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.
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.
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.