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Looking Back and History Mystery

To guess this week’s photo, taken in Sherman County, above, send an e-mail to or call (541) 506-4601 and leave your name and telephone number; be sure to spell your name. If the message box is full, press “0” and leave a message for the receptionist. You may fax responses to (541) 298-1365.

To guess this week’s photo, taken in Sherman County, above, send an e-mail to or call (541) 506-4601 and leave your name and telephone number; be sure to spell your name. If the message box is full, press “0” and leave a message for the receptionist. You may fax responses to (541) 298-1365.


A number of people provided information about last week’s History Mystery, above, including Mareta Maier, John Foley and Aggie Brown of Tygh Valley. The photograph was scanned from a print submitted by Maier, and was taken July 4, 1957. She said this is a photo of her brother, G.K. Hendricks, who won this 1957 Plymouth Fury by purchasing a 50 cent “coin” for a drawing held at a Fourth of July weekend celebration during Oregon’s centennial year. He was visiting his sister while on leave from his duties with the U.S. Air Force in Moses Lake, Wash. He bought the winning ticket in a fundraiser to get grass planted in Sorosis Park, which was bare dirt at that time. Maier said she did not go to Sororis Park for the drawing because it was over 100 degrees and she was pregnant but, after seeing her brother’s new car, she wished that she had. “I’ve never seen anyone so lucky in all my life,” she told Hendricks when she saw his new ride. The home in the background is located in the 300 block of West 21st St. in The Dalles. Foley said the car giveaway was through a Plymouth and Desoto dealer located where NAPA Auto is today.


Terray Harmon, Russ Brown, Donna H., Nancy B., Dale and Becky Roberts of Maupin, Lucile Stephens of Dufur, Gary Conley and Johna Ward all contributed to the information gathered about Helzer’s Diner in The Dalles, above. The photograph was scanned from a collection of negatives labeled "restaurants" from the archives of The Dalles Optimist, which later became The Dalles Chronicle. It was scanned from a 5 by 7 inch black and white film dated July 12, 1957. The newspapers displayed on racks to the left of the proprietor are, left to right, The Dalles Optimist and the Oregonian. Behind the window is a rack of "HOW TO BOOKS" and shelves of magazines. In the newspaper racks to the right of the proprietor, enlargement shows the Seattle Post Intelligencer and The New York Mirror, and a Sunday paper wrapped in color comics, with Dick Tracy visible. Behind the window a rack of greeting cards, one end of the lunch counter and a man smoking are visible. Helzer’s Café was located at 311 E. 2nd Street, where Greater Oregon Behavioral Health is now, said Johna Ward. The Cafe may have been open all night, certainly very early and very late. There were restrooms and a shoe-shine service accessed from the alley behind, which served as a bus depot for Greyhound and Trailway buses. Lucile Stephens said she remembered the café well: “Mother would put me on the bus there to go to her friend’s home in Washington,” she said. Buses came to the alley behind the store, and tickets were purchased inside the café. “It was a busy place there for years,” remembers Gary Conley. Helzers Café Jake Grossmiller wrote: The description of Helzers Café (last week, corrected) was by and large correct with a few exceptions. The bathrooms were in the basement, not the Shoe Shine stand. The stand was located in the back of the building and was manned by Percy Viltz. There were storage lockers across from Percy’s Stand that could be rented for a quarter. The cashier’s stand was located across from the lunch counter and was manned by my Aunt Helen Slusher-Grossmiller, and had shelves with trinkets and souvenirs of The Dalles.

September 13

20 Years Ago-1995

Two of three vacancies in the Community and Economic Development Department will be filled following a decision by The Dalles City Council Monday. The decision came without the department organizational proposal expected from City Manager Margaret Bauer. Bauer asked for a postponement of that presentation, and instead asked the council to authorize hiring one planner and one administrative assistant. The council quickly agreed to filling the planning job, but early in the meeting could not reach agreement on the assistant position.

The Wasco House will reopen under new ownership in the next few weeks. Lillian and Jay White have purchased the restaurant on Liberty Street from former owner Jon Holt. The Whites have lived in The Dalles for two years. She works at Dufur School as a counselor, and he is a custodian at Chenowith Middle School, but both have extensive experience I the restaurant business.

40 Years Ago-1975

Hiring of a new business manager and the selection of a plan to repair the roof at Joseph Wilson elementary school were major items on the District 12 School Board agenda last night. The directors appointed Peter (Pete) R. Clemens, 38 of Richland, Wash., as business manager replacing Phil Kaser who resigned to run his wheat ranch. The board found that it may be possible to install roof trusses on the old part of the Wilson building instead of covering the present roof with a new one.

Its fall roundup time in The Dalles and more than 70 young wranglers blow into town Saturday for the annual Northwest Rodeo Association’s Pee Wee Championship. Junior riders are aged 6-10 and seniors 11-13. Prizes of belt buckles and tack will go to the winners in these events: Pony bucking, calf riding, barrel racing, pole bending and goat tying.

60 Years Ago-1955

Archers turned out in force for their special deer hunting season, which opened during the weekend in Wasco and Hood River counties, Paul Ebert, agent for the Oregon State Game Commission, reported today. Six deer were taken by the approximately 300 hunters out. Most kills were made in the High Prairie, Gumjuwac Saddle and Upper Eight Mile creek areas.

Commercial fishing in The Dalles area is reported to be rapidly declining and estimated at 20 percent less than last year, largely because the peak of the run having passed before the season opened. Although quality is said to be far under usual standards, the price of salmon is increasing rapidly Tyee Fish Co reported. Gillnet boats are said to be averaging some 200 pounds of fish per catch.

80 Years Ago-1935

Construction of a small capacity ore smelter was begun on property owned by W. J. Seufert and associates, east of Ye Olde Mill dance hall. When built the smelter will be the only one in Oregon, and except for larger plants at Tacoma and Kellogg, Idaho, the only one in the northwest. Seufert said today that the smelter was being built largely for experimental purposes and would have a capacity of about 50 tons of ore a day.

Blueprints of the National Guard armory proposed as a WPA project for The Dalles have been received by Richard M. Weber, commander of Company H, 186th infantry, the local machine gun company, from Brigadier General Thomas E. Rilea of Portland. The blueprints received by Weber were for a building 87 by 152 feet square, containing a large drill floor, various rooms for use of the guard company, the quartermaster department and officers.

100 Years Ago-1915

The local theatrical season will open Saturday night. This announcement will be greeted with genuine pleasure by Dalles theatregoers. The opening attraction is one that will interest young and old. The press agent for the Vogt opera house has the following to say concerning Billy Clifford, famous comedian who will appear here next Saturday night in “Walk This Way.”

One of the big attractions in the educational department of the Wasco County Fair will be a parcel post booth which will be maintained by the post office department. Secretary T. B. Philips has secured, the cooperation of Postmaster R. E. Williams, who has communicated with the department in Washington, D.C. A supply of all kinds of cartons, wrappers, etc., will be sent by the government, together with literature pertaining to parcel post shipping.


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