The Rhododendron Inn

Campers at The Rhododendron Inn
Campers at The Rhododendron Inn

In the early days in the communities on the south side of Mount Hood travelers on the old road to the mountain relied on the inns and roadhouses for a bed and a meal while they traveled through or played in the area.

Henry S Rowe
Henry S Rowe

The roads were primitive and the automobiles were slow. It would take the best part of a day to drive from Portland, for instance, in contrast to the hour drive that it is today. As a consequence of the time that it took to journey to Mount Hood many roadhouses, hotels and restaurants sprung up along the old road. The town of Rhododendron had the Rhododendron Inn.

Rhododendron Inn
Rhododendron Inn

Henry S. Rowe, a Mayor of Portland from  1900 to 1902, had the Rhododendron Inn in built 1905 on 160 acres of land that he owned. A Portland Fire Chief that served during Rowe’s administration by the name of Lee Holden did the construction and design.

Rhododendron Inn
Rhododendron Inn

Continue reading The Rhododendron Inn

Norma’s Bean Pot Wemme Oregon

A familiar restaurant remembered on the way to and from Mount Hood was Norma’s Bean Pot at Wemme, Hwy 26, circa 1961 – 1974.

Operated by Norma Fay Waldron-McKean (1907 – 1999).

Contributed by Peter Bellant.

The Bean Pot Wemme Oregon
The Bean Pot Wemme Oregon

Billy’s Milk Shed – Welch’s Ranch Tokens

Billy’s Milk Shed and his Welch’s Ranch Tokens.

In the day and age of quick trips to the store for a gallon of milk as well as refrigeration to preserve the milk we sometimes forget that our ancestors didn’t have those conveniences.

Billy and friends posing in front of old Welches Post Office
Billy and friends posing in front of old Welches Post Office

Billy Welch was a resort proprietor. He ran the Welch’s Ranch in a way as to include most supplies that the visitors, hotel guests, cabin dwellers as well as campers might need during their stay. He had a dance hall, restaurant, post office, was a notary public and operated a store, much like convenience stores of today, that had everything from candy for the kids to food for meals as well as other items of necessity.

In its early stages Billy’s store had no refrigeration. In lieu of coolers or or ice chests he had a cold shed down at the Salmon River where he had diverted the cold water from the river through the shed. It kept the shed chilled and things such as jars of milk could be preserved by sitting in the cold water bath.

To purchase your milk you would buy aluminum tokens at the store and then, as you needed milk, you would go to the cold shed and drop your token in the can and take your jar of cold milk. Billy had two denominations. One pint and one quart. On one side it read WELCH’S RANCH. On the other it read GOOD FOR 1 PINT or GOOD FOR 1 QUART.

Today these Welch’s Ranch Tokens are quite scarce.

Welch's Ranch Tokens for Milk
Welch’s Ranch Tokens for Milk

American – Swiss Model Garden at Brightwood, Oregon

At one time there was the American – Swiss Model Garden Brightwood, Oregon.

This is only one of many small businesses and tourist themed stopping spots along the highway to Mount Hood in the 1940-1960’s. This is an old flyer advertising the American – Swiss Model Garden at Brightwood, Oregon.

If anyone reading this can positively identify the location of this place I will revise this article and add that information. Thank you.

“Open from Dawn to Dusk. Open early April until the end of October. Bring you camera along.

Nowhere is there anything like it and this is certainly true for the American – Swiss Model Garden. It is a lovely combination of a lovely rock and flower garden, featuring small water-pools, rustic looking bridges, miniature waterfalls, as well as miniature Alpine houses and castles.  Through the greater part of the garden a miniature railroad is running, fascinating young and old. Three trains (freight, passenger, and express), all Swiss styled, alternate in running through the garden. A picturesque alpine village, miniature size, containing the railroad station, church, castle and a number of Swiss Alpine houses, amazes all visitors.

Flower lovers also will be thrilled by the variety of the many flower beds, just to mention the American and Swiss flags done in flowers. Beautiful hanging baskets add much to the beauty and atmosphere of this garden. Edelweiss and Alpenrosen are among the outstanding rock plants. Of special interest is the rose garden section, containing rose bushes, climbing roses, tree roses, and miniature roses.

The garden is placed in a natural setting and its atmosphere is very informal and relaxing. As you admire and enjoy it, music, mostly Swiss Alpine (accordian (sic) and yodeling), will accompany you.

A truly beautiful garden… a place worthwhile to visit.”

It’s certainly a shame that we no longer have such a simple culture to support such businesses as the American – Swiss Model Garden Brightwood, Oregon.

American - Swiss Model Garden Brightwood, Oregon
American – Swiss Model Garden Brightwood, Oregon
Brightwood Model Swiss Garden
Brightwood Model Swiss Garden

Remembering Joie Smith – Mount Hood Legend

Joie Smith was a legend on Mount Hood for 60 years. Her story will be told for years into the future.

Joie was everything from an Olympic skier to a pilot to a tow company owner and operator.

Smith, Joie Reid 85 June 17, 1928 – Mar. 29, 2014
A longtime Mt. Hood resident, Joie Reid Smith, passed away March 29, 2014, at her home in Rhododendron. She was born in Portland to June (Reid) and Oscar Clossett. Her mother married Blasdel Smith after Oscar’s passing. In 1953, she moved to Rhododendron where she operated a ski shop and later a towing business. Joie is survived by her half sister, Gayle Smith Kosel; numerous nieces; and a nephew. Her half brother, Sherrill Smith, predeceased her. A celebration of life will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 27, 2014, at Mt. Hood Lions Club in Welches. Remembrances may be made to Camp Namanu through Camp Fire Columbia.

Published in The Oregonian from Apr. 11 to Apr. 13, 2014

This video brought tears to my eyes. I’ll miss my dear friend Joie Smith for the rest of my life. I have so many precious memories of our times together.

Thank you to everyone responsible for putting this video together. Thank you to my friend Bill White for his part and for the DVD copy.