Adolph Aschoff’s Humor

Adolph Aschoff’s Humor – Jokes from another century

The following account of the sense of humor of the legendary Adolph Aschoff, from Marmot Oregon, is from an entry to The Mountain Magazine in the early 1970’s. The Mountain Magazine published historical articles and sold advertising to local businesses from the Hoodland area. This article was written by Wilbur Sulzbach.

For some background, Adolph Aschoff was a pioneer homesteader who settled at Marmot, which he named, along the old Oregon Trail. He built a hotel called Aschoff’s Mountain Home and entertained guests and travelers along the Barlow Road between 1883 and 1930. It was a destination for many people that came to experience the great outdoors and to launch their adventures on Mt Hood.

Adolph was a jovial character who loved to entertain his guests. He played music told jokes and stories of high adventure. Back then story telling was an art and Adolph was adept at telling stories. The following is an account of two of the stories Adolph would share. This gives you an idea of the 19th century sense of humor and how people entertained themselves before radio and television. Today we’d probably consider Adolph Aschoff’s Humor as Dad Jokes.

You can read more about Adolph Achoff and Marmot Oregon HERE.


Many People remember Adolph Achoff as a man who brought life and laughter to any gathering. His jokes were told and told again with variations. Melvin Haneberg remembers these two.

Adolph told a gathering about a recent trip to Gresham with his wife. They were driving along standing in their high box wagon when a grouse flew up and suddenly in front of the horses. The team reared and jumped into the ditch alongside the road and overturned the wagon. Adolph and his wife crouched down as the wagon overturned and escaped injury but were trapped under the wagon.

“There we were,” said Adolph, “the wagon on top of us and we couldn’t get out.”

“You wouldn’t believe this but I had to walk almost a half a mile to find a fence rail to pry the wagon up and get us out.”

At another time some Marmot friends were complaining about sudden changes in the weather. Adolph said, “Gentlemen, let me tell you about Kansas. I was driving along in a light one-horse wagon on a lovely spring day. The sky suddenly grew black as night, the rain fell so hard I could not breathe, the water filled the wagonbox and ran over the top of my shoes. then the cold wind started to blow. In two minutes my hands were so numb I dropped the reins and had to call to the horse to take me home. When the horse stopped at the barn door I yelled for my wife to bring the axe and shop my feet loose from the wagonbox. Just then the sun came out and melted the ice before my wife could find the axe. Marmot weather is not so bad.”

-Wilbur (“Pete”) Sulzbach

The Mazamas at Marmot experience Adolph Aschoff's Humor.
The Mazamas at Marmot experience Adolph Aschoff’s Humor.
Bill White – Mount Hood Historian
Below is an article that I wrote for the Villages of Mt Hood about my friend Bill White. I’ve known Bill for quite some time now and have gotten to know him quite well. He and I both have many common interests, mostly the love of local Mount Hood history. This is the second article the I’ve written for this

Lolo Pass Ski Trip

A classic Lolo Pass Ski Trip from 1955.

Lolo Pass, on the west side of Mount Hood takes a route that goes from Zigzag, on the southwest side of the mountain, to the Hood River Valley on the north side. It travels between the west face of the mountain and the Bull Run watershed, the source of the city of Portland’s water.

I collect old photos of Mount Hood and I thought that I’d share these old photos of a Lolo Pass Ski Trip. They’re a series of medium format negatives that I have digitized. They are dated April 5, 1955. They show a group of skiers enjoying a beautiful day, with a clear of Mount Hood in the distance. They seem to have a key to the gate that allows then access to the road. In one photo you can see a sign that shows a sign to the Bull Run Lake Trail.

Today, since the Patriot Act, everything west of Lolo Pass Road to Bull Run Lake is off limits. This group seems to be following the main road. The views in the photos can be seen clearly from some of the same viewpoints today.

Pacific Crest Trail
Springs Indian Reservation (10) Timberline Lodge Mount Hood Wilderness Lolo Pass Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (8) Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness

The Mountain View Inn

The Mountain View Inn, Government Camp, Oregon

This is the old Mountain View Inn under heavy snow in the 1940’s. The Mountain View Inn was a hotel in the little Mt Hood town of Government Camp, Oregon.

The Mountain View Inn was originally the home of Lena Little, wife of pioneer homesteader Francis C. Little. The building was relocated from its original place to the north side of the main road through Government Camp.

Not long after it was relocated Jack Rafferty leased it to be converted into a hotel called Rafferty’s or Rafferty’s Hut. He later bought the property. Later the place was called the Tyrolian Lodge. It was closed through World War II.

After the War Harry Albright re-opened the inn and changed the name to the Mountain View Inn.

The old Inn burned in 1955. It was located across the street from Daar’s ski shop which is Charlie’s Mountain View today.

The Mountain View In at Government Camp Oregon
The Mt Hood Skiway Tram
. The Mount Hood Aerial Transportation Company was formed with a plan to create an aerial tramway to Timberline Lodge on the south slope of Mount Hood from Government Camp, the gathering spot for every activity on The Mountain. It was to be called The Skiway

The Mt Hood Skiway Tram

The City Bus Tramway to Timberline Lodge

It is 1947 and World War Two was over. Skiing was just getting started before the war, and now that there was peace, people wanted to ski. Mount Hood’s skiing glory days were just getting started again. 

Mt Hood Skiway Tram
Mt Hood Skiway Tram

This was the year that a group of people got together with a vision that was before its time. The Mount Hood Aerial Transportation Company was formed with a plan to create an aerial tramway to Timberline Lodge on the south slope of Mount Hood from Government Camp, the gathering spot for every activity on The Mountain. It was to be called The Skiway, pronounced “Skyway.”  

Mt Hood Skiway Tram
Mt Hood Skiway Tram

Transportation to Timberline consisted of riding, driving your own car up the old road to the lodge, the Timberline bus which cost .50 or one could hitchhike. If you drove up, typically a group would carpool. The group would ski the trail to Government Camp, and the driver would drive the car back down at the end of the day. The tramway made sense. A person could take the tram from Government camp to Timberline Lodge, ski the day at the lodge and then ski the Glade or Alpine Trails back down to Government Camp; or ride the tram back down. 

Mt Hood Skiway Tram
Mt Hood Skiway Tram

Skiers were excited about the prospect and the construction of the towers that would support the cable system was started in 1948. The plan was to build the system using a city bus as a tram car, suspend it from cables and drive it with a method used by loggers in their sky hook log yarding mechanism. The bus would be self-propelled and would pull itself along with a set of pulleys positioned where the wheels would be, drawing the drive cable through and moving the bus up or down the hill.  

Mt Hood Skiway Tram
Mt Hood Skiway Tram

The company planned a lodge at the lower terminus of the cable line. This served as the terminal for loading and unloading passengers, which was done on a deck or platform located on the upper level just under the roof. There was also a restaurant, restrooms, a waiting lounge, and a gift shop in the lodge. The upper terminus was located at the west end of Timberline Lodge.  

Mt Hood Skiway Tram
Mt Hood Skiway Tram

The lodge was completed, and the towers were erected in 1949. This was the same year that the new road to Timberline was opened, creating a shorter trip with a slighter grade and less curves than the old road, making access much easier for personal automobiles, which would be a strike against the success of the Skiway. 

Mt Hood Skiway Tram
Mt Hood Skiway Tram

The winters of 1950 and 1951 were very heavy snow winters. This delayed construction and crews had to scramble to get the operation completed. It was scheduled to be opened in early 1950 but was delayed until the Fall. The day finally came, January 3rd, 1951. The skiers were very enthusiastic, but the novelty wore off quickly. Also consider that with the new road in place and with the Timberline Lodge bus fare being .50 cents and the tramway costing .75 cents, all these factors attributed to its ultimate demise. The Skiway struggled to make a profit for its stockholders and was finally closed in 1956.  

Mt Hood Skiway Tram
Mt Hood Skiway Tram
/mount-hood/the-mt-hood-skiway

Tawney’s Mountain Home

In the early days the Welches Hotel wasn’t the only resort in the Salmon River Valley in the foothills of Mount Hood, Oregon. About a mile past the Welch’s place, at the end of the road, was Tawney’s Mountain Home. Situated along the Salmon River with vast stretches of wilderness surrounding it, Tawney’s Hotel was an outdoor vacation destination from 1910 to 1945. 

Hotel Maulding, Welches, Oregon
Hotel Maulding, Welches, Oregon

The hotel was built on a portion of the old Walkley family homestead south of Welches. The Walkley’s didn’t operate a hotel, but they kept boarders in their home. John Maulding and his wife bought the property in 1906, which included 100 acres and the Walkley home. The home was remodeled and enlarged using the homestead house for the dining room, with an addition for lodging, turning it into what was known as the Maulding’s Hotel.

In 1909 Francis H. Tawney and his wife Henriett leased the property and in 1910 they purchased it and started improvements to the hotel. In 1913 a fire burned a large portion of the old hotel building. A new two story addition was quickly built and new hotel was ready for guests in 1914.   

Tawney's Hotel, Welches Oregon before the fire
Tawney’s Hotel, Welches Oregon before the fire

Tawney’s Hotel was a large building with 15 guest rooms. Because the hotel was so popular, they erected tent cabins on the grounds outside to accommodate more guests. As you entered the building you came into a huge living area with a large rock fireplace. There was a large staircase leading to the upper floor where the guest rooms were located. Adjoining the living room was a huge dining room with its own fireplace and a large dining table. There was only one indoor bathroom, with commode and a bathtub. It was located off the dining room. It was said that you practically needed a reservation if you wanted to use it.  

Back then a week’s stay cost $10, including meals. Mrs. Tawney, with the help of Emily, the wife of their only son Clyde, cooked for the guests. She served the meals Family Style with full platters of chicken, roast beef, and steak. She always had jams, fresh bread, pies, and canned foods available. She made large sugar cookies for the children, but it was common for the adults to raid the cookie jar.   

Tent Bungalows at Tawney's Hotel, Welches Oregon
Tent Bungalows at Tawney’s Hotel, Welches Oregon

Keeping the hotel supplied with food could be challenging during busy times. There could be up to 150 people there to enjoy a Sunday dinner. In addition to the food that they supplied themselves some staples and canned goods were delivered once a week from Portland. There was also a butcher wagon who would make daily deliveries from Sandy to the hotels and cabin residents during the summer. He would arrive and open the doors to the insulated wagon to show different cuts of beef and lamb packed in ice.

The Tawney’s kept their own animals, including cows, pigs, and chickens. They had horses for guests to ride and a pair of donkeys for the children. Frequently Mr. Tawney would take a party of people on a wagon trip to Government Camp to pick huckleberries and have a picnic lunch.

Tawney’s Hotel, Welches Oregon after the fire showing new addition.

They had a garden, an apple orchard and had berries for pies. They also used wild game and trout from the river and local creeks, sometimes supplied by the guests. The Salmon River was located nearby and provided lots of swimming and fishing. In 1910, B. Trenkman, C.J. Cook, and L. Therleson made a 1.5-hour trip up to Camp Creek for fishing. The three men came back with 286 trout. It was said to be one of the best meals at the Tawney Hotel.  

Nell Howe, a longtime resident, remembered on summer days the most wonderful food. She said, “In the summertime the tables in the dining room were full for every meal and sometimes people were waiting their turn.” When guests looked back, they remember their fun summer memories of swimming in the river, fishing, helping with the chores, and enjoying the food. 

Guests at Tawney's Hotel, Welches Oregon
Guests at Tawney’s Hotel, Welches Oregon

The hotel closed its doors in 1945, most likely due to the loss of business and the scarcity and cost of goods during World War II. The Tawney’s were in their later years by this time and the work involved in running a business like that was in their past. Mr. Tawney passed away in 1947 and soon after Mrs. Tawney moved to Portland with her daughter and son-in-law. She lived until 1959.  

Sometime in the late 1950’s the old Tawney’s Mountain Home collapsed under the load of a heavy snowstorm. The property sold and the new owner demolished what was left of the old building leaving the two stone fireplaces as the only evidence of the good old days of Tawney’s Mountain Home and a significant part of the history of Welches Oregon.  

Tawney's Mountain Home Advert
Tawney’s Mountain Home Advert
Oregon pioneer history
Oregon pioneer history (1806–1890) is the period in the history of Oregon Country and Oregon Territory, in the present day state of Oregon and Northwestern

Arlie Mitchell Barlow Road’s last Tollgate Keeper.

Arlie Edward Mitchell, 89, thought to be the last living Barlow Road tollgate keeper, dies June 1. (1976)

Mitchell died in Gresham after an extended illness. Services were held Monday with internment at Lincoln Memorial Park.

In his later years Mitchell was well known for his recollections of operating the Barlow tollgate. He was present in 1970 when the tollgate near Rhododendron was dedicated.

He recalled that it was his duty during his period as a gatekeeper from 1906 to 1908 to keep track of the people, animals and wagons that passed through the gate.

That included counting sheep, flocks of them brought across the Barlow’s route over Mt. Hood. Mitchell recalled one flock of sheep that numbered about 3000.

He liked to tell the story of the Indian woman so fat that she got stuck in the small gate. Everyone had a good laugh including her Indian companions who teased her before helping her out of her predicament.

Mitchell was born Dec. 6, 1886, the son of Stephen and Ellen Mitchell, on a farm near Sandy.

He attended a public school two miles from his home and went to work at an early age in sawmills and logging camps. For several seasons he worked with Lige Coalman as a guide on Mt Hood.

He was widely known as a builder. In 1908 he helped build the first grade and high school in Sandy and the Odd Fellows Hall. Years later he helped build Smith’s Garage and did some work on the Masonic Hall.

He spent four years in the Forest Service building and maintaining telephone lines. He traveled by saddle horse with a pack horse to carry his tools, tent and personal belongings, cooking his meals over a campfire.

Mitchell joined the Navy in 1917 eventually making 16 crossings from New York to Europe. He served in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France and remembered the great cheering for “The Yanks” on Armistice Day in Belfast.

Mitchell served aboard the captured German vessel, “Emporator”, which was pressed into service as a troop ship and transport. Eventually he was transferred to a destroyer travelling through the Panama Canal.

He was fond of telling about a week’s stop in Mexico where he swapped an old pair of dungarees for a bunch of bananas.

Following his discharge. from the Navy Mitchell worked on bridges at Zigzag River znc Sill Creek. He buillt many summer homes including his own.

In 1928 he married Anna Ringness. A few years later he drew a homestead in Tule Lake, Calif., where the couple lived a year building a house and farm home for his brother, Harry, who survives him. Also surviving is another brother, John, of Sandy.

after “proving up” the homestead the Mitchells moved back to the Faubion area on Mt. Hood. He became treasurer of the Faubion Summer Home Association and held office for at least 35 years. He also served several times as a director of the Welches School Board.

Mitchell is survived by his wife, Anna, Rhododendron; a son, Edward; a daughter, Ellen and four grandchildren.

George Pinner – Master Stonemason

George Pinner, Master Stonemason, Faubion Oregon

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.

George Pinner - Master Stonemason
George Pinner – Master Stonemason
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The Little Toot Drive In

Wimpey’s Little Toot Drive In, Mt Hood Highway, Kelso Oregon

Whimpy’s Little Toot Drive In, Kelso Oregon was located across the street from the Kelso Store when today’s Orient Drive was the highway to Mount Hood. It was owned and operated by Clarence “Whimpy” Eri. Once the modern Highway 26 was built, in the mid 1960’s, it bypassed the old route to Mount Hood and many small businesses such as this had to close their doors.

Kelso Oregon is located just west of the town of Sandy between Sandy and Boring.

Little Toot Drive In, Kelso Oregon
Whimpy’s Little Toot, Kelso Oregon

Adolf Aschoff’s Letters To Home

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

Adolph Aschoff Marmot Oregon
Adolph at Aschoff’s Mountain Home with his wife Dora, a maid and his two year old German stallion

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


Adolph Aschoff Marmot Oregon
Adolph and Dora’s youngest son Gustav at fifteen years old on a foal. He was riding it for the first time.

Marmot, Ore. March 22, 1910 6 am

Dear Otto!

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


Adolph Aschoff Marmot Oregon
The town of Marmot

Marmot, Ore. July 19, 1910

Dear Otto,

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


Adolph Aschoff Marmot Oregon
“Bachelor Cabin” at Marmot.

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.


Adolph Aschoff Marmot Oregon
Museum and Post Office at Marmot Oregon

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


Adolph Aschoff Marmot Oregon
“The good old Summer Time
Boys on “Juicy” in the orchard”

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.

Best wishes,

Your Adolf Aschoff


Adolph Aschoff Marmot Oregon
The Barlow Road at marmot Oregon

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.

With the best regards

Your uncle Adolf Aschoff


#adolph #adolf Aschoff #marmot Oregon

Adolf Aschoff and Marmot Oregon
Adolf Aschoff and Marmot Oregon’s History Marmot Oregon is a place more than it is a town. It is located

Adolph Aschoff – Wikipedia
Adolph Aschoff (May 21, 1849–1930) was a homesteader in the U.S. state of Oregon in the late 19th century. He established the community of Marmot, Oregon …