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Area Communities

Alderdale

Alderdale is home to several Klickitat County wineries and beautiful views of the Columbia River Gorge.  

 

 

Bickleton

The Bluebird capital of the world.

Thousands of bluebirds spend the majority of every year in Bickleton, Washington, the Bluebird Capital of the world. The majority are Mountain Bluebirds with a few Western Bluebirds in or near the forest.

Although quite small (population 90), Bickleton is home to the state’s oldest tavern, The Bluebird Inn, and the state’s oldest rodeo. The next Pioneer Picnic and Rodeo, in the second week of June, will be the 104th annual. Good food is available at the Market Street Cafe and the Bluebird Inn.

A 1905 Herschell-Spillman carousel is set up and used on the rodeo grounds only on rodeo weekend. It was purchased from Oaks Park in Sellwood, Oregon in 1929 and moved to Bickleton. Just 11 miles south of town, the Whoop N’ Holler Ranch and Museum has local antiques and old vehicles.

Learn more about Bickleton and upcoming events.

 

Centerville

Situated in the richest section of the beautiful Klickitat valley and surrounded by panoramic views of Mount Adams, Mount Hood and the Columbia Hills, 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 one sees the rolling fields of golden wheat in the Klickitat valley.

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 post office at that point and named the place Centerville.

In August of 1890, an independent weekly newspaper, the Klickitat Leader, reported that, “Centerville, in the central part of the county, is a prosperous, thriving little city, whose citizens are noted for their enterprise and push.”

 

Cleveland

Cleveland, near Bickleton, was first settled in 1879 by Ripley Dodge, who named it for the city of his native state of Ohio.

Cleveland and Bickleton host the oldest rodeo in the state, held annually during the second week in June.  Also on the rodeo grounds is a 100-year-old Spillman carousel that has been completely refurbished thanks to grants and private funds. The carousel has been restored to operating condition, as it was back in 1907, using the original carousel horses that are housed in the Museum in Bickleton.

The carousel 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.

 

Dallesport

Dallesport is a traditional 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 Wishrham 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.

 

Glenwood

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 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 is located South East of Mt. Adams in Washington State, in a small valley, 13 miles below its timberline. Glenwood hosts the annual Ketcham Kalf Rodeo during Father’s Day weekend. Close to Mount Adams, Glenwood has gorgeous aspen stands, rivers and lakes, and a small town feel.

 

Klickitat

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.

 

Lyle

 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

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

 Murdock, Washington, a rural peninsula community located on the Columbia River in the south central portion of Klickitat County.

 

Roosevelt

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.

Wishram

 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.