It's amazing what history can pop up randomly in the museum. Today the research team rediscovered this book in our files. It is the ledger for the famous hotel/ stagecoach stop/ toll bridge at Sherar's Bridge on the Deschutes River, covering transactions from 1875-1877. This would be during the period when Joseph and Jane Sherar operated the site. You can read about the history of the the hotel and bridge here.
I've shown you a page of the "House" ledger (the hotel) and the "Toll" ledger. Hopefully you can read the detail. It looks like a meal was 50 cents and two horsemen overnight with feed was $2. I'm not sure what "Chinaman" at $2.50 referred to. Perhaps they were selling labor services in addition to feed, groceries, stamps, meals and lodging.
The toll ledger indicates a crossing cost 50 cents for a horseman, or $1 for a horse wagon. Cattle crossed for 8 cents/ head.
These toll numbers seemed high to me until I read in the Oregon History Project article that he has just spent $75,000 improving the road and the bridge.
Tags: 1870s bridge Deschutes_River document ledger Sherar Sherars_Bridge toll_bridge Wasco_County
My great-grandfather also kept a ledger book of the business of the ferry at Biggs. His ferry crossing charge was somewhat different. If it was a wagon with one span (meaning 2 horses) it was one price and if it was a two span (meaning 4 horses) it was a different price. He charged 25 cents for indians (probably since he was their friend and knowing they did not have the money as the whites did. This journal also contains any expenses in connection with the ferry, such as wages paid out, etc. and to whom.
He also kept a household journal with all the expenses in it. I always found it interesting as there are entries that correspond with the coming of each baby, being things such as fabric for making diapers and clothes for the forth coming new one.
He kept the same type journals when he came to Hood River to the ranch.
Charlott on 15th October 2018 @ 7:31am
Must have been a sign of the times. My grandfather kept records like this and I have a couple of books of his. One is from 1900 to 1904. Makes interesting reading.
Norma on 15th October 2018 @ 8:34am
This was the third bridge at that location. Sherar bought May's 1864 wagon bridge in 1871 for $7040, and operated it for 40 years. Sherar did not built the 13 room hotel until 1913, later enlarged to 33 rooms and burned in 1940.
Kenn on 15th October 2018 @ 9:23am
The tolls for using toll roads and crossing bridges in the horse and buggy days were prohibitive. We should be glad that Oregon came up with the gas tax circa 1919 and put an end to toll roads. Society would be very different today if we still had to pay heavy tolls everywhere we wanted to go.
Has anyone ever heard what the tolls were for the full length of the Barlow Road or for some of the portage roads/railroads around the falls of the Columbia?
Longshot on 15th October 2018 @ 3:17pm
Good point, Longshot. I remember calculating the HR-White Salmon bridge toll from 1924, when it opened, was more than $11 after an inflation adjustment, and this is considerably more than that. The "good roads movement" really changed the economics of the region by providing much cheaper ways to move crops and products from place to place.
Arthur on 15th October 2018 @ 4:54pm
But the Oregonian that first proposed the gas tax later regretted it, because he felt it was abused.
I wonder if the first investors in the White Salmon-HR bridge recovered their investment.
L.E. on 15th October 2018 @ 6:55pm
Joseph H. Sherar (1833 - 1908) and wife, Jane, (1848 - 1907) built a financial empire in the area being involved in farming, ranching, toll road management, hotel and property management and probably many other endeavors of which we are unaware. The 1900 census shows the Sherar family employed 6 or 7 servants, three stock herders, a hostler, a teamster and possibly two cooks.
Kenn, a slight correction, the 33 room hotel was built in 1893.
LMH on 16th October 2018 @ 11:40pm