The lighthouse is still active as is the other protecting ships on Cape Disappointment, the other being North Head. There are two competing views how Cape Disappointment was named - One account has it that the cape was named on April 12, 1788 by British fur trader John Meares who was sailing south from Nootka in search of trade. After a storm, he turned his ship around just north of the Cape and therefore just missed the discovery of the Columbia River. The other, the cape may have been named in November of 1805 by a member of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, which had recently succeeded in reaching the Pacific, when he found no ships in the vicinity, according to the journal of the expedition as recited in the Ken Burns documentary.
Cape Disappointment also is the location of Fort Canby one of three forts that protected the Columbia River during World War II.
Cape Disappointment is also the location for the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. Exhibits focus on - 1. Thomas Jefferson’s influence on the organization and direction of the Expedition’s observations and activities 2. A summary of the Expedition’s experience on the Missouri River and Rocky Mountain portions of their voyage 3. A focused interpretation of the Expedition’s discoveries and experiences along the Columbia River with special attention given to the Corp’s arrival at the mouth of the Columbia River and their overland journey to the shores of the Pacific Ocean
We found a picture of the Peter Iredale after it ran a ground at Fort Stevens. We documented our view of this ship wreck on Aug 2nt, you can see how it has deteriorated over the past 108 years.