The Mt Hood Golf Course – Nestled deep within the Salmon River Valley in the foothills of Mount Hood is situated one of Oregon first and most beautiful golf courses. Today it includes a resort with all of the luxuries and amenities needed for a restful and enjoyable day on the links or for an extended vacation and base for day trips to the iconic Mount Hood territory.
In 1928 Ralph Shattuck and George Waale envisioned a golf course in Billy Welch’s pasture. The original name was “The Mt Hood Golf Course”. They leased the land from Billy with an option to buy, where they built the first nine holes and made Welches the first Oregon golf resort. Today these first nine holes, named “The Original Nine”, are known as “Pinecone”. Shattuck and Waale operated the course until 1939, when Billy and Jennie Welch took back the land and the course. Billy Welch died in 1942, leaving Jennie to operate the business.
In 1944 Jennie sold the property to J. P. Lich and his wife Oberta. J.P. Lich sold the property to Leo Hueval. Leo Hueval struggled to pay the mortgage and the property returned to J.P. Lich, who then sold to Eugene and Peggy Bowman in 1948. The Bowman’s changed the name to “Bowman’s Golf Club”. The Bowman’s added an additional nine holes named “Thistle” on land cleared by J. P. Lich for that purpose, making it an 18 hole course. The Bowman’s operated the business until 1978.
In 1973 American Guaranty purchased land across the road from the course where they built a conference center, restaurant and additional rooms for lodging. In 1979 they bought out Bowman and consolidated the two businesses and named the operation “Rippling River Resort”. A third nine holes were added which was named “The Red Side” but is known today as “Foxglove” which, at the time, made the course the only 27 hole course in Oregon.
Ed and Janice Hopper bought the resort in 1989 and changed the name to “The Resort at The Mountain”. Ed Hopper had Scottish ancestry and introduced a Scottish theme throughout the resort. The Hoppers operated the resort until 2007 where it has gone through several owners and is now named the “Mt Hood Resort”.
The photos included with this story are all real photo postcards of the resort circa ~1950-1960 and are a part of my personal collection.
George Pinner built most of the stone fireplace through the Mount Hood corridor during the 1920’s and 1930’s, many for Henry Steiner’s cabins. He was known for his shaped arched facing of solid stone and his use of convex mortar coving. George Pinner didn’t use round river run but, instead, would split and shape the stones to fit together, typically with a keystone in the center of the arch. George Pinner also carved the stone curbing for the White House in Washington DC.
George Pinner lived in the little settlement of Faubion situated between the towns of Zigzag and Rhododendron. He built his home out of solid stone. His home is still there and is located on what is now Faubion Loop Road.
It’s funny how certain situations can go in a full circle. Even old postcards sent on the other side of the world over 100 years ago can find their way back to their origin. I collect old photos and old photo postcards, especially those with historical significance to the towns and the area that surrounds Mount Hood.
In my searches I found a card on the Internet located in Germany that was from Marmot Oregon, written by Adolf Aschoff and sent to a nephew in Germany. I bought the card and in our conversation I asked if there were any more. The seller told me that he had bought one card in a shop in town but would go back to see if there were more. I ended up buying six cards in all. Every one written in old German language in Adolf Aschoff’s meticulous longhand penmanship. The writing is so small one almost needs a magnifying glass to read it.
Because I do not speak or read German I asked friends if anyone could help. My friend Bill White said that his German friend, who lives in Germany, might be able to help. I scanned the messages and then emailed them to Bill who forwarded them to his friend.
Some time passed and Bill forwarded six MS Word Documents to me with the messages typed in German as well as their translation in English. I was so excited and grateful.
Adolf was from Celle Germany. He settled in Marmot in 1883 and built Mount Hood’s first resort, Aschoff’s Mountain Home. He was known for his cheerful and enthusiastic demeanor. He was the prefect host who catered to and entertained his guests and everyone who talked about him described him as cheerful and energetic, but these correspondence paint a more intimate picture of Adolf. Life for him was not easy and had a lot of worry, stress and heartbreak. For more information about Adolf and the town of Marmot you can read about it at this link. CLICK HERE
Below are the photos and their messages.
Adolf Aschoff’s Letters To Home
Marmot, Oregon, July 16, 1908
My dear Otto!
It always goes on in business, from early in the morning to late in the evening. A lot of annoyance and little joy is my experience. Again I just lost a beautiful horse, my wife thought a lot about the (poor) animal. She called it hers. We have a lot of rain and it is quite cold and then we have very deep paths again – everything seems to go wrong, even in nature.
On the other side (of the postcard) you can see our house. No. 1 is my wife, No. 2 is a maid. I keep my two year old German stallion.
Best regards. Your old (friend) Adolf Aschoff
Marmot, Ore. March 22, 1910 6 am
We are desperately awaiting a sign of life of you from the old homeland with every incoming mail – and from day to day – week to week etc. I am trying to find the time and opportunity to write to you. I have not been well for quite some time now – I suffer headaches – melancholy etc. I wish I could sell us – had a great offer but my wife wasn´t please. If I don´t try to visit Germany soon – I will probably never see it again. Both of our sons, Ernst and Henry, are now fathers of two strong boys. – We had an awful time with our three daughters in the last year – all three of them had major operations in the hospital, and now our Emma is back at the hospital and is being operated again.
On the other side (front side) you see Gustav, our youngest son on a foal, as he was riding it for the first time, he is 15 years old.
Please, write to me very soon. Have a happy Easter wishes you your uncle Adolf Aschoff
Marmot, Ore. July 19, 1910
Your endearing letter has been received. Your letter has doubled the desire to see you and the beloved old homeland – I know I would be welcome at your home and if you knew me better, you would know that a westerner does not cause any inconvenience – We have loads of trouble, loads of work – with the hay harvest and everything adds together – The salary for the workers is very high – chef (lady) $70.00 per M, house maid $20-25.00, day laborers $2.50 – $4-5 per day. I don´t know how this is going to end. All workers only want to work 8 hours – but we are usually working 18 hours a day – will write as soon as I have a few minutes to myself
Best wishes from all of us, Your uncle Adolf Aschoff
Marmot, Ore. February 25, 1911
My dearest Otto,
I hope you have received the newspaper “The Oregonian”, I am sending you the same one, so you can get an idea of the growth of the American cities. As we arrived in Oregon, Portland was about the size of Celle – now Portland has more than 230,000 citizens. We are well, except for Otto, who has been in the hospital for months. Best wishes to you and your dear family.
Your uncle Adolf Aschoff.
PS: I will try to write you a letter soon.
Marmot, Ore. 6/13/1912
My dear Otto,
I haven´t heard anything from you for quite some time now, I try to receive a sign of life, “an answer” to this postcard. I am sending you a newspaper with this letter and I send more if you are interested.
Various accidents have again happened to our family. Our daughter Marie is very sick – our son Ernst has fallen of a …?…. post and our son Otto has chopped himself in the leg. Due to the incautiousness of a stranger I have been thrown of my carriage and I suffer pain in my right arm and shoulder. More work than ever, I wish we could sell us, it is getting to much for my wife and me – from 5 am to 11 pm day to day we slave away (like ox) without a break. Dear Otto, I hope you and your loved ones are well and at good health.
The most sincere wishes from all of us to you and your dear family.
Your uncle Adolf Aschoff
Marmot, Ore. January 30, 1913 – To: Mrs. Adele Aschoff
My dear friends,
Marmot shows a different picture these days than on the other side of this card. The snow has started to melt, but it will take a long time until the last traces will be gone.
Our dear daughter Marie is still very sick, it is better on some days and then she suffers bad seizures.
Your Adolf Aschoff
Marmot, Ore. Nov. 19. 1916
My dear Adele, (Mrs. Adele Aschoff)
Thank you very much for your wishes – I am very happy that our dear Otto is still healthy and I hope that he soon will be back with his loved ones well and brisk. Please send him my best regards. I haven´t received anything from Eugen in the last months – newspapers etc. No news have arrived since February from you as well as Eugen. My son Karl has broken his arm when he started (? “up-winded”) an automobile – my wife is very sick again. Please write back to me even if it´s only a few lines.
Intro: This is a story that was transcribed from the retelling by Victor H. White in 1972 of a story from the life of Mount Hood legend, Elijah “Lige” Coalman. In 1972 Victor H. White took transcripts of Lige Coalman’s life as they were recorded by Lige himself. He also had the opportunity to interview Lige to help fill in some blanks. In his own words; “I re-wrote Lige Coalman’s own manuscript, condensed it, re-phrased it, and edited it. I shortened it and omitted repetitious and non-essential material. I did not add, change or exaggerate anything.”
The following story is one of the stories that Victor White left from the book, but felt that it was worthy of retelling in a subsequent publication. The story really does exemplify just how wild and primitive the area from Sandy to Mount Hood really was.
Snow Saga of Lige Coalman
Adventure, danger and unusual happenings along the old Oregon Trail west of The Dalles to Portland were limited neither to the early days before 1860 nor to the fork of the trail that used the Columbia River as a highway.
Westward from The Dalles, the overland route of the wagin-driving immigrants turned first south, then westward south of Mount Hood over Barlow Pass. This route across the Cascades became a toll road with specific charges for each wagon, horseman, cow or sheep which used it and, because of existing government land use laws at the time, there was one man who did something in that locality no one else ever attempted before or since. His name was Dr. Herbert C. Miller, then Dean of the Northwest, Dental College located in East Portland. Doctor Miller established a large farm at Clackamas Meadows directly at the summit of the Cascade Range, some fifteen miles south of the toll road, where snow might fall ten, twelve or fifteen feet deep and there was no access save a mountain trail impassable for several months except on snowshoes.
There was then a roadhouse at Government Camp which was also, then as now, the jumping-off place for the start up Mount Hood by the way of Timberline where the ski lodge is today. This accommodation was a mile or so north of where the original Oregon Trail had passed.
On one particular December night in 1914, four men, one woman and two children, the entire winter population of Government Camp, were all sleeping peacefully in the hostelry building when Lige Coalman was awakened by a noise that sounded like something scratching and clawing at the door and moaning or shouting feebly. There was nine feet of snow on the ground and the temperature was near zero.
Lige Coalman was thirty-three at the time and perhaps the most capable and experienced mountain man in all Oregon. Those with him in the building, besides his wife and his two children, were a foster brother, Roy Mitchell, and an old timer from Oklahoma named Lundy.
Lige got out of bed and went to the door. His movement and the continued unfamiliar pounding at the door roused the others. Lige opened the door and a man’s body that had balanced against it, fell into the room. This man’s head was completely bound and covered with a wool muffler, although he had evidently arranged a slit for his eyes as he had beaten his way through the storm and finally fallen against the roadhouse door at almost the exact moment of complete exhaustion.
Coalman dragged him forward, closed the door and called to his wife and the others, “Get a fire going; this man’s nearly frozen.”
But warmth already had the fellow able to half sit up and he was desperately trying to explain, “Man, woman and baby… two miles… in snow… will freeze…” He pointed shakily down the mountain in the direction of Rhododendron and Portland.
As soon as the muffler was off the man’s head, Lige Coalman recognized Doctor Miller, Dean of the dental college, who owned the farm at Clackamas Lake. Lige also personally knew the man, woman and one-year-old child who were down the road in danger of freezing. They were the Andrews Family, who had been helping to run the butcher shop in Sandy, Oregon, about 30 miles to the west and below heavy snows.
The three men got miller into a bed with warm blankets over him. Mrs. Coalman had hot chocolate in brief moments and got busy massaging circulation into Miller’s frosted limbs. Mitchell and Lundy immediately bundled up and started for a frozen location known in the summer as Big Mud Hole on the Laurel Creek Road. Lige spent a few moments helping his wife feed and partially restore Doctor Mille’s circulation, then followed the other men down the mountain.
In the early 1900’s tuberculosis was perhaps the most common cause of death in the Northwest among both Indians and whites. It was commonly believed that a high, dry, clean atmosphere was imperative to recovery. Thousands of persons went to Arizona for possible cure but limited finances made this pilgrimage merely a mirage of hope for the wealthy. Nearer to home, high and, if possible, dry hills were often specifically chosen for tuberculosis hospitals and sanitariums. It had come to Doctor Miller’s attention that a particular spot in the Cascade Range at Clackamas Lake seemed to have definite benefits of nature that could serve both as a means of profit and as a boon to mankind as a site for a tuberculosis sanitarium because it was true then as it is now that Clackamas Meadows, situated at the very top of the Cascades, enjoyed a prevailing easterly wind almost as uniformly as the summit of Mount Hood has a never-changing southwesterly wind.
This dry wind swirls air from Eastern Oregon into the high Cascades as happens in no other spot of those mountains. But unlike the southwest wind on Hood, the Clackamas wind does shift in winter to bring in heavy snows from the west.
Doctor Miller’s problem arose from the fact that Clackamas Meadows was within the boundaries of the Mt Hood National Forest which was withdrawn from homestead entry unless proven to be adapted to agriculture. It was this agricultural adaptability that Doctor Miller proceeded to prove in order to claim ownership and build a sanitarium.
He built a ;og dwelling, barn and other outbuildings, all strongly constructed with roofs that could uphold the possible fifteen feet of winter snow. He plowed several acres of meadow, dug drainage ditches, planted a family orchard and arranged a garden plot. Then he brought in a team of horses, milk cows, pigs and chickens. He truly established what amounted to a Siberian or Canadian home-site. He even went to the extent of panting the meadow to wheat, oats and barley and a variety of timothy which he actually did import from Siberia. A young German named Meyers, with two of his cousins, was employed to run this farm as caretaker during the winter season, when they also picked up several hundred dollars additional income by trapping fur bearing fox, lynx, pine marten and wolverine. Their traps also yielded beaver, otter and mink along the Clackamas River.
Several winters of this, however, had proven enough for the three young Germans. When Meyers was offered a job by the city street car company in Portland, all three farm workers asked Doctor Martin to relieve them and this was why the arrangement had been made to hire the butcher’s helper and his family from Sandy.
That night about midnight, Mitchell and Lundy found the butcher, with his wife and baby, crouched around a fir twig fire they had managed to start on the snow. Partially sheltered by a toboggan loaded with household goods and personal effect, they were nevertheless in critical condition. The baby, having been best protected by the mother, was the only one not suffering frostbite by the time Lige Coalman arrived and they were then able to complete their trip back to Government Camp where they arrived at daybreak. It took four days of warmth, rest and food before they party dared venture on. Then, with Lige Coalman and Mitchell accompanying Miller and his new employees, the party of five adults and the baby undertook the remaining fifteen or sixteen miles of snowshoe and toboggan travel toward Clackamas Meadows.
The strenuous first day of struggle through glaresnow, sometimes ice-encrusted, brought them up about fourteen hundred feet of elevation by noon. They had pulled the toboggan to Frog Lake by two o’clock and Mrs. Andrews and the baby were able to ride the remaining two miles of slight downgrade to an old cabin on Clear Lake by early evening.
Part of the cabin roof had caved in. All but the baby fell to work, using boards as shovels. Thus they cleared the snow from the part of the frozen bare ground, which was still roofed. They felled a dry cedar snag with an axe from the sleigh, got a fire going and then cut fir boughs, which were partially dried to make a mattress, upon which their complete exhaustion enabled them to sleep intermittently for a few hours before dawn.
By 6 a.m. a new wind started snow sifting down on the weary sleepers. By 7:30 they had finished the breakfast they had planned and, after running into a new snow storm at nine, they pressed in and won the relaxing comfort of the snug Miller log house by noon.
Lige Coalman and Mitchell planned to bring the three farmer caretakers back to Government Camp in a fast one day sprint. Before noon, however, one of the Germans, who thought that he had fully recovered from a recent bout with the flu, began suffering a relapse. Before nightfall, he was running a high fever and had to be placed on a toboggan with additional blankets and medicine. By the end of the second day, the sick man was brought to Government Camp suffering high fever and delirium. His life was nip and tuck for almost a week and it was the middle of February before he had recovered sufficiently to go on in to Portland.
Indeed, the hazards and hardships of winter travel in all of the Oregon Trail Country through the Cascade Mountains in 1914 had changed little in sixty or seventy years. Although a doctor was available in Sandy, the means of hisd getting to a sick man at Government Camp through ten feet of snow was hardly a practical undertaking. Even today a sudden snow storm can close the modern highway for indefinite periods while the most modern equipment struggles around the clock to keep things moving between Barlow Pass and Sandy. This can happen most any time from November 1st until the middle of March or even later.
For some twenty miles eastward from Barlow Pass modern man seems to find no use for any kind of highway at all and only a toilsome dirt roadway marks a course for a few intrepid tourists and fisherman who venture for pleasure down Barlow Creek up which the early immigrants struggles to reach the rich agricultural promise of the Willamette Valley and the new world trade center of Portland.
The History of Government Camp Oregon, on the south side of Mount Hood.
Government Camp is located on the south face of Mount Hood at 4000 feet in elevation. By tradition Government Camp is a “ski town”. Even before the ski resorts people used to make their way to Mount Hood in the Winter to snowshoe and ski in the winter and hike in the Summer. Government Camp is home to the famous Timberline Lodge. Timberline Lodge was built during the Great Depression as a WPA Works Progress Administration project and is an Historic Monument and national treasure.
In May of 1845 the United States appropriated $75,500.000 to mount and equip an army regiment to establish posts along the Oregon Trail. It was later decided to divert the effort to the Mexican war. In 1849 Lieutenant William Frost brought an immense wagon train through from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. 429 wagons, drawn by 1716 mules arrived at Fort Dalles with 250 tons of freight. A part of this contingent traveled by boat to Vancouver, as planned. While the rest were waiting for available boats, someone up high in command decided to send the remainder up and over the Barlow Road to Oregon City. Mules, in poor condition, were pulling heavily overloaded wagons. Many literally starved on the trek over the Barlow Road. As usual, it was late in the fall, with winter threatening. About 45 wagons had to be abandoned, before the train descended Laurel Hill. For many years the vicinity was known as “the government camp on Still Creek”. Later, capitalizing of the names indicated that the title Government Camp had gained full acceptance. An actual community was not developed until the advent of O.C. Yocum, Francis C. Little, and William G. Steel, all of whom filed for homestead rights. Some travelers used Summit Meadow. Mount Hood, A Complete History, Jack Grauer
Yocum platted parts of his claim in blocks and named the North/South streets 1st, 2nd and 3rd. He spelled his name on the East/West streets, Yule, Olive, Church, Union and Montgomery. The plat was called Pompeii. He later called his town Government Camp and tried to establish a Post Office with that name but the government objected to the two-word name. So he changed it to Pompeii and was granted a post office with that name. But the name of Government Camp Oregon had stuck and the post office was eventually changed to Government Camp.
OC Yocum built the Mountain View House hotel in 1899, and Lige Coalman bought it in 1910. Lige built the Government Camp Hotel the next year. He sold his hotels and the both burned in 1933.
George Calverly built a café at the East end of town and his wife operated it. Everett Sickler and Albert Krieg built the Battle Axe Inn in 1924. It burned on November 7, 1950. Charlie Hill built and ran Hills Place across from the Battle Axe Inn from 1932 until it burned in 1969. The Rafferty’s built and ran a hotel next to the Battle Axe Inn. It changed hands and names, the Tyrolean Lodge and the Mountain View, several times before it burned down in 1954.
Samuel Welch left Virginia at the age of 19 and traveled to Oregon via the old Oregon Trail in 1842. He settled first in Brush Prairie Washington but soon claimed land near Orient, east of the Gresham.
On February 20, 1865 Sam married Francis Culbertson and his son William “Billy” Welch was born on December 24, 1866. In 1882 Sam and his son Billy took donation land claims of 160 acres each and homesteaded in the Salmon River Valley near Mount Hood, eventually expanding their holdings to around 1,000 acres. Sam farmed his land and inn 1893 he and Billy started the first resort in the area, which was a campground for travelers and vacationers. He was known as Uncle Sam to his friends.
Samuel died in 1898 and Billy continued the operation. Their land is where The Resort at The Mountain now lies.
Here’s a photo of the first Welches Oregon pioneer homesteaders. This is probably one of the earliest photos of the Welches area, certainly of the early residents and is an important piece of Welches Oregon history.
Front row from left – Billy Welch and Firmer Walkley. Standing from the left – August Hornecker, Sam Welch, John Copper and Ira Welch.
Photographed at the Walkley homestead near the junction of Welches Road and Bridge Street. The Walkley homestead was where Tawney’s Mountain Home was located. Tawney’s was built in 1909 and was a destination for many visitors to the area until 1949 when it was closed. The old hotel finally fell into the ground and was demolished sometime around 1955.
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.
100 Years of Rhododendron Oregon and Mount Hood Tourism
I produced a video to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the little Mount Hood village of Rhododendron Oregon. It’s a collection that consists of photos that I’ve collected through the years and have added to my collection. There are a couple that are in the video that are copies of photos from the Welch Family as well as the family of Dr Ivan Wooley.
Back before Welches Oregon became a destination it was a ranch, Samuel Welch and his son Billy homesteaded adjoining 160 acre sections of the Salmon River Valley on the southern side of Mount Hood. In 1889 Samuel had passed and Billy slowly converted the ranch to a resort with a hotel and facilities for campers, hikers, hunters and fishermen. In time even a golf course was developed from Billy’s pasture.
This is a great old photo of the ranch before it became a resort. In it you can see what is now Welches Road. On the left side is the pasture and the old barn. On the right side of the road is the Welch home which would become the hotel and more barns and outbuildings.
It’s fun to look back into the past and compare this area to what it is today.