History and Heritage

History, Heritage, Food and Fun, by Bus and by River Vessel!

History, Heritage, Food and Fun, by Bus and by River Vessel!

Did you ever wonder who McLoughlin Blvd. was named after?
Did you know that it was the first intercontinental highway in America?
Did you know the Oregon City Elevator is one of only four municipal elevators in the world?
Did you know that Willamette Falls is the second largest waterfall in volume in the United States?
Did you know that Milwaukie was the second largest port (the first being San Francisco) on the west coast despite being located 120 miles inland?
Did you know that Gladstone was named after a English prime minister and was set up to honor the English heritage?
Did you know that Oregon City had five stairways from the first to the second level?
Did you know that Sellwood was founded by a circuit-paddling preacher who ministered from town to town in a canoe? Did you know that riverfront property was once set aside for the poor and not the mansions we see now?
Did you know that Oregon City was the first capital of the Oregon Territory?

And McLoughlin Blvd. was named after Dr. John McLoughlin, the Superintendent of the Hudson Bay Company’s Columbia District (A British Possession) that became the Oregon Territory. He is known as the “Father of Oregon” because he assisted the American Cause against the desires of the British. His friend George Abernathy operated the general store that was the last stop on the Oregon Trail. These are some of the interesting things that I learned on the Explore Oregon City River Cruise and City Tour. We live in an area rich in history and scenic natural beauty. This cruise/coach tour is a perfect way to celebrate this.

River Boat Tours

Rivers of Life Center, along with some fantastic partners including the Portland Spirit, the Youth tourism Corp, and historical re-enactors have produced what is an entertaining and informative tour along with the choice from the gourmet menu from the chef on the Portland Spirits vessel the Willamette Star. The tour takes place on both the Portland Spirit and a luxurious coach tour into Oregon City that includes both the End of the Oregon Trail Museum as well as the Museum of the Oregon Territory. Guides are knowledgeable in history, heritage and hospitality. These themes are combined to create a unique opportunity to learn about the legacy of our area as well as relax and take in some beautiful sites. The breathtaking view of Willamette falls from the deck of the Willamette Star is outstanding and not to be missed. The total six hour day tour celebrates northern Oregon from Willamette Falls to the Confluence with the Columbia River.

Vernon Wease, writer of this article states, “The key element in the success of this product is the team of people that have partnered to produce the experience with Rivers of Life Center. As Thelma Haggenmiller, one of our partners and owner of Slow Poke Tours, says “A picture is worth a thousand words, but an experience is worth a thousand pictures.” Wease, continues, “My own images of men and women who came to the Oregon Territory and survived the early years long enough to thrive and call it home still bring up so many pictures because of this unique tour experience.” This team of historians, naturalists and other participants make adventures possible.” Wease concludes.

As participants cruised down the Willamette the city melds and looks very different. The large homes ashore come with a view and the so do the floating homes. The wildlife, the people on shore, and the wonderful stories that our Bosun, Sean Howard speaks on made the cruise amazing. Once ashore the air conditioned coach tour was filled with wonderful stories and commentary by the youth tour guides from Rivers of Life’s Tourism Corp. Joshua Beckham, Cody Adams, and Sarah Dethloff continued the experience with two museum tours and a guided tour of Oregon City, Gladstone, Milwaukie and Portland.

Telling the story

Every tour is jammed backed with great stories of our history.

Wease continues, “ I would like to have met some of these historical people and asked questions. Whether it was Dr. John McLoughlin, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, or Major Robert Moore (who is, reenacted by Larry McIntyre, former mayor of West Linn) these early pioneers had a spirit that was tough and resilient.”

Most importantly is that the information was researched and written by the Oregon Youths Tourism Corp. trained through the Rivers of Life Center. These youth can now go to work in Oregon’s hospitality industry with the Portland Spirit, Willamette JetBoats, and any of our area hotels.

Tour writer Wease concludes “Sean Howard, our ship’s bosun made a statement on the cruise that stuck with me as well, The only history that is new is the history we have not read”, Howard continues, “This is a good way to “read” it because our future is bright if these young tour guides have anything to do with it.”