OAK GROVE’S SKOOG FAMILY
A few old timers from Oak Lodge may remember the Skoog family. Perhaps they went to school with a Skoog, or maybe they remember the family from Skoog’s Garage, or the Oak Grove Fire Dept.
Originally from Sweden the Skoogs immigrated to the U.S. in 1866, eventually settling and homesteading in Phelps Co., Nebraska around 1879. Charles P. and Mary Christine Skoog had five children, the youngest being Oscar Theodore Skoog born in Sweden in 1863. In 1882, in Phelps Co., NE, Oscar married his neighbor Anna C. Magnuson and the couple had five children while still living in Nebraska. Oscar T. Skoog was a carpenter by trade. By 1895 the couple had removed to Cascade Locks in what was then Wasco Co., OR where the Cascade Locks were nearing completion. They had their sixth child there in 1897. In the 1900 census Oscar was enumerated in Cascade Locks as a “day laborer”. By 1901 the family had moved to Portland, and in 1905 they had moved to Oak Grove.
Oscar and Anna Skoog purchased property on Oak Ave. (today’s Oak Grove Blvd.) in Oak Grove, located between the central part of Oak Grove and Oatfield Rd. at East Ave., and built a home there. The family consisted of Oscar T. Skoog and Anna, Oliver, Guy Howard, Oscar Paul, Gertrude, Gordon and Garold.
In the early 1920’s, after both serving in WWI, Oliver and Gordon Skoog established “Skoog Bros. Garage” on River Rd. between today’s Oak Grove Blvd. and Maple Streets. But following the construction of the Super Highway in the 1930’s the brothers moved their garage to the S.W. corner of the Super Highway and Oak Grove Blvd. on the original Skoog property, naming it “Skoogs Service Station”. Their former garage on River Rd. changed hands several times over the years, becoming part of the “Kelley Boat Co.” in the late 1940’s, “Lesman’s” in the 1950’s, then later “Johnson & Sons”, later yet “Palmer’s Auto Repair (Palmer Kellum)”, and most recently the “River Rd. Garage”. Oliver Skoog was killed in 1936 while walking along the Super Highway, and Skoog’s Service Station on McLoughlin Blvd. carried on under Gordon Skoog’s ownership. In Oct. 1945 Gordon Skoog sold Skoog’s Service station to Ed Gustafson and went into the real estate business – first with Oregon City Real Estate, then Kronberg Bros. Realty, and eventually with the family owned Skoog’s Realty (Gordon & Rilla Skoog) up until the 1960’s. Skoog’s Service Station continued to operate under the Skoog name (“Skoog’s Garage”; “Skoog’s Service Station”, and “Skoog’s Super Service Garage – Towing”) until about 1951.
With continued urbanization in the Oak Grove – Jennings Lodge area there was a need for a local fire station. Oscar and Anna Skoog had died in 1937 and 1936 respectively, and in December 1944 the remaining Skoog family (Gordon and his wife Rilla, Don Skoog, Nina Skoog, and Gertrude Skoog Hastings and her husband Fred Hastings) deeded “Lot 2, Block 44 of the First Subdivision of a portion of Oak Grove” – part of Oscar Skoog’s original property – to the Oak Grove Rural Fire Protection District, the precursor to today’s Oak Lodge Fire Dept.
The Skoog’s house remained on the property and was eventually turned into an office – ultimately becoming the residence for the Fire Chief and later the Fire Marshall. The Skoog family had a close relationship with the Fire Department. Don Skoog was a volunteer fireman for a time, and his wife Elsie would write a check to the fire hall every Christmas.
The original fire hall was constructed in 1945 and was a simple wood frame building. In 1949 funds of about $36,000 were approved to build a new “fire proof” building with sleeping quarters for volunteers.
The Skoog house continued being used until 1976 when the third firehouse was built, at which time the house was demolished to allow for expansion. Thus the Skoog family can take credit for providing the land for today’s Oak Lodge Fire Station in Clackamas Fire District #1.
Of the Skoog children Guy H. Skoog died in 1916 (from TB), Oscar Paul (a Glazier by trade) died in 1931, Oliver died in 1936 as did Garold O., Gordon died in 1965 and Gertrude (Skoog) Hastings died in 1968. Oscar Paul Skoog’s son, Donald joined the Navy right after high school, went into real estate into the late 1950’s, and became a longshoreman around 1964.
Like families so often do, the Skoog descendants have moved on from Oak Lodge, but can take pride in having left their historical mark in the community.
Chairman, Oak Lodge History Detectives
OLHD wishes to thank Nancy Skoog Barkley for her contributions to this narrative.