This image from the newly rediscovered Alva Day negatives captures three of the major transportation options of its era. He seems to have frozen the action just at the moment the pilot is rotating the propeller to start the engine.
The great logo on the side of the airplane identifies it as belonging to the "Oregon Washington & Idaho Airplane Company." I can make out part of their motto: "Safety Speed" but the text toward the head of the arrow is unreadable. The Oregon Washington & Idaho Airplane Company was founded in late 1919, and operated until 1922. They had operations out of Portland and the Dalles, with several flying boats and land-based craft such as this Curtiss "Jenny." In a May 1920 issue of the Dalles Chronicle they offered airplane flights to the public for $10, a significant sum in those days.
OWI Airplane Company employed pilots who were WWI combat veterans. In fact, this negative has a good enough resolution that I'm pretty comfortable identifying the pilot as Victor Vernon, chief pilot for the company. You can read his biography and memoir here. Mr. Vernon's scrapbook is part of the collection at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
As I mentioned Monday, you can help us with the estimated $2000 to process the rest of this photographic treasure trove. Send a check to "The History Museum of Hood River County" at PO Box 781, Hood River, OR 97031 with a note that it's for photo archives. Questions can be directed to the Museum Director, Connie Nice (phone 541-386-6772). If you include your email address with the check, I'll send you a special preview of one of the photos you're helping to preserve and share with the community.
I know this kind of appeal is working for Wikipedia, so hopefully it will work for Historic Hood River. $50 will conserve and digitize 33 of these great negatives, $150 will cover 100 of them. I can't wait to share the rest of the collection with you, but for now the five we're posting this week will have to do.
Category: [Downtown Hood River]
Passenger all ready for take off.
Love the boy in his kickers. What would he think of air transportation now?
What a combination, automobile, horse and plane, all on the same runway.
Charlott on 30th November 2011 @ 7:10am
Alva Day had a distinct style.
Any idea where this was taken other than a dry hay field?
l.e. on 30th November 2011 @ 2:35pm
I have looked and looked at the hills, but I really don't see the eastern hills of Hood River. Not saying this isn't Hood River. I think I am ruling out The Dalles area due to the hills. Their hills as more rim rock and not the massive amounts of evergreen trees that appear here.
I have no idea when they started using that area that is now Ken Jernsteadt field/airport. Could be there, but don't hink the hills look quite right.....
Charlott on 30th November 2011 @ 2:55pm
Is that a rock cliff in the background? If so, that could be looking over towards White Salmon?
nels on 30th November 2011 @ 3:26pm
: Regarding flying in Hood River Co.: Bruno Hukari (since deceased) once told me about his early flying experiences in either the late 30's or 40's. He and Arne Udelius asked the owner of a cow pasture near the current airport if they could take off and land there and were granted permission. They were off! He told of the two of them and another friend flying over the river near the HR bridge in stiff winds and altering their plane until they flew neither forward nor backward and having a blast. They helped get the current airport established. Bruno wanted badly to be an aircraft mechanic and went to CA to train during WWII. His father died, and he had to come home to run the family orchard, which he felt sad about his entire life. He loved flying around Mt. Hood. He was a great guy.
Lynne Holmes on 30th November 2011 @ 6:14pm
Definitely Hood River. I've matched the hills with several pictures I have looking down the Gorge. Underwood Mountain is just to the right out of frame. The clearing you see on the hillside at the right edge of the frame is still there on the flanks of Underwood Mtn., and the two hills (one over the passengers head and the other behind the three trees) are west of Underwood Mountain (I think one is Dog Mountain). You have to be up at about the elevation of the Heights to see the hill behind the rightmost wing strut, but relatively far north for the background to drop off that way. If I were looking for the exact match I'd start at the intersection Rand and May and work my way west.
Arthur on 30th November 2011 @ 6:54pm
As far As I can see this is right off of Country Club Road near Post Canyon, looking toward Underwood Mt.
Ellen Dittebrandt on 1st December 2011 @ 12:45pm
Since i wasn't there when this was taken, i can't say positively that the person in the rear seat was the pilot, and the prop-puller was a student or another pilot, but the standard configuration of that era and that Jenny was pilot in rear seat, passenger or student in front seat.
Paul Kollas on 2nd December 2011 @ 8:24am
First Air Mail to Hood River
Jeffrey W Bryant on 15th October 2020 @ 8:20pm