Reviewing the years 1927 to 1940
January 29, 1977
The Celebration of the Obsidians’ 50th Anniversary Year at the Lodge could not have been more fittingly observed than it was Saturday night when Charlotte Lemon and her committee re-lived its fascinating history before an appreciative audience of approximately 92 members and friends.
I would like to express, on behalf of all Obsidians, the highest praise for the work and performance of this committee. They spent hours planning the program, calling and writing letters to Charter and other early members (Cliff Stalsberg took on this job), preparing special name tags and preparing their own accounts of the early years. They are:
Charlotte Lemon, Princess Meadowlark, Chairman
The Committee spent several hours on Friday, mounting old time pictures on the walls, along with samples of ski clothing and equipment used back in the 1930s (skis without harness, etc.). There was also a display of Summer Camp “Prospectuses” for the early years. The Charter Members’ names were displayed on the wall written in large script. Table tops were appropriately decorated with pieces of Obsidian, camp lanterns and old camp equipment to create atmosphere. Sketches of Summer Camp activities—climbing and hiking—and certain questions on Obsidian happenings appeared on the table tops, such as “Who was the first Princess?”
“COME GATHER ’ROUND OUR CAMPFIRE”
“THE PAVEMENT ENDED AT SPRINGFIELD”
PRINCESS BLUE WATERS WAS THE ORIGINAL PRINCESS AND PRINCESS DAWN FIRST WOMAN
TO REACH THE TOP OF THE NORTH SISTER
Florence’s story described the earliest Obsidian climbs of the Sisters, during the 1928–29 camps. On one such climb she was the only girl, climbing with 12 men. The 1929 Hinton Creek Camp was reached by a 5-mile hike across Wickiup Plains. Campers were transported to the take off point in six new cars, provided by Morris Chevrolet Co. in Eugene. Hinton Falls was a popular point of interest in this camp, because it quit flowing at night, then fell with a rush as the sun thawed it out each morning.
Florence described her own initiation, in the 1929 camp: “as the embers of the bonfire were beginning to fade, the four ‘rankest’ Chiefs sprung a ‘surprise initiation.’” Dressed in her costume, Florence was forced to kneel, or be scalped. An eagle feather dipped in water from the South Sister crater was flipped beneath her nose, and the title Princess Blue Waters bestowed.
“. . . BUT LET ME GO TO MY KODAK”
Quoting again, “Princess Blue Waters later married Chief Little Brother—Florence Ogden and Glen Sims. . . Princess Meadowlark (Charlotte Winnard) singing the Indian Love Call (by Horseshoe Lake) had Chief Wet Wash (Bob Lemon) in mind. . . I can’t end without getting a Chief in this—Chief Sky Hook (Ed Johnson) in 1936 said au revoir to all his other hopefuls and married my good friend Nellie Johnson.”
LETTERS FROM CHARTER MEMBERS
Again Bob Wilson and Chester Pietka led the singing for “Roamin’ in the Gloamin’” and “Obsidian Song.”
“THE TRAIL IS PRACTICALLY LEVEL ALL THE WAY”
Two weeks at Green Lakes Camp in 1931 cost only $35—there were 52 in camp. It was during this camp that Ed, Don Woods and Cliff Stalsberg were the first to climb all Three Sisters in one day, (16½ hours), a memorable event then and now. Painter Cy Fulton was in this camp and recorded many beautiful scenes. Ed congratulated the Obsidians on their enviable safety record—no fatal accidents in 50 years.
“TURNING THE BUS TOOK TWO HOURS”
1929 was the year the Obsidians placed register boxes on the Three Sisters, at the request of the Portland Hazamas.
“THE MCKENZIE RIVER RAN RED”
“ESTABLISHED CLIMB LEADERS”
Ed asked members of the committee to stand and thanked the kitchen committee and Glen and Ray Sims for bringing the Obsidian rocks from which the club’s name evolved, as “Hard as Obsidian” became a popular metaphor.
Charlotte Lemon, dressed for hiking the trails as she had 40 years ago, mentioned the authentic ski equipment on the walls and Ed Johnson’s knickers, and expressed her appreciation of the enthusiastic help she had enjoyed from members of her committee and others.
Dot was asked to tell the story of the “Bengal Bicycle Riders.” He responded with a twinkle in his eye, “It’s a very interesting story and best told only while hiking the mountain trails, and takes five miles on the trail to tell the whole story,” and promised to tell it sometime on the trail.
A perfect ending for this delightful evening was the singing of “Taps” and “Goodnight Ladies.”
Six Charter Members were present: Ray Sims, Dr. Fred Miller (with Marian), Sid Jenkins (with Mrs. Jenkins), Florence Ogden Sims (with Glen), Ed Thurston, Dot Dotson (with Elsie).
Some of the very early members attending: Bailey Castelloe (with Mary), Gene Pearson (with Edyth), Earl and Bernice Britton, Florence Parvin Montgomery (with Martin), Cliff and Hazel Stalsberg, Elsie Dotson, Glen Sims, Charlotte Lemon, Thelma Watson, Bob Wilson (with Marjorie), Chester Pietka (with Betty), Ed & Nellie Johnson, Marian Hayes Miller, Helen Weiser, Bertie McKee Mansell (with Frank), and Bertha Deckmam Anderson (with Rolfe).
There is so much more to tell of this fascinating history. The dramatic opening lines of Dr. Bovard’s “History of the Obsidians, 1927–1933” have always echoed through my thoughts over the years. And those pathetic last words, written by Ferry and Cramer, “We are up here in such a blizzard we can’t find the register box.”
by Mary Castelloe