When I was a kid, I didn’t particularly like robots. They seemed cold, impersonal and completely unlovable. I had my first inkling that robots could be more than just metallic tools when R2D2 and C3PO came on the scene. Since that first Star Wars movie came out, there have been lots of books for kids with wonderful and wonderfully personable bots including a novel I just finished entitled The Wild Robot by Peter Brown. After the ship she is on sinks, Roz, the titular robot, pitches up on an island. Only when some playful otters break open the box she is in, is Roz able to start figuring out how she is going to survive. At first, the island animals think she’s a monster and try to avoid her, but they slowly warm up to her after she adopts a baby goose and begins to do things that make the animals lives better. When something threatens Roz, the animals band together to try and save her. For a good survival story with a robot that’s all heart, despite not having one, The Wild Robot is just the ticket. For more children’s books featuring robots, check out this list.
The Picture File is a massive collection of file cabinets that you do not see when you come in to the library to the 3rd floor at the present time. In the past, these cabinets were prominently available in the Art and Music Room for library visitors to look through and make selections to check out. We are still checking out the Picture Files, but now since we have a much larger collection of books to display plus computer stations, there is simply no room for all of these file cabinets in the Art and Music Room, and they have been moved to closed stacks.
The Picture Files consist of folders on many topics, collected from books that could not be repaired, periodicals that were duplicates, and a whole myriad of images from calendars and other sources.
What use are these in our time, when we can find internet sources for images with ease? Since this collection was created in the Art and Music Room, it is particularly strong for these topics; there are hundreds of folders for the arts with thousands of pictures all together. If you are in the library looking for images of artists' works, it can be more practical to take home a manila envelope of images than a series of books. If you are working on ideas for a mural, for example, and want to experiment with combining images of different subjects, these files are useful for composition ideas.
Recently I was preparing a display of materials about the composers Bartok and Beethoven for a local festival and library concert, for which I used the Picture Files. There were some images of these composers that I had seen in books and on the internet, but a few that were a complete delight since new to me. So I suggest that it can be worth taking a look at these if you have a project. Simply ask the staff at the Art and Music Reference desk for picture files on a subject. We have an index of the subjects in this collection, and from these you tell the staff which folders you would like to look at. You can select up to 50 pictures at a time to check out from a range of folders.
These three images are samples from one of the three folders of paintings and drawings by Jean-Antoine Watteau (October 10, 1684 - July 18, 1721) whose drawings of musicians are so evocative of 18th century French baroque music.
Questions? Send our reference staff an email question or call the library: 503.988.5234.
A Volunteer Who Has Found Her Niche
by Donna Childs
It was a genuine pleasure to see Allissa Purkapile in the setting of her St. Johns library, a place she describes as “friendly and comfortable.” She is clearly comfortable with the library staff, and they seem to care as much about her as she does them. Several stopped to say hello to her as we spoke.
Allissa began volunteering with the St. Johns Summer Reading program following 6th grade. Initially, she worked one two-hour shift a week. Fast forward five years: Allissa is not only an indispensable Summer Reading volunteer, who helps coordinate the schedule, but also a dedicated helper with the storytime program and a reliable member of the library’s Teen Council.
She is the go-to Summer Reading volunteer, the one to call at the last minute if another volunteer doesn’t show up. Last summer she devoted more than sixty hours to Summer Reading. Since storytime often takes place when she is in school, her contributions to that program are more behind the scenes, but no less significant. She spends five hours most Saturdays cutting, folding, and gluing to create crafts for the youth librarian to use.
Since her freshman year, Allissa has also been a member of the St. Johns Teen Council, a group of young people who meet monthly to help make the library more teen-friendly. The group, which ranges in size from two to twenty teens, helps come up with program ideas, chooses books to display in the young adult (YA) section, and has even been instrumental in moving the YA from the back to the front of the library.
When asked what she likes best about volunteering at the St. Johns Library, Allissa said “everything, especially being able to answer questions and help people.” A true library aficionado, Allissa may apply for SummerWorks, a summer youth employment program that includes internships with Multnomah County. She also volunteers at her high school library two or three days a week and plays clarinet in her school band. Outside of school, she helps distribute food for a program called Harvest Share.
A Few Facts About Allissa
Most influential book: Harry Potter
Thanks for reading the MCL Volunteer Spotlight. Stay tuned for our next edition coming soon! Read last month's Volunteer Spotlight.
In the early years, our city was called The Clearing, but in 1845, landowners Francis Pettygrove and Asa Lovejoy flipped a coin to choose an official name. Pettygove came from Portland, Maine, and Lovejoy was from Boston, Massachusetts. Pettygrove won two out of three tosses, and so our city is Portland. This slide show will show you how Portland grew from 1851-1900.
Here are some of the historic places that make Portland special:
- Benson Bubblers: These four-bowl drinking fountains are unique to Portland.
- Pioneer Courthouse Square has been a school, a hotel, and a parking lot but is now considered the city’s “living room.”
- The Portlandia statue is the second-largest copper repoussé sculpture in the U.S. (The largest is the Statue of Liberty.)
- Skidmore Fountain was designed to be a source of drinking water for people, horses and dogs.
- The Pittock Mansion was the home of Henry Pittock, who arrived in Oregon penniless on a wagon train in 1853.
- In 1900, Portland’s Chinatown was the second largest in the country.
Because of the many bridges crossing the Willamette River, one of Portland’s nicknames is Bridgetown. Some of the bridges that connect the east side to downtown are more than 100 years old!
What did Portlanders in the past do for fun? The Rose Festival, which still happens every June, started in 1904. The next year, Portland hosted the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition, which attracted more than 1.6 million visitors. Children liked to visit the amusement parks at Oaks Park and Jantzen Beach.
You know it rains a lot in Portland, but did you know that our city has often flooded? In the flood of 1894, downtown Portland was flooded and people got around in boats. In 1948, the Vanport flood destroyed a housing area that was home to many African Americans.
Here's a video that shows some of the changes in Portland:
Still have questions? Contact a librarian for help!
May 1st through 7th has been designated by the American Library Association as Choose Privacy Week, and this year it is just as relevant as ever. A recent Pew Internet study shows many American adults who go online do not have a good understanding of cybersecurity. This spring, we also read about a vote to repeal rules requiring ISPs to protect customers’ privacy.
What does privacy mean to you? Is it a place where no one is watching you or listening to what you say? Thanks to our ever-connected gadgets (our phones, computers, televisions, e-readers) such places are becoming more and more scarce. Every digital breath we take is noted, collected, and recorded for future marketing or security purposes.
Should we care? After all, we get many benefits by giving up our privacy: we receive recognition from others, we can easily share and communicate with groups of friends, we get free email. But a world without privacy is also a world where you are not free to ask questions or seek information without being monitored.
Libraries care about privacy. Why? Because, according to the American Library Association, "the freedom to read and receive ideas anonymously is at the heart of individual liberty in a democracy.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Privacy webpage is a good place to keep up to date with current privacy issues, especially in the online world. To learn more online privacy, take a look at Portland Community College’s Privacy Online guide: it includes videos and links about the ways that privacy is compromised online, and tips for how you can protect it.
If, like me, you’re more of a book person, I’ve made a reading list called “Privacy? What’s privacy?” - it includes current books that will help you start to answer that question. If you’d rather get your dystopia in a make-believe format, another reading list, “Surveillance stories and privacy parables,” includes books and DVDs about the privacy-less society that we just might be headed toward.
Are you taking steps to protect your privacy? Or have you already given up on the notion of privacy? Leave your comments below (and please feel free to do so anonymously).
There was a great response to Multnomah County Library's first comics contest for grades 6-12! It was very hard to choose the winners and honorable mentions, and we're grateful to Robin Herrera and Ari Yarwood, editors at Oni Press, for their help judging.
Broken Hearts, Stephanie S
Copy Cats, Delana Wilkins
Delete, Quinn Plucar
D-exorcist, Thomas Trinh
Zombie Pizza, Abraham Gonzalez
A Little Slice of Dumb Life, Naomi Nguyen
Chris and Fishy! Vol. 1, The Wizard's Gift, Daniela Sanchez
Chori and Chester: the Crazy Cats, Humphrey Hamma
Common Ground, Kay Lowe
Growing up in the Garden, Rebecca Celsi
Picture Day Disasters, Hannah Hardman
Would You Rather, Gabrielle Cohn
When I first met the Scottish Lad, practically the first thing out of my mouth was some version of a question that many Brits find terribly intrusive: What do you do for a living? People wonder why the British talk constantly about the weather. Here’s a hint: Every other topic of conversation is considered rude at best or taboo at worst! I didn’t know my question was intrusive because I hadn’t read a bunch of books on British etiquette and culture. Again, I thought I had no need of them. Again, I was wrong. Here are some titles I have since read. You, too, can educate yourself so you don’t make the mistakes I did!
Many Americans apparently want to (and do) marry British people. At least two of them have written revealing books about living in the land of their mates. The Anglo Files by Sarah Lyall and Erin Moore’s That’s Not English cover some similar territory, but the latter book explores English and American cultural differences with a focus on language. Moore titles each chapter with a word and then delves into what it means for each country. You’ll get the scoop, for example, on why the English seem to dislike “gingers” while Americans generally find redheads attractive (although an American friend of mine who has beautiful red hair was teased mercilessly in school because of the color of her locks). Other chapters include Knackered, Whinge, Bloody and Dude.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the Scots and Welsh are the same as the English! To get an understanding of Scottish life and culture, as well as practical tips on living in or visiting Scotland, read Culture Shock! Scotland. For a glimpse into Welsh life, try A Writer's House in Wales by Jan Morris.
For even more books to help you navigate the British cultural waters, try these.
I feel like author Catherine Newman has been right there in the trenches of parenting with me for the past twelve years or so. I started reading a parenting column she wrote when she and I were both pregnant with our second children. Later, I enjoyed her book, Waiting for Birdy. She writes funny, thoughtful essays that show up all over the place, and she has her own blog. Her two kids are right about the same ages as mine, and she's got exactly the irreverent but warm sense of humor I most enjoy. She’s a passionate home cook, too, the kind of person who, like me, not only makes her own granola but glories in making it (even though neither of us would ever consider ourselves “granola”).
And now there's a new book. Catastrophic Happiness is more of a series of appreciations about kids and family life than a story about anything actually happening, although she does have some pointed things to say about how our culture foists its stupid ideas about gender on our children. If you have kids in your house, this book will make you laugh--a lot. It also might make you feel more present, make you stop spacing out long enough to love the life you have with your family.
My father is in the last years of his life. Once a strapping man well over six feet tall he becomes smaller and more frail with each passing day. His physical world has shrunk as well and his days are passed in the small, walkable space between “his” chair, the kitchen table and his bathroom and bedroom. The things that are important to him now are few: watching a good ball game (any seasonal sport will do), his next meal (the man has an appetite!) and a good book to read. Despite his deteriorating condition he has always placed a big importance on reading and having books around. He has always been surrounded by books: some he inherited, many he was given as gifts and several I have absolutely no idea where they came from (a Japanese phrase book, Milton Berle’s favorite joke book, Tiling 101 to name a few. )
One of my jobs as his caretaker is to make sure he has something good to read. He loves mysteries (I once caught him starting a new one from the last page!) He loves Stuart Woods and Alex Berenson. He loves stories about World War II, tales of espionage and anything to do with the U.S. Navy. There is always a book next to his chair and more than one on his nightstand.
I know reading will always be a part of his day. And I look forward to keeping him well-stocked with good stories. They are always his best medicine.
Here are a couple of my dad’s go-to authors:
Robert B. Parker, the Jesse Stone Series
Parker’s original series of nine novels tells the story of Jesse Stone, a troubled detective desperate to rebuild his career when he takes the job of Police Chief in Paradise, Massachusetts. Along the way Stone battles the mob, white supremacists, a corrupt town council and the occasional homicide while struggling to come to terms with himself. All nine novels have been made into films for television starring Tom Selleck as the new Chief. The first in the series is Night Passage which the library owns as a downloadable ebook.
Daniel Silva, the Gabriel Allon series:
Part spy and part artist, Gabriel Allon works for “the office,” the name employees have given to the Israeli Intelligence Service. While attending art school Gabriel was offered a post with the elite special forces unit, tasked with tracking down the perpetrators of the Munich massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics. At the conclusion of the job Gabriel decides to stay on, maintaining an official cover as an art restorer. The Kill Artist is the first in the series.
Vanity film projects are a terrible idea. Funding is shaky, poorly constructed scripts are battered about, and rumors of an impending Hindenburg of a movie are spread. Fueled by egos and inexperience, these problems offer easy fodder to the media waiting to rip apart the darling superstar who’s in over their head.
Purple Rain should have failed. However, it did not.
Upon its release, the film propelled Prince, and to a lesser degree the Revolution, to superstar status. Alan Light’s Let’s Go Crazy sheds light on Purple Rain's improbable success driven by an unlikely group of collaborators.
So, forget your shrink in Beverly Hills. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the tale of the quest to make a musically charged film which can only be described as magically cringe-worthy experience.
Like a rebellious cigarette you had smoked when you were twenty, or a night under the stars with a girl or a boy who had only wanted to be your friend.
These are just some of the ways that the character James Bennett, an art critic with synesthesia, describes paintings and people in Molly Prentiss's debut novel, but he could just as easily be describing the book. One that has left me in such a daze that I'm at a loss for my own words to describe how much I loved it.
Set in a pre-gentrified SoHo, Tuesday Nights in 1980 follows Argentine artist Raul Engales, bright-eyed New York newcomer Lucy Olliason and the wonderfully odd art critic James Bennett; whose lives are all irreversibly altered on a series of Tuesday nights at the start of the new decade.
Whether you're an art lover or just up for visiting a unique time and place through vivid characters, check out this vibrant whirlwind of a book.
There are a couple of flavors I like in Highlander romance -- I enjoy the ones that are straight up historical; but mmm, a Highlander story especially if it involves time travel? Yes! Maybe you have seen the new Outlander television series? Guess what? It's based on a book!
The story starts with Mrs. Claire Randall on her second honeymoon in the Highlands of Scotland. It’s 1945 and she's a former combat nurse who has taken up the hobby of botany to fill her free time. She is gathering plants at the stone circle Craigh na Dun when she is transported through time to 1743, and finds herself in the midst the fighting prior to the Jacobite uprising of 1745.
This first novel of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon is a passionate romance with depictions of wartime violence, and steamy sex scenes. If you're squeamish about these things this isn't for you. Presented in the context of the times, these details give the story historical resonance. I found comic relief in Claire’s swearing. She doesn’t swear like a sailor but she swears like a healthy woman dealing with brawny men, exciting, brutal times, and frustration. I don’t know about you, but if I was a fish out of water I might swear a lot too. If romance, brawny men in kilts and time travel are among your favorite flavors too, there's more to explore in my list, Scottish highland romances.
If you’ve selected a person for your next biographical report but there are no books about them don’t spend hours looking through Google search results; instead check out Multnomah County Library’s biographies database list. In these databases you can find quick facts, articles, encyclopedia entries, and even a search engine devoted to famous people.
Still need more information? If you are headed online be sure to evaluate the website before trusting the information. Here are some good questions to ask when doing online research:
1. Who is the owner of the site? Is it clear who the author of the information on the page is? Is there a way to contact the author or owner?
2. Is the website trying to sell or persuade you to buy something?
3. Check the website’s URL to check the authority and validity of the website. When researching, “.edu” and “.gov” are good indicator that it is an official site.
4. Is the site kept up-to-date, with current links, new material and a creation date listed?
5. Based on the information you already have, does the website appear to have accurate information? Are there spelling or grammar mistakes?
If you need more help, ask a librarian.
Emerging from an ultra conservative Jamaican childhood, Grace Jones created her own path and a life well lived. In her memoir, I'll Never Write my Memoirs she opens her life, inviting readers into a world of adventures and experiences that only her words can convey.
I’m not even going to try. Just take Grace Jones’ words for it.
Already said hello? Try this list for similar books.
I love to travel … and when I travel I often enjoy reading about the place I’m visiting.
Several weeks ago I traveled to the beautiful city of San Antonio, Texas. As a history buff, the obvious choice for something to read was a book about the Alamo. So the day before my departure, I downloaded James Donovan’s The Blood of Heroes to my Kindle. I started reading it on the flight to Texas and finished it up about a half hour before touching down at the Portland airport.
I’ve always thought of the Battle of the Alamo as an isolated incident, but reading about it made me aware of its key role in the wider context of a Mexican civil war and the fight for Texan independence. The Texan revolution actually began several months before near a Spanish mission a few miles to the south called Mission Purisima Concepción and ended with the defeat of Santa Ana's army a few weeks later at the Battle of San Jacinto. Reading about the conflict enhanced my enjoyment of visiting the place; and visiting the place deepened my understanding and appreciation for what I had read.
Now if you’ve ever watched Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, you may be under the impression that there is no basement at the Alamo. Having visited there myself, I have to tell you that this is statement is not true -- there actually is a basement. Although not a part of the original structure, it can be found directly across the street!
By the Hollywood Teen Book Council
It has been a little over a year since we had to say goodbye to Leslie Knope and friends. This is the show that brought us Galentine’s Day, “Treat yo self,” and so many heartfelt and funny moments. Luckily, the library has all seven seasons available for checkout.
Even if there was no love loss between the Parks Department and the Library, (Leslie Knope did say once, “The library is the worst group of people ever assembled in history. They’re mean, conniving, rude and extremely well read, which makes them very dangerous.”); these are characters that continue to stay with us. Just as we are gearing up for more time in the great outdoors, recreating in our parks, we thought we’d take a moment and pick books for our favorite characters.
My Beloved World By Sonia Sotomayor
Leslie Knope is not someone to let anything get in the way of her dreams, and she is inspired by a league of powerful women. Since she is on her path to Washington, she would be interested in the paths of other women that have landed key roles in the running of different branches of government.
Adventures with Waffles by Maria Parr
With a strong love of breakfast food, especially waffles, this is a book for Ms. Knope. Where she is all about strong friendships and adventures outdoors, she will delight in the kinship and antics of Trille and Lena.
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Ron Swanson is an advocate for self-reliance, and he has his own fantasies of living off the grid. He will enjoy Brian’s story of surviving in the wilderness after a plane crash with only a hatchet to sustain himself.
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jen Violi
As far as working for the City of Pawnee, April’s interest and personality seems to be a better fit for the morgue than the parks’ department. We think she would be fascinated by both Stiff and Putting Makeup on Dead People.
A Dog's Journey by W. Bruce Cameron
We know that Andy has a soft spot for animals. He will enjoy this tender-hearted tale told through the eyes of a dog.
The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
We really think that this is Andy Dwyer’s actual secret identity.
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
Even though this is written by the actor that plays Tom Haverford, we know that Tom would appreciate the meticulous research that went into this to show how modern technology is affecting the way that we date.
Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle
Donna has all the men falling for her, just like Paige in this book. Eventually both with have to choose if they want to be with just one.
Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson
Ann is the ultimate best friend. We think that she would enjoy the strong female friendships and the supernatural adventures that take place in the great outdoors.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Bless the ultimate nerd that is Ben Wyatt. If only this book had some more Game of Thrones references. Still, we know that Ben will love this homage to some of the best things to come out of the 1980’s.
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
Super fit Chris Traeger will love this contemplation about a shared passion from one of today’s greatest writers. .
Jerry Gergich (...or Garry, Larry or Terry)
What's in a Name?: Everything You Wanted to Know by Leonard R. N. Ashley
Really what is in a name? Come on, Jerry!
-By the Hollywood Teen Book Council
"I think they think I'm a bit odd, you know. Some people call me 'Loony' Lovegood, actually.” --Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
There are so many reasons that Luna Lovegood has captivated us. Her airy ways and perceptiveness bring humor throughout the series. When we first meet her in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling writes, “The girl gave off an aura of distinct dottiness. Perhaps it was the fact that she had stuck her wand behind her left ear for safekeeping, or that she had chosen to wear a necklace of Butterbeer caps, or that she was reading a magazine upside down.”
Initially, as most of us on the Hollywood Teen Book Council are all avid Harry Potter fans, we wanted to do some sort of a book project around the series. When it came time to get started, none of us could get past wanting to suggest books that we thought Luna Lovegood would love to read.
Here is what we would think she should read, if she hasn’t already . And as Luna says, , “Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure.”
The Theory of Everything by Kari Luna
Luna’s a little bit quirky and so is Sophie Sophia, the girl with an obsession of music from the late 80’s. Luna will enjoy Sophie’s attempt to find her father, an eccentric physicist who has disappeared suddenly. Luna will also be glad that Sophie has a friend along on the quest: her giant shaman panda named Walt.
Luna’s interests are varied and thorough, so perhaps she would like this very complete examination of city-dwelling rats and how they have evolved alongside humans.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Aside from Harry, if anyone else at Hogwarts is going to go on a quest, it would probably be Luna. Unlike Coelho’s shepherd boy, she might come to a quicker understanding of what she needs to find the treasure she seeks.
The Magicians: A Novel by Lev Grossman
Luna attends a school for witchcraft and wizardry, so she might be interested to compare Quentin Coldwater’s school of magic experience in upstate New York to her own.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in A Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
Ms. Lovegood is a solid character who is always up for an adventure so she might like this story of a girl named September who’s adventure involves a quest to retrieve a witch's spoon from the terrible and unpredictable Marquess of Fairyland.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Luna wouldn’t be surprised to see a circus appear with no warning, and she might also like the struggle and love story of two young illusionists.
Gutshot: Stories by Amelia Gray
With so many interests, short stories might be the right kind of fiction for Luna. This collection is human and dark, and full details of this strange world of ours.
A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction by Christopher Alexander
Luna’s unique thought process sometimes makes communication with others difficult. Perhaps this book, which helps build a common language and coherence within systems, will help. It’s strongly recommended if she ever designs or builds a house.
Unflattening by Nick Sousanis
Luna Lovegood sees things differently than your average Hogswartian, so Nick Sousanis’s experiment in visual thinking would be at home in her hands. This graphic novel disassembles perception and will help her to find even more understanding. Though perhaps she is already ahead of the rest of us?
How do presidential elections work? What is the difference between a primary election and a caucus? How do political conventions work? What is the electoral college? Kids.gov is a great place to start learning about how presidents get elected in the United States. This handy poster walks you through the presidential elections process. When you're on Kids.gov, you can order your own free copy of the poster, then scroll down below the poster for more information about primaries and caucuses, national conventions, the Electoral College and constitutional requirements for presidential candidates.
Find news stories about the elections at Here There Everywhere News -- a news blog written just for kids by a former producer for the NBC Today Show. The Politics page presents thoughtful stories about about the elections.
And Time for Kids has an elections mini-site with news stories about the presidential campaigns.
Lewis and Clark mapped many geographic and geologic features on their expedition. They drew a picture of most and labelled them with a name. Sometimes they phonetically spelled the Native American names as best they could. Some were named after the physical properties of the feature...such as Beaverhead Rock. And many were named to “honor” 19th century political figures or members of the Corps.
The Missouri Breaks reminded Meriwether Lewis of an ancient city. Despite appreciating the rugged beauty, the Corps also suffered from holes in their moccasins created by flint fragments found at the bottom of the white cliffs.
The Great Falls on the Missouri River was an incredible impediment for the Corp of Discovery. It took almost a month for the explorers to portage around this amazing group of five waterfalls.
Lolo Hot Springs was visited both on the way west and back east. The springs provided a rare opportunity for a warm bath, but only on the return trip. They didn't have time to stop for a bath on the way to the Bitterroots. Today the hot springs bears no resemblance to the 19th century site.
Pompey’s Tower or Pillar was named after Toussaint Charbonneau and Sacagawea’s toddler son Jean-Baptist Charbonneau who had acquired the nickname “Pomp” or “Little Pomp”.
Before crossing the Bitterroots, the Corps made camp at a place now called Traveler's Rest. Most of their time was spent hunting for food for the difficult mountain crossing. Traveler's Rest is the only archaeolgically verified campsite from the expedition.
The Corps had to trek across the Bitterroot Mountains, a northern section of the Rockies, late in the season. It was a miserable journey which they just barely survived. They were probably too miserable from cold and fatigue to enjoy the breathtaking views.
As the very hungry Corps descended from the Bitterroot Mountains they spied grasslands of the Weippe Prairie. The prairie was named by the Nez Perce Indians—Weippe is their word for “very old place”.
Five different Cascade Range volcanos were seen by the Corps in the Northwest. Some of them were on a map given to them by explorer George Vancouver.
Celilo Falls in the Columbia River Gorge was a spectacular feature on the Willamette River and its history is quite controversial to the present day. Many people would like to see the Falls re-appear.
I’ve described just a handful of the thousands of geographic and geological sites described by the Expedition. It might be a fun project to map them and several more from each state on the trail. When you look at photos of the Expeditions 's trail, you can easily see the enormous physical obstacles they overcame to accomplish the challenge they received from President Jefferson.
Folks in my family came to Oregon in, on and around covered wagons, part of the great migration that brought about 400,000 people across the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains to occupy the land that they thought was available up and down the West Coast. (There were people living here already, it turned out.) My indirect ancestor on my mom's side (something like great-great-uncle, I believe) was Ezra Meeker.
Meeker came out via covered wagon, and then after a very busy life of business, planting hops, founding a town and going to the Klondike in gold rush days, noticed that now, in the early 20th century, people were forgetting about the Oregon Trail. He opted to do something about that. Ezra mounted an expedition - at age 71 - to travel the trail backwards, by ox-drawn wagon, to raise awareness for the trail's preservation. He succeeded, and kept going, eventually reaching New York and Washington DC, meeting with President Teddy Roosevelt. He eventually crossed the country by wagon, train, automobile and airplane and managed to place (or have placed) hundreds of Oregon Trail markers. You can read more about him and his trips in his journals, available in physical form or online.