Brightwood Museum and Novelty Shop

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.

2 thoughts on “The Brightwood Museum and Novelty Shop”

  1. The Swiss Gardens were just to the west behind the east bound weight station in Brightwood. It was partially taken away with the highway widen- ing.

  2. My father, Elmer Hanson, back in late 1950’s had the Reptile Pit in this building for a couple of summers. People fed our monkey so much “junk” she was sick all night. We had snakes, lizards, big tortise couple, monkeys, fascinating things my Dad ordered from far away. They were fun to play with, feed, and have in the house. He was a very intelligent man. The biggest monkey, Maggie, lived until the latee 1970’s. Great memories.

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