This nice hand-colored glass lantern slide taken in front of the Columbia Gorge Hotel is courtesy of ODOT senior historian Bob Hadlow. Bob has identified the man to the right as Herbert Nunn, Oregon's State Highway Engineer. The other man is his driver. The photo was taken by A. M. Prentiss, whose equipment case can be seen on the car's running board.
Nunn served as State Highway Engineer from 1917 to 1923. The automobile is tentatively identified as a 1920 or 1921 Cadillac Model 59.
Bob Hadlow prepared this bio of Herbert Nunn for us:
Herbert Nunn was the Oregon State Highway Engineer from 1917 to 1923. He provided needed leadership for the fledgling Oregon State Highway Department at a critical time in the development of the state’s highway system. Nunn was born in Missouri in 1877. He was a Spanish-American War veteran who later enrolled in the Infantry and Cavalry School at Leavenworth, Kansas, where he took a special course in military engineering. Nunn worked for three years in Mexico in mining and engineering before fleeing the country because of the Mexican Revolution. He served three years as the city engineer for El Paso, Texas. Nunn became road engineer for Multnomah County in 1915. He worked under John B. Yeon to lead the county’s effort to hard surface its roads, including the Columbia River Highway east and west of Portland.
The Oregon State Highway Department dates from 1913. The original Oregon State Highway Commission was made up of the governor, the secretary of state, and the state treasurer. By 1915, however, there was upheaval in the agency and the state fell far behind other states in completing its initial highway system. In 1917, the legislature reconstituted the state highway commission with three citizen members (Simon Benson of Portland (chair), W. L. Thompson of Pendleton, and E. J. Adams of Eugene). The new commission reorganized the state highway department. In April 1917, according to the Oregonian, they selected Nunn as their first state highway engineer because of his past record as “an exceptional administrative officer and organizer, and his ability to handle highway work with a minimum of engineering costs.”
Nunn became state highway engineer at a critical juncture in the state’s history, when Oregonians saw the advantages to having a superior road system. He oversaw an aggressive campaign that, in the seven years of his tenure, built $40 million in roads and bridges throughout the state. Nunn’s program included significant work towards completion of the Pacific Highway, the Columbia River Highway, and The Dalles-California Highway. By 1921, the highway commission rewarded Nunn for his leadership by raising his yearly salary to $7,200. At the time, he was the highest paid state employee in Oregon. Nunn left state service in March 1923, during a period of changes in the political composition of Oregon government. Roy A. Klein replaced him as state highway engineer.
Shortly, Herbert Nunn became city manager for Santa Barbara, California. There, he faced another challenge when, on June 29, 1925, the city experienced a 6.8 magnitude earthquake, which severely damaged the business district. Nunn lead the effort to rebuild the city. He later carried out various engineering pursuits in California. Nunn died in 1947 in San Diego.
Quite the history.
Since the hotel opened in 1921, we must be looking at a brand new building?
L.E. on 5th November 2018 @ 7:50am
Oregon initiated the first per gallon tax on fuel in 1919. Other states quickly followed in Oregon's foot steps.
Longshot on 5th November 2018 @ 10:58am
There are no longer doors coming out of that side, but windows....
Charlott on 6th November 2018 @ 7:07am