Clark's Sketch

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"Draught of the Handsom Falls"

To see labels, point to the image.

A page from Clark's journal showing his sketch of Colter Falls

Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis

Clark made this diagram of the "Handsom Falls of the Missouri" during late June and early July, 1805.1

On the night of 17 June 1805, Clark, with Alexander Willard, John Colter, perhaps Joseph Field, and two others, camped at the mouth of a deep ravine below the south end of Crooked Falls. The next morning, continuing their systematic and detailed survey, the six men

Set out early and arrived at the second great Cataract a[t] about 200 yds above the last of 19 feet pitch . this is one of the grandest views in nature and by far exceeds any thing I ever Saw. the Missouri falling over a Shelveing rock for 47 feet 8 Inches with a Cascade &c of 14 feet 7 Inches above the Shoot for a 1/4 mile decended the Clift below this Cateract with ease measured the hight of the purpendicular fall of 47 feet 8 Inches2 at which place the river is 473 yards wide as also the hight of the Cascade &c. a continued mist quite across this fall

Note that Crooked Falls are at "B" in Clark's map.


1. The original is in Voorhis #1, a codex in the Clark Family Collection, William Clark Papers, at the Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis. Photographic copy by David Schultz, 1997; NS 21278, copyright 1997.

2. Forty-two feet, according to the Pacific Railroad Survey of the early 1850s. Isaac I. Stevens, Narrative and Final Report of Explorations for a Route for a Pacific Railroad, near the Forty-Seventh and Forty-Ninth Parallels of North Latitude, from St. Paul to Puget Sound (Washington, D.C., 1855), 173.