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North Umpqua Early History Pt 4

Posted by Mark Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Beginnings of the Steamboat Inn

HuckleberryFrank Moore first fished the North Umpqua in 1946. Before long, he was guiding for Clarence Gordon and spending so much time on the North Umpqua that his wife Jeanne placed an ad in the Roseburg newspaper, "Lost: One owner and manager of Moore's Cafe. Last seen up the North Umpqua River ."
When Gordon offered to sell his Steamboat store to the Moores in January, 1957, Frank hastily arranged financial help from one of Gordon's regular guests, Colonel Jim Hayden, and struck a deal. That spring, the Gordons loaded all the possessions they could fit into their car and headed for a warmer climate, while the Moores took possession of the new Steamboat Inn and began constructing cabins on the bench of land just down the hill from the lodge building.
That summer of 1957 was a hectic one for the new owners. Construction continued as they wrote letters to many of the Gordons' old clients, telling them that the dam building was completed and the summer steelhead fishing had stabilized again. Each night, Jeanne Moore cooked evening meals for as many as sixty road construction crew members, who ate in shifts, before turning her attention to feeding her lodge guests. Frank pitched in, helped with the cooking, and also made a policy decision that would henceforth guide the Fisherman's Dinner: From then on, anglers could fish until the last light disappeared on the river. Dinner would be served one half hour after sunset!
In addition to his construction work at the Inn and a weekly run in his overloaded Volkswagen van to deliver food supplies to communities upstream, Moore made himself available as a fishing guide for his guests. One of the most proficient anglers on the North Umpqua, Moore's skill as a guide became one of the prime drawing cards of the Steamboat Inn in its early years.
The Steamboat Inn soon gained a reputation as both a true fisherman's resort and a family oriented lodge. The Moore's four children mingled happily with an ever changing cast of guests and their children. Sometimes, when the lawn was littered with the sleeping bags of children "camping out," the Inn more closely resembled summer camp than a backwoods outpost. Guests felt so much at home that they often pitched in to help serve meals from the kitchen or wash dishes afterwards.
The Fisherman's Dinner came to mirror the home style atmosphere at the Inn . The evening meal often began with shrimp cocktail and salad, followed by soup. Entrees such as T-bone steak or prime rib roast were accompanied by vegetables, rolls, and potatoes in so much quantity "that only a logger could eat it all," as Jeanne Moore described it. Prices continued to be moderate by today's standards.

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