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"The Barlow Road ... The Dalles to Tygh Valley"
Includes ... Barlow Road ... The Dalles ... Tygh Valley ...
Image, 2013, Sign, Barlow Road, click to enlarge
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Barlow Road sign, Foster Farm, Eagle Creek, Oregon. Image taken May 4, 2013.


The Barlow Road ...
The Barlow Road was a part of the Oregon Trail. The road was authorized by the Oregon Legislature in 1845, and by September 1846, it made its way around the south side of Mount Hood. This 80-to-110-mile road provided an alternative to the dangerous and expensive route that used rafts to transport wagons down the Columbia River. The Barlow Road began at The Dalles, Oregon, headed south through Dufur and Tygh Valley (which some folks consider the start of the Barlow Road), then turned west at Gate Creek and generally followed the White River before it headed north through Barlow Pass and Government Camp. It then passed through "Tollgate #5" near today's Rhododendron and continued to the community of Sandy, where it turned west and ended up at Oregon City.


Follow the Barlow Road ... (east to west)


 
The Dalles to Tygh Valley

Overview ...

In the fall of 1845 after a journey of months, Sam Barlow arrived at The Dalles, Oregon. Here he found he would have to wait weeks for passage down the Columbia River. With time and money short, Barlow, having seen a notch in the south slope of Mount Hood, decided that "God never made a mountain that had no place to go over it or around it". In October, Sam Barlow, Joel Palmer, William Rector, and over 30 wagons headed south to the Tygh Valley to find a route around Mount Hood. While this group got caught by snow and many turned back, some made it to the Willamette Valley. The "Barlow Road" was born. Highlights encountered from The Dalles to Wamic include Threemile, Fivemile, and Eightmile Creek crossings, U.S. Route 197, Dufur and the Fifteenmile Creek crossing, Friend, Kingsley, Oak Creek, and Butler Canyon, Tygh Valley and the Tygh Creek Crossing, Wamic and the Threemile Creek crossing.


The Dalles, Oregon ...

The Dalles, Oregon, is often considered by some as the beginning of the Barlow Road. However, by 1845 when Sam Barlow scouted the new road around the south side of Mount Hood, roads already existed from The Dalles to Tygh Valley, making Tygh Valley to be considered by some historians to be the beginning of the Barlow Road. Other scholars consider the first tollgate site at Gate Creek, southwest of Tygh Valley, to be the starting point.


Image, 2011, The Dalles, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Sign, "Barlow Road Route", The Dalles, Oregon. Image taken September 28, 2011.

The Dalles ... Wascopam Mission and Fort Dalles

By 1845 when Sam Barlow scouted the new road around the south side of Mount Hood, exhausted and starving Oregon Trail travelers and their wagons and livestock were camped at the Wascopam Mission in The Dalles. The Mission became the eastern starting point for the Barlow Road.

The Wascopam Mission was established in 1838.

"Methodist Episcopal missionaries, Rev. Daniel Lee and Rev. Henry K.W. Perkins, arrived at the Dalles of the Columbia on March 21, 1838. They had traveled upriver in six canoes, accompanied by an Indian chief named Marnicoon who acted as their guide. They were greeted by about 50 members of the area Wasco tribe. They spent the next several months erecting the Wascopam Mission building, where they began their work to bring the word of God to the natives of the mid-Columbia." ["HistoricTheDalles.org" website, 2015]

The Mission was located in the area of today's East 12th and Court Streets near Pulpit Rock, a natural rock formation overlooking the Mission.

"Pulpit Rock, a natural rock pillar, stands as a sentinel overlooking the old Mission grounds at the intersection of East 12th and Court streets. It marks the site of the Wascopam mission. The mission was built Northeast of Pulpit Rock, near Amotan spring, in the area where the current Methodist church and The Dalles Wahtonka High School are located today." ["HistoricTheDalles.org" website, 2015]

With the onset of the wagon trail migration, the Mission was overwhelmed with Oregon Trail travelers.

"The first large wagon train over the Oregon Trail, a migration of over 800 people, arrived at the Dalles mission, in the fall of that year (1843). ... Over 1,400 people traveled the Oregon Trail in 1844, followed by 2,500 in 1845, most passing through the Dalles and seeking aid at Wascopam mission. ... As the years went on, white migration kept increasing; the little group of missionaries at Wascopam were hard-pressed for supplies to relieve the suffering of the emigrants, who arrived destitute, starved, and seriously ill. The focus of the mission had shifted; from converting the native population into Christians, to serving the great influx of white settlers." ["HistoricTheDalles.org" website, 2015]

The Mission floundered and the buildings deteriorated. In 1848 the Dalles City claimed the land as city property.

During the Cayuse War of 1847 to 1848, Major H.A.G. Lee, of the Provisional Government's Oregon Rifles, arrived in The Dalles. Lee built a stockade around the old mission buildings that became known as "Fort Lee" or "Fort Wascopam" In 1850, two rifle companies came from Fort Vancouver to establish a supply depot at the eastern end of the Barlow Road. Crude log buildings were constructed a short distance west of the old Wascopam mission and was called "Camp Drum". In 1853 the fort was redesignated as "Fort Dalles". In 1861, Fort Dalles was downgraded to a quartermaster's depot before being abandoned in 1867. Only the Surgeon's Quarters remains today, and currently houses the Fort Dalles Museum. The Fort Dalles Museum is the oldest historical museum in Oregon, being established in 1905. It is located on the corner of West 15th and Garrison. In 1971 the Fort Dalles Surgeon's Quarters was added to the National Register of Historic Places.


Image, 2012, Cadastral Survey detail, U.S. Military Garrison at The Dalles, click to enlarge
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Old Wascopam Mission and Fort Dalles location, 1860. Map detail, 1860 Cadastral Survey of T1N R13, Section 4, showing the U.S. Military Garrison at The Dalles, and the location of the old Wascopam Mission (approximately the cultivated area on the right in Section 3 at the border of Section 4). Note the two major roads heading south-southeast (lower right) which the Barlow Road pioneers took to head to the Tygh Valley. The right-most of these roads was labeled "Road from Tye Valley to Dalles" (label not shown here) and begins at the location of the old Wascopam Mission. Cadastral Survey map courtesy U.S. Bureau of Land Management's website, 2013.
Image, 2012, Fort Dalles, The Dalles, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Surgeons Quarters, Fort Dalles, The Dalles, Oregon. Image taken May 29, 2012.

The Dalles ... Sorosis Park Overlook

(to come)


Image, 2012, View, Sorosis Park overlook, The Dalles, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Sorosis Park Overlook, Columbia River view downstream, The Dalles, Oregon. Image taken April 22, 2013.

View looking over the location of the former U.S. Military Garrison. The Fort Dalles "Surgeons Quarters" is hidden behind a tree, middle left. The location of the Old Wascopam Mission, less than 1/2 mile from the Surgeons Quarters, is just out of view on the right. Mount Adams in Washington State is in the distance.
Image, 2012, View, Sorosis Park overlook, The Dalles, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Sorosis Park Overlook, view across the Columbia River, The Dalles, Oregon. View of Washington State, the Columbia River, and Old St. Peter's Landmark on the Oregon side. Image taken April 22, 2013.
Image, 2012, View, Sorosis Park overlook, The Dalles, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Sorosis Park Overlook, Columbia River view upstream, The Dalles, Oregon. The Dalles bridge to Washington State in the distance. Image taken April 22, 2013.

Leaving The Dalles ...

The 1860 cadastral survey maps (tax surveys) of T1N and R13E and R14E, show two major roads leaving the "U.S. Military Reservation" in The Dalles and head south and southeast towards Tygh Valley. The roads first cross Threemile Creek (called Holman's Creek in 1860), then continue southeast to Fivemile Creek and continue to Eightmile Creek. At Eightmile Creek the roads join into one road which heads south. The 1860 cadastral map has the easternmost of these two routes labeled "Road from Tye Valley to Dalles".

Today parts of the easternmost of these two routes can be followed.


Image, 2012, Cadastral Survey detail, Barlow Road leaving The Dalles, click to enlarge
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Barlow Road routes leaving The Dalles, 1860. Map detail, 1860 Cadastral Survey of T1N, R13 and R14E, showing the established roads leading in and out of The Dalles, including the two routes which leave the U.S. Military Reservation (circled) and head southeast, crossing Threemile Creek (then known as Holman's Creek) and Fivemile Creek, then meeting near Eightmile Creek (lower right), where they join and head to Tygh Valley (not shown). Cadastral Survey map courtesy U.S. Bureau of Land Management's website, 2013.

The Dalles to Tygh Valley Segment ...

"The earliest definitive maps showing the emigrant road from The Dalles to Tygh Valley are based on surveys of 1860 and 1861. ... It should be understood that the route south from The Dalles may not have been the same in 1845 as it was in 1860. ... Most of the old road has been obliterated by time, erosion and cultivation of the soil But aerial maps in the office of the Wasco County assessor still reveal old trails which, because they seemingly coincide exactly with alignments shown on maps of the early pioneer era, must certainly be remnants of the road once used by covered wagons.

The maps from the Surveyor General's office, Eugene City, Oregon, show that in 1860 the emigrant road left The Dalles on what is now Dry Hollow Road. The route slanted through parts of Sections 10, 15, 23 and 25 of Township 1 North, Range 14 East. The crossing of Five Mile Creek apparently took place near the site of the old school southwest of the present realignment of The Dalles-California Highway (Highway 197).

Shortly after that the route curved almost directly south and reached a point near the Lower Eight Mile School west of Eight Mile Creek. From that point the road ran south to Dufur, traveled to the west of the present highway, and followed at various points the Larch Creek route later used by the old Great Southern Railroad which carried locomotives and cars to the community of Friend.

The crossing of Larch Creek took place in Section 16, Township 2 South, Range 13 East about 1.5 miles west of the old section of The Dalles-California Highway.

Passing the now almost vacant site of Kingsley, once a thriving town of the present century, the road continued over the top of the ridge past the old turnoff to the former Postage Stamp Lookout, and dropped over the hill into Tygh Valley, cross and recrossing the present highway at the foot of Tygh Grade in Butler Canyon.

Valley entry presumably took place at a point near the present gravel stockpile of the Oregon Highway Division a few hundred yards from the Shadybrook Road intersection. From that point the road crossed the valley floor over the former Mays-Dodd farm and turned southwest to reach the opposite hillside at a point on the present road that leads to W.E. Hunt Park, the Wasco County Fairgrounds.


Source:    Clackamas County Historical Society and Wasco County Historical Society, 1991, "Barlow Road".


Dry Hollow Road to Threemile Creek ...

The 1860 "Road from Tye Valley to Dalles" route to the Threemile Creek crossing is approximately Dry Hollow Road to Threemile Road, following Threemile Road to Steele Road, turning left on Steele Road and heading down to where it crosses Threemile Creek.


Image, 2013, Barlow Road, Dry Hollow Road, The Dalles, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Dry Hollow Road junction, The Dalles, Oregon. Image taken April 22, 2013.
Image, 2013, Barlow Road, Threemile Road, The Dalles, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Threemile Road, The Dalles, Oregon. Image taken April 22, 2013.
Image, 2013, Barlow Road, Steele Road, The Dalles, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Steele Road heading to Threemile Creek, The Dalles, Oregon. Image taken April 22, 2013.

Threemile Creek Crossing ...

According to "Oregon Geographic Names" (McArthur and McArthur, 2003):

Threemile Creek:   "This stream was so named because the pioneer road from The Dalles into central Oregon crossed it about three miles from town."

Threemile Creek Crossing: (T1N, R13E, Sec.14)


Image, 2013, Barlow Road, Threemile Creek Crossing, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Threemile Creek Crossing, The Dalles, Oregon. Steele Road crossing Threemile Creek. Image taken April 22, 2013.
Image, 2013, Barlow Road, Threemile Creek Crossing, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Threemile Creek, The Dalles, Oregon. View from Steele Road. Image taken April 22, 2013.

Fivemile Creek Crossing ...

To get to the Fivemile Creek crossing from the Threemile Creek crossing, follow Steele Road to Fivemile Road, turning left on Fivemile Road, crossing Fivemile Creek approximately 1/4 mile east of the old crossing.

Fivemile Creek Crossing: (T1N, R14E, SW quarter of Section 19)


Image, 2012, Cadastral Survey detail, Barlow Road crossing Fivemile Creek, click to enlarge
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One route crossing Fivemile Creek, 1860. Map detail, 1860 Cadastral Survey of T1N R14E, Sec.19, showing one route of the Barlow Road crossing Fivemile Creek. On this cadastral survey map this route is labeled "Road from Tye Valley to Dalles". Cadastral Survey map courtesy U.S. Bureau of Land Management's website, 2013.
Image, 2013, Barlow Road, Fivemile Creek Crossing, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Fivemile Creek Crossing, The Dalles, Oregon. Fivemile Road crossing Fivemile Creek, approximately 1/4 mile east of where the Barlow Road crossed Fivemile Creek. Image taken April 22, 2013.
Image, 2013, Barlow Road, Fivemile Creek Crossing, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Fivemile Creek looking upstream, The Dalles, Oregon. Fivemile Creek looking upstream, from where Fivemile Road crosses Fivemile Creek, approximately 1/4 mile east of where the Barlow Road crossed Fivemile Creek. Image taken April 22, 2013.
Image, 2013, Great Horned Owl, Wasco County, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Great Horned Owl family on the road to Fivemile Creek, The Dalles, Wasco County, Oregon. Image taken April 22, 2013.


The Great Horned Owl can be found throughout the entire United States and no doubt early Barlow Road pioneers were well aware of them. Their distinctive "hoot" is a familiar sound in the early evenings.

Eightmile Creek Crossing ...

The early road between the Fivemile Creek crossing to the Eightmile Creek crossing is gone, apparently fallen to cultivation, as has the Eightmile Creek crossing. Today Japanese Hollow Road crosses Eightmile Creek approximately 1/3 mile east of the original crossing. Take Fivemile Road to Highway 197, turn right (south) to Eightmile Road and exit, then turn right on Japanese Hollow Road to where it crosses Eightmile Creek.

From Eightmile Creek the Barlow route continues south to Dufur, staying west of Highway 197.

Eightmile Creek Crossing: (T1S, R13E, Section 1)


Image, 2013, Barlow Road, Eightmile Creek Crossing, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Eightmile Creek looking downstream, The Dalles, Oregon. Eightmile Creek looking downstream, from where Japanese Hollow Road crosses Eightmile Creek, approximately 1/3 mile east of where the Barlow Road crossed Eightmile Creek. Image taken April 22, 2013.
Image, 2013, Barlow Road, Eightmile Creek Crossing, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Eightmile Creek looking upstream, The Dalles, Oregon. Eightmile Creek looking upstream, from where Japanese Hollow Road crosses Eightmile Creek, approximately 1/3 mile east of where the Barlow Road crossed Eightmile Creek. Image taken April 22, 2013.
Image, 2013, Red-tailed Hawk nest, Wasco County, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Red-tailed Hawk nest near Eightmile Creek, The Dalles, Wasco County, Oregon. Image taken April 22, 2013.

ALTERNATIVE: U.S. Route 197 ...

In 1845 the road from The Dalles to the Tygh Valley was already established and well travelled as Sam Barlow set out to find a road around the south side of Mount Hood. Today's Route 197 generally follows the same route. It heads south from The Dalles (staying east of the early path) and reaches the small community of Tygh Valley, 30 miles away. The old road and the new highway overlap for one mile just north of the community of Tygh Valley.

A side-trip into Dufur (approximately 15 miles south of The Dalles) is worth the time. Dufur is on the "old" Highway 197, with Dufur's main street being the old Barlow Road. This road crosses Fifteenmile Creek just south of the town.

In Tygh Valley Route 197 continues south while the path of the early Barlow Road turns west, following the high ridge north of the White River.


Image, 2013, Highway 197 heading towards Dufur, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Highway 197 heading towards Dufur, Oregon. Image taken April 3, 2013.
Image, 2013, Highway 197 heading south, click to enlarge
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Highway 197 heading south. Image taken June 5, 2013.

U.S. Route 197, Mount Hood Views ...

Image, 2011, Mount Hood from Highway 197 near Dufur, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Mount Hood as seen from Highway 197 near Dufur, Oregon. Image taken June 4, 2011.
Image, 2013, Mount Hood from Highway 197, click to enlarge
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Mount Hood as seen from Highway 197 near Dufur, Oregon. Image taken June 5, 2013.

Dufur and Fifteenmile Creek Crossing ...

Dufur's main street follows the early Barlow Road, with the road crossing Fifteenmile Creek just south of town. There is a historical marker on Fifteenmile Creek and Oregon Trail exhibits at the Dufur Historical Museum.

According to "Oregon Geographic Names" (McArthur and McArthur, 2003):

Fifteenmile Creek:   "This is the stream that flows through Dufur, and it received its name in pioneer days because the road from The Dalles crossed it about 15 miles from The Dalles. The road also crossed Fivemile Creek and Eightmile Creek before it reached Fifteenmile Creek. The Dalles-California Highway extends along all of these streams between The Dalles and Dufur. The three streams combine before they flow into the Columbia, and the name Fifteenmile Creek follows through to the Columbia, even though at its mouth it is only about four miles from The Dalles."

The Dufur area was first settled in 1852, and in 1872 Andrew and Burnham Dufur bought a farm where today's community is situated. In 1878 the Dufur Post Office was established and named after the Dufur family.

Dufur: (T1S, R13E, Sec.25)
Fifteenmile Creek Crossing: (T1S, R13E, Sec.25)


Image, 2013, Dufur, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Sign, "Welcome to Dufur", Dufur, Oregon. Image taken April 3, 2013.
Image, 2013, Dufur, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Main Street and Fifteenmile Creek, Dufur, Oregon. Dufur's main street follows the Barlow Road. Image taken April 3, 2013.
Image, 2013, Dufur, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Main Street, Dufur, Oregon. Dufur's main street follows the Barlow Road. Image taken April 3, 2013.
Image, 2013, Dufur, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Fifteenmile Creek, looking upstream, Dufur, Oregon. View from the old highway ("Main Street") bridge in Dufur. Image taken April 3, 2013.
Image, 2013, Dufur, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Fifteenmile Creek, looking downstream, Dufur, Oregon. View from the old highway ("Main Street") bridge in Dufur. Image taken April 3, 2013.
Image, 2013, Dufur, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Barlow Road sign at Fifteenmile Creek, Dufur, Oregon. Image taken April 3, 2013.
Image, 2013, Dufur, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Closer view, Barlow Road sign at Fifteenmile Creek, Dufur, Oregon. Image taken April 3, 2013.
Image, 2013, Dufur, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Balch Hotel, Dufur, Oregon. The Balch Hotel was built in 1907. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. Image taken April 3, 2013.

The Balch Hotel was built on the site of a Barlow Road stagehouse.

Friend and Kingsley ...

From the small community of Dufur, the original Barlow Road takes a southwesterly direction until it turns south again and passes through today's forgotten communities of Friend and Kingsley. Friend is approximately six miles west of Highway 197 and Kingsley is approximately three miles west of Highway 197.

The 1861 cadastral survey map for T2S, R13E, calls this early road the "Waggon Road to the Dalls", and the 1861 cadastral for T3S, R13E, calls it simply "Road to the Dalls".

According to "Oregon Geographic Names" (McArthur and McArthur, 2003):

Friend:   Friend was named for George J. Friend, as the post office established February 28, 1903, was on his homestead. The name was proposed by Theo. H. Buskuhl, first postmaster."

Kingsley:   "Judge Fred W. Wilson informed the compiler in 1927 that Kingsley was named by his mother, Mrs. E.M. Wilson, about 1878, when she was postmaster at The Dalles. A delegation from Kingsley called on Mrs. Wilson at The Dalles post office with a petition for a new post office to serve a part of the country south of Dufur. The petition suggested a commonplace name. Mrs. Wilson had been reading Charles Kingsley's Westward Ho!, and the book lay in her lap. She immediately suggested the name of the great English clergyman and writer for the new office, and the suggestion was accepted on the spot. The town plat was filed on May 16, 1893. Kingsley post office was closed in 1920."

Friend: (T2S, R13E, Section 32)
Kingsley: (T3S, R13E, Section 5)


Image, 2013, Highway 197, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Road sign to Friend, Oregon. Sign on Highway 197. Image taken June 5, 2013.

Oak Creek and Butler Canyon ...

From Kingsley the early Barlow Road heads south for another five miles and then enters the Oak Creek drainage, turning southeast and following that drainage to Butler Canyon, today the path of Highway 197. The Barlow Road enters Butler Canyon approximately 1/2 mile before today's highway reaches the Tygh Valley floor. The old Barlow Road and the new Highway overlap for about one mile. The Barlow Road then heads south, crossing Tygh Creek, while Highway 197 heads southeast.

The 1861 cadastral for T3S, R13E, calls this road simply "Road to the Dalls".

According to "Oregon Geographic Names" (McArthur and McArthur, 2003):

Butler Canyon:   "US-197 follows Butler Canyon from Tygh Valley north to Tygh Ridge summit. Jonathan Butler was born in Illinois in 1833 and came to Oregon and Wasco County with his family. Butler settled near Kingsley and helped develop the road in the canyon that bears his name."

Kingsley: (T3S, R13E, Section 5)
Oak Creek reaching Butler Canyon: (T3S, R13E, Section 33)


Image, 2013, Butler Canyon and Tygh Valley, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Driving down Butler Canyon south on Highway 197, looking towards Tygh Valley, Oregon. View from moving car. Image taken June 5, 2013.
Image, 2013, Oak Creek drainage, Butler Canyon, Tygh Valley, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Oak Creek drainage (left), Butler Canyon with Highway 197 (right), and Tygh Valley (foreground), as seen from Wamic Market Road, Valley, Oregon. Image taken June 5, 2013.

Tygh Valley ...

According to the Clackamas County Historical Society and Wasco County Historical Society's plublication "Barlow Road" (1991),

"Valley entry presumably took place at a point near the present gravel stockpile of the Oregon Highway Division a few hundred yards from the Shadybrook Road intersection. From that point the road crossed the valley floor over the former Mays-Dodd farm and turned southwest to reach the opposite hillside at a point on the present road that leads to W.E. Hunt Park, the Wasco County Fairgrounds."

The small community of Tygh Valley is located in the valley of Tygh Creek, with the 3,000-foot-high Tygh Ridge on the north. All are named after the Tygh tribe who occupied the area. John C. Fremont in 1845 called the valley "Taih Prairie". The Pacific Railroad Survey Report in 1855 used "Tysch Prairie" and cadastral survey (tax survey) maps of the 1860s used "Tye".

(T4S, R13E, Section 3)


Image, 2013, Tygh Valley, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Tygh Valley near Shadybrook Road, Tygh Valley, Oregon. Image taken June 5, 2013.
Image, 2013, Tygh Valley, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Tygh Valley and Mount Hood, Oregon. View from "Old" Highway 197, north of the community of Tygh Valley. Image taken June 5, 2013.

Barlow Road Cutoff, John Day to Tygh Valley:

After the Barlow Road opened in 1846 it didn't take long for emigrants to establish a shortcut. This shortcut left the Oregon Trail at the top of the hill west of the John Day River and headed to Grass Valley, then to Finnegan Canyon and Buck Hollow where they crossed the Deschutes River at today's location of Sherars Bridge. At the Deschutes the road went partly up Tygh Ridge before heading across Tygh Valley to Wamic and the beginning of the Barlow Road. By 1852 the road was well established. To get a feel for this cutoff, take U.S. Highway 97 at Biggs and head south to Grass Valley, then turn west on Oregon Highway 216 and head to Tygh Valley.

Cutoff to the Barlow Road, 1848-1884:

"After Barlow had marked the road over the mountains it was not long before a shortcut was made to meet it at Tygh Valley. It turned off the Oregon Trail at the top of the hill west of the John Day River, went southwest and entered Grass Valley canyon at Nish, above Hay Canyon. It stayed in this canyon until past the head of the valley where the tall rye grass grew and where the town of Grass Valley was established. From there it went southwest to the ridge south of Finnegan Canyon and Buck Hollow. To get down into this canyon, the emigrants tied juniper behind their wagons for brakes and went down Hollenbeck Point to the bottom of Buck Hollow which they followed until they reached the Deschutes. Here they crossed below the dangerous rapids to climb part way up Tygh Ridge before crossing the valley to go to Wamic and the beginning of Barlow’s toll road. This cut off was not extensively used but there are records of several wagon trains that took it." ... Giles French.


Source:    "OregonHistoricTrailsFund.org" website, 2015.



Deschutes River Crossing:

"This area of the Deschutes River has been a river crossing and fishing location for thousands of years. Peter Skene Ogden made note of an Indian camp and bridge when he crossed here in 1826. Early pioneers using the Meek Cutoff to the Barlow Road passed here on their way to The Dalles and the Willamette Valley. John Todd built a bridge in 1860 and in 1868 a post office was established. In 1871 Joseph Sherar bought the bridge, improved the roads leading to it and built a 13 room hotel and out buildings that were later used as a stage station. Thousands of people used this crossing to reach the gold mines and ranches of Central Oregon."

Sherars Bridge:

"In 1871, the Sherars purchased land on the Deschutes River from the Tilkenny Road Company, paying $6,000 and a pack of mules. Bridges had been constructed across the Deschutes at the site since 1825, but none had lasted long. The current was powerful at the crossing, and Joseph Sherar knew a bridge was necessary. The site was one of the few areas where a bridge was practical, and roads from The Dalles converged at the site to continue on to Prineville and the Klamath Agency. Sherar replaced the log bridge at the site with a sturdier wooden bridge, financing his improvements by charging tolls, which the state permitted because it was the only incentive operators had to build and maintain roads. He became famous in the area as a road-builder, constructing toll roads into Tygh Valley and the Deschutes Canyon. He relied on Indian labor to build and maintain the roads and was popular with tribes in the region since he provided them with steady work."


Source:    "Oregon.gov" website (Deschutes River) and "The Oregon Encyclopedia" website (Sherars Bridge), 2015.


Image, 2013, Western Meadowlark, Wasco County, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Barlow Road Cutoff to Sherars Bridge over the Deschutes River, and on to Grass Valley and John Day, Wasco County, Oregon. Image taken June 5, 2013.



  • NEXT: Tygh Valley to Wamic
    • Overview ...
    • Tygh Valley ...
    • Tygh Creek Crossing ...
    • Tygh Valley (the community) ...
    • Tygh Valley to Wamic ...
    • Wamic ...
    • Wamic ... Threemile Creek Crossing






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*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website.

Lat/Long were obtained from plotting location on National Geographic's TOPO! program, 3.4.3, 2003.

Sources:    [See Barlow Road Sources]

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December 2015