Pamplin Media Group – HISTORY: Summers in Southeast; What we did then, to beat the warmth


This month Dana Beck explores what earlier generations of Southeast residents did to beat summer season warmth

COURTESY OF CECE CUTSFORTH - In 1915, as a summertime lark, Margaret Crosby (later Cutsforth) took an epic road trip to  California from Riddle, Oregon, with her grandmother and three cousins. They ostensibly went to visit the Pan American Exposition in San Francisco - but added a side trip down to  Tijuana, Mexico. This makeshift auto was their only means of transportation, and they often slept in it during their one-month trip, much of it on dirt roads. Since, in retirement, I now dwell fulltime on the northern Oregon Coast, I discover that when temperatures in Portland get too scorching to bear, folks head to the Oregon seashores. It isn’t unusual to see Freeway 101 inundated with campers, trailers, automobiles, and bikes — touring to and from state parks, seashore waysides, and viewpoints, to flee the warmth within the massive metropolis.

Autos are lined up bumper to bumper alongside the freeway close to each climbing path. This mad sprint to the seashore made me go to the archives to search out what Southeast Portlanders did throughout early years — again when just a few folks owned a car, or might afford the luxurious of spending per week on the seashore.

Much more daunting again then: There weren’t any paved roads or freeways to make use of for such a visit in these days — but, cities like Astoria, Gerhart, and even Rockaway on the flip of the Twentieth Century and later, grew to become common locations in the course of the summer season. So simply how did Portlanders get there?

Within the 1800s, solely the rich — who lived primarily within the west hills of Portland — might afford the time or cash for a leisure journey anyplace. Portland was a bustling and rising port metropolis, and the working inhabitants was consumed with to day-to-day actions, beginning a household, working within the massive city, or typically elevating crops within the countryside.

Excursions for individuals who might afford to take day without work may imply three or 4 days of leisure with a mates or acquaintances near house. Looking within the forests of the West Hills was a pastime for well-off males, or taking a ferry with horse and wagon throughout the Willamette River with the intention to fish alongside Johnson Creek, or within the Clackamas and Sandy Rivers.

Earlier than the Oregon Coast grew to become common, rich households would journey by steam ferry or personal launch a brief distance on the river to a horse racing observe. Horse racing and out of doors sporting occasions have been provided within the Eighteen Eighties at locations like Metropolis View Racetrack on the bluff above Oaks Backside. In miles, it was solely a small jaunt from the place they lived, but it surely was up and throughout the river from downtown — they usually spent the week finish socializing, ingesting, consuming, wagering, or taking within the leisure.

Again then, these needing a for much longer journey — one to the Oregon Coast — went aboard ocean-going vessels or a chartered steamboat from the Willamette River in Portland, westward down the Columbia River to the city of Astoria. You see, there wasn’t a travelable wagon street between the north coast and the Willamette Valley till 1874, when the Trask River Wagon Toll Street opened.

The opening of that street meant that adventurous and hardy souls might courageous the 45-mile-long dusty journey to Tillamook — using in a horse-drawn wagon by steep canyons, throughout closely timbered slopes, and by means of slim ridgeways that usually scraped the perimeters of a wagon or coach because it handed. Enterprising retailers alongside the best way have been well-prepared with tents, out of doors sleeping gear, and further meals provides, in case a damaged axle or a misplaced wheel meant a delay of a day or two for such vacationers throughout their journey.

John Barnes, creator of the “Oregon Encyclopedia”, in his article concerning the Trask Toll Street, defined that, “It was a two-day journey for passengers on the North Yamhill and Tillamook Stage Line — and the price of a one-way ticket was 5 {dollars}.” That was a substantial sum for a person to pay at the moment.

Within the early 1900s, the Sellwood Switch Firm — sited at S.E. eleventh Avenue and Umatilla, in Sellwood — rented carriages, coaches, and groups of horses for people in search of a visit to the Oregon Coast, or planning a weekend tour as much as Mt. Hood. In the summertime months, the semi-pro Sellwood baseball crew would lease a four-horse carriage from the Sellwood Switch Firm for his or her annual baseball trek west to Seaside, Rockway, and Astoria.

It wasn’t till the Nineties {that a} well-planned resort city was based by Marshall and Narcissa Kinney, which they known as Gearhart — located eleven miles south of the industrious timber and fishing city of Astoria. Marshall started building of the frilly Lodge Gearhart, which additionally included a livery secure and auditorium, to draw the rich of Portland for a trip on the seashore. Within the following years the Gearhart Golf Hyperlinks have been added to the facilities there for these wishing to take up the game, which was then new to most West Coast residents.

Oregon’s north coast was a vacationer vacation spot by 1898, when the Astoria and Columbia River Railroad opened for enterprise, and other people from Portland might lastly journey to Astoria in a well timed method. Passengers nonetheless needed to disembark at Astoria and lease a horse and carriage to get to Gearhart, however inside the subsequent few years the road was prolonged south to Seaside, with a cease out there on the village of Gearhart on the best way.

Even then summer season days in Portland might typically get stifling scorching, and smoke-filled metropolis streets made it even much less inviting — busy, as they have been, with supply wagons, shouting teamsters, and clanging avenue automobiles, with pedestrians in all places. Moms and kids might now escape the warmth and smoke of the town to the coast, the place days have been cool and evenings have been stuffed with the sounds of the surf and the wind. However the man of the home stayed within the massive metropolis to work!

Daddy got here down on weekends to affix them, by way of the well-known “Daddy Practice Run” — whereby Portland businessmen, bankers, and professionals would depart Portland late Friday evening or early Saturday morning, to spend the weekend with their family members vacationing on the coast. Come Monday they’d be again in Portland to renew their professions.

It wasn’t unusual for moms and children to spend a month, and even the entire summer season, vacationing in tents, small wood cabins, or in makeshift shelters alongside the sandy dunes of a north-coast seashore or forest. However when the weekend arrived, and rail automobiles have been stuffed with the husbands and fathers headed to the coast for a few days, the stations alongside the road have been full of lots of of youngsters and their moms dressed of their most interesting, readily available to greet the daddies on their weekend go to to the seashore.

This was such a typical situation that railroads provided a weekend particular price of three {dollars} for the spherical journey to the coast. Because of this, each weekend in the summertime, the trains to Astoria have been crammed to capability, and when railroad service was prolonged south to Seaside many continued right down to stops on the best way to that vacation spot.

In Rockaway, Oregon (then referred to as Rockaway Seaside), it wasn’t till 1912 that the group celebrated the opening of its first prepare station. Following the lead of Gearhart and Seaside, actual property buyers started shopping for tons at Rockaway Seaside, in hopes {that a} railroad would quickly be constructed, to permit commuters simpler entry to their trip spots.

So, in 1911, Elmer and Charles Lytle have been actively recruited by native property homeowners to start engaged on a railroad that may function from Hillsboro to Tillamook. To start with, Lytle deliberate on reaping massive rewards from his railway by harvesting coastal timber and transport the timbers to one of many many sawmills and lumber firms working alongside the Willamette waterfront.

Nevertheless, finally, Elmer discovered he might make more cash transporting vacationers and coastal property homeowners, as a substitute of lumber, aboard his Pacific Railway and Navigation Firm line. Elmer loved the seashore a lot he finally grew to become the only proprietor of the townsite of Lytle Lake, and he commissioned an agent to unload parts of his property. Few folks complained concerning the time consumed within the eleven-hour experience from Portland and the Willamette Valley to a ultimate vacation spot on the north coast.

Retailers, small retailer homeowners, docs, and dentists who all had labored arduous through the years finally accrued sufficient cash to spend money on seashore property. Trip houses have been now not only for folks endowed with appreciable wealth. For the low value of simply twenty {dollars}, most people might purchase a small lot on which to pitch a tent or construct a small shack among the many timber and near the surf of the Pacific Ocean.

As considered one of Portland’s oldest continuously-operating newspapers, having been established in Sellwood in 1906, THE BEE stored neighbors knowledgeable on who was going to the seashore and who had simply returned from an extended summer season trip. Moreover the on a regular basis occasions within the massive metropolis and across the neighborhood on the entrance web page, subscribers might flip to the center of the paper to learn “Sellwood Happenings”. This part of the newspaper listed child and marriage ceremony bulletins, rooms to lease, fruit and greens on the market, and naturally who (from out of city) was visiting who. Additionally, the place neighbors going for the summer season.

Within the subject of August thirtieth, 1918, this newspaper introduced, “John Madlung, Earl Newbury, and others left Thursday morning of final week for salt air for a number of days, then on to Wahtum Lake, to be gone till faculty opens.” Apparently Sellwood residents weren’t apprehensive about break-ins or burglaries by thus promoting to the general public how lengthy they’d be gone!

Then-editor C.M. Thompson had figured that he might get extra folks to subscribe to THE BEE if he talked about their names within the newest version of the paper, so he talked about as many as he might. An annual subscription price one greenback, again in 1923.

In 1922, whereas lots of hurried off to the seashores for the cool breezes of the ocean waves, others — just like the Stryker household — opted for different decisions. THE BEE on the time reported to its subscribers that, “Donald and Rey Stryker Jr. drove their devoted Shetland pony “Ted” to the Stryker farm close to Hubbard, Oregon, lately, the place they’ll spend the summer season.”

Sellwood and Westmoreland, like most different neighborhoods then, had a considerable center class with loads of free time on their fingers. For individuals who could not get the day without work, summertime actions may embody fishing on the Willamette, picnicking at Oaks Park, or catching a streetcar to one of many outlying parks — the place non secular gatherings and Chautauquas have been common.

As Portland newspapers and actual property brochures introduced low-cost coastal property on the market, extra small resort cities and bed room communities started showing, beginning about fifteen miles north of Tillamook Bay. The Pacific Railway prepare had stops all alongside the best way — Manhattan Seaside, Moroney City, Lake Lytle, Beal’s Addition, Seaview Park, Elmore Park, Saltair, Rockaway Seaside, Halfway Seaside, Ocean Lake Park, and Profile Rocks. By the Nineteen Twenties most of those teeny communities have been combining to type the township of Rockaway. You may even expertise what journey was like in these days, by using the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad that at this time within the summers nonetheless presents rides between Garibaldi and Rockaway each day.

COURTESY OF WHEELER ANTIQUE MALL - Auto Camps peaked in popularity between 1915 and 1922; many of them were located along major highways in Oregon. This postcard advertised an Auto Camp located in East Portland near todays Parkrose. Two other auto camps, for those visiting the Portland area, could be found in Oregon City - and also in Vancouver, Washington. Shortly, although, the rising and widespread adoption of the car as a way of journey would change significantly the size and comfort of the journey for vacationers. The rising center class and the manufacturing of his Mannequin A automobile by Henry Ford resulted in a increase in tourism reaching an all-time excessive alongside the Oregon Coast.

Governor Oswald West decreed that the Oregon seashores ought to and can be accessible by a public freeway, and the next 12 months — 1915 — the “Roosevelt Coast Army Freeway” (In the present day’s Freeway 101) was formally devoted for motorists to make use of in touring the Oregon coast north and south. By August of the identical 12 months, the Columbia River Freeway was accomplished between Astoria and Portland. Autos have been changing into “King of The Street”, and vacationers did not have to waste their trip time touring on railroad passenger automobiles that took from 10 to fifteen hours to get them to their vacation spot.

The opening of latest roadways gave the general public a wide range of new trip spots and factors of curiosity to go to. Margaret Crosby, who later in life married Lee Vernon Cutsforth and finally settled in Sellwood, took a visit south throughout the States of Oregon and California and again. Margaret — together with her grandmother, aunt, and cousins in tow — launched into a household journey to the Exposition celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal, in San Francisco in 1915.

Regardless of all the brand new roads, there was nonetheless no state-spanning freeway in both state, and plenty of roads have been nonetheless not paved. Accommodations, primarily present in giant cities, have been the one type of paid lodging — and fuel stations have been virtually nonexistent outdoors metropolitan areas. So Margaret’s journey all the best way to San Francisco, and significantly past, proved undoubtedly to be a once-in-a-lifetime expertise for the 4 women and one gentleman within the car.

Throughout their journey — which finally was from Riddle, Oregon, to Tijuana, Mexico, and again — they needed to cross streams and rivers of their path by driving throughout railroad trestles, and sleeping in a single day in farmers’ fields or below haystacks. However, in the long term, all of them did return safely within the auto again to Oregon. (Particulars of the Crosby/Cutsforth household’s epic journey have been reported within the Could, 2019, subject of THE BEE.)

After the opening of The Oregon Coast Freeway and the Columbia River Freeway, folks in automobiles started to enterprise out onto the open street — regardless of few if any motels or lodges by which to spend the evening, few eating places alongside the best way to dine in, and no fuel stations. “Auto Camps” grew to become the default in a single day keep for these pioneering motorists.

As Stephen Mark wrote in his “Save the Auto Camps” article, distributed by the Nationwide Park Service, most Auto Camps have been to be present in metropolis parks, or in well-manicured byways simply outdoors of city. They provided motorists a secure place to tug right into a degree spot for in a single day stays. There, vacationers might pitch tents, put together meals on a metallic cooking grill, and infrequently take a showers and/or have the comfort of pit bogs (outhouses).

The southern Oregon group of Grants Cross opened up the primary Auto Camp within the state in 1910; it was at Riverside Park, only a stone’s throw from the Rogue River. Lithia Park in Ashland was the following to supply tenting providers, as Stephen Marks has identified: “Native boosters misplaced no time in attempting to capitalize upon vacationers touring to the Panama Pacific Exposition held in San Francisco.” The Crosby/Cutsforth Household could nicely have stayed the evening in considered one of these layover spots on their option to the Golden State.

The automobiles and different autos used for touring and tenting have been as uncommon as their homeowners. Some automobiles got here outfitted with a pull-out facet tent that related to the facet of the automobile, and pull-out kitchen models rising from the rear trunk of a automobile. A sleeping house constructed between the ceiling of the automobile and the roof provided a tomb-like resting area of interest for the driving force or passenger; and infrequently a device field was strapped to the working board of an auto for storage ofkitchen utensils, tin plates, cups, a espresso pot, and frying pans. Motorists should have felt like they have been dwelling the lifetime of pioneers when vacationing in an auto park. (A few of these makeshift improvements have developed into trendy equivalents within the design of contemporary RVs!)

So the rising car offered a cheap approach for giant households to trip, and to see the usA. Sarah Laskow wrote in her e book, “How America Joined its two Nice Loves, Automobiles and the Outside”, reported that, “By the Nineteen Twenties there have been 1000’s of auto camps — someplace between 3,000 to six,000 of them.” Some even contained makeshift cabins to remain in, with a spot beside them by which vacationers might park their automobile. (The primary glimmering of the concept of motels!)
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When extra formal motels have been later constructed alongside well-traveled highways, the sooner auto camps started to decrease — however, when this nation was immersed within the distress of the Nice Despair, these auto parks once more grew to become in nice demand for some time. In these years, many individuals have been compelled from their houses, and needed to journey to different states to search out work, so these auto parks provided aid for households dwelling of their autos. Auto camps gained the fame as locations the place migrant staff might collect safely.

Not everybody was itinerant or deeply in debt in the course of the Despair years; and though automobiles had develop into the popular from of transportation for People heading out to summer season locations, trains and steamers have been nonetheless patronized by those that might afford to experience them for weekend journeys to the Oregon coast and additional distant factors.

In 1930, longtime Sellwood resident Chet Keller caddied at a golf event in Astoria. His journey there started when he and a good friend rode the Sellwood trolley right down to the tip of the Hawthorne Bridge, the place a small steamship known as The Oregon waited for boarding passengers. For $3.00 they clambered onto the highest deck, the place they got mattresses to lie on whereas they loved the five-hour journey to Astoria. The ship stopped at each city alongside the best way, and the 2 males watched the loading and unloading of provides and the agricultural produce that have been traded alongside the route.

Lots of the Waverley Nation Membership Members and their households within the Nineteen Twenties spent from six to eight weeks yearly on the coast. The boys have been nonetheless utilizing the “daddy trains” for weekend commuting. Caddies have been invited to spend the summer season on the coast, so the Waverley members might guarantee their favourite golf caddies have been readily available. Most of those younger males lived in tents close to the membership members’ property, or discovered lodging in some low-rent seashore shack close to the surf.

COURTESY OF CECE CUTSFORTH - This was a photo from just one of the many mountain-climbing summertime adventures of Jack Meyer some seventy years ago - wielding an ice axe to tunnel through a snowbank high up on the ruggedest and hardest-to-climb of the Three Sisters mountains - the North Sister, in Central Oregon. After the Despair after which World Battle II few pastimes have been perceived as extra vigorous and harmful for a summer season trip than mountaineering. Sellwood resident CeCe Cutsforth’s father-in-law, Jack Meyer, was an avid mountain climber within the late Forties and early Fifties. Requested by CeCe on the time why he’d adopted this strenuous sport, he mildly replied, “I used to be a poor school scholar, and a tank of fuel was low-cost”. So he discovered spending the summer season climbing Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington, and different lofty peaks within the Cascade Vary, was an reasonably priced pleasure. He was one of many few males who had ever climbed all of the “Three Sisters” peaks within the house of simply 22 hours — nonetheless even at this time an astounding accomplishment.

Oregonians within the Twenty First Century are nonetheless spending scorching summer season days on the seashore, tenting within the Mt. Hood Nationwide Forest, or simply visiting family members elsewhere.

In an period of widespread air-con, our ever-hotter summers don’t compel us to go away house, or to search out cooler areas to spend the lengthy summer season days. However that comfort has not deterred us from going someplace and doing one thing as a part of celebrating summertime in Southeast Portland.

This is hoping you discovered a satisfying option to rejoice the ultimate days of this 2022 summer season!


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