January Snow…

Oregon City Enterprise, December 19, 1919


The past week of cold weather here has caused huge chunks of ice to form in the Willamette River, both above the falls and below. Where the river is frozen nearest near the falls is between Fourth and Water Streets up to the Crown Willamette Paper Company’s mills. J. W. Moffatt has the distinction of being the first man to cross the Willamette River on the ice below the falls; R. G. Scott, county agent, the second man; and Miss Nan Cochran the first woman to cross. Among others having crossed over on the ice and returning were Miss Virginia Shaw, Mrs. F. W. Gardiner, Miss Merle Keck, Mrs. Gertude Lewthwaite, Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Waldron, Lloyd Riches, John Moffat, Jr., L. A. Nobel, Jr. Among those making the trip nearest the falls where now flows a roaring cataract were R. G. Scott, Lloyd Riches, J. W. Moffatt, who took a number of interesting photographs of this wonderful sight. L. A. Nobel Jr., also made the distance as far as the ice extends. It was found that the ice jam was four feet thick. This extends almost the entire distance from Fourth Street to a short distance from the falls. The river is also frozen over.

A number have made the trip over at Oak Grove from Oswego. This was accomplished on Sunday, the first to make the trip being R. W. Confer, of Oswego.

This is the first time the Willamette River has been frozen over below the falls since 1884. One of the first men to cross at that time was the late Sandy Barclay, and Forbes Barclay Pratt, his nephew, has the distinction of being carried over by his uncle at that time, so that he could say that he had crossed the river on the ice.

Henry Salisbury, of Gladstone, well remembers the day he crossed the river when a lad while it was frozen in that year. At that time, the ice almost extended to the Suspension Bridge.

The thermometer has gone up considerable today, and at 9 o’clock this morning registered 20 degrees above zero, while this evening at Miller-Parker garage registered 28 degrees above zero. This makes the old Oregonian smile with delight.

The snow in places along Main Street has been melting, and if the present weather continues the streets will be a sea of slush. Great piles of snow are banked on each side of the street and traveling is being done by the sleighs and vehicles that are able to travel on the track of the Portland Railway, Light & Power company.


Since the fall of the snow in this city a large number have taken up the sport of skiing, and the hills of the city have afforded excellent places for the sport. Not only have the lads and young men of the city become efficient in scaling the hills on skis, but some of the young women as well.

Among those enjoying the unusual sport in this city Sunday were Miss Wynne Hanny and Miss Rose Justin. Little did these young women fear the steep grades they “tackled” on the skis and it seemed the steeper the more courageous they were.

A number of times they took headers in the snow when they lost their balance, but would be seen picking themselves up, and brushing off the snow from their eyes so they could see to finish the trip down the steep grade. The entire afternoon was spent in this manner.

Miss Dolly Pratt proved to be one of the champion coasters among the young women, and Nan Lovett was among the champion coasters of the little girls. Mrs. J. H. Brizwell, recently arriving from Tennessee, and now residing at Twelfth and Washington Streets in the home of Mrs. Christine Babcock, is a champion among the young married women coasters. Seventh, Twelfth and Eleventh and Washington Street hills have been among the favorite places for coasting.

I don’t have dates for a lot of my photographs but do have a few hints – first photo on the river ice is from 1884 – 1921 (suspension bridge in background), Mill A photo possibly one mentioned above taken by J. W. Moffatt, photo #3 City Park before the Library was built (1912-1913) and photo #4 Library Park with completed library. Photos #5 & #6 may be early 1923 after the bridge was dedicated and before one of the largest floods…


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