Knappton Cove Heritage Center The Historic Columbia River Quarantine Station
Knappton Cove Heritage CenterThe Historic Columbia River Quarantine Station 

The Mission

The mission of the Knappton Cove Heritage Center is to preserve, interpret and promote the history of the US Columbia River Quarantine Station - listed on the Register of National Historic Places.

The Vision

The organization will strive to increase public awareness of this National Historic Site and will obtain and maintain artifacts, promote historic preservation and provide public education and interpretation of the layers of history at Knappton Cove.

Exhibits Along the Timeline

Guided by our Vision Statement, we have exhibits that highlight the layers of history leading up to and after the Quarantine Era at Knappton Cove.


Our recorded history begins with the sale of salmon from Native Americans to European explorers in 1792.


From there we move forward in time to watch Lewis & Clark camp nearby.


Around 1814 our location was labeled "Todd's Bay" due to the British Naval ship, 'Isaac Todd', being moored there. There's a STORY behind that one!


Then (1853) came a Donation Land Claim and stately home for the Job Lamley family.


In 1876 the Eureka & Epicure Packing Company (cannery) took the spot, employing 70 Chinese workers.  As immigrants flock to the Pacific NW, there are concerns about communicable diseases.


By the 1890's, there was a glut of canneries, and ours was sold to the U.S. Government to convert the facility to the Columbia River Quarantine Station. Between 1899-1938, thousands of European & Asian immigrants pass through health inspection at this Port of Entry.


By 1938 the Station closes due to medical advances and better health controls. The Bureau of Lighhouses maintained a navigational beacon for a time and the U.S. Army Signal Corps used the Station briefly.


In 1950 the Station is sold at government surplus auction. Clarence & Katharine Bell establish Knappton Cove Camp--a sport fishing moorage and campground.


Site is placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Knappton Cove Heritage Center is established in 1995 in the Lazareto ("Pesthouse"/Hospital).


Come walk in the footsteps of the People of Knappton Cove!


Contact Us Today!

Nancy Anderson &

Heather Henry, Directors




Free Admission During

Regular Open Hours--2024

Saturday Afternoons

July and August

1-4 pm

Guided Tour @ 2 pm


Please Email for Appointment Availability Outside of

Regular Hours

$5/person | $25 Minimum




521 WA State Rte 401

(See 'How to Find Us' page for detailed information)



*Click links for

short video exhibit

Check out Nancy's interview on Coast Radio's ARTS - Live & Local with Carol Newman. She talks about Women's History in the Public Health Service at Knappton Cove. The interview starts about 5 minutes in to the podcast.
Read more details about the history of Knappton Cove in Nancy's Book, The Columbia River's "Ellis" Island. Available for purchase on Amazon--$5 of every book goes toward the preservation of this historic site.
Listen to a longer discussion of the book and history of the Public Health Service at Knappton Cove with Sean from PHS Proud.

New Book!

     Board Member Friedrich E. Schuler has a new book out, Pestered by Plague: The U. S. Public Health Service Station in Astoria, OR and Knappton Cove, WA, from Cannery to Quarantine Station 1899-1901. It explores how the Plague scare in 1899 hastened the opening of the Columbia River Quarantine Station. Hear an excerpt from the book at our Open House on May 20.

By Board Member Friedrich E. Schuler, Professor of History at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. Read his interview in the PSU News!

A Shield for the Columbia Book Cover

A Shield for the Columbia offers the stories behind the founding of the quarantine station of the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) at Knappton Cove, Washington and Astoria, Oregon at the mouth of the Columbia River. It is a compelling account of unlikely political and economic alliances featuring the United States Marine Hospital Service (USMHS), transpacific shipping lines, Astoria's business community, and members of the U.S. Congress.

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