The Brightwood Museum and Novelty Shop

The Brightwood Museum and Novelty Shop. Many locals who remember this place in its heyday still call this the Snake Pit. In its lifetime it was several things, including a church and a home. The building was constructed by renowned Mount Hood cabin builder Henry Steiner as a roadside tourist souvenir shop along the way to Mount Hood. This was his last log structure project. At one point it was even a reptile garden.

Back before cars were developed into the high speed vehicles of today, and Highway 26 was blasted into straight line four lane route that allowed everyone to move at speeds in excess of 55 miles per hour, a trip to Mount Hood was more of an easier pace. Post World War II was a time when families took to the highways on days off and vacations to camp and to recreate. The tourist industry was a big deal, with roadhouses and unique roadside attractions. Many people called these places “tourist traps”.

In our area here on the south side of Mount Hood there were several businesses that provided both lodging and meals. A couple of the tourist traps that were here, included this business, the Brightwood Museum and Novelty Shop, the Swiss Gardens and the Mt Hood Indian Pageant.
This old building is a cultural treasure to our area but sadly it’s falling into ruins. You can still see this old structure at the intersection of Bridge Street and Brightwood Loop Road in the parking lot of the Brightwood store.

Columbia River Highway Cross and Dimmit Postcards

Cross and Dimmit Postcards of The Columbia River Gorge and Historic Columbia River Highway.

Cross and Dimit were two of the most successful photographers in Portland back in the first part of the 20th Century.

Cross and Dimmit Postcard
Crown Point and Vista House

Arthur B. Cross opened his photography studio in Portland Oregon in 1909. Five years later Edward L. Dimmit began working at Cross’s at his studio and two years later became partners with Cross, naming it “Cross and Dimmit”.

The Historic Columbia River Highway was dedicated in 1917 and quickly became a huge tourist draw. All along the new road built through the pristine and deeply beautiful Columbia River Gorge, roadhouses, restaurants and gift shops sprung up to supply the needs of the tourist traffic.

And around that very same time postcards became extremely popular due to the fact that one could buy a package of cards and forego lugging their own camera long, or to allow those without ne to have photos of the views, streams and waterfalls along the road. All of these factors came together to provide the new Cross and Dimmit venture with a steady stream of potential customers via the souvenirs shops as well as from the running boards of their Model T Ford. In time they had their own gift shop located at Crown Point near Vista House.

Cross and Dimmit created real photo postcards in large quantities and sold them individually as well as packs of a variety of scenes. Most everyone who toured the gorge back then bought some. Cross and Dimmit sold scenes from other areas, but the photos of the gorge are their most iconic photos. Today they’re some of the best photos of the Columbia River Gorge and the historic Columbia River Highway from that era, and because of the quantities that they made, are still easy to find.

This is a series of their most common cards of the Columbia Gorge. They start from Chanticleer Point, today referred to as The Women’s Forum near the town of Corbett. They then go along the highway from Crown Point and Vista House to the Rowena Loops near The Dalles Oregon.

Arthur Cross died in 1940 and Dimmit lived until 1963.

 

Historic Columbia River Highway
Visitors to the Gorge can drive, bike, and hike on the Historic Columbia River Highway between Troutdale and The Dalles.

Reliance Mt Hood Stages

Reliance Mt Hood Stages – First Autos to Mount Hood

Reliance Mt Hood Stages – In the early days of the road to Mount Hood, after the immigrant era, the road allowed the burgeoning new city of Portland to access the mountain for recreation. Mountain climbing and hiking the trails in the foothills in those days was the primary activity in the area. Skiing had yet to become an activity on the mountain.

Reliance Mt Hood Stages
Reliance Mt Hood Stages advertising

Automobiles were starting to become a practical means of transportation, but was still primitive. Most people didn’t own a car which gave stage companies an opportunity to carry fun seekers to and from the lodges and roadhouses on Mount Hood. This also gave inn keepers an opportunity to host these people because a trip to Mount Hood wasn’t a simple day trip. Many times a trip to The Mountain was a week minimum investment in time.

Lodges such as Arrah Wanna, Welches Ranch, Tawney’s Mountain Home, La Casa Monte, The Rhododendron Tavern and the Government Camp Hotel all sprang up due to a need to recreational lodging.

The flyer below gives a great representation of the mileage, the lodging available and cost of a trip to the mountain.

Those days were primitive and simple and difficult compared to this day and age, but the life that was lived seems much more fun and adventure filled than the way we live today.

Mt Hood By Motor Stage
Mt. Hood – South Side
Reliance Mt Hood Stages
Mountain Division
“The Mt. Hood Line”
10th Season of Reliable Service

Owned and Operated by
Irvington Garage and Auto Co. Inc.
J. L. S. Snead, Pres,-Mgr. Phones: East 0135 East 3410
Tickets, Reservations and Waiting Room at
Stage Depot
Park and Yamhill Streets
Phone Main 8611

Reliance Mt Hood Stages Advert
Reliance Mt Hood Stages Advert

 

Reliance Mt Hood Stages Advert
Reliance Mt Hood Stages Advert

 

Reliance Mt Hood Stages Advert
Reliance Mt Hood Stages Advert

 

Reliance Mt Hood Stages Advert
Reliance Mt Hood Stages Advert

 

Six Horse Mt Hood Area Sightseeing Carriage Photo

Mt Hood Area Sightseeing Carriage – Early Oregon Tourism

Six Horse Mt Hood Area Sightseeing Carriage – SIX-HORSE TEAM AND SIGHT-SEEING CARRIAGE IN MOUNT HOOD AREA IN 1893 –

Before the days of automobiles sight-seers were taken over roads at the base of Mount Hood in equipages such as this. The late E. S. Olinger, known as one of Oregon’s most noted drivers is holding the reins.

This six-horse team pulling its crowded carriage of a summer-Sunday sightseers was photographed in 1893 in the Mt. Hood area. E.S. Olinger, one of top drivers, handled the reins.

Six-horse sight-seeing carriage in Mount Hood area in 1893
Six-horse sight-seeing carriage in Mount Hood area in 1893
Oregon Trail – Wikipedia
The Oregon Trail is a 2,170-mile (3,490 km) historic East–West, large-wheeled wagon route … on the California Trail (from 1843), Mormon Trail (from 1847), and Bozeman Trail (from 1863), before turning off to their separate destinations.

The Rhododendron Inn

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. Continue reading The Rhododendron Inn