Historic Hood River
This is a good example of how context is important in a collection. We have an undocumented stack of about two dozen negatives which include this view. Some of them are from Goldendale, some are from the 1912 start of construction of the Columbia River Highway, but there is a group including this one which all show the same Nash automobile with a 1920 dealer plate. Our friends at ODOT say this was registered to Mt. Hood Motors, which leads to the man– “Cap” McCan who was a car dealer and very involved in the Columbia River Highway project. That looks like him on the right. We know he was present when Hood River county officials met with Sam Hill at Maryhill to promote the project, and this is a pretty good likeness of him. From additional context, I am reasonably comfortable the location is the spot marked below: the “county line overlook” on the highway between Hood River and Mosier.
Here is another image probably from the same day. Evidence is he was taking a drive to check out the construction of the highway segment between Hood River and Mosier. Other photos in the collection show the same car, driver and passenger at various recognizable spots along what is now the “Twin Tunnels segment” of the Columbia River Highway State Trail
It only took nine years for me to pull these pieces together! This is a good illustration of why you always should try to leave negative in the order you found them, even if they are tossed into a big shoe box. From one pile we get the very beginning and the end of the highway construction, as well as several previously unknown images of one of the more unusual characters in Hood River history.
Tags: 1920s, automobile, Columbia River Highway, McCan, Nash
Good detective work.
Isn't the internet great for solving puzzles?
When I was a kid we had a Nash Rambler station wagon for a while.
Who's in the back seat ? Looks like a wheel minus a tire on the back. Nice work ! Thank you !
Adding a favorite trick to figure out if negatives are from the same camera: the mask in the camera which frames the exposure frequently has some unique identifiers, like a nick or differently shaped corners. In this case I could quickly verify the edges of the frame (which have been cropped off here) are identical so which is solid evidence the stack of negatives are indeed from the same camera.
Do you have anything more on Mt. Hood Motors? Who were the principals of the company? Where were they located?
I am a bit curious since Capt. McCan's dealership initially was Tip Top Auto Co. which lasted for a short time. I was under the impression that he went out of the car business when snow caved in the roof of his establishment after about a year of operations. The only evidence of his car company was the cover of a gasoline coupon book found in the framing of his old horse barn.
Jack, I don't have the sources in front of me but my recollection is McCan left Hood River about 1912 not long after the roof collapse and resultant lawsuit, and moved to the Ranier area. He then returned to Hood River about 1916. He was very wealthy and continually dabbled in cars and horses. An interesting side note is he went to France in 1917, before the US entered WWi, and drove a French general's car. He was supposedly a translator too, and reportedly was at the Versailles peace conference.
I don't see the link to the Mt. Hood Motor Company but I think it came from a Portland area source– can't recall if it was a period newspaper or a more modern source.