29 thoughts on “Washington Park, circa 1908

  1. A few cool hats are being worn in this photograph. A woman is wearing a red & black checked stovepipe hat that makes her look like “The Mad Hatter” of this group. Also, someone is wearing a Stetson Straw Boat “Skimmer” hat. The young girl looks good in her yellow hat. Travelers/tourists dressed in their Sunday best when they went out; no graphic or corporate logo tees in this group..

    There’s an assortment of neckwear seen here, too; neckties, bowties, bolo ties…

    I take it that the engine for this vehicle was on the underside, driven by a belt to the rear wheels.

  2. Brakes on rear wheels and/or propeller shaft.
    Rear wheels are chain driven which was well underway phasing out but not uncommon on heavy hauling trucks into early 1940s

  3. In December 1911 the Oregon Journal wrote that Tyrrell Trips was owned by King Transportation which was a partnership of E. L. King, Noyes E Tyrrell and A. B. Merritt who operated in Portland and Seattle. In the story they detailed that Tyrrell Trips had ordered another one ton Kelly truck (bus) for delivery in the spring of 1912 and that it would be a duplicate of the one used in 1911, but the body will not be any roomier or comfortable than the original, yet it would have more graceful lines.

    The Kelly was selected for the original car (bus) for the equal distribution of the load over the 4 wheels and the fact that it had a blower cooled motor, thus doing away with all radiator trouble.

    In 1922 Tyrrell Tours sold all their stock to the company manager, and 4 years later in August 1926 it was announced that the company would become a Taxi Cab company.

  4. It would be hard to identify the exact manufacturer of this truck chassis…it could be a Mack, GMC, Autocar, or any of numerous others. The gasoline engine would have extended up into the passenger area under a doghouse cover not visible in this photo (note the fewer number of passengers around the driver). This is a custom wooden tour bus body, likely built locally. The rain cover is rolled up into the center of the roof, providing a good view for the passengers to see the beautiful trees in Washington Park. I would imagine many passengers were as much there for the novelty of a automobile ride as for the views along the road.

    Note the huge gear ring on the inside of the rear tires, necessary to have the pulling power to explore the West Hills with a full load of passengers. The link to the text on the backside of this card says it was a 20 mile, two hour tour, making the tour speed about 10 mph. What fun!

  5. My guess is this is Montgomery St. where it takes a sharp turn up onto Vista. The house in the background is familiar to me and is where it would be if this location is where I think it is.

  6. Thanks to ssssteven’s lead, I found a different copy of the reverse side with some added information. Perhaps someone smarter than me can decipher it:

    This is a map of Portland streets from 1912:


    Obviously, the location of today’s image is difficult but it must be on a road from this 1912 map and clearly seems to be somewhere in the West Hills (although it could be Mt. Tabor too). The postcard also describes the route including City Park (Washington Park) and the Forestry Building from the 1905 Exposition (located near NW 28th and Upshur). Taking what cues I could from the photo…the rougher stone walls, the home in the background, the shadows, the simpler style railing fence, the slopes, possibly a three way intersection or sharp turn…and the map…major roads, trolley lines, attractions of the day…I spent a lot of time searching to no avail.

    I know the Southwest Hills best but I can’t place it. Terwilliger Boulevard doesn’t exist in 1908, so it would not be in Homestead (OHSU) or further south. If Terrell Trips went to Council Crest to see The Dreamland of the Northwest amusement park which opened in 1907, it would be mentioned in the tour description I’m sure…

    …which makes me guess this vehicle couldn’t get too high up the hills or the steeper streets which rules out all the upper West Hills neighborhoods from Healy Heights to Skyline. Which leaves Arlington, King’s and Willamette Heights, at the base of the Northwest Hills as my best guess and also fits the tour route.

    I street-viewed a dozen intersections and curves but no luck, although there’s plenty more to investigate. There’s also a strong chance the stone walls have been altered or the entire road altered, no longer exists, or was reverted to park land, forest or trails. If anything of this image still exists and appears the same today, I bet it’s the house, but that too, thanks to foreclosures from the Great Depression or other reasons, could be long gone.

  7. The Oregonian on December 3, 1911 wrote in the column “Auto Chug Chugs” about the new Tyrrell Trips sightseeing bus.

    “The most elaborate sightseeing automobile truck on the Pacific Coast soon will be in operation in Portland. The King’s Transportation Company has ordered the truck from Neate & McCarthy. It will be a two ton Kelly with a seating capacity of 24.”

  8. Ah yes, the second of the green house gas creating beasts. Amplifying that of the very first in our means of transportation and progress. The venerable four legged beasts of burden and their green house gas emissions. This, the second and also the beginning part of the end of our living and ruinous habitation of our beloved planet earth. How horrible to the environment our lust for the enjoyment of life here on our mother earth. . Reparations must be made.. . ! !
    * *Tom Jones 3, as it says on back of the post card:
    “The Tyrell Trips Seeing Portland Auto-
    mobiles embody the very latest ideas in con-
    venience and comfort, and our trip shows the
    very best of Portland’s beautiful residence sec-
    tions and beauty spots that can be reached on
    a 2 hour, 20 mile ride. Including City Park,
    Forestry Building, Harbor and East Side Resi-
    dence Sections
    Starting Sixth and Morrison St., 10:00 a.m.,
    2:00 p. m. daily. Tickets for sale at all Hotels.“
    – The top speed of this beast during the two hour and twenty mile tour was most likely less than 12 mph. So overloading and seat belts were probably not a huge priority But, thank you for so aptly demonstrating that “Common Sense” is less common in today’s world than in that of yesterday’s world .

  9. paul, are you thinking the house is at what’s now 1722 sw vista? that home (now sadly a boring grey box) was not started until summer 1909. however, if the tours actually started in 1910/11 then i think it is possible the scene is shot from 1703 sw montgomery, but the house is too close and i don’t see vista.

    that’s a steep slope behind the house, so probably not park/king’s heights area.

  10. Thorn I’am not sure what you want deciphered. Perhaps the phone numbers during & after regular business hours.– Marshall 290 & Marshall 3338. In later years phone numbers would show as MArshall 290 or MA 290. I’am not sure what A4166 & A7955 means but other phone numbers in this era have similar numbers.

    The special trip May – October could possibly be the advertised Columbia River Hwy. trips, and or the “Special Excursion” to Multnomah Falls on Sunday’s leaving at 9 am & returning at 6 pm, bring you own lunch.

    They also hired out their bus funerals, and in late December they advertised their buses for New Years, perhaps the original Party Bus.

    P.R.L & P. was Portland Railway Light & Power who ran all the way out past Estacada Oregon, so maybe the partnered with P.R. L & P for tours.

  11. wl, yes. I believe this photo is taken where Montgomery meets Vista. In the July 15th, 2013 post “Portland Heights Real Estate Ad 1907” you can see where Montgomery meets Vista and the House just to the upper left.

  12. On page twenty of my book’ Portland’s Washington park a pictorial history’ they state this used to be called “hair pin turn” and they show a picture of it in 2010. The same turn is also pictured in an 1890 edition of West shore magazine.

  13. I don’t know. Now I think I’m wrong because of the house in the photo. So scratch that earlier post. Different turn.

  14. dj, the photo on pg. 18 – ‘auto at entrance to city park’ – is darn close… a rustic fence with the proper curve in background, likely a rock wall stood just to left of the auto, and even a fallen log on the hillside behind… but no house.

    i was thinking the route this might have taken considering ‘city park and forestry center,’ would just be a shortest-distance thing, so somewhere between park place and burnside entrances – but close enough to see a long-gone house just outside the park. the 1908 vol 2 sheet 101 sanborn does show a house with a large porch just about where cedar dead-ends today… just off a hairpin turn in the old road by the ponds.

  15. Dennis, it is unlikely that the additional tours mentioned in the red text of the postcard were about touring the Columbia River Highway. The highway wasn’t started until 1913 and I don’t think the road to Thor’s Heights (now Crown Point) was ready before 1915. If there were such a tour, it would have started in Troutdale at the end of the trolly line to Edgefield. Plus, 4:00 pm is a late hour to start such a long trip. Anyway, it’s interesting to speculate and think about.

  16. Jay the postcard is shown a circa 1908 but I was not implying that the info in red was from 1908. A newspaper story in the Oregon Journal in May 1918 announced that Tyrrell Trips was starting Columbia River Hwy. trips. The postcard thorn posted I believe is form a previous printing and they simply had a rubber stamp made with the new trip stamped on it in red ink. Tyrell Trips also placed several newspaper ads, for the Columbia River & Multnomah Falls

  17. Jay here are a few excerpts from the Oregon Journal on May 15, 1915, not May 1918 as I wrote above.

    The Chamber of Commerce, the transportation agencies and hotels have already taken steps to acquire Columbia River highway information since interviews were printed in The Journal showing how difficult it was for travelers to get reliable information.

    James Kelly of Tyrrell Trips announced that regular tour service would be inaugurated next week, with a machine capable of comfortably carrying 23 persons besides the driver, and leaving principal hotels.
    He has invited hotel clerks to take a trip over the highway Sunday in order that they become familiar with its features.

  18. You know where I think this is? Entrance to city park. There ‘s a fairly common postcard (one on e-bay currently) titled ‘entrance to city park’.

  19. dj, i thought about that, and even used your book to pick out a likely spot on stearns road, just above the ponds at the entrance (see above). not sure the slope exactly matches, but the house does.

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