Conservation Easements Webinar


If you’ve ever thought that, perhaps, you’d like to try and preserve your unique or historic property into the future once you’ve “moved on” this webinar might be something you’d be interested in.

Conservation Easements are held by a preservation organization, and place certain restrictions on your property (which you can customize) which restrict what a future owner can do with it.  The easement is attached directly to your deed and provides even better protection than having your home designated a county “Historic Landmark”.  AND, there are tax benefits. So one should familiarize themselves with the tax implications ahead of time.

This webinar is free, and will be held Aug. 13th. But you’ll need to register first.

You can learn more about Conservation Easements by Googling it, or visiting the Restore Oregon website.

Mike Schmeer

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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.

Skoog Family group photo, ca. 1904

Oscar T. and Anna Skoog Family ca. 1904
Back, L-R: Guy H., Oliver, Oscar P. Skoog; Front L-R: Oscar T., Gordon, Gertrude, Garold (Mike), Anna Skoog.

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.

Photo portrait of Nina Skoog, 1913

Nina Skoog, 1913

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.

Photo of Skoog's Garage on River Rd, 1923

Skoog’s Garage on River Rd. looking north, 1923; Oliver Skoog by gas pump.

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.

Scan of Skoog family deed to Oak Grove RFPD, 1944

Skoog family deed to Oak Grove Rural Fire Protection District, Dec. 1944

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.

Sketch of the first Oak Grove Fire Hall, 1944-1949

Artist’s sketch of first Oak Grove Fire Hall 1944-1949

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.

Photo of newspaper article containing a request by the Oak Grove Rural Fire Protection District to build a two-story fire house; 1946

Oak Grove Rural Fire Protection District request to build a two-story fire house; 1946

Newspaper article about Oak Lodge Fire Protection District plans to build new fire house; 1949

Oak Lodge Fire Protection District plans to build new fire house; 1949

Sketch of the second Oak Grove Fire Hall, 1949-1976

Artist’s sketch of Oak Lodge Fire Hall 1949-1976

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.

Aerial photo of Oak Grove RFPD buildings

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.

Photo portrait of Donald W. Skoog, 1941

Donald W. Skoog, 1941

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.

Mike Schmeer
Chairman, Oak Lodge History Detectives

OLHD wishes to thank Nancy Skoog Barkley for her contributions to this narrative.

Newspaper article about freestyle skiing with photo of Gordy Skoog, 1975

Gordon “Gordy” Skoog, 1975

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OLHD: No June Meeting




In a normal year OLHD would be having a meeting the second Thursday in June.  However, Covid-19 has changed all that.  Though Oregon is gradually starting to open up we are still experiencing new cases, and the majority of our members are in the “most vulnerable” category.  Thus it would not be prudent to be meeting, AGAIN.  Our next usual meeting date would be in October, so we’ll just have to wait and see what the health situation looks like then.

As far as updates is concerned:

OLHD has filed for tax-exempt status with the IRS. In addition to the Covid-19 impact on the IRS operations we anticipate that there will be a couple challenges with our application due to the fact that we waited so long from the time we first incorporated in 2011 until filing last month.  We’ll just have to wait and see what the IRS has to say, and that could take a while.  But at least we’ve filed and paid the application fee.

Yours truly has applied to Clackamas County to serve on the Historic Review Board – requiring final approval by the County BCC.  This is a volunteer position, and Board members evaluate new applications to be designated a County Historic Landmark, as well as evaluate applications to modify or demolish existing ones.  I go into this with some trepidation, knowing full well that the County’s existing ZDO 707 – – it’s Preservation Ordinance – – has many issues that need revising, and that such revisions take a very long time to accomplish. However, if we are going to improve our ability to preserve our historic resources this is the best place to start.

The Concord Task Force is still working on the various options for the Concord property, which include a Community Center, library and park space.  We have been meeting lately in ZOOM sessions, and the consulting firm OPSIS has been working very hard coming up with design concepts.  You can keep abreast of these concepts under consideration by following this link:

Finally, if you haven’t already heard, Oak Grove will NOT be having an Oak Grove Fest this year.  Sights are set on resuming it in 2021.

Stay home if you can, wear a mask and exercise Social Distancing when out, and stay safe.  Until there is an effective vaccination we are all still at risk.

Mike Schmeer

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New page for the Starkweather family

William A. Starkweather, 1822-1905

Though we are not able to meet in person, are “Social Distancing” and staying safe at home, we can still enjoy our local history.

The name Starkweather is probably not familiar to most people living in Oak Lodge today. But 100 years ago it would have been a household name. Most people today would associate it with the Starkweather house, now the Sandes of Time B&B on River Rd. – – – if at all. No streets bear the name, and there are no commemorative markers to honor them.

William Starkweather first bought land in our area in 1865, but was well known to Oregonians before then. The Starkweathers were legislators and educators and the family was intertwined with the Risleys.

OLHD has now posted information about the Starkweather family on our website (see link below), which includes Victoria’s Journal, written by William & Eliza Starkweather’s young daughter in 1879-1880 and reproduced for us by Nancy (Starkweather) Hersey. Sadly Victoria’s life was cut short in 1890 when she died from “Typhoid Malaria”. Victoria’s Journal gives us a snapshot of what life was like in Oak Lodge ca. 1880, and who was living here then. It is a fascinating read. We’ve included an introduction at the beginning for context, as well as a family group sheet at the end. You’ll find the PDF link to “Victoria’s Journal” at the very bottom of the website page.

[Starkweather Family Page]


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City Directories

Historians and genealogists alike are well aware of the value of city directories when researching an area’s history or their family history. They can be a great research tool. Portland has directories back to the early1860’s, available at libraries and on

Oak Grove and Jennings Lodge, being relatively new communities (1890 and 1903 respectively), rarely had a directory. But Clackamas County did publish a couple of them that we know of fairly early. Not only is it helpful to see WHO was living there then, and where, one can see what some of the businesses were from the listings and advertisements. Like so many documents these directories give us a glimpse into life in Oak Lodge “back in the day”.

OLHD has scanned the Oak Grove & Jennings Lodge portions of the 1916-1917 Clackamas Co. Directory, as well as the Oak Grove portion of the 1947-1948 Clackamas Co. Directory.

Check out the OLHD website for PDF’s of these two directories, and see if any of your ancestors or other familiar names show up! If you have a slow connection (like me) please be patient as it loads. Enjoy.…/oaklodge/jenningslodge/

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OLHD April Meeting – CANCELLED





So, here we are, in the midst of a National (World Wide) Health Crisis and a ton of uncertainty. Do I really need to SAY it?

Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic crisis, the fact that the majority of the OLHD members fall into the “most vulnerable” category, and the likelihood that the crisis will not end any time soon, the April 9th OLHD meeting has been cancelled.

Hopefully we are all practicing “social distancing” and staying at home in our national effort to minimize the serious illnesses and deaths brought on by this new virus. So, stay home as much as possible, keep your distance from others, practice that hand washing, and STAY SAFE.  Learning about our local history can wait.

Mike Schmeer

Chairman, Oak Lodge History Detectives

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Tribute to Al Schmidhamer, 1927 – 2019

Al Schmidhamer
1927 – 2019

Photo of Al Schmidhamer

The Oak Lodge History Detectives have recently learned that Al Schmidhamer, nearly a life-long resident of Oak Grove, passed away last November 30th. Al knew a lot about the history of modern day Oak Lodge, and was part of it.

Alwin Joseph Schmidhamer was born in Portland Feb. 13, 1927. His parents were Joseph “Joe” Schmidhamer and Maria Magdalena “Lena” Herrmann, both from Munich, Germany. Under sponsorship of an uncle, Lena immigrated to Portland in 1926, followed by Joe in 1927. A cabinet maker in Germany, Joe became a sausage maker and butcher in Portland.

In 1932 the Schmidhamers moved to Milwaukie where Al attended Concord School with Bob Naef and later attended Milwaukie High School. In 1936 they built a home on Oatfield Rd. Joe found work at the Conway Packing Co. on Grand Ave. In 1939 they traded their Oatfield Rd. property for property on the west side of McLoughlin Blvd. south of Concord Rd.. It was there that they started the “Twin Oaks Trailer Camp” – later the “Twin Oaks Trailer Park”. Prior to the advent of bathrooms inside travel trailers the park provided restrooms and showers for tenants. In the late 1950’s the Schmidhamers established the Flamingo Trailer Park on Courtney – now the “Flamingo Mobile Manor”. All the while the Schmidhamers continued buying and selling trailers, and Al became involved in the business. He attended OSU for a short time but his poor grades forced him to return to his parent’s trailer business. In 1947 he traveled to Los Angeles and purchased 60 trailers for the family which sold rapidly in the thriving business. In 1952 Al struck out on his own, selling used trailers on a lot he purchased on Portland’s N.E. Union Ave. In 1 ½ years his business had expanded to a city block and he was soon operating Al’s Trailer Mart at two locations. In 1955 he was elected chairman of the Oregon Trailer Coach Association, representing trailer courts and sales lots in seven western states.

In 1962 Al opened “Trailer City – Formerly Al’s Trailer Mart” on McLoughlin Blvd, on a lot just south of today’s U.S. Bank, and another in Eugene in 1963. In 1969 he opened “Altramar Mobil Home Park” on S.E. Roethe Rd. just east of McLoughlin Blvd. – the name a shortened form for Al’s Trailer Mart. In 1981 he opened “
Al’s Trailer Mart” on McLoughlin where Gage Auto Sales (once the site of The Keg) is today. He also had a lot in Estacada for a time and owned “Altramar West Mobile Home Park” in Nehalem.

Al was said to have owned “all of McLoughlin Blvd.” at one time – – an exaggeration to be sure, but not all that far off. Al did buy and sell a number of properties on McLoughlin over the years, including a strip of property in front of the Super 99 Drive In, the original site of Dillinger’s (formerly Gaffer’s Pub), the V Bar V Western Store, a lot just north of G. G.’s, the Les Schwab property, the Wendy’s lot, the Eastside Athletic lot, and the Bentley’s Manufacturing site .

Al was a member of the Milwaukie Elks Lodge #142. A celebration of life was held for him there last December. He was the epitome of perpetual motion right up to the end. Al is survived by several children and grandchildren, and two sisters.

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Risley Family Presentation Slides Available


Sometimes doing an adequate job of documenting history requires a great deal of time and effort.  Such is the case with the program “Risleys On The Willamette” presented by yours truly last October.  But it is finally available for you to see.

The link below will take you to the Risley portion of the “People and Family Names” section of the OLHD website.  Click on the “Risley Links” at the bottom of the page to view the program. This PDF is a HUGE file so unless you have a fast internet speed it may take some time to open – if at all.  The file is 70 mb’s.  If you are totally unable to view it let me know and we’ll figure out some other means of letting you view it.  I’m still using DSL which only allows me a 5 mbps download speed (pathetic these days).  But if you’re using Comcast cable you should have no problem.

Mike Schmeer

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OLHD February 2020 Meeting

7:00 P.M.

Oak Lodge Water Services Offices
14496 S.E. River Rd. @ Maple St.


It’s a new year, and OLHD will be meeting again – for the 99th time (including events) – to learn more about our area’s history.

In addition to just a few updates we will be expanding on our knowledge of the Risley family history. Further research into information presented at our last two gatherings has revealed another family member, unknown until now, with a fascinating story.

Join us on Feb. 13th for the presentation “The Mysterious Mary E. Risley – An Exercise in Genealogical Research“.

Minutes from our last meeting are posted on the OLHD website. As always renewals, new supporters, and donations will be accepted.

We look forward to seeing you on Feb. 13th!

Mike Schmeer
Chairman, Oak Lodge History Detectives

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OLHD December 2019 Meeting

7:00 P.M.

Oak Lodge Water Services Offices
14496 S.E. River Rd. @ Maple St.


As we race into the holiday season we shall meet one more time before year’s end to satisfy our thirst for history.

In addition to just a few updates on history related things going on in the community we’ll be complementing the Risley program we did in October with “Unraveling the origins of the Risley & Creighton Donation Land Claims” (or TRYING to) —— AND “La Roche – What’s in the name?” (a working theory).

Scan of the heading for the Bylaws of the Laroche Library Association

As always membership renewals will be accepted, as will new memberships.  The minutes from our last meeting will be posted on the OLHD website.

We look forward to seeing you on Dec. 12th!

Mike Schmeer
Chairman, Oak Lodge History Detectives

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