‘Sense of Place’ returns Feb. 14 at CCA

Join Gorge Owned at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at Columbia Center for the Arts as they welcome Captain Tom Cramblett, a third generation Gorge resident whose love of the Gorge and passion for the historical importance of the sternwheelers, and their captains, set him on a continuing journey of research and discovery.


Tom Cramblett

When the Sternwheeler Columbia Gorge was launched 34 years ago, Cramblett signed on as a deckhand and quickly worked his way up to Captain. His connection with the river goes back to the days when steam-powered sternwheelers plied the Columbia River, when his great grandfather operated one of the many wood scows that supplied those sternwheelers with fuelwood cut from the forests in the Stevenson-Cascade Locks area.

Drawing on his years of exploring historical records, gathering photos, and talking with the descendants of early river pioneers, then blending it with his many years of following in their footsteps as he navigated a sternwheeler on the river, Cramblett offers a look into the world of people and events of yesterday. It’s a world full of rough and tumble characters, cut throat business dealings, visionaries, hardworking folks, tragedies, and amazing accomplishments, all shaping this place called the Gorge, stated a press release.

Meet the Captains: William Gray (The Dalles), H. C. Coe (Hood River), Peter de Huff (The Dalles), Earnest Spencer (BZ Corners), and Charles Spencer (Cascade Locks). And while these captains faced the challenges of navigating their boats through raging currents, howling winds, and temperamental steam engines, in the background, powerful businessmen, such as John C. Ainsworth, Simeon Reed, Henry Villard, D. F. Bradford, and Benjamin Holladay, constantly jockeyed for control of the river, the boats, the portages, and the railroads that were the lifeblood of commerce along the Columbia.

The event is pay what you can, with a $10 suggested donation. For more information, visit gorgeowned.org.

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