Tributaries: A Confluence History Blog

Maya Lin has said, “I try to give people a different way of looking at their surroundings.” As you visit and explore a Confluence Project site, share your observations or new found discoveries in this open community of ideas.

Category Archives: Cape Disappointment

The total solar eclipse on July 18, 1860 was the first to be so thoroughly observed and recorded by the scientific community. It occurred at a time when the world was experiencing an amazing revolution of fundamental scientific and technological discoveries and inventions across disciplines, including the light bulb, the periodic table, the first color photograph, dynamite, and the telephone. At the same time, many of the techniques for measuring, recording, and documenting these processes were also being pioneered.  Drawing by F.  Galton, 1860.

Plunge Into Darkness Part II

PLUNGE INTO DARKNESS: August 21, 2017, will be the first total solar eclipse that was visible in the Northwest since 1970. This is the second installment of a 4 part series that reviews the recorded total solar eclipses that affected people, legends and scientific discoveries with connections to the Pacific Northwest between 1503 and 1970. more >

Louis Caywood at Fort Clatsop – a less than successful search.

The Archaeological Footprints of Louis R. Caywood

Archeologist Louis Caywood was a pioneer of studying the buried clues that’ll the story of the Columbia River. He represents a good starting point but modern archeologists have learned to dig deeper to unearth valuable insights to our past. more >

A postcard image of Columbia (LV-88). See

“From sheer loneliness and boredom, to all the excitement you could stand”

The Columbia River bar, where the mouth of the river empties into the Pacific Ocean, is known to be a dangerous entry point for ships navigating their way inland by way of the Columbia River. Learn about the lightships that stood watch over this treacherous location and the lives of their crews. more >

A close friend of John J. Audubon, Townsend sent specimens of birds collected along the Columbia River – like the “Townsend Warbler” shown here at upper left – to Audubon and the societies who sponsored Townsend’s journey to the Northwest. This is a plate from Audubon’s book.

1834 Letter Describes ‘Awful & Magnificent Grandeur’ At the Mouth of the Columbia River

John Kirk Townsend, naturalist and ornithologist, wrote vividly descriptive records of his experiences and journey in the American West. This week, read a particularly gripping excerpt of his time at Cape Disappointment. more >

Chief Comcomly, Lower Columbia River  Chinook. The Chief died with many of his villagers in the edpidemic of 1830. Artist unknown.

Columbia River Invaded with Spades, Notebooks, Bibles and Disease

In the years that followed the Lewis and Clark expedition, newcomers came to the Columbia River thumping bibles, trading furs, carrying spades and bringing with them new cultural practices, languages, beliefs and disease. more >