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The story behind the Dismal Nitch

By Todd Clark (Broker/Sales Coach) 503-524-9494

A couple Saturdays ago I posted a "I don't feel like typing Saturdays" post with a picture of the Dismal Nitch and asked if you career was in one? But, because of that post I was asked by many, where it was and what it was all about. I have to admit when I stopped to get that at that sign, I didn't realize how important that spot was in America's history, but instead of what was supposed to be a 30 second stop for a great picture turned in to a 30 minute stop reading up on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Dismal Nitch

You see the Dismal Nitch was the last stop before the group was supposed to meet up with supply ships off the Pacific Coast, but what Lewis and Clark didn't expect was one of the worst storms to hit the Pacific Coast. This storm trapped them on the Columbia River at a spot they named the Dismal Nitch.

The storm was so bad that the Lewis said it was only the second time he was worried about the corp since the beginning of the trip. The storm was so bad that the group actually did end being stuck on that group of rocks for 10 days and missed the supply ships. They did survive, but barely and thanks to a non-profit group, the last stop before Lewis and Clark reached the Pacific Ocean and reached their exploration goals, the longest stop on their journey has been preserved for others to view.

There are many historical places located around Astoria, Oregon, the Dismal Nitch is just one of them, though located on the Washington side of the Columbia, there are many, many places to stop and find out about Lewis and Clark many with hiking trails and you could easily spend 2-3 days if you want to hit every spot in the area that Lewis and Clark stopped. But, to find out the history of the Pacific Northwest and the journey of Lewis and Clark, I suggest you stop in the the most Northwest point of our state and check out our rich history and what that trip meant to the United States and trade with the east.

 Todd Clark - (503)524-9494

Todd Clark - Broker / Sales Coach
Palazzo Realty Group
Phone: (503)524-9494
Fax: (503)622-8739

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©2009 Todd Clark - The story behind the Dismal Nitch

Todd Clark (Broker/Owner)
The Friendly Home Team
Realty Pro, Oregon LLC
Phone: (503)524-9494
Fax: (503)746-9573





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 I am a licensed Realtor who specializes in Washington County, Oregon and also work in both Clackamas and Multnomah Counties including the cities of Aloha, Beaverton, Canby, Clackamas, Gladstone, Gresham, Happy Valley, Hillsboro, Milwaukie, Oregon City, Sherwood and Tigard. All information contained in these posts are copyrighted and cannot be used without prior written approval authorization from the author me Todd Clark. If you are looking for an outstanding agent please give me a call I would love to help you with all your real estate needs.


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Comment balloon 17 commentsThe Friendly Home Team • November 16 2009 12:27PM


Todd - It sounds like Dismal Nitch has a very interesting history!  I just noticed that you posted this in the "Homeschooling in the Rain" group, which I don't think I have joined yet.  Headed over to check that out now!

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) about 7 years ago

Dismal Nitch,  that has a sense of irony and humor both for this community!

Posted by Heather Fitzgerald, REALTOR Greenwood Indiana Real Estate (REALTY WORLD-Harbert Company, Inc.) about 7 years ago

Hi Todd,

Thank you for sharing an informative and helpful article.

John Pusa

Posted by John Pusa, Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest) about 7 years ago

Jason - You certainly need to check out the group and hopefully add some of your own accounts of homeschooling.

Heather - It certainly got me to stop! How could I not take a picture of the sign, but then to read the history was even cooler. To know that Lewis and Clark almost didn't make it after such a long journey to be so close and then get stuck there for 10 days.

John - If you are ever in Oregon, make sure you stop off in Astoria and SW Washington and check out all the history we have here.

Posted by The Friendly Home Team, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Realty Pro Oregon, LLC) about 7 years ago


"They did survive, but barely and thanks to a non-profit group" 

Is this a veiled reference to comparatively primitive indigenous aboriginals?


Posted by William J. Archambault, Jr. (The Real Estate Investment Institute ) about 7 years ago

Hi Todd...Being an Oregonian and Pacific Northwesterner all of my life...I love this post!  We do have a very rich (albeit newer) history than many people realize.  Great job! 

Posted by Sarah Eubanks, Preferred Oregon Loan Consultant & Notary Public (Hill Valley Financial Services) about 7 years ago

Todd, I enjoyed the follow-up regarding Nismal Ditch. I did wonder how it got it's name? Our U.S. is packed full of history rich in experiences and culture, by passing it along like this, it is kept alive. Thank you for that!

Posted by Wanda Kubat-Nerdin, St. George Area Preferred Real Estate Agent. (St George Utah Area Real Estate Agent at PK Real Estate Utah South) about 7 years ago

Todd --- I was one who was curious about Dismal Nitch --- thanks for the follow up on the very interesting spot.


Posted by Liz Loadholt, Realtor--Broker-in-charge - Trainer--Relocation Director Covering SC (Liz Loadholt- AgentOwned Realty- Covering SC) about 7 years ago

Fascinating lesson in history Todd!  The name would also make a great title for a movie or a book!

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) about 7 years ago

Hi Todd-  Thanks for the history lesson.  I didn't know that about the expedition.  Someday, I'd like to follow the L&C trail all the way...  --Sara

Posted by Sara Woolford & Steve Golson, ALHS (iTexas Realty Co.) about 7 years ago

Wow crazy metaphor for this market.  Was that non-profit group the federal government with a bail out for L & C. LOL... nice

Posted by The Eastside Real Estate Team 425-200-4093 (Keller Williams Realty - Bellevue) about 7 years ago

Todd, we are real history buffs.  We have travelled much of the US and visited many national parks and memorials.  I don't know how we missed this one.

Posted by Tammie White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN ((615) 495-0752 or about 7 years ago

Thank you Todd for this interesting bit of history. I had not heard of Dismal Nitch before, what a name, though sounds like it's fitting.

Posted by Amy McAllister, REALTOR Hood River, Oregon (Amy McAllister Realty LLC ) about 7 years ago

Very interesting Todd, a history lesson here in the rain go figure. Sounds like a neat place to visit if one was near by.

Posted by Charles Stallions, 800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl. (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services ) about 7 years ago

Hi Todd...Love history, thanks for the follow up.


Posted by Fred Carver Personal Real Estate Corporation, Accredited Real Estate Consultant (RE/MAX Camosun Victoria BC Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Parts of the Lewis and Clark story really were dismal.  That they survived at all is surprising.  That they kept their sense of humor and mental balance is inspiring.

Posted by Jim Hale, Eugene Oregon's Best Home Search Website (ACTIONAGENTS.NET) about 7 years ago

Thanks for the post Todd.  I've lived in Oregon for over 40 years and have spent a lot of time in Astoria and Fort Stevens and somehow the Dismal Nitch escaped me.

Posted by Gary Swanson (Century 21 Harris & Taylor) about 7 years ago

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