15 Nov 2008 – Our last visit to Fort Dalles was in October 2005 and we decided to return on a whim and because we so enjoy driving up the Columbia River Gorge this time of year with the fall colors still in place. Not much had changed in the intervening years, the museum is still the main attraction, filled with interesting artifacts and information about the Fort. The restored Surgeon’s Quarters is the only original building remaining and it is connected to, and a part of the museum.
The architecture of the Surgeon’s Quarters is quite unique and represents a style that one would not expect in an 1850′s Oregon fort. The architect was Louis Scholl who also designed the officer’s quarters at Fort Simcoe, the style is carpenter-gothic and for that day and time was deemed to be quite extravagant. Scholl built the officer’s quarters in this style with the grandest being the commanding officer’s quarters. At the time of construction (1856) Fort Dalles was becoming a regimental headquarters of the 9th U.S. Infantry and had surpassed Fort Vancouver as the most important post along the Columbia River. It is unfortunate that only the Surgeon’s Quarters remains but you can see what some of the other quarters looked like if you check out the museum.
Fort Dalles was the center of operations along the Columbia River during the 1850′s Indian Wars and had it’s share of distinguished and undistinguished military names associated with it including Maj Benjamin Alvord, Maj Gabriel Rains, Maj. Granvill Haller, Capt Frederick Dent, Maj Pinkney Lugenbeel and Col George Wright.
During the 1850′s the Oregon Dalles was the crossroads of westward travel because the rapids at the Dalles forced river traffic to portage around it and the Oregon trail met the Columbia River there.
You can reach The Dalles and Fort Dalles by Interstate 80 East out of Portland, Oregon. The drive up the Columbia River Gorge is alone worth the trip. Take the scenic route, if you have not done that before, along the top of the gorge and don’t miss Multnomah Falls.
Posted under Forts
This post was written by JohnStanton on November 17, 2008