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The Dalles

Trip Planner USA  /  Oregon  /  The Dalles
(550+ reviews from 6 attractions)
Museums Nature Wineries
The Dalles is the county seat and largest city of Wasco County, Oregon, United States. The name of the city comes from the French word dalle (meaning either "sluice" or "flagstone" and referring to the columnar basalt rocks carved by the river, in voyageur French used to refer to rapids), which was used by the French-Canadian employees of the North West Company to refer to the rapids of the Columbia River between the present-day city and Celilo Falls. Also in the same area was the Petite Dalles or Little Dalles, or Short Narrows. The population was 13,620 at the 2010 census.HistoryThe site of what is now the city of The Dalles was a major Native American trading center for at least 10,000 years. The general area is one of the continent's most significant archaeological regions. Lewis and Clark camped near Mill Creek on October 25–27, 1805, and recorded the Native American name for the creek as Quenett.Fur tradeThe first use of the name Dalles, according to Oregon Geographic Names, appears in fur trader Gabriel Franchère's Narrative, on April 12, 1814, referring to the long series of major rapids in the river. Starting in the 1810s European descendants passed by what became The Dalles, active in the North American fur trade as employees of either the American Pacific Fur Company (PFC) or the Canadian North West Company (NWC). Men like NWC officer David Thompson voyaged both down and up the Columbia, traveling through Celilo Falls. The War of 1812 led to the 1813 liquidation of the PFC, its properties like Fort Astoria sold to the North West Company.
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