The Cities of Bingen and White Salmon, Washington, are located in western Klickitat County. Bingen is located on State Route 14, next to the Columbia River and White Salmon is perched on the bluff above.
The hub of western Klickitat County, on the Skamania County line, Bingen and White Salmon provide access for sailboarding, fishing, hiking, white water rafting, and other activities. Highway 141 leads north from town to Mount Adams. Bingen provides one of only two Amtrak stops between Vancouver and Pasco. Major local industries are timber, fruit growing and processing, and recreation.
Because Bingen is a sister city to Bingen, Germany, both Bingen and White Salmon have several buildings of Germanic design; one is the Glockenspiel Tower in White Salmon. The bell tower is on the corner of Jewett Boulevard and Main Street and houses City Hall. The bells chime on the hour and also play music on holidays.
White Salmon is at an elevation of 640 feet, Latitude: 45.769 N and Longitude: 121.478 W
History of Bingen
In 1892, Theodor Suksdorf, with his brother, Phillip, platted the townsite of Bingen, named for Bingen-on-the-Rhine, Germany. In 1924 the Town of Bingen was incorporated and Mr. Suksdorf served as its first mayor. He later platted and added to the town the other additions which now comprise it.Theodor Suksdorf was born on February 25, 1854 in Germany. He was brought to this country by his parents at the age of 4 years. In 1889 he married Louise Carstens and to this union were born four children, Alfred, Hentha, Walter and Elsie.Suksdorf died in 1948 in his home in Bingen, Washington.
Another pioneering family in this area were the Jewetts who bought land here in the 1870’s. The Jewett family settled in the now White Salmon area and a feud began between the Suksdorf and Jewett families which, some say, started the over location of the post office. Theodor Suksdorf was the postmaster of the Bingen Post Office, established two miles south east of White Salmon. The first White Salmon Post Office was established in 1873 and was located at Warner’s Landing on the Columbia river, one half mile east of Bingen, south of Mt. Adams Forest Products. The last postmaster was Douglass Suksdorf. In 1880 the White Salmon post office was moved to the C.M. Wolford store in White Salmon. Jacob Hunsaker was the first postmaster. From 1880 to 1896 Bingen residents had to climb the hill to get their mail. The two families disagreed on almost every issue and so the area became two separate towns with the Suksdorfs settling in Bingen (which they named after Bingen on the Rhine in Germany) and the Jewetts, up on the bluff, retaining the name White Salmon for their town.The bitterness remained for many years and a marker is left in the name of the railroad station. Since neither town would accede in the matter, it became the only railroad station in the United States to bear the name of two towns – “Bingen-White Salmon.”
History of White Salmon
E.S. & Mary Joslyn arrived in White Salmon in 1853 from Massachusetts. They were the first settlers of the area on the north side of the Columbia east of the Cascades. (source-Columbia River Gorge History, by Jim Attwell).
The diary of Joslyns stated that the name of White Salmon was used by the settlers at that time. It was stated that, because the people on the Oregon side named their territory Hood River from their river (which before that time was called dog river) the people on the Washington side name their territory according to the river nearby.
West on SR 14 is the Broughton Log Flume, which was the last operating log flume in the country. The 9-mile flume, which closed in 1987, floated lumber from Willard to Underwood, a drop of 1,000 feet. The flume was the setting for a scene in Disney’s movie 1967 “Charlie, The Lonesome Cougar.” It depicted Charlie the Cougar taking a toboggan ride on a log down the flume.
Gorge Heritage Museum
202 East Humboldt,
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 394
Bingen, Washington 98605
Phone: (509) 493-3228
Historic and Native American artifacts from western Klickitat County , the area between Mt. Adams and the Columbia River , are displayed. A country store is featured, plus antiques, logging and farming tools, pioneer clothing, and household utensils. There is an photo collection of early settlers and Native Americans. The museum is housed in the former Bingen Congregational Church, dedicated in 1912. Special exhibits this year include the construction of Condit Dam, the Eyrie House and Jewitt Farm historic resorts, and a timber display featuring SD&S and Broughton Mills and the log flume. Resale of local books of historical value.
Klickitat County Department Offices
For help with County Building Permits, septic systems, tax assessments or other information, please contact Klickitat County. The west-end annex is open Monday & Wednesday in the Park Center Building located at 170 NW Lincoln Street or you may call them at (509) 493-6201.
PO Box 99
211 Skyline Drive
White Salmon, WA 98672
Fort Vancouver Regional Library
Serving Clark, Skamania, and Klickitat Counties and the City of Woodland in Cowlitz County.
PO Box 1579
#5 Town & County Square (Wauna Street)
White Salmon, WA 98672