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Graveyard of the Pacific

Peter Iredale The Columbia River, with its sands that block smooth sailing and the broad beaches that spread out both north and south of the river have caused numerous shipwrecks giving it the name "Graveyard of the Pacific." During the past 140 years, since the British bark William and Ann sailed aground on Clatsop Beach and her 26 crew members were savagely massacred by angry Indians, there have been approximately 114 vessels wrecked, stranded, sunk in collisions, or capsized in the Columbia River estuary, on the nearby beaches or at sea within a few miles of the entrance.

Peter Iredale Often the masters of these vessels are not acquainted with the vagaries of this Great River and its shifting sands, its wild currents, its strong tides, and the big breakers that pound its adjacent beaches. On May 4, 1880 a great sudden storm struck the river mouth and took the lives of 200 Columbia River fishermen alone. Shipwrecks like these prove that the Columbia River is truly the Graveyard of the Pacific.

Liberty Theater