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by
James Christian Scott, MA, MLS

This site has been developed for a few reasons. First, the Web author ascribes great value to the maintenance of historical memory. Quite simply, the more we know about, and acknowledge, our past(s), the more insight we tend to have into who we are, as a society, and where it is that we may be going. Accordingly, the Web presents itself as a viable, robust option for making some of the more oscured, but nonetheless valid, histories known to all. Second, with regard to its research value, this is an open subject--although great sources already exist, there is indeed ample room for more writing, research, and learning to be done. In either case, the Web is about opening doors which, for so many years, have been closed. In this light, it is hoped that the user may learn much about what the Web author values, as well as experience a sliver of history (esoteric as it may be) that stands as just one of the many building blocks comprising the base of American culture. While ending, it is important to mention that this is meant to be a dynamic site. Certainly, there is much that has been missed/forgotten. That said, expect changes, and feel free to refer comments and questions to jcscott@saclink.csus.edu.

Located at the mouth of the Columbia River, the Harbor Defenses of the Columbia (HDC)--comprised of forts Stevens, Canby, and Columbia--present a heritage which harks-back to the American Civil War (1861-1865). From that time, through the Second World War (1939-1945), the HDC stood as the primary sentinel in defense of America's Pacific Northwest. More secondarily, the HDC has served as a turnstile for numerous servicemen, a popular escape for nature lovers, and one of the largest clusters of public campgrounds in the states of Oregon and Washington. Based on primary and secondary research, this Web site attempts to provide a snap-shot of the HDC's greater past, while also memorializing its brief involvement in the Second World War.


World War II proved one of the more prodigious events of the common era. It is, sometimes, difficult for many of us, as Americans, to believe that such an event, seemingly so foreign and practically fictious, actually touched the nation's shores. Quite simply, when we think of the War, immediately accessed are images of earth-shaking events like D-Day in Europe, and Pearl Harbor in the Pacific. However, a mere ninety-miles west of Portland, Oregon, lies a spot, in the HDC, where the War, if only for a short while, wielded a very real presence. In telling the story of the HDC, we will consider a number of aspects. First, a quick view into the HDC's general history will be taken. Relative to the Second World War, the HDC's brief 1942 encounter with the Japanese Imperial Navy will then be addressed. To provide greater depth to the tale, a cluster of interviews, conducted in the Winter of 1995, with actual veterans of the HDC, will be included in full-text. One may then view a number of HDC images, drawn from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and secondary sources. Finally, a map of the HDC's area of operation (accompanied by photos and text), several HDC-related print, electronic, and personal resources, and a short quiz on the HDC, will round out the site.




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Site Directory:
I. Home | II. HDC History | III. 1942 Attack | IV. Interviews | V. Images | VI. Map
VII. Resources | VIII. Quiz








Last updated: July 27, 2001.
James C. Scott (e-mail).