The Great Columbia Plain : a historical geography, 1805-1910


The Great Columbia Plain : a historical geography, 1805-1910

by D.W. Meinig ; with a foreword by William Cronon, and new preface by the author

(Weyerhaeuser environmental classics)

University of Washington Press, 1995

  • : [pbk.]

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Originally published: 1968 (in the Emil and Kathleen Sick lecture-book series in western history and biography)

Includes bibliographical references (p. 519-551) and index



Dismissed in early years as a wasteland, the rolling open country that covers the interior parts of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho is today one of the richest farmlands in the nation. This work is the story of its transformation. Meinig traces all of the aspects of its development by combining geographic description with historical narrative.


Foreword: Ghost Region A Retrospective Preface Preface to the Original Edition Acknowledgments Setting: Landscapes, Seasons, and People, ca. 1800 Entry: By East and By North Competition: By Land and by Sea Monopoly: London Rules the Columbia Matrix: American Visions and Ventures Missions: Protestants and Priests Preparation: Clearing, Organizing, and Evaluating the Land Colonization: Gold, Grass, and Grain Strategy: Settlers and Railroads, 1870-90 Conquest: Some Pattersn, Methods and Ideas, 1870-90 Empire: Town and Country, ca. 1890 Elaboration: Some Patterns and methods Inquiry: The Farmer and the Scientist, ca. 1890-1910 Culmination: The Great Columbia Plain, ca. 1910 Appendix: Populations and Facilities of Tows, 1890 and 1910 (Table 2) Bibliography Index

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