VANCOUVER, Wash. — Community residents, teachers, students and history buffs have a new resource for learning about the history of Columbia River communities. The Center for Columbia River History recently completed a three-and-a-half year Web project detailing the history of the eight communities, now available online at

With a $350,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education, professors and students from Washington State University Vancouver, WSU in Pullman and Portland State University developed the comprehensive Web site from concept to creation.

Twelve undergraduate students from WSU Vancouver, two postdoctoral fellows from WSU, and three graduate and 12 undergraduate students from PSU helped with concepts, research and transcription of oral histories, as well as creation of content and design.

“It was a process of collaborative research and development to create a rich bank of primary source material available on the Web,” said Laurie Mercier, associate director of CCRH, director of the Columbia Communities Project and professor of history at WSU Vancouver.

Designed for the general public, as well as students and teachers, the project focuses on the communities of Camas, Wash.; Columbia Basin Native Fishery; Columbia Slough, Ore.; Cottage Grove, Ore.; Moses Lake, Wash.; Sandpoint, Idaho; Umatilla, Ore.; and Crewport, Wash. The community histories begin in the 1930s after the building of dams on the Columbia River. Each history contains an overview, maps, photo archive, oral histories and links to different primary resources such as government documents, newspaper articles, reminiscences and correspondence. The Camas pages were researched and written by Mercier’s senior history methods class at WSU Vancouver and a PSU graduate student in history.

Each community history includes curriculum questions as a resource for teachers and students in history. Mercier has visited a number of local schools to talk with students and teachers in history classes about the Web site and the connection of local and regional history to U.S. history.

The histories can be found on the CCRH Web site under “Community Histories.” The CCRH is a consortium of the Washington State Historical Society, WSU Vancouver and PSU to promote the study of Columbia Basin history. For more information, contact Mercier at 360/546-9646 or