Early 1920's - 1930

The Story of Hubbard

Early 1920's - 1930

   The decade following World War I was a time of rapid change. Work saving appliances to make life easier were advertised in newspapers and magazines. Washing machines and electric ranges were envied in households where electricity was not yet a reality. Telephones were available and made communication instantaneous.

LESTER BARRETT: We didn't have electricity when I was a kid. I don't think we got that until I started goin' to school. I started when I was seven years old I think we got electricity in 23 or 24, I'm guessin'. Never had running water in the house. Pump on the back porch and a privy in the back yard. 7hat was it. We used kerosene lanterns, kerosene lamps.

And an old crank telephone on the wall. If you was on the same line assomeone you wanted to talk to, they called them party lines, you rang somany rings for the party you wanted to talk to, pick up the receiver and listen for them to answer. A lot of times, if you'd ring up somebody you'd want to talk to, everybody else would pick up their receiver and listen. These phones, when you crank this thing, there's a magnetic generator in the phones that rings a bell on the other person's bell. There was a set of two batteries, a volt and a half apiece, that was the listening part of the system. There'd be two longs and one short, something on this order. All different and each person knew what the other rings were. The old switch boards, the operator plugged them cords into the holes. That was the actual switchboard system. there wasone of them here in Hubbard The one I remember was in the same wooden building as Dr. Schoor's hospital on G Street.

VERA KOCHER YODER: It was always fun to "rubber" on somebody and sometimes it was helpful too. The telephone operator at Needy often knew where people were, because, while you could ring a number on your own line, if you were calling to a different line, you'd have to call the operator. She'd hook you up and she'd know where you were if something came up and somebody wanted to get in touch with you, she could tell them where you were. I guess "rubberneck" would be the source of the term "rubber. " I don'tthink I've thought of this term for a long time. You'd probably be more apt to listen in on someone if you knew that somebody was sick. I can't imagine how we ever got along with so many people on the line.

LESTER BARRETT: The first radio I can remember was a crystal set.

There was a few of them in the country. You'd move this little wire around on a little crystal and you'd pick up stations out of Portland. There was a wire up between two poles in the back yard,- most of them wires were probably 50 feet long.

Prior to the 1920's, train travel was a convenient and inexpensive method of getting from one place to another. Travelers boarded the train at the Hubbard Depot, located on the commons between D and E Streets. They could go to Portland or Salem or any point in between, do their business, visit relatives, and return to Hubbard in the same day. Train travel, at least the short-distance trips, became obsolete as automobiles became popular.

Distances between communities shortened when automobiles became affordable and commonplace. Hubbard Garage, located at 2nd and G, listed an auto with a "strapping big new Overland engine that has everybody talking. It is all sinew and power. It sends you zooming up the steepest climbs as nimbly as you please." The models and prices: Champion $696, Sedan $795 and Touring $495.

Early day automobile transpiration had its problems. Traversing gravel roads was one.

ED SCHOOR: I remember my father, Dr. Schoor, telling that many times he made his house calls at night. Farmers would meet him at the mud holes and pull the car through with horses. He had developed his own tire chains even, heavy duty tire chains, because he was always fighting the mud. Also, there were quite a few times he would go out on calls and the house lights would be off. He'd go to the door, and they'd say that the people fell better and didn't need him anymore.

We generally had two cars. I remember an Overland coupe that my dad made his calls in, and then we had a bigfour-door Willys Knight. Just about every weekend, due to the lack of refrigeration, we had to go to town for drugs for my father. We went to Salem or Portland and many, many times we would be all dressed to go when Dad would get a call and we'd have to wait for people to come in.

I remember very well there often would be a trail of blood from a car to the office. A big thing was scythes, a farm tool with a curved blade used for cutting long grass or grain. The horses would move as they would clean out the horse drawn scythes and they'd cut a hand or arm real bad I do remember one time years ago when my father reattached thumb. It worked, which was a rarity in those days.

MILDRED SCHOOR: At that time roads were so bad that people would have an accident and get hurt real bad, especially Clackamas County. They had a lot of graveled roads. Part would be paved and part gravel. Everyone would drive on the paved and then they would have accidents. They would come in with gravel, mud and blood all over. About that time their relatives would come in, then the state police. There was no ambulance or first aid or anything then.

FRANCES LEFFLER BYERS: I learned to drive when I was 16. My dad sat in the driver's seat and I would steer and shift gears. I sent in 50 cents and got my driver's license. Didn't have to do anything but send in your money. I drove after that. I learned to drive a 60 Overland Bought it from Hershbergers.

HOWARD JONES: I remember when all this out here along Shank Road was gravel In fact, out here there was a pot hole there and they finally cut poles about that big (four or five inches), what they used to call corduroy, put poles across it so you could drive across it to get out of the mud. You'd hit that with the car and bump, bump, bump.

MARY JONES: Kids thought it was great!

HOWARD JONES: The first car we ever had was a 1920 Chevrolet Touring car with the side curtains. You know, you could take the curtains off in the summer time and put them under the seat. You'd sit there and the old guys used to chew tobacco and spit. It'd fly right to the back!

The road from Whiskey Hill South, my dad hauled gravel on that with a team and wagon. Got it down by Aurora by the gravel pit, hauled it up there and put gravel on the road. In the wintertime you couldn't hardly get through it. There was mud holes, and in the summertime 1've seen the dust pyramid on top of the posts. Lots of rail fences along the road.

The Hubbard Enterprise reported weekly on the progress of road building and paving. The Hubbard Enterprise also had weekly reports on the efforts of the Fire Department to raise funds for fire fighting equipment. After several wood buildings had been destroyed by fire, volunteers organized a fire department in 1924. Roy Claypool describes those first days:

I belonged to the Hubbard Fire Department for several years in the late 20's and early 30's and at that time, we were using an old Model T Ford truck for a fire engine. We also had an old hand pump as backup. We never had to use the hand pump which we were all glad for. We were an all volunteer crew, which varied in numbers from time to time.

One outstanding memory is that during the big dust storm, probably in 1932, we took turns staying at the fire house 24 hours a day due to the largenumber of fires during those few days.

During my stay with the Hubbard Fire Dept. most of us were either in school or just out of high school and hadn't grown any roots yet. Along with putting out quite a few fires, we enjoyed the association of the men and boys who made up the department. After I left, Clarence Friend became Chief for several years. Many of the improvements that you have today were the fruits of the efforts of Clarence, with the help of some other new members; Hap Pulley, Les Barrett among them. There were some I don't know that also contributed a lot of time and effort to complete the small but efficient department you have today. These things are the result of team effort and a desire to be a part of the community.

One fire the Fire Department did not have to put out was one that didn't happen.

MILDRED SCHOOR: As long as I can remember, I have attended theHubbard Community Church. My grandpa, Ed Wolfer, shingled the steeple. I remember going to Sunday school where the bellfry is now. There was a wood stove. It's a wonder it didn't burn down, 'cause we sat there and watched the pipe get red and then get white.

Firemen sponsored community dances, plays, sold tickets to the Molalla Buckeroo, and held baseball games and boxing matches. John Friend, Hubbard barber, also trained boxers and arranged matches. In 1929, the local newspaper listed the following boxing events to be held: Joe Blackwell vs. Spud Murphy, Jack Summers vs. Curly Shuman and Jack Bailey vs. Kid Summers.

A water fight to demonstrate the capabilities of new hoses was held during the summer months. The "fire boys" held an annual picnic in August. At least one year it was held at Playmore Park.

About Playmore Park, Lester Barrett says: There was nice grove of trees. It was called Knight's Rest at that time. Then a fella built a swimmin' pool back there and a dance floor and an air strip out back. They had rides for people and parachute jumps, entertainment. There was a fella by the name of Rankin out of Portland, a barn stormin' pilot. I remember. And the back room hadgambling, illegal of course, but wide open, back in the 20's.

A national phenomenon experienced in America during the 1920's was Prohibition. Prohibition outlawed alcoholic beverages nationwide from 1920 to 1933, under an amendment to the Constitution. Hubbard, whose chief agricultural product was an essential ingredient to beer production, did not suffer. All the local hops were exported.

The law may have prohibited the manufacture of hard liquor, but hard liquor was manufactured. It was sold in the local area. Lester Barrett reports there was a lot of moonshine. A lot of moonshine was made around broadacres. A lot made around Mt. Angel. In fact, some years back, if you saw a farmer that had a lot of land and good lookin' building, he usually got the money frommoonshinin', somehow.

Moonshiners became creative in their efforts to elude the law. Leonard Bizon relates: We had friends and the woman's father lived in a houseboat on the Columbia River slough. I remember one Sunday we went to his houseboat, and this old gentleman got a pipe pole and reached out into the river and pretty soon here comes a cotton picking still-coils, copper tubing, the whole she-bang.

The party ended with the Great Depression.