Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Historic Portland Automobile Club and Grounds, Portland, Oregon"
Includes ... Portland Automobile Club ...
Image, 2015, Troutdale, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Light post and fence surrounding the early Portland Automobile Club grounds, Troutdale, Oregon. View from heading east on Stark Street. Image taken March 16, 2015.

Portland Automobile Club ...
The Portland Automobile Club was formed in 1905 and by 1910 they owned property on the south side of the Sandy River Bridge at Stark Street. By 1912 the club had built an impressive clubhouse, complete with tennis courts, onsite power plant, and acres of beautiful landscaping. Today's Dabney State Recreation Area was located across the Sandy River and just upstream and the community of Troutdale was to the west. For early travelers along the Historic Highway, the clubhouse and grounds became their first rest area before heading east into the Gorge.

Early History ...
The Portland Automobile Club was organized in the Spring of 1905 and grew quickly.

March 23, 1905:
TO FORM AUTO CLUB. Portland Enthusiasts Hold The First Meeting.    Between 50 and 60 of Portland's automobile enthusiasts met last night in the rooms of the Commercial Club and took initiatory steps toward forming an automobile club. There was an attempt to organize a club last year, but it fell through, but now the work has been taken up in earnest and before another month passes, by, Portland's Automobile Club will be a healthy organization. ...   At the next meeting, which will be called shortly, a permanent organization will be formed. At this meeting the question of clubrooms will be taken up, as will also plans for entertaining visiting automobile clubs and excursionists. ...   About 30 names of persons who had signified their intention of joining the club were handed Secretary R.L. Stevens." ["Morning Oregonian", March 23, 1905, courtesy Historic Oregon Newspapers Archives, Univeristy of Oregon Libraries, 2015.]

April 28, 1905:
"Automobile Club Organized.   The Portland Automobile Club held its first meeting last night at the Commerical Club rooms in the Chamber of Commerce building. Permanent organization was effected by the election of the foolowing board of directors: SOl Blumauer, Dr. C.B. Brown, R.D. Inman, W.F. Lipman, A.K. Bentley, D.C. O'Reilly and D.T. Honeyman. The report of Dr. A.E. Mackay as chairman of the committee on bylaws was adopted. According to the constitution, the ojbect of the blub is to promote and maintain a social and protective organization of all persons owning or interested in motor vehicles. Philip S. Malcomb presided at the meeting last night, which was attended by about 25 automobile enthusiasts." ["Morning Oregonian", April 28, 1905, courtesy Historic Oregon Newspapers Archives, Univeristy of Oregon Libraries, 2015.]

"Clubs:   The Portland Automobile Club has had a marvelous growth. Organized less than a year ago, it now has upwards of 200 members, and includes the wealthiest and most progressive business men in the city. Natural conditions here favor automobiling. Portland is one of the most beautifully situated cities in the world, and its climate is particularly favorable to automobiling. The summers are long and dry, and the winters practically without snow." ["The Motor Way", 1905, volume 13]

Grounds and Clubhouse ...
The Portland Automobile Club developed land for picnics and camping on the south side of Stark Street next to the Sandy River Bridge.

A clubhouse was built on the property grounds in the Spring of 1912, nowever a "clubhouse" along the Sandy River was mentioned in newspaper articles from 1910 and 1911.

May 22, 1910:
"The return trip was made via the Troutdale road, running past the site on which the Automobile Club will build its clubhouse ..." ["Sunday Oregonian", May 22, 1910, courtesy Historic Oregon Newspaper Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2015]

July 17, 1910:
"Getting ready for the annual picnic of the Portland Automobile Club, which will be held during the first of September at the clubhouse and grounds at Sandy Bridge, 50 tables and benches have been installed.    No longer will automobile parties have to pass the clubhouse with parched tongues, for the Portland Automobile Club recently had installed a large pump, which furnishes a goodly supply of cold, pure water, of which that district is justly proud." ["Sunday Oregonian", July 17, 1910, courtesy Historic Oregon Newspaper Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2015]

July 17, 1910:
"Misa Malda Hart was hostess at a delightful affair In honor of Miss Thomp son's house guests on Wednesday night. The party motored out to the automobile clubhouse on the Sandy River and there had dinner, coming back in the cool of the evening." ["Sunday Oregonian", July 17, 1910, courtesy Historic Oregon Newspaper Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2015]

August 6, 1911:
"Many of the delegates from Washington left yesterday afternoon for their homes, but others weill spend today in Portland. They will be entertained by M.C. Dickinson with an excursion to Latourell Falls, and a dinner at the clubhouse of the Portland Automobile Club at Sandy." ["Sunday Oregonian", August 6, 1911, courtesy Historic Oregon Newspaper Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2015]

The Portland Automobile Club's clubhouse was built in the Spring of 1912 and opened for use on June 16th.

Directors Choose Place for Building to Be Erected in Spring.
Portland Automobile Club's Rulers Decide
That Land on Sandy Road Supplies Every Need Demanded.


"With the selection of a definite site for the proposed clubhouse, the unanimous indorsement of the plan to secure permanent downtown headquarters in one of the leading hotels, and the assurance of the directors that the clubhouse will be erected early in the Spring, the inauguration of a strenuous membership campaign for the Portland Automobile Club is beginning to assume mature aspects.

Several of the directors went to the club's grounds last Sunday morning, and, after giving the question careful consideration, decided that the best thing to do would be to build a suitable clubhouse there. They inspected the whole acreage and finally decided on a spot overlooking the picturesque Sandy River. It is on the west bank of the stream and commands a beautiful view of the surrounding country.

Situated on both sides of the Sandy Road, and on the west side of the stream that bears the same name, the grounds, covering over 28 acres, are ideally located for the purpose, which the motorists' organization wants. Accessible by an improved road, which is in excellent condition the year round, especially adapted for picnicking, fishing, boating and swimming, it is doubtful if a more desirable spot could be selected within reasonable distance of the city.

But a short drive from Portland, surrounded by a dense forest, with majestic trees rearing their stately heads toward the skyline, the aatmosphere of the city is completely lost. It is a delightful place to escape the oppresive heat of the city's Summers, and affords innumerable opportunities of outdoor recreation. One of the principal assets of the grounds is the fact that there is ample space cleared for small children to frolic about without danger of injury.

Improvements Are Planned.

There are all sorts of possibilities for improving the grounds at slight cost, but the plans of the directors are noly in the formative state and not ready for publication.

Evidence of the popularity of the grounds is given every Sunday and holiday. SOme time ago a member of the club was delegated to keep tab on the number of machines which entered the grounds on Sunday. His count, as returned to President W.J. Clemens, was 85, and this included only those which went there in the afternoon. Several autos were in the grounds when the directors arrived there Sunday.

The ride out to the club grounds is made pleasant both by the good character of the roads and the scenery. Even in mid-Summer, the Base Line and Sandy highways are devoid of dust. The roads are kept in good condition all year. Bumps and ruts are noticeable by their absence, and the grades offer no difficulty. ...

Several plans have been submitted to the directors for the clubhouse. None, however, have been selected. The board will wait until all plans have been submitted, and as there is no urgent need of hurry, everyone who desires to compete undobtedly will be given ample time to prepare their plans. ...

While details for conducting the clubhouse have not been thoroughly worked out, a caretaker and his wife probably will be installed. Additional help will be provided as the demand warrants. The bar and cafe will be open all week."

Source:    "Sunday Oregonian", October 22, 1911, courtesy Historic Oregon Newspapers, University of Oregon Libraries, 2015.


"Definite action for the erection of a clubhouse by the Portland Automobile Club was taken at the weekly meeting of the directors Friday when F.G. Oppenlander was awarded the contract to contstruct the building. His bid was $6700, exclusive of wiring and plumbing. The contract stipulates that the work must be finished by June 1.

The clubhouse will consist of eight rooms and will be of rustic plan throughout. The lower half of the building will be of logs. The building will be long and winding and one story."

Source:    "Sunday Oregonian", March 24, 1912, courtesy Historic Oregon Newspapers, University of Oregon Libraries, 2015.

Owners Throng Grounds to Inspect New Clubhouse.
Directors Invite General Public to Go Through Structure
and See Transformation of River Site Today.

"... The building itself, unique in architecture, roomy, comfortable and graceful in appearance, is well worth seeing. A drink at the clubhouse of the sparkling mountain water that is conveyed through a private pipeline three-fourths of a mile in length, will be a welcome refreshment. Shade and coolness under the abuntant foliage of immense trees invite the sun-weary traveler to rest awhile. ...

"The house committee has nearly finished its selection of furniture and the dining-room equipment, at least, will be soon placed within the premises. The furniture for the remaining rooms of the clubhouse will arrive later.

Painters are putting on the finishing touches of color to the exterior and interior of the edifice, the parking area surrounding and the driveway entering the porte cochere have been cleared and graded; the electrical wiring is all in readiness for the lighting fixtures and the concrete foundaiton has been laid for the gasoline engine and dynamo which will generate electricity for the 250 incandescent lamps that are to be used in illuminating the building and grounds. ..."

Source:    "Sunday Oregonian", June 2, 1912, courtesy Historic Oregon Newspapers, University of Oregon Libraries, 2015.

New House for Use of Members Will Open Formally With Dinner Thursday.

"As a monument to the indefatigable work of the present board of directors, the new home of the Portland Automobile Club will be formally opened this afternoon. Representing an investment of $15,000 for the building and $30,000 for the property, this will rank favorably with the finest automobile clubhouses in the country.

No expense was spared in making complete the furnishings and euqipment. Electric light and pumping plants were installed at heavy expense to insure up-to-date conveniences. Cold, sparkling mountain spring water was piped for a distance of a mile and a half. While this meant a rather heavy expenditure, the building committee thought it best to provide the kind of thirs quencher that has made Oregon's Bull Run famous.

The grounds in the immediate vicinity of the house have been beautified and parking work will be continued until the architect's landscape scheme is carried out. Tennis courts, croquet grounds and flower beds, with winding graveled walks, will be evidence when present plans are completed.

Banquet Will Be Given.

Thursday night the club will give a banquet at the clubhouse to celebrate the competion of this magnificent country home. Reservations for more than 250 have been made with President Clemens, insuring a large attendance. The dinner will be open to club members and their guests. ...

Open house will be in order all this afternoon. ...

The clubhouse can be reached by the Base Line road. It is located where the Sandy River crosses the Sandy road. ..."

Source:    "Morning Oregonian", June 16, 1912, courtesy Historic Oregon Newspaper Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2015.

MOtor Men Cut Speaches but Drink to Health of Fine $15,000 Home.

"An auspicious opening dedicated the magnificent clubhouse of the Portland Automobile Club last night. More than 200 members and their guests gather at the country home on the Base Line road and toasted the success of the new clubhouse. Not even a near-speech was made, and the motorists were left to enjoy the evening in peace.

Many autoists who visited the clubhouse for the first time were surprised at the elegance of the home. That it will be popular is quite evident, judging from the enthusiastic comments made last night. The building and furnishings surpassed the hopes of the most enthusiastic.

The structure was completed at a cost of $15,000. The club has its own electric light plant and pumping station. The kitchen equipment is said to rank with the finest in the country."

Source:    "Morning Oregonian", June 23, 1912, courtesy Historic Oregon Newspaper Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2015.

Newspaper image, Portland Auto Club clubhouse, June 23, 1912, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
NEWSPAPER Image, Portland Automobile Club's new clubhouse, "Sunday Oregonian", June 23, 1912. Courtesy Historic Oregon Newspapers Archives, University of Oregon Libraries website, 2015.
Map, 1927, Sandy River and Dabney Park, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
MAP detail, 1927, Multnomah County T1S R4E, showing the Sandy River, the "Oregon State Motor Association", and the "Dabney Park" development. Metsker Maps. Map courtesy "HistoricMapWorks.com" website, 2015.
Image, 2015, Sandy River from Dabney State Rec Area, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Sandy River looking downstream, from Dabney State Recreation Area, Oregon. View looking at the Stark Street Bridge over the Sandy River. Treed area on the left was once the grounds of the Portland Automobile Club. Image taken March 16, 2015.
Image, 2015, Troutdale, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Original gate, Portland Automobile Club grounds, Troutdale, Oregon. Image taken November 11, 2015.
Image, 2015, Troutdale, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Original gate support, Portland Automobile Club grounds, Troutdale, Oregon. Image taken November 11, 2015.

Riverview Restaurant (2015) ...

"In the early 1900’s, the Portland Automobile Club originally owned the 5 acres on which the Riverview Restaurant now stands. Years later, the scenic property was sold to the Viking Organization, a Swedish club in search of grounds to host picnics and other social functions. Hence, the entire area soon came to be known as “Viking Park.” In 1932, the Viking Organization leased their property to the Soderbergs, a Swedish family who then opened a café at the Park cooking Swedish cuisine and renting cabins to travelers. After Prohibition, alcoholic beverages were added to the café menu, marking the start of the property’s future transformation into a local community pub. Eventually, when ownership of the café changed, the “Rustic Inn” became “Hagar’s of Viking Park.” Under this name, one-time owner Kurt Jensen helped to develop the pub into a popular family-dining destination in a peaceful park setting.

In 1991, Junki and Linda Yoshida acquired the adjacent property, which consists of fifteen acres and the original clubhouse of the Portland Automobile Club, which was built in 1912. As time went by, they envisioned reassembling this divided property and creating a remarkable landmark that would include a restaurant on the river in a beautifully landscaped setting, catering to the tastes and atmosphere largely desired within the community.

The Riverview Restaurant was specifically designed to take advantage of the natural beauty of the region and provide an exceptional view of Troutdale’s scenic Sandy River. Adding to its unique elements, all of the milled trees that were removed on the property were incorporated into the building’s structure. The gazebo and manicured grounds have been designed to explore, host weddings and receptions, and for entertainment or musical venues. Finally, throughout the restaurant and for your viewing pleasure, we are proud to display original artwork from the Yoshida’s private art collection."

Source:    Riverview Restaurant website, 2015, "History".

Map, 1944, Sandy River and Dabney Park, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
MAP detail, 1944, Multnomah County T1S R4E, showing the Sandy River, the "Viking Club", and the "Dabney Park" development. Metsker Maps. Map courtesy "HistoricMapWorks.com" website, 2015.

From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, ...

Columbia River GorgeReturn to

*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

  • Historic Oregon Newspapers Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2015;

All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
October 2015