National Geographic : 1969 Jan
National Geographic, January 1969 of place on Cape Cod or in a Boston suburb. Portland, of course, was named for the Maine metropolis. It could just as easily have been called Boston. The question was decided by the toss of a coin in 1845, 14 years before Oregon became a state. The winner was Fran cis W. Pettygrove, a merchant from Calais, Maine, who had brought his wares around Cape Horn to Oregon country, and the loser was Asa L. Lovejoy, a Bostonian who had helped lay out the original 16-block townsite. This strong tie with New England was made clear to me one day when I dropped into a Portland bookshop and noticed a small commotion centering about a stately gray haired lady seated at a table. Dorothy Lawson McCall was busily signing copies of her book, Ranch Under the Rimrock. Having heard much about Mrs. McCall, I looked forward to meeting her. Oregonians seemed to count her among the state's natural resources, like forests and rivers. Mention of her name would bring responses something like this: "Oh, the 'mothah of the govnah.' " Then, admiringly, "Did you hear about the time she called up President Johnson?" From Beacon Hill to Crooked River Dorothy McCall came to Oregon in 1911 as the bride of young Hal McCall, who left Harvard with an overpowering urge to live in the wide-open West. She was the daughter of Thomas W. Lawson, known in Wall Street as the "Copper King." Her husband's father, Samuel W. McCall, was a Congressman and later Governor of Massachusetts. As Mrs. McCall says, it was a long jump from sedate teas on Beacon Hill, delicacies from S. S. Pierce, and Friday afternoons at Symphony Hall to 640 rattlesnake-infested acres near Prineville in central Oregon. But it was good irrigable land, with the Crooked River winding through it. Here Hal McCall built a fine dairy herd, while his wife raised three sons and two daughters. Life centered around Westernwold, a magnificent mansion that was a wedding present from the Copper King. The house was modeled after Dreamwold, the Lawson summer place at Egypt, Massachusetts. At Westernwold the McCall children had their own band, pub lished their own newspaper, and staged plays in their own puppet theater. For the birth of each of her five children, Mrs. McCall insisted upon returning to Dreamwold. That is how Oregon happens to have a Massachusetts-born governor-Thom as Lawson McCall, a six-foot-five-inch former newsman and television commentator. Call to Cheer Up the President I bought a copy of Mrs. McCall's book and asked her to autograph it. Then I asked about her telephone call to the President of the United States. "Well," she said, "I was reading the news papers one rainy day in my apartment in Port land, where I spend the winter months. I am a loyal Republican, of course, but it seemed to me that Lyndon Johnson was having more than a reasonable share of problems and that he was being unfairly abused. I decided he needed cheering up. "So I picked up the telephone and asked long distance to put me through to President Johnson..I could detect some uncertainty at the White House end of the line as to whether I should be permitted to talk with the Presi dent. I kept telling people I was the mothah of the govnah. "Finally, Mr. Johnson came on the line, and we had a nice talk. I told him I thought he was doing an excellent job. He thanked me and later wrote me a very gracious note." A few days later I had a talk with Governor McCall, and he added an epilogue. "I was taking a swim at the Y.M.C.A. in Salem when I was called to the telephone," he said. "Someone at the White House wanted to know if I had a mother who might want to talk to the President, and I said yes, I did. "A week or so later the President had oc casion to write me about another matter, and he added a postscript: 'I had a delightful talk with your mother the other day. Please ask her to call me again.' "Knowing Mother," said the Governor, "I wouldn't be surprised if she did just that." Fifty miles east of Portland rises Mount (Continued on page 89) Bonanza of the Columbia River, 25-pound chinook salmon ride the "butchering line" at Ore gon's largest fish cannery, the Bumble Bee Seafoods plant in Astoria. To help prevent overfishing, the state limits salmon netting to the lower 200 miles of the Columbia; last year commercial fisher men landed more than two million salmon. Astoria, the state's major fishing center, was Oregon's first settlement, established in 1811 by John Jacob Astor's fur company. EKTACHROME © N.G.S.