A View from The Roof of Cloud Cap Inn

A View from The Roof of Cloud Cap Inn – Circa 1900.

Cloud Cap Inn was built in 1889 and opened August 6th of the same year. It was built by William Ladd, a Portland banker and C.E.S. Wood a Portland attorney. It was Woods wife, Nannie, who named the hotel.

Cloud Cap Inn
Cloud Cap Inn

Prior to building the Inn they bought the road and created the Mt. Hood Stage Co. The road needed improvements before building could begin. Chinese laborers were employed in the project. A stretch of road referred to as “China Fill” was a 22-precent grade and was a challenge to the early automobiles attempting the trip. The original road didn’t follow today’s road. As you drive up to the Inn you can still see the old road intersect the new occasionally. It ran along the ridge between Evans Creek and Crystal Springs Creek.

Cloud Cap Inn
Cloud Cap Inn

The same architectural firm that designed Cloud Cap Inn designed the Forestry Building for the Lewis and Clark Exposition in Portland in 1905. All of the logs came from around the building site. Cables were used to hold the building down during high winds. Wind did end up blowing down one of the original chimneys in the early 1900’s. Water was supplied to the Inn from Tilly Jane Creek, 1200 feet away.

Business was slow in the beginning. The Inn closed down in 1890 and Ladd and Wood turned over operation of the Inn to James Langille’s wife, Sarah, nick named Tansana, in 1891. Sarah ran Cloud Cap at a much simpler level and was able to operate at a profit. Her two son’s Will and Doug worked at the Inn as mountain guides.

Cloud Cap Inn Cabins
Cloud Cap Inn Cabins. These cabins are no longer there but you can still see the steel cables that were used to anchor them down due to the strong winds.

A tradition was started where when a person made a summit ascent they were allowed to take their personal business card and thumbtack it to the ceiling. This was done by putting the tack through the card and backing it up with a silver dollar and throwing it up to the ceiling.

In 1894 Ladd brought telephone wire and equipment to install a phone system at the Inn. Will Langille installed the equipment and ran the wire.

Cloud Cap Inn
Cloud Cap Inn

Will left Oregon to join the Alaskan gold rush. Doug stayed on as guide until 1900 when he joined the U.S. Geological Survey. Sarah’s nephew, Horace Mecklem came to help out after her son’s left. Sarah then hired two European guides until 1903. Mark Weygant went to work for Sarah in 1904 and worked for her for several years. Sarah retired from operating the Inn successfully in 1907 and turned operation over to Horace Mecklem and his wife Olive.

The first automobile driven to Cloud Cap arrived in 1907. It was a one cylinder Cadillac. After the trip Mecklem used a Pierce Arrow as a stage from Hood River to the Inn, but the auto could only go to the China Fill, but it cut down the time from Hood River from 8 hours to 3.

Photographers Rock
Photographers Rock

Dorsey Smith assumed the operation of the Inn around 1910(?). Homer Rogers, who ran a lodge in Parkdale, bought the Inn in 1919 from Ladd for $5,000. And a long-term contract from the Forest Service was made.

In 1925 the government was planning the Mount Hood Loop Highway and considering building a newer and bigger inn, similar to Rainier’s Paradise Hotel. They pressured Rodgers to make improvements to the road or lose his permit. Homer ended up selling the Inn to a group of people headed by J.C. Ainsworth. They hired Dorsey Smith to operate the Inn until a new one was built.

A Lenticular Cloud over Cloud Cap Inn
A Lenticular Cloud over Cloud Cap Inn

The plans for a new Grand Lodge didn’t bring the funds needed by private investors. Enthusiasm for the project was briefly renewed when the Mt. Hood committee came up with plans for a tramway to the summit of Mount Hood. But opposition from the Mazama climbing club and groups concerned with the environmental affects and safety killed that project too.

In 1927 Dorsey Smith turned the Inn’s operation over to Noyes Tyrell, who operated the very successful Tyrell’s Tavern near Bonneville. He ran it until 1932 when it stood empty for about a year.

Cloud Cap Inn Interior
Cloud Cap Inn Interior contemporary image.

Boyd French Sr. leased it around 1934 until the war caused it to close its operation. The Mt. Hood Road and Wagon Company sold the Inn in 1942 to the Forest Service for $2,000. Dorsey Smith was the representative in the transaction, ending his long association with Cloud Cap. Boyd Smith used the Inn as a part time residence until after the war. Attempts to operate the Inn failed after that and in 1950 the Forest Service was considering tearing down the Inn, as it had fallen into disrepair.

The Crag Rats, a Hood River based climbing club, after a struggle with the government, secured permission to use the Inn as a clubhouse and a base for their snow surveys. The Crag Rats went to work repairing the old building and

The View From Cloud Cap Inn
The View From Cloud Cap Inn

maintain it to this day. In 1974 Cloud Cap Inn and Vista House were placed, by the state, on the list of historic places.

Cloud Cap Inn is accessible by car via a rough dirt road when it’s not closed due to snow. Hiking trails and camping are available in the area as well as majestic views of Mount Hood from the timber line at 6000′, the same elevation as Timberline Lodge on the opposite side of the mountain.

Cloud Cap Inn Visitors
Cloud Cap Inn Visitors
Cloud Cap Inn Flyer
Cloud Cap Inn Flyer

 

Cloud Cap Inn Flyer
Cloud Cap Inn Flyer

Welches Ranch, Welches Oregon

Here’s a great early view of the old Welches Ranch at Welches Oregon.

This view is after Sam had gone. You can see the store, post office, the dance hall and the white canvas tourist tents lined up along the road to the left of the Welch home. Billy’s cow pasture, which is now the golf course at the resort, is at the left side while his orchard can be seen on the right side of the photo.

When this photo was taken there was only a sign out at the Barlow Road, where the modern shopping center is presently located, directing people to turn south and drive to Welches Ranch one mile away.

Welches Ranch, Welches Oregon
Welches Ranch, Welches Oregon

A Day at Oneonta Gorge circa 1910

Here’s a happy group of hikers exploring Columbia River Gorge Gorge around 1910 becoming a part of the Oneonta Gorge History . This slot canyon within the Columbia River Gorge and on the scenic Historic Columbia River Highway has been a popular location to explore for a very long time. Today on a hot Summer day it can be elbow to elbow with people.

Today there’s a log pile to negotiate and a stretch of water that can be chest to chin deep to make your way into the little canyon, but there’s an amazing waterfall at the end as a reward for the trek.

Oneonta Gorge Party
Oneonta Gorge Party

To Mount Hood – Through Oregon’s Lolo Pass

Ford Times August 1958 – To Mount Hood Through Oregon’s Lolo Pass

Here’s a great story from 1958 about driving through Lolo Pass Road back when it first opened. It tells about how, after it was determined that the area was not a part of the Bull Run Lake watershed, the road was built in 1955 opened to the public from Spring until Fall for fantastic views of  Mount Hood’s west side.

Ford Times August 1958
Ford Times August 1958

 

Ford Times August 1958
Ford Times August 1958

 

Ford Times August 1958
Ford Times August 1958

 

Ford Times August 1958
Ford Times August 1958

Oneonta Bluff and Tunnel

Oneonta Bluff and Railroad Tracks
Oneonta Bluff and Railroad Tracks

Here’s a rare view of Oneonta Bluff and the old railway bed prior to the

construction of the Historic Columbia River Highway.

Once construction of the road took place the construction of the tunnel allowed automobile passage through the basalt promontory. In time increased traffic and larger cars and trucks necessitated the relocation of the railroad and the highway to allow the cars to bypass the tunnel altogether. The tunnel was filled in 1948.

Oneonta Gorge  Tunnel
Oneonta Gorge Tunnel

Covered up and virtually forgotten, many people would stand on the old bridge that seemed to direct traffic directly into a solid rock wall.

In 2009, as a part of the restoration of the remaining segments of the old road, the tunnel was excavated and restored, including the wooden cribbing and rock facades.

Today the old tunnel is a pedestrian passage and witness to the old Columbia River’s history.

Columbia River Highway at Oneonta Gorge
Columbia River Highway at Oneonta Gorge

#oregon #columbiariverhighway #historiccolumbiariverhighway #oneontagorge #onenotatunnel #history #columbiarivergorge

The First West Coast Trip by Automobile – 1912

First West Coast Trip by Automobile

This is a great story that conveys the challenges of travelling from California to Portland Oregon in and automobile in 1912. Along the way the travelers were mired in mud, forded a river, were blocked by fallen trees and endured snow and ice. All while camping along the way, in their hats and suits.

In this modern day and age we’re used to paved roads to most any destination that we might have in mind to travel to. There aren’t many people who remember the days prior to the coast to coast interstate system that was built in the 1950’s these days let alone the old days of rural dirt roads or horse trails.

In 1912 many of the larger cities had started to pave their streets but once you left the city you were most likely sharing a dirt road with a horse and wagon. At that time not many people beyond the affluent had an automobile, and not many of them took their cars outside of the city in which they lived.

The automobiles of 1912 were quite primitive and troublesome and weren’t relied upon for long distance travel. Automobiles had been around for a couple of decades but were rare. The Ford Model T had only been built for three years and had yet to catch fire completely with the working man.

The concept of an interstate road or a maintained highway had not quite been thought necessary.  The cities had yet to be connected essentially. Loading up your wagon, hitching up the horse and travelling from Los Angeles to Portland was not so common. Most folks took a stage, ship or, in most cases, a train.

In 1912 Portland Oregon hosted the Elks Club National Convention. Back then it was a big deal. Portland businesses came together with activities and events to entertain the attendees. People from all over the country came to Portland to attend, most all using conventional and practical transportation, but there were others who decided to take their own road and their own transportation. Four men walked from Brookfield Missouri claiming a trip of over 2200 miles. It took them over three months.

At the same time three men struck out from an unknown city (Not mentioned in the notes included with the photographs) in California toward Portland Oregon in a 1912 Haynes touring car. Claiming to be the “1st men to drive from California to Portland”. Frank Morehead, Charlie McClower, John Roger Wood were off on an adventure if the photos are any evidence at all.

Although not verified that they’re the first to drive the west coast in a car, they are certainly some of the first and these photographs give an idea of what it must have been like.

I acquired the photos in an eBay auction. They came from a scrapbook in an estate sale in Michigan. I collect antique photographs so I bid on them and won the auction. The photos came with a short description but no details. There is no information that I’m able to find on the web. I thought that I would share them here.

On the way to Portland
On the way to Portland
Taking a break
Taking a break
Camping along the road
Camping along the road
A muddy road
A muddy road
A typical road
A typical road
Camping in pine trees
Camping in pine trees
Fording a river
Fording a river
Camp Rhein
Camp Rhein
Cutting a tree from the road
Cutting a tree from the road
A visitor and his horse and wagon
A visitor and his horse and wagon
Stuck in the mud
Stuck in the mud
A snowy forest road
A snowy forest road
Cattle in the road
Cattle in the road
A snowy forest road
A snowy forest road
Willamette River Falls Oregon City
Willamette River Falls Oregon City
In Portland Oregon
In Portland Oregon
Note on back of photo
Note on back of photo
Haynes Automobile
Haynes Automobile

All photos copyright Gary Randall