Landmarks & Historic Sites
Wasco County and the entire Columbia River Gorge are filled with historic locations – landmarks, museums, scenic vistas, ghost towns and many other places of interest. Ten thousand years of Native American trade took place in this area, which was a camping location for the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery expedition in 1805-1806. It also became a destination point for the pioneers who crossed the Oregon Trail. Here are just a few of the notable sights you will find in Wasco County and within the Mid-Columbia region.
Original Wasco County Courthouse (1859)
This wood-frame, two-story building in The Dalles once was the seat of government for the largest county in the United States. Wasco County extended as far as Idaho and Montana. View historical items and artifacts from those early days. Directions: Interstate 84 eastbound: City Center exit to downtown The Dalles, then west on Second Street; turn left just past the chamber, then left on West Second Place. The museum is located at 410 West Second Place. (541) 296-4798.
Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum
5000 Discovery Dr.
The Dalles, OR 97058
Regional interpretive center for the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The Discovery Center focuses on natural history and human cultures of the scenic area. The museum traces the history of Wasco County, including both Native American history and pioneer development. Both facilities are open daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (541) 296-8600, or check the website at www.gorgediscovery.org.
Directions: Interstate 84 to The Dalles, then west on West Sixth Street (Highway 30) to the Crate’s Point access road.
Fort Dalles Museum and Anderson Homestead
(Original Surgeon’s Quarters at Fort Dalles, 1856) — Oldest historical museum in Oregon, established in 1905 to preserve the legacy of this regionally strategic military base. The ornate, gothic architecture of the wooden “Surgeon’s Quarters” is the fort’s last surviving building, and houses a variety of pioneer and military displays and artifacts from US Army garrison based in The Dalles in the 1860s.
Visitors are also able to tour the Anderson House, a homestead built of hand-hewn logs crafted by Swedish immigrants. The Anderson Farmhouse is registered as a National Landmark. There’s a large collection of antique vehicles and horse-drawn wagons, including the restored Umatilla House wagon.
Fort Dalles Museum is located at West 15th Street and Garrison in The Dalles.
Directions: Follow signs from The Dalles Post Office on West Second Street. Summer Hours: Open every day 10am – 5pm Mid-May through Labor Day. Call for off-season schedule. Please call in advance to schedule group tours, or tours in Spanish. (541) 296-4547.
National Registry of Historic Places