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Celilo Chapter History

National Society Daughters of the American Revolution


Celilo Chapter was organized on October 12, 1978, in The Dalles, with State Regent Mrs. Thomas Brand conducting the organizational meetings.  She was assisted by State Vice Regent Mrs. Robert Chais.  Mrs. Chester  Noble was appointed Organizing Regent.  The name “Celilo” was selected.  It is an Indian name meaning “cleft in the bank.”  The name “Celilo” was also given to the waterfalls near The Dalles where the American Indians fished for salmon on the Columbia River.  The Celilo waterfalls was covered by The Dalles Dam backwater in 1958 and is now called Lake Celilo and is 24 miles long.

Celilo Falls (Wyam, meaning "echo of falling water" or "sound of water upon the rocks," in several native languages) was a tribal fishing area on the Columbia River, just east of the Cascade Mountains, on what is today the border between the U.S. states of Oregon and Washington. The name refers to a series of cascades and waterfalls on the river, as well as to the native settlements and trading villages that existed there in various configurations for 15,000 years. Celilo was the oldest continuously inhabited community on the North American continent until 1957, when the falls and nearby settlements were submerged by the construction of The Dalles Dam.

   In January, 1917, the Quenett Chapter was formed in The Dalles and then later disbanded. 

   The Dalles area was inhabited by the American Indians thousands of years before white men came. The Indians called the area Win-Quatt, meaning a place encircled by rock cliffs. Lewis and Clark were the first white men in the area when they camped here twice while on their expedition.

   Fur traders came through in the 1810s and 1820s. Explorers, botanists, artists, writers, and adventurers all came to the "grand dalles of the Columbia." The first homes were built in 1838 by Jason Lee's Methodist missionaries.  They established the Wascopum Mission here. Wascopum was the name being used by the Wasco Indians that were located here at that time. This mission along with Marcus Whitman's museum at Waililatpu near Walla Walla gave help to thousands of starving ill and desperate emigrants of the Oregon Trail.

   When the pioneers who came on the Oregon Trail arrived at The Dalles, they had two choices.  They could continue down the Columbia River rapids or to go by wagon around Mt. Hood via the Barlow Road. Wheel ruts created from the wagon travel can still be seen today.

   Today Celilo Chapter strives to fulfill our DAR objectives and is a very active chapter.  We have Honorary State Regent, Ellen Hopkins and State Treasurer Nancy Slagle from our chapter.


Postcard of Celilo Falls from the Columbia River Highway. Circa 1940 Postcard of Celilo Falls near "The Dalles," Columbia River, Oregon. Circa 1917




Page Last Updated:  02/20/2016

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