taken from peninsular at Kettle Falls.”
“No. 38. Kettle Falls. Upper Fall. Taken from peninsular, looking up stream.”
“No. 39. Kettle Falls. Channel between Hayes Isld. and Left Bank. Taken on peninsular, looking up stream.”
“No. 40. Kettle Falls, Both Falls at Half High Water Stage. Hayes Isld. Seen to the Right. Taken from right bank looking up stream.”
“No. 41. Kettle Falls. Upper Fall. Hayes Isld. Seen on Right. Taken on point of rock between falls, looking up and across stream.”

Building visible on island.

“No. 42. Kettle Falls. Lower Falls at Middle Stage of Water. Taken on right bank looking square across. Foot of channel between Hayes Isld. and mainland seen in distance.”

Landslide visible on far bank.

“No. 43. Kettle Falls. Rock Peninsular. Outlet of Proposed Locks. Taken from right bank, looking up and across stream.”
“No. 44. Grand Rapids. Taken on left bank at middle of rapids, looking up and across stream.”

Landslide visible on far bank.

“No. 45. Grand Rapids, a Little below Head. Taken from left bank, looking across and down stream.”
“No. 46. Grand Rapids. Taken from left bank near foot, looking up stream.”
“No. 49. Grand Rapids. Taken on left bank looking up stream, near foot. Rock Isld. and bayou seen on right.”
“No. 50. Grand Rapids, Distant View. Taken on left bank just above Rickey's Landing, looking up stream.”
“No. 3. Rocks at International Boundary Line. Taken on right bank, looking across river.”
“No. 13. Sheep Creek Bend. View of Mouth of Deep Creek on the Left and Entrance of Proposed Cut through Peninsula Seen through the Trees to the Right of Deep Creek. Taken from right bank, looking straight across river.”
“No. 17. Sheep Creek Bend. Outlet of Proposed Cut through Peninsula. Taken from right bank below bend, looking across river. Point of peninsula seen at extreme left.”
“No. 19. Little Dalles. Taken from left bank, looking upstream.”
“No. 20. Bay above Little Dalles. Taken from right bank, looking square across.”

Includes steamboat landing and warehouse, Pete Ellensohn's store, cook and eating house, and barn on far bank. Two of these buildings are shown on a map of the Little Dalles in 1914 in Columbia River, Wash., from Rickey (or Grand) Rapids to International Boundary Line, 63rd Congress, 2nd Session, House of Representatives, Document No. 1112 (Serial Set 6622).

“No. 21. Little Dalles. Entrance. Taken on right bank, looking down stream.”
“No. 22. Little Dalles. End View of Rock in Center. Taken from right bank, looking down stream.”
“No. 27. Marble Mountain. Taken from left bank, looking square across.”
“No. 36. Site of Proposed Locks at Kettle Falls, Taken from Hayes Island, looking south.”
“No. 39. Kettle Falls. Channel between Hayes Island and Left Bank. Taken on peninsula, looking up stream.”
“No. 40. Kettle Falls. Both Falls at Half High Water Stage. Hayes Island Seen to the Right. Taken from right bank, looking upstream.”
“No. 41. Kettle Falls. Upper Fall. Hayes Island Seen on Right. Taken on point of rock between falls, looking up and across stream.”

Building visible on island.

“No. 42. Kettle Falls. Lower Fall at Middle Stage of Water. Taken on right bank, looking square across. Foot of channel between Hayes Island and mainland seen in distance.”

Landslide visible on far bank.

“No. 43. Kettle Falls. Rock Peninsula. Outlet of Proposed Locks. Taken from right bank, looking up and across stream.”

Landslide visible on far bank.

“No. 44. Grand Rapids. Taken on left bank at middle of rapids, looking up and across stream.”
“No. 45. Grand Rapids, a Little below Head. Taken from left bank, looking across and down stream.”
“No. 46. Grand Rapids. Taken from left bank near foot, looking up stream.”
“No. 52. Grand Rapids. Taken on rocks at head, near right bank, looking down stream.”
“No. 54. Grand Rapids. Taken on right bank, looking square across river.”
“No. 55. Foot of Grand Rapids. Taken on right bank, looking up stream.”
“No. 59. Rock Islands. Four Miles below Grand Rapids. Taken from right bank, looking up stream.”
“No. 63. Rocks below Gifford's Rapid. Taken on left bank, looking down and across stream.”
“No. 64. Turtle Rapid. Taken from right bank, looking down stream.”
“No. 65. Turtle Rapid. Taken on right bank, looking down and across stream.”
“No. 67. Turtle Rapid. Taken on left bank, looking up stream.”
“No. 69. Elbow Bend. View of Land Slides and Big Bay. Taken from left bank looking across river.”
“No. 70. Head of Elbow Bend. Taken on left bank, looking square across. Mouth of a high water channel. Ripple over rocks at head.”

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Survey of the Columbia River, 1891, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The 2 volumes comprising the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Survey of the Columbia River, 1891 were acquired by Duke University ca. 1971.

Processing Information

Processed by: Duke University. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library Staff

Completed ca. 1971

Encoded by Stephen Douglas Miller