Steamer Takes Passengers On The Columbia River
The Columbia River is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. Many different Native American peoples have inhabited the lands around the river, gathering in village-sized communities and moving when necessary. Fishing for salmon became an integral part of Native American culture.
Early European explorers looking for the legendary Northwest Passage that would transverse the North American continent, discovered the mouth of the Columbia but did not explore the river itself. Initially discovered in 1775, it wouldn’t be until 1792 when American Robert Gray sailed up the river for the first time. Gray’s fur trading mission was outfitted with a vessel named Columbia Rediviva and he named the river after the ship. Gray traveled 13 miles up the river. In 1825 the Hudson’s Bay Company established Fort Vancouver on the bank of the Columbia. The use of steamboats along the river began with the British steamer BEAVER in 1836 and followed by American vessels in 1850. This contributed to the rapid settlement and economic development of the region. In 1878 the US government decided to build a set of locks to improve navigation on the Columbia. The Cascade Locks were completed in 1896.
The BAILEY GATZERT was a stern wheeled steamer built in Ballard in 1890 and launched in 1891. She operated in Puget Sound, on the Pacific Coast, and on the Columbia River.