Some of you know I'm obsessed with figuring out where Thomas Lamb Eliot's summer home "Shushula" was located. We have several images of the home, and even have the blueprints. The house was built in 1891 and burned late December 1905, while Eliot and family where drying some bedding in front of an open fire.
We know Eliot owned a large plot stretching from Indian Creek to Eliot Drive, from which he donated Eliot Park (along Indian Creek). But none of the documentations definitively shows where on his property the house was constructed.
I frequently use Google Earth to identify the location of old images. It works best when you have a combination of object in the background which are close enough to each other that their relationship changes as you move around on the ground near the suspected location. When I first saw this image I thought we were looking at the Washington hills, but closer inspection put the background as our east side Hood River mountains. And then I noticed a small notch in the background view just to the left of the chimney. That's the sort of feature which is very sensitive to location. If you move a little north or south, it will look very different. The Google Earth background you see superimposed on this image shows the view from the east end of Sieverkropp Drive. I'm confident it was within a couple of hundred feet of the actual location of Shushula.
I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised Eliot's house was right off the end of Eliot Drive, but I always like to corroborate by history with a few different sources. I'll also note we have a photo of the fishing hole on the Hood River at the base of the pipeline crossing which bear a note about being "below Shushula" but I wasn't sure how literal that comment was. Turns out it was quite accurate, as this spot is directly above the pipeline crossing.
Category: [Downtown Hood River]
Great detective work, Arthur.
Will on 21st October 2020 @ 7:13am
The east end of Sieverkropp Drive is a little lower in elevation than the east end of Eliot Drive, and you can see in the old photo the land sloping down to the north, so my guess is modern day Sieverkropp is off camera to the left and the house was probably somewhere near the east end of modern Cameo Drive.
Harold on 21st October 2020 @ 8:22am
ie between Eliot and Cameo on modern Pear Blossom Drive.
Harold on 21st October 2020 @ 8:25am
Fascinating. Got me curious, how specifically they would've hiked down to the fishing hole. With "Terrain" turned on in Google Maps, I can see what might be a hiking route cut, snaking its way down just southwest of the end of Elliot Drive.
Kyle on 21st October 2020 @ 8:28am
I am chuckling. When I opened the photo I thought “this is probably more of Arthur’s obsession with Shushula”.
The detective work is fascinating.
L. E. on 21st October 2020 @ 9:35am
Do any of the trees near there date back to 1905 and show evidence of an old fire?
Jeffrey Bryant on 21st October 2020 @ 10:28am
Jeffrey - or any collection of stone that may have served as foundation.
Will on 21st October 2020 @ 12:21pm
Someone might want to ask the builders filling this area with houses if they have noticed any signs of a Shushula foundation or fire.
ArthurB on 21st October 2020 @ 6:33pm
I live in the neighborhood, and again from the slope of the land in the photo's foreground, all the new Sieverkropp development would be to the left (north) of any potential Shushula foundation. I think the house would have been nearer the modern day intersection of Cameo and Pear Blossom:
Harold on 22nd October 2020 @ 4:33pm
Hard to tell from that street view, but drive over there and you'll see that from that intersection the land slopes off to the north quite a bit.
Harold on 22nd October 2020 @ 4:35pm
Thanks Harold, we'll have to scrape together some pennies to hire a flyover with ground penetrating radar to search for foundation stones.
ArthurB on 22nd October 2020 @ 5:00pm
I live in the neighborhood as well, and agree with Harold that Shushula very likely was somewhere at the east end of Cameo, near where it intersects with PBR (Pear Blossom Road.) Harolds observation (see end) about the elevations ring true to me, as well as how it matches with the Shushula photo above. "The east end of Sieverkropp Drive is a little lower in elevation than the east end of Eliot Drive, and you can see in the old photo the land sloping down to the north, so my guess is modern day Sieverkropp is off camera to the left and the house was probably somewhere near the east end of modern Cameo Drive."
Jim on 26th October 2020 @ 4:23pm