Where's the knoll? (no, not in Dallas)

Yesterday, I was out bicycling in an area I’ve never been to before. I went down to Newberg, Oregon and then went out of town going south on Oregon Highway 219. I stopped and turned around just after crossing the Willamette River, where there was a historical marker (click on that image to get a readable picture).

Anyway, as the sign says, just east of that spot was a trading post built on a knoll. So I looked around that sign and saw… flat farm land. No knoll. (Sorry I didn’t take a picture, but my phone doesn’t have a camera.) So where is it? I don’t think it’s the hills you see in the distance to the left of the sign. Those are the southern extent of the Chehalem Mountains and don’t exactly correspond to what I think of as a knoll.

“In geography, knoll is another term for hillock, a small, low, round natural hill or mound.” – Wikipedia.

Remember, the flatland in the that immediate area makes Nebraska look like rolling hills. Even if that knoll was only a foot or two higher it would be obvious in winter when everything around it is underwater.

For those interested, the street view is here. It’s a little tough to judge because the fish-eye lens distorts things a bit.

The trading post was probably close to bank of the Willamette, so it would have been a little distance off. Going straight east from that point, the river is almost two miles away. In the picture I linked above, in the distance directly between the sign and the bush to its left I can maybe see a rise that I’d describe as a knoll. But I might be imagining that.

Thanks for hunting down that streetview image, Trinopus. Yes, that might be it, it’s hard to say.

TroutMan is the hero, not me.

Nifty question. I was in Klamath Falls and never saw the waterfall either. There is some reason to believe there isn’t one…

There used to be falls, but they were covered up by a dam ~100 years ago. Now there are rapids that some people call falls. And it’s charitable to even call them rapids.

Oops, you’re right. Thank you TroutMan. Don’t know how I got you two mixed up.

Let’s just hope there’s no gnolls living on that knoll…

Zoom in between the bush on the left and the red and white stick. That blurry contraption is a center pivot irrigation boom. It sure looks like the first set of wheels is sitting a little higher than everything else. That’s all it takes to call it a knoll.

Is that all? I always thought a knoll had to be a bit more substantial.

Has it perhaps been graded flat?

It’s a shame you guys don’t have the Ordnance Survey. Even a 1" map would probably have enough contour lines to show a knoll.

That’s what I was thinking. If it’s farmland it has probably been flattened out.

According to the co-ordinates on Wikipedia it was right here.

Which is actually northwest of the marker, and again in the middle of a flat field.

Assuming it is actually to the east, it could be where this clump of trees is. They look a bit higher, on the Street View. https://www.google.com/maps/place/45°15’54.4"N+122°56’43.4"W/@45.2644428,-122.9283441,775m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d45.2651111!4d-122.9453889?hl=en

I sometimes wonder if standards were different back in the day. I got a tour of the Gettysburg battlefield once. The guide explained how the Union and Confederate troops were arrayed along Cemetery Ridge and Seminary Ridge, respectively. As I looked across the battlefield by first thought was “what ridges?”

:confused: “Gnoll”?

A D&D monster

Also as the sign says, the trading post was carried away by a flood.

The trees create knolls as the tree roots bind the river bank together and collect the sediments from the flood water and dust from the air, and biologicals from the decaying plant matter (and animals ? eg bird or bat poop ?)

But a flood can easily take away a knoll, especially if the trees are cleared to make the trading post…

Minor topographical feature aren’t likely to remain recognizable over the course of fifty years, much less 200. The spot that that knoll once stood might be on the other bank of the river at this point, be indistinguishable from the surrounding land, or even be a depression. Erosion is a powerful force given a little time.

Perhaps we’re confusing what is “scientifically correct” with what early 19th Century fur trappers thought was a cool name.

OK, maybe you’re right. I had the idea the knoll would be more than just a foot or two above the level of the plain. Something substantial that would survive for quite a long time.

The thing is, this area is obviously (at least today, and I would expect back then) a flood plain of the river. And the river flooded a lot more than it does today, since it was totally uncontrolled. They’d want to get the trading post as high above that plain as possible while still being within easy reach of the river. But I guess they couldn’t find anything higher.