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Pulpit Rock, The Dalles Monday, December 11, 2006

Pulpit Rock stands at the intersection of 12th and Court streets in The Dalles, Ore. In 1838, before the roads were there, Methodist preachers founded a mission at that location to convert the Wascopam Indians to Christianity.

About 80 miles (130 km) east of Portland, the city of The Dalles is one of the older settlements in Oregon. Originally, it was the end of the Oregon Trail, where the wagons trains were transferred to rafts to float down the Columbia River. Now, the community of about 12,000 is the site of a major hydroelectric dam and a shipping port.

Before the city was incorporated, Rev. Jason Lee, with Revs. Daniel Lee and H.K.W. Perkins, founded a Methodist mission there in 1838. They chose the site now known as Pulpit Rock because it overlooked a spring where the Wascopam Indians came to water their horses. It was the fourth Protestant mission in Oregon territory.

In 1846, a road was completed from The Dalles to Oregon City (then the capital of Oregon), and most of the emigrants took that route. The mission was sold in 1847, and it fell into disuse by 1850. Nothing remains of the
mission today.

Jack Howe, 85, (right) came to The Dalles fresh out of the Navy in 1946. He and his wife of more than 60 years have lived in a house right beside Pulpit Rock for 52 years. Every year, he says, they close the streets around the site to hold a sunrise service on Easter morning.