The Dalles, Oregon

The Dalles, Oregon

Along the Columbia River by the dam is “The Dalles”, a small town with just over 13,600 residents (2010). It is the largest city on the Oregon side of the Columbia River outside of Portland. It originally began as a major Native American trade center beginning approximately 10,000 years ago and as thus, is a major location for some of Columbia River’s most important archaeological discoveries. It was here in 1805 that Lewis and Clark camped and recorded the area as “Quenett” after the Indian name for Mill Creek where they camped. The name of the city “The Dalles” comes from the French word “dalle” meaning “sluice” or “flagstone” after the column shaped basalt rocks that over the ages was carved by the river. It also related to “rapids” as used by French-Canadian employes of the Northwest Company referring to the rapids on the Columbia River at this point, as well as Celilo Falls. It was also nicknamed Little Dalles or Short Narrows. The Historic Columbia River Highway, one of Oregon’s famous scenic byways ends its route here.

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