Here's a good "Who am I?" mystery to test your knowledge of twentieth century American history. In an era when the railroad was the main transportation corridor, touring the countryside by train was a great way to meet people and share your vision. So who was this man greeted by a large crowd at the Hood River depot? I'll give some hints as the day goes by.
Hint #1: We have photos of this visit in both the Davidson collection and the photos of Albert Reed. That should help you narrow down the time period.
Hint #2: He was delivering a message which was very popular with farmers here and back in his home state.
Hint #3: The year was 1911 or 1912.
Hint #4: He was from Wisconsin.
The answer is Robert La Follette Sr. He was a long time senator from Wisconsin and a key figure in the "Progressive Era" of the early 1900s. In 1912 he attempted to challenge President Taft for the Republican nomination for president (the same year Teddy Roosevelt made his Bull Moose Party run). He ran again in 1924, as a Progressive Party candidate.
This image must be from 1911-1912, when he would have been campaigning for the Oregon Republican primary, though I have yet to find a record of his visit to Hood River (or even Oregon) that year. Can you find some evidence to support my hunch?
La Follette was very popular among farmers in his home state, so I suspect he found strong support in 1912 in Hood River.
Category: [Downtown Hood River]
I don't know, as I can't make him out close enough. However, since I do not see any women, this tells me it is a politician that was enroute from somewhere to Portland as the train is headed that way. Lots of political men had "whistle stops" in Hood River during that era. If he were a preacher, there would have been women there.
charlott on 25th February 2013 @ 7:05am
All of the men are wearing hats except for the guest of honor.
Good observation Charlott. We forget there was a time when women had no say in voting.
Must be spring time. Looks like the cottonwoods have just leafed out.
l.e. on 25th February 2013 @ 7:18am
Charlotte, are you using internet explorer? you've mentioned a couple of times about having trouble seeing detail, there should be a "zoom" option, either in a pull down, or in my case, the lower right of the screen. zoom to 400 percent really brings in the distant detail. of course the close stuff gets blurry. didn't have an email to contact ya directly, hated to see ya miss on a tool to help you offer us your wisdom! Love your comments, really appreciate what you add! Arthur, since this has nothing to do w/ the pic, feel free to delete when you feel appropriate.
spinsur on 25th February 2013 @ 7:30am
I don't think I do. Don't see anything that indicates...
charlott on 25th February 2013 @ 8:57am
Women didn't get the vote until 1918, so think we can assume the date to be prior to that....
charlott on 25th February 2013 @ 8:59am
Politician, correct. Pre-1918, correct. I've added another hint to the notes.
Arthur on 25th February 2013 @ 9:31am
Charlott, if your computer screen has a symbol that looks like a gear just below the "X" in the upper right had corner of your screen, click on it and it will give you Zoom options.
Norma Jubitz Simpson on 25th February 2013 @ 12:16pm
Well glory be...tlhanks Norma!
charlott on 25th February 2013 @ 1:49pm
Looks like Liberace to me. All I can think of is it might have something to do with William Jennings Bryant, who made "whistle stops" while campaigning. This is driving me silly that I can't figure this one out......
charlott on 25th February 2013 @ 1:53pm
Charlott, can you zoom in enough to tell if he is wearing spectacles?
l.e. on 25th February 2013 @ 1:59pm
OK, I added another hint and posted the full res clip of his face at http://flic.kr/p/dXMBxe
He does have a little of that Liberace hair going, though I think he also looks like the Wizard of Oz.
Arthur on 25th February 2013 @ 2:36pm
OK....I'm going to make a guess, so that I can quit wondering.
He is the only one I could find with big hair.
l.e. on 25th February 2013 @ 3:47pm
Seidel definitely had the hair. And was running for VP in the 1912 election. Could not find any record of him campaigning in Oregon though.
Jim F. on 25th February 2013 @ 3:52pm
Seidel is an excellent guess, though incorrect. You've got the right year, the right hair, and the right state (that's a big hint)... but the wrong person. I'd never heard of Seidel before, so I've learned something new.
Arthur on 25th February 2013 @ 3:55pm
Jim F. on 25th February 2013 @ 3:58pm
Bing bing bing-- correct! I knew the state would give it away.
Arthur on 25th February 2013 @ 4:00pm
Yep...there's the hair. Good job Jim. I don't know anything about him, so I have some reading to do.
Evidently quite a few HR gentlemen knew about him.
l.e. on 25th February 2013 @ 4:16pm
Now someone has to tell me who LaFollette was?
Jill Stanford on 25th February 2013 @ 4:23pm
Jill, I've added bio information to the photo notes.
Arthur on 25th February 2013 @ 4:33pm
Robert Marion LaFollette had quite a pollitical career. He served both in the House and Senate, plus was the governor of Wisconsin.
He is considered one of the best top ten senators in history.
charlott on 25th February 2013 @ 4:57pm
Second photo from the end of Wikipedia information looks much like the one from the train here.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_M._La_Follette,_Sr.
del on 25th February 2013 @ 5:06pm
Something else....I think there were a number of Hood River families originally from Wisconsin.
The Davidson lumber family was from Wisconsin and I think families like the Buttons followed them out here to HR. So, they might have been supporters or at least aware of LaFollette.
l.e. on 25th February 2013 @ 5:14pm
do i spy a bird house.... ? or what appears to be a funny looking power pole ....
Steve on 26th February 2013 @ 6:50am
Not a lot out there, but it appears that LaFollette campaigned in Oregon in April, 1912. He made a number of stops, including Pendleton and, of course, Hood River, before heading down to California. I think this was a few months after his infamous "nervous breakdown" speech. In today's news cycle, that probably would have ended his campaign right there.
Jim F. on 26th February 2013 @ 6:58am
That appears to be a bird house as with my zoom in capabilites.....at last that little structure has a hole in it. Wonder what types of birds they were attempting to attract?
charlott on 26th February 2013 @ 7:09am
Thank you Arthur! Your clarification as well as everyone else's observations made this very interesting.
I saw Harry S. Truman on the back of a railroad car as it came through Edmonds, Washington going south to Seattle during the '40s. The train did not stop but proceeded very slowly so people could wave flags and shout. Harry waved his hat. My mother felt this was a 'great occasion" so she took me to see this.
Jill Stanford on 26th February 2013 @ 12:03pm
I'll bet it was 1947 when he was running for re-election.
Jill Stanford on 26th February 2013 @ 12:07pm
Another "great occasion" in Hood River, which I think we had a photo earlier was when Queen Marie of Romania was heading up to Sam Hill's "folly" at Columbus.
charlott on 5th March 2013 @ 5:31am
Ella May Davidson's notes indicate this was taken April 14, 1912.
Arthur on 14th May 2017 @ 12:34pm