Krueger Family Portrait
By Rebecca Jenkins
Fred Krueger was born May 1, 1905 on his family's "home place," as the 80 acre farm on Old Cornelius Pass Road was called. Fred's grandfather bought the property in 1883 and later sold it to Fred's father, Ferdinand, in 1889. Fred, as Fred's father was called, and his wife Caroline (Hamal), both of German descent, raised 11 children on the home place, and until recently the property was an operating dairy run by Fred's younger brother, Ray.
Fred, along with his brothers, sisters and other local children, such as the Pullens and Luethes, attended Brooks School, which at that time was located between Skyline School and Plainview Store. The teacher Fred remembers the best was Miss Lelia Chase with her 10 foot switch!
Before school the Krueger children helped on the farm. They fed the sheep and dairy cows and delivered milk to the Rockton sawmill which was, I believe, near the southern entrance of the Cornelius Pass train tunnel. They delivered the milk by horseback, the cans strapped to the saddle; afterwards they turned around and galloped to school.
Fred graduated in 1919 at 14 and began work in the local woods, flISt as a choke setter, then for two years as a brakeman on a railway line that took logs out of the area. The years between 1900-27 must have been very active in this area. Beginning with the interest of Lafe Pence in building a flume to float out lumber, the logging of large amounts of acreage by companies like the Oregon- Kalama Lumber Co., and the building of the United Rail way tunnel below Cornelius Pass in 1912, the Skyline woods must have been alive with men, trains and steam engines. I asked Fred where all the people who worked in the area had lived. He remembered there being a logging camp and cook house near Bertie Kramer's on lower Rock Creek which before 1927 could only have been reached by train or primitive road. Fred also recalled that the tunnel had been built from both ends and had employed, at least for a time, Greeks, who lived in a camp below Plainview.
After 1927, with the local logging playing out, Fred moved to Washington where he stayed until 1937 , working for logging companies at Port Gamble and Fort Union as a brakeman, unloading logs, firing the boiler on locomotive cranes and then as a crane operator. He met and married Helen Jensen in Seattle around 1936. They moved to Portland in 1937, and Fred found employment with Schnitzer Steel, where he worked until 1970, Fred and Helen first lived in Linnton, then at the home place and finally in the house on Skyline where Fred still lives. They have two daughters, one of whom still lives in the area. .
Fred's memories illuminate many of the differences between the Skyline community of 'then' and 'now'. He can remember a time when his father was one of the only residents with electricity, which he had won from the United Railway when they built the tunnel under his property; when Lou Brooks was the only person with a telephone; and when the nearest doctor was in Hillsboro. He remembers the dance halls of the 1930's and 40's. There was one at the old Munson place on Skyline which had food and a 3 piece band on the weekends and, of course, the famous Skyline Barn Dance that ran for about 17 years. There were local moonshiners in the 1920's, Fred recalled, with their own alarm system: if the federal officials came, someone was to shoot his gun in warning.
Fred is a rare gem, a local treasure whose clear and warm memories and willingness to share them help to keep the local past alive. I would like to thank him for a wonderful experience talking about the past and also his niece, Jean, who provided a well done family history.
RR Winter 93