Jump to content


Photo

Rise And Fall Of The Lithia Auto Park


  • Please log in to reply
4 replies to this topic

#1 roadhound

roadhound

    Roadie

  • Moderators
  • PipPip
  • 370 posts

Posted 23 August 2009 - 10:05 PM

While traveling through Southern Oregon recently we stopped in Ashland. While my wife and daughter checked out the shops my son and I went for a short hike through Lithia Park.

For those unfamiliar with Ashland it is known for two things; it's Shakespeare Theater that runs through most of the summer and Lithia Park which starts and its downtown and follows Ashland Creek into the surrounding hillside. The park was designed by the same architect that designed San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, John McLaren.

While hiking through we stumbled across this cabin which had a sign in the window proclaiming the following:

Lithia Park Auto Camp 1915-1959

The Finest on the Pacific Highway

1915 The 92-acre auto camp in Lithia Park opened in Jun offering free overnight camping in a small clearing along Ashland Creek. The city provided community "kitchenettes" and bathrooms.
It is one of the first municipally operated camp ground in the country.

1922 City imposed a 50-cent nightly fee.

1924 Community house was completed.

1926 The last segment of the Pacific Highway was completed in Siskiyou County, California, connecting the entire Pacific Coast with Canada and Mexico.
In response, the renamed Lithia Auto Park built its first small cabins and a market.

1930 20 more tourist cabins were built, including this one.

1959 Competition with motels springing up along Highway 99 along with public concerns over the cleanliness and safety of the facilities forced the closure of the camp.

1964 Almost all of the buildings were removed before the property was transferred to the Parks & Rec Department. The Community House was later transformed into a natural history museum. A small zoo was nearby.

1983 The Ashland Parks and Recreation Department moved its office the Community House. The building was later renovated.

2001 The last remaining cabin was restored to document the typical tourist accomodation in Lithia Park, once the "finest campground on the Pacific Highway."



#2 Keep the Show on the Road!

Keep the Show on the Road!

    King of the Road

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,621 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Puget Sound

Posted 24 August 2009 - 12:44 AM

Rick,

Love it. Great photo!

It is great to see a place like that, but it’s a little spooky when places like you stayed in your younger years are “preserved” as artifacts!!!


Places like that often began as a one room “box,” with the restrooms in a separate building. By the time I was staying in them (1940’s) they had added an add on enclosed bathroom with a shower, with a hot water heater beside the enclosure, although a few were in the car space.

A single overhead light lit the main area, and the light above the sink in the small bathroom helped when shaving. The floors were linoleum, and the heat came from a wall heater. If it was gas, it was a sure source of burns, and not infrequently fire. If there was a chair or table in the room, it looked like prewar Goodwill.

The towels were so rough you could sand with them. The bed had exposed coil springs with a mattress maybe 3 inches thick. If it was a rail bed, it might also have a lamp on the headrail that turned on and off with a pull chain.

If the accommodations were deluxe, there was a radio on an old nightstand beside the bed, and a “Magic Fingers” vibrator attachment on the bed frame, often both fed with quarters. The radio of course was AM only and the challenge was to tune one of the clear channel stations that didn’t have to cut power at dusk. I remember KGO (SF), KFI (LA), and one in Denver and one in Salt Lake. You could hear them throughout the west at night. As a kid, they provided a sence of "security" and comfort in a stange town because you heard the same programs you did at home.

The walls were often paneled, and a typical wall picture was a big elk buck, or sometimes dogs playing cards. There were no smoking and non smoking rooms….everyone smoked, so there was a round ashtray somewhere in the room, and along with the free Cashmere Bouquet soap you got the motel logo on a free pack of matches.

You were protected by the skeleton key door lock. There was no such thing as air conditioning, and I don’t recall any fans either. An open double hung window and hope for a breeze was the norm.

Gees, travel will never be the same again!!

Picture much appreciated!!!

Dave

Keep the Show on the Road!

#3 Alex Burr - hester_nec

Alex Burr - hester_nec

    Road Warrior

  • Full Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 590 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Memphis, TN
  • Interests:Hudson automobiles, "Blue" Hiways, reading and computers.

Posted 24 August 2009 - 07:53 AM

QUOTE (Keep the Show on the Road! @ Aug 24 2009, 01:44 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Rick,

Love it. Great photo!

It is great to see a place like that, but it's a little spooky when places like you stayed in your younger years are "preserved" as artifacts!!!


Places like that often began as a one room "box," with the restrooms in a separate building. By the time I was staying in them (1940's) they had added an add on enclosed bathroom with a shower, with a hot water heater beside the enclosure, although a few were in the car space.

A single overhead light lit the main area, and the light above the sink in the small bathroom helped when shaving. The floors were linoleum, and the heat came from a wall heater. If it was gas, it was a sure source of burns, and not infrequently fire. If there was a chair or table in the room, it looked like prewar Goodwill.

The towels were so rough you could sand with them. The bed had exposed coil springs with a mattress maybe 3 inches thick. If it was a rail bed, it might also have a lamp on the headrail that turned on and off with a pull chain.

If the accommodations were deluxe, there was a radio on an old nightstand beside the bed, and a "Magic Fingers" vibrator attachment on the bed frame, often both fed with quarters. The radio of course was AM only and the challenge was to tune one of the clear channel stations that didn't have to cut power at dusk. I remember KGO (SF), KFI (LA), and one in Denver and one in Salt Lake. You could hear them throughout the west at night. As a kid, they provided a sence of "security" and comfort in a stange town because you heard the same programs you did at home.

The walls were often paneled, and a typical wall picture was a big elk buck, or sometimes dogs playing cards. There were no smoking and non smoking rooms….everyone smoked, so there was a round ashtray somewhere in the room, and along with the free Cashmere Bouquet soap you got the motel logo on a free pack of matches.

You were protected by the skeleton key door lock. There was no such thing as air conditioning, and I don't recall any fans either. An open double hung window and hope for a breeze was the norm.

Gees, travel will never be the same again!!

Picture much appreciated!!!

Dave

Keep the Show on the Road!


Mention of the big clear channel stations reminded me of the one's we used to get back in the 50's - clear up in New England - like XERF (think Wolfman Jack) broadcasting out of Del Rio, Texas (840 kHz transmitter) was one of those border stations. Remember - send your dollars to Jesus - that's J-E-S-U-S and get a glow in the dark Jesus statuette for your dashboard. You could almost cook an armadillo within 50 miles of the transmitter from the radiation the carrier was putting out.
Carrier was listed as 500 KW, but the engineer types put in the goat glands to make considerably over a megawatt on a good day. biggrin.gif
Anyway, Dave, your comments brought back some memories of some of the places I stayed back in the 50's. And you forgot to mention the critters some of those old motels came with - spiders, for example, you had to beat off with a baseball bat. I shared one motel somewhere in Kentucky with a squirrel one night!!! He didn't seem to mind!!! LOL

Hudsonly,
Alex Burr
Memphis, TN

Edited by Alex Burr - hester_nec, 24 August 2009 - 08:07 AM.


#4 Keep the Show on the Road!

Keep the Show on the Road!

    King of the Road

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,621 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Puget Sound

Posted 24 August 2009 - 11:37 AM

Alex,

Ah, yes, the border stations! Remember them, well. The Mexican stations used so much power they dimmed the lights in Tijuana.

I was remiss in not mentioning the flies, black widows, and ants. I don’t remember a squirrel, but the chipmunks sometimes got inside.

I also forgot the screen doors that never latched, but slammed shut. The fly swatter that came with the room hung by the door.

Did you notice the “deck” in Roadhound’s photo? I remember wooden steps, but no deck.

The "youngin's" don't know what they missed! It's up to us old timers to keep the "dream" alive.

Dave

Keep the Show on the Road!

#5 roadhound

roadhound

    Roadie

  • Moderators
  • PipPip
  • 370 posts

Posted 24 August 2009 - 04:08 PM

QUOTE (Keep the Show on the Road! @ Aug 24 2009, 11:37 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Alex,

Ah, yes, the border stations! Remember them, well. The Mexican stations used so much power they dimmed the lights in Tijuana.

I was remiss in not mentioning the flies, black widows, and ants. I don’t remember a squirrel, but the chipmunks sometimes got inside.

I also forgot the screen doors that never latched, but slammed shut. The fly swatter that came with the room hung by the door.

Did you notice the “deck” in Roadhound’s photo? I remember wooden steps, but no deck.

The "youngin's" don't know what they missed! It's up to us old timers to keep the "dream" alive.

Dave

Keep the Show on the Road!


I didn't think that my posting would evoke so many memories from you old timers. Sounds like traveling and staying in 50 cents per night lodging was quite the adventure. I'm glad I missed it.

I do remember back in the late 60\early 70's time frame while traveling with my parents that it was a common practice to check the room before agreeing to take it for the night. Being the oldest son, all of 7 or 8 years at the time, I would go with my dad to see what was available and check out the room. There were more than a few that he passed on. Some of them I thought we should have stayed in as a 7 year old can easily be swayed by the 25 cent vibrating bed or the large neon pirate along the streetfront. I'm sure I was a lot of help in the decision making process.

Nowadays when I travel with the family I stick with known commodities where it's not necessary to check the room first and the prospects of surprises in the room are few.

I did look in the windows of the unit in Lithia Park and it did look "cozy." There were no furnishings in it and I didn't notice what type of bathing facilities it had. It did have a red linoleum floor. Of course, being restored, I'm sure it looked as pristine as they could make it and nothing like it would of after being in use for 15 or 20 years.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users