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

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

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.