The Mt Hood Ski Patrol

A true Mount Hood institution

In many ways the Mt Hood Ski Patrol is an inspiration for a pattern set and accepted worldwide when it comes to skiing safety and rescue organizations and practices.

The Mt Hood Ski Patrol traces its roots back to 1937, the year that Timberline Lodge was completed. At the times there were ski clubs and climbing clubs on Mount Hood that were formed more for camaraderie than for  the expressed purpose of safety and rescue. This was to change with increased access and use of Mount Hood’s slopes.

Prior to the construction of Timberline Lodge and its access road, skiers and climbers hiked from Government Camp to small warming huts, or cabins, built in the same general area that Timberline Lodge sits today.  The two primary organizations at the time that maintained cabins were The Wy’east Climbers and the Nile River Yacht Club, a ski club that had nothing to do with The Nile River or any yacht that plied its waters.

After recognizing the need for a safety patrol, Wy’East president Everett Darr and Nile River captain Barney McNabb approached the Forest Service with a plan to create a safety patrol on Mount Hood.  A.O. Waha, Mt Hood National Forest Supervisor at the time told them that there was no money for such a patrol and furthermore, only one person within the service knew how ski. To which Darr and McNabb told him that Wy’Easter Henry “Hank” Lewis would be perfect for the job. Hank had already performed rescues on the slopes informally and because he worked evenings in Portland at a gas station would be available on weekends; Hank was usually on Mount Hood weekends anyhow.

Waha determined that it would be feasible to have Hank work weekends on the slopes and allotted a wage of $10 per weekend. At that point Hank took the job and proceeded to create his own rescue gear, including an old rolled front wooden toboggan. Through Hanks work and recruitment of others involvement, the Mt Hood Ski Patrol was formed. In March of 1938 a committee was formed and the Mt Hood Ski Patrol became a formal organization.

It is said the original organizers of the National Ski Patrol, Charles Minot “Minnie” Dole and Roger F. Langley came to Mount Hood to learn what the Mt Hood Ski Patrol was doing, and subsequently incorporated many of the established practices in the organization of The National Ski Patrol.

During WW-II many of the patrollers went off to war, and created a legacy within the 10th Mountain Division. After the war the Oregon boys came back to Mount Hood. The post World War Two era brought a renewed surge in skiing activities on Mount Hood, and a renewed purpose for the Mt Hood Ski Patrol. The ski patrol grew and became more organized.

Today, the Mt Hood Ski Patrol is an integral part of the skiing activity on Mount Hood, adhering closely to their purpose as stated in their Mission Statement. “The Mt. Hood Ski Patrol is a member-driven organization dedicated to rescue, emergency care and public safety for the Mt. Hood recreational community”.  They serve skiers and snowboarders at Timberline Lodge, Mt Hood Ski Bowl, Summit Ski Area and Mt Hood Meadows.

When you see a patroller on Mount Hood, in their easily recognizable red jackets, give them a tip of the hat and thanks for their dedication and public service.

By Gary Randall

The Town of Faubion

Much has been written about how our local village of Welches got its name, but Welches isn’t the only town that is identified by the family that established it.

Just east of Welches and just past the historic Zigzag Ranger Station you will find Faubion Loop Road. Although a sleepy little residential area now, it once was the settlement of the William J. Faubion family.

Faubion PortraitWilliam Faubion moved his family to the area in 1907 from the Lents District of Portland. He and his wife Anna settled along the old Barlow Road, which was soon to become the Mount Hood Loop Highway. Just past Zigzag and at the base of Hunchback Mountain they built a home, which they later converted into a roadhouse, similar to our modern day bed and breakfasts. They named  it “La Casa Monte”, Spanish for “The Mountain House”.

William harvested the huge old cedar on his land, cut shake bolts and hunted to support his family. Several large stumps with springboard notches can still be seen from Highway 26 as you pass by the area. La Casa Monte was completely built from standard dimension hand split cedar boards, with no milled lumber. It was two story with cedar shingle siding, gabled roof and wide eaves. The recessed front porch had arched openings, the center one was reached by a short set of stairs leading to the front door. The interior was rustic with handmade furniture and many animals mounted and displayed, indicating Mr. Faubion’s hunting prowess and the abundance of game in the area. Mrs. Faubion was known for her cooking, particularly her huckleberry pies, making La Casa Monte an ideal destination.

La Casa MonteIn time, the addition of a store with a post office made Faubion a spot on the map. The post office was established in 1924, and was discontinued in 1932. The store and post office was operated by one of William and Anna’s daughters and son in law, Aneita (Faubion) and Thomas Brown. Many of the early motor car tourists travelling along the old Mount Hood road made La Casa Monte their first stop on their way to adventure on Mount Hood.

The Faubion’s had seven children, three boys and four girls. The oldest, a girl born in Gladstone, Oregon in 1890, was named Wilhelmina Jane (Jennie) Faubion. At twenty years old, Jennie married William “Billy” Welch, the son of Barlow Trail pioneers, and homesteaders of the area that would later become the village of Welches, Oregon. Jennie lived in  Welches until she died in 1985 at 95 years old. Most of the other Faubion children lived in the area, and were well known and an important part of the history of the Mount Hood area.

Today, the Faubion Area is bypassed by the modern Mount Hood Highway 26, and is known now as Faubion Loop Road. La Casa Monte is gone, the store is still there, but is a private residence now. The residents that live there still know the history of their neighborhood, and identify themselves as living “At Faubion”.

 

Who Was E. Henry Wemme?

Well, it seems that it’s been long enough between posts, that I should at least post the articles that I have written for the Mt Hood Magazine. If you haven’t been to the web site, please take a minute and give it a peak.

The first article is about Wemme, Oregon and the town’s namesake, E. Henry Wemme.

I hope that you enjoy the article.


Wemme, Oregon, the place with an odd name. Is it “Weemy” or “Wemmy”? How in the world did it get its name?

Wemme, pronounced “Wemmy”, is easily overlooked as folks drive past on the highway either to or from their stay at Mount Hood and its Villages. With the highway being four lanes and nearly as straight as an arrow, it hardly indicates how our road to Mount Hood used to be. And, as a matter of fact, the name itself is very much related to the growth of the highway that bypasses it.

Auto, Mount Hood, LoopThe story of the Village of Wemme must start with the establishment of the Barlow Road and its development into a toll road and a two way track from its original westerly Oregon Trail route. In the later part of the 19th century, the Barlow Road, established in 1845 by Oregon Trail immigrant Samuel Barlow, was the route to Mount Hood’s south side and its recreational possibilities for the early Portland area adventurers. The road was a private toll road and, throughout its years,  was held by several different companies. It went into many different levels of repair and disrepair over the years.

In 1912, Portland businessman and early automobile enthusiast, E. Henry Wemme purchased the old road for $5,400. Mr. Wemme is considered Oregon’s first motorist as he purchased the first automobile in Oregon, an 1899 Stanley Steamer. He owned a tent and awning business during the Alaskan gold rush, and became very wealthy supplying tents to the miners.

In 1915, after spending $25,000 on the much needed improvements, he eliminated the toll and opened the road to free travel. Upon his death in 1917, the road was willed to Wemme’s attorney, George W. Joseph, and it was held in trust until it was accepted by the Oregon Highway Commission in 1919 to be developed into the Mount Hood Loop Highway that we enjoy today.

Arrah Wanna LodgeBack in its heyday, Wemme was separated from the other local communities by the wooded, winding, rutted unpaved road. Pavement, modern automobiles and rapid travel had yet to come into existence, which made each village its own separate community. It was only after the widening of the road into a modern highway and the loss of the slow paced country road that the local communities started losing their separate identities.

Many aren’t aware that in 1977 Welches came very close to being called Wemme.  The old Wemme post office building was to be closed and replaced with a new modern facility that had been built further east and down the road to Welches. At the time Welches had no post office. A local resident, Bill White, understanding that the new post office was not in Wemme, wrote letters and petitioned the postal service to name the new post office Welches. His efforts were successful and the community of Welches retained its identity and its name.

Today, almost as soon as you enter Wemme, you’re leaving Wemme and headed to Welches. Don’t blink, you might miss it, and because of the terrific businesses and restaurants that are located there today, you will be missing much.

 

Bill White – Mount Hood Historian

Below is an article that I wrote for the Villages of Mt Hood about my friend Bill White.

I’ve known Bill for quite some time now and have gotten to know him quite well. He and I both have many common interests, mostly the love of local Mount Hood history. This is the second article the I’ve written for this webzine. I do hope to write more.

http://www.mthoodmagazine.com/2008-07/7-local-personality.htm

Meet Bill White

Humans have been interested in preserving their legacy since the dawn of time, and that want for the preservation of their legacy may have been a major reason for the development of written language. In recording history, a first hand account is always the best source. Most of those that hold the historically valuable information are our senior citizens, many of which discount their role in the stories, thus keeping the story from being told.

That’s where the next generation must assume the responsibility of searching out these people and begging such stories to be told. In my research of our local history, I have become acquainted with a long time Brightwood resident that has had the foresight to recognize his role as a record keeper of our local Mt Hood History. He has been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to become close to, and visit with many local legends that are no longer around The Mountain.

Bill White. Annabelle

William H White, “Bill”, and his family have owned a home in Brightwood for almost 40 years. His interest in local history was keen while Jenny Welch, who was married to Billy Welch, whose family the village of Welches was named for, was still spry. He was able to get to know Arlie Mitchell, who was the last tollgate keeper at the Rhododendron tollgate of the old Barlow Road as well as folks like Harry Abernathy, who when he and “his bride” first came to Welches, camped out at the spot that the Hoodland Shopping Center sits today. As past president of the Friends of Timberline, among other civic activities that he’s been involved with, he has been in association with many other notable figures who have shared their memories with him.

Bill has kept all of this information handy for historical work involving many projects and events. The Mt Hood area’s history has found a bridge in Bill White, a bridge between the generation that settled the Villages of Mt Hood, and those of us who enjoy learning as a benefit of the fruits of their labor.

Bill and his wife Barbara, are retired now and live in Brightwood full time. Bill spends much of his time sorting and filing the historical information that he has collected through the years. Bill won’t accept it, but he really is the Villages of Mt Hood Official Historian, and we owe him a debt of gratitude.

Villages of Mt Hood Post Offices

The Villages of Mt Hood Post Offices

What gives a town, or in this case a village, its identity? In most cases it’s the establishment of a post office. Many feel that the establishment of a post office is truly that which makes a settlement a town or a village. The case is no different here on The Mountain, as each of our villages have been identified in that very same way. That identity still exists in places that no longer have a post office, such as Zigzag, Wemme and Faubion.

One might think that Welches, being the center of attention in our area, would have been the first post office to be established here, but it was actually the roots of the present day Brightwood post office that makes that claim. Samuel Welch, a local pioneer and Welches namesake’s first venture in the area was a hotel and general store in what was then called Salmon, Oregon, with a post office being established in 1891. His hotel was located near the present west end of Brightwood Loop near the Salmon River, and it wasn’t until 1910 that the name Brightwood was adopted. At that point in time it was located inside of McIntyre’s General Store near its present location. The Brightwood Post Office was discontinued in 1914 but reestablished in 1925.

The next in line as one travels east was Wemme. Named for E. Henry Wemme, the benefactor of the old Barlow Road, its post office was established in 1916. Wemme was discontinued upon the establishment of the new Welches post office in 1977.

First Welches Post OfficeThe Welches post office was established at the Welch’s Ranch in June of 1905 with Linny Kern as the postmaster. Billy Welch succeeded Kern as postmaster in 1910 and served until 1940 when his wife Jennie took over. Jennie, for years the local matriarch, served until 1960 when the Welches post office was closed. The Welches post office was re-established in 1977. The original plan, at that time, was to move the Wemme post office into a new building on Welches Road, thus threatening to re-name Welches to Wemme. Because of the local outcry the postal service changed their plans and named the new post office Welches, thus insuring the perpetuation of its true identity.

In 1909, a post office was established in the little town of Rowe. Named for Henry S. Rowe, an ex-mayor of Portland who built the old Rhododendron Inn, the post office was located in Dad Miller’s store. The Rowe post office name was changed to Zigzag in 1917.

Dad Millers Store

The Zigzag post office existed as its own entity until 1964 when it became a rural delivery station for the Rhododendron post office. Although the mail was sorted at Rhododendron, the mail was postmarked “Zigzag Rur St”. The Zigzag post office closed for good in 1974.

The Rhododendron post office was established in 1920 and is still operating today.

The Faubion post office, which was located in the old Cedarwood Store on what is now Faubion Loop operated from 1924 to 1932 and was operated by William Faubion, Jennie Welch’s father.

Please take some time to send a postcard to friends or relatives. Our postmasters on The Mountain are all friendly down to earth folks that would love to have you drop in. They will also remind you that they need your business to continue their existence.