The McCombers and CampNelson Lodge

    The McCombers were the first to own the lodge after Nelson Smith.

With this property came a great acreage of land, much had not been developed. Starting north where the Rouch family lives, then south to below the mailboxes on to the river and then down highway 190 past Wye Court.   They also owned all of what is Pierpoint Lodge and also north and south of Pierpoint  which are the present subdivisions. If  you travel  up McComber Drive you will see their mountain cabin which they built many years ago from surplus railroad ties.  This cabin has just now been rebuilt in a very substantial way. In the back is a small building that at one time was the icehouse for Camp Nelson. Its former location was then behind the present store. This former icehouse has double walls between there is still the remains of sawdust. This building has a new roof and floor. It will now be used as a shop. “What a history”  

  My first experience with the Camp Nelson Lodge was in 1936 as I was helping my father logging at Rogers Camp, which is about 6 miles up the Coy Flat road toward the Indian reservation. On a Sunday a friend and I walked that 6 miles to see the lodge.  As I now remember it, there was no ceiling in that big room between those two huge fireplaces. The roof was covered with split shakes, with the sun here and there peeking though.  Where the present store is, there was a bar and often Dean served drinks. As  told to me by Dean’s son,Jack, ‘his dad was a fitting machine’ if there was a problem he was  over the top of the bar in a second. Dean gave me a compliment when he told me that I was the one he would like to have behind him during such a fight.

      After Dean and Mary sold their Camp Nelson holdings they led a very interesting life.  They bought a large cattle ranch a few miles above Springville. At that time he hired me to build a mile or two of road from the Cow Mountain Pass  west to overlook Springville.

  Dean was not one stay with an ordinary ranch life, so they sold it and proceeding on.

They now bought a travel trailer and toured many states and Mexico.

  The next we heard from them was that they had built a new home near Anacortes Washington.  We had acquired a fifthwheel travel trailer and it was time to pay a visit.

For those of you who don’t know Anacortes is on an Island among a group of  many islands. We had a wonderful visit. Dean had bought a fishing boat, had a license to fish and took me on a trip. Dean had also planted a substantial vegetable garden.   When I asked him why he had used such very high stakes which now required a ladder to pick the stringbeans.  His reply was that on the seed package it stated that they would grow

12 feet and this needed to be proved.

  After a few years at Anacortes they moved back to Porterville.

Sonny Rouch

Copyright © 2006-21 Claud "Sonny" Rouch, all rights reserved. Website by OACYS Technology. Cover photo by Roberts Engineering.