With people like Alta Walter and friends traveling the country in their Model T’s, facilities sprung up to provide overnight accommodations.  This tiny wood and canvas cabin was home for one night, providing a little warmth and shelter for travelers exhausted from a day of driving on rough, unpaved roads. For scale, that car was just eleven feet long, so that cabin was at most eight feet wide.

It was very common in this era to use the running boards for extra storage space while on the road.  You could buy cheap after market cages which would give you a place to tie down some suitcases and a big canvas tent with big wooden poles.  These ladies were lucky to have a later Model T with 10″ running boards instead of the earlier 8″ boards, and it looks like they used every inch, on both sides.  You also needed some room for a healthy toolbox and at least one spare tire, preferably two.

One of the earliest Historic Hood River posts even showed someone transporting a goat on their running board.  You may also recall Alva Day’s friends from Colorado using their running board for supplies to sustain a family of four and the family dog.

Motels were soon to follow, but in 1929 when these women took their epic journey to Yellowstone they were far more likely to stay in a campground or small cabin like this than what we would consider a motel.

In this same era Hood River built several “auto camps” to provide spaces for people driving on the Columbia River Highway to spend the night.  The Sanborn map shows at least three sets of cabins like these along West Cascade, including the “Antler Auto Park” whose main building still exists, now as the “Tropicannabis Club”. As transportation switched from rail to auto road,  the hotels by the rail depot went into steep decline, never to recover.

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