#94: Along the Banks of the River
Oregon is home to many things dear to my heart, not least among them Pendleton. And so a trip to the Northwest would not be complete without a visit to the Pendleton store and an indulgent splurge.
In 1912 the company established a woolen mill just near the banks of the Washougal River in Washington, precisely where I found myself by chance while driving out for a swim. One hairy turn later, I was inside the parking lot mouth agape with anticipation of what might be found inside. You get a real good feeling walking into a place that’s been owned and operated by the same family for over 100 years, let me tell you.
Pendleton is known and loved (and obsessed over) for its Navajo and Native American motifs that its been makin’ with love since the 1890’s, and its flannel shirts. Dad’s got a collection of blankets that I intend to get my mits on one day. While I probably can’t get away with draping one of our blankets over my shoulders and touting it as a freeform coat — belt it and cinch it! — and as the extraordinary vintage blanket coats are increasingly hard to come by, I absolutely will be wearing this killer sweater.
I keep this photo of two Navajo brothers majestically wrapped in their woven blankets, the likes of which inspire Pendletons, next to my bed. It was taken in 1915 by photographer Roland Reed.
Also, did you know that in 1960 a little known boyband known as the Pendletones was formed in California, taking their name from their favorite plaid shirts? That band later changed their name to the Beach Boys. (There was a cute commemorative tee shirt in the shop at the mill but I couldn’t find a picture of it on the website!)
And here are some scenes from our beautiful day along the banks of the mighty Washougal…
After this visit, Pendleton with hearts and arrows is sure to be doodled on all my trappers and notebooks this fall.