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Fort Rains Blockhouse

Rebuilt by the Skamania County Historical Society in 1927 partly from old timbers that formed the structure erected by Major Gabriel Rains after the Indian Wars of 1856 and the Cascades Massacre.

A band of Yakima, Klickitat, and Cascade tribe members made raids on two white settlements near Bradford Island, March 26, 1856. The besieged settlers withstood attacks for two days, until two forces from The Dalles, Oregon, commanded by Colonel Edward J. Steptoe and Lieutenant Phil Sheridan (later General Sheridan of Civil War fame) came to the rescue.

Four different forts or blockhouses existed along a rough stretch of the Columbia River Gorge between Hamilton Island and Cascades Locks, known throughout history as the “Cascade Rapids.” Fort Rains was the third built, located at the lower end of the portage around the “Upper Cascades.”

Today, only the three later forts, including Fort Rains, subsist as archaeological sites on present U.S. Army Corp of Engineer land. A heritage marker indicates the spot where the fort stood, and tells a brief history of the area.