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Monday,  June 24 , 2024

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Photo of Martin Middlewood

Stories by Martin Middlewood

Columbian freelance contributor

Walt Bohrer and his sister Ann appear above handwriting on a photo addressed the "Ace of Pilots," a phrase they often used in their communications with fliers. The "ace" might refer to Eddie Rickenbacker, a friend, or some other "war ace." Tale Spins was a magazine the Bohrers produced. Although the two siblings' careers meshed, they did go separate ways. Ann is in her "air hostess" uniform, and Walt was a close friend of stunt pilot Tex Rankin and spent 22 years working with him.

Clark County History: Pilot Walt Bohrer

Walt Bohrer and his sister Ann appear above handwriting on a photo addressed the "Ace of Pilots," a phrase they often used in their communications with fliers. The "ace" might refer to Eddie Rickenbacker, a friend, or some other "war ace." Tale Spins was a magazine the Bohrers produced. Although the two siblings' careers meshed, they did go separate ways. Ann is in her "air hostess" uniform, and Walt was a close friend of stunt pilot Tex Rankin and spent 22 years working with him.

September 9, 2023, 5:45am Clark County Life

When Portland lacked an airport, Walt Bohrer often found himself in tow with his plane-crazy sister Ann Bohrer to Pearson Field in Vancouver. At 15, Walt Bohrer lied to their parents about his attendance at Benson Polytechnic High School. He did “go,” but his daily attendance was brief. Walt Bohrer… Read story

Ann Bohrer was among the first women in the Pacific Northwest to fly and parachute. As the air hostess at the Salem Municipal Airport, she was likely the first flight attendant in the Pacific Northwest. Bohrer and her brother wrote and published a humorous aviation magazine and several books. She belonged to the O-X5 Aviation Pioneer's Oregon Wing and the Portland Aviation Breakfast Club.

Clark County History: Ann Bohrer, pilot and parachutist

Ann Bohrer was among the first women in the Pacific Northwest to fly and parachute. As the air hostess at the Salem Municipal Airport, she was likely the first flight attendant in the Pacific Northwest. Bohrer and her brother wrote and published a humorous aviation magazine and several books. She belonged to the O-X5 Aviation Pioneer's Oregon Wing and the Portland Aviation Breakfast Club.

September 2, 2023, 6:02am Clark County Life

In a 1991 interview, Ann Bohrer told a Tualatin Times reporter she was born the same year the Wright Brothers first flew. She fibbed. She was born in January 1904, 37 days later. Still, her birth was close enough to the brothers’ first flight that she could reasonably claim her… Read story

When the Clark County Country Club built a members' clubhouse, many members were dismayed when a beautiful shade tree was removed. The building held a 28-by-48-foot living room looking over the first fairways. West of this room was a 16-by-30-foot dining room and a kitchen. Both rooms were connected and could be used together for parties. Frequent gatherings at the clubhouse included member potlucks, dances and political speeches.

Clark County History: Clark County Golf Club

When the Clark County Country Club built a members' clubhouse, many members were dismayed when a beautiful shade tree was removed. The building held a 28-by-48-foot living room looking over the first fairways. West of this room was a 16-by-30-foot dining room and a kitchen. Both rooms were connected and could be used together for parties. Frequent gatherings at the clubhouse included member potlucks, dances and political speeches.

August 26, 2023, 6:05am Clark County Life

In 1931, the Associated Press certified a hole-in-one at the Clark County Golf Club by Ralph Percival, the son of former Mayor Grover Percival, who disappeared in 1920. Like the mayor, the golf course disappeared. Read story

This photo of La Center before the 1907 fire that burned most of the town's businesses shows the bridge the safecrackers noisily crossed in the background. They came up the road and entered the village, attempting to crack two safes, one in a saloon and the other in a store. Instead, they started a fire that burned out the town. As they left they dropped a half-full liquor bottle on the bridge. They were never caught. The sole business left standing was a blacksmith shop.

Clark County History: 1907 La Center fire

This photo of La Center before the 1907 fire that burned most of the town's businesses shows the bridge the safecrackers noisily crossed in the background. They came up the road and entered the village, attempting to crack two safes, one in a saloon and the other in a store. Instead, they started a fire that burned out the town. As they left they dropped a half-full liquor bottle on the bridge. They were never caught. The sole business left standing was a blacksmith shop.

August 19, 2023, 6:06am Clark County Life

In the wee hours of Sept. 26, 1907, horse hooves clomped across the La Center bridge. The noise awakened one nearby resident. Had he arisen from bed, his curiosity may have kept the village from burning. Instead, he rolled over and fell back asleep. He didn’t realize that two noisy… Read story

Walter Cleland conducts the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in December 1986. The Nebraska farm boy with perfect pitch spent his life teaching, conducting and writing music and could play any instrument he picked up. He started several music groups in Vancouver before launching the Vancouver Symphony. He retired in 1990.

Clark County History: Cleland starts Vancouver symphony

Walter Cleland conducts the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in December 1986. The Nebraska farm boy with perfect pitch spent his life teaching, conducting and writing music and could play any instrument he picked up. He started several music groups in Vancouver before launching the Vancouver Symphony. He retired in 1990.

August 12, 2023, 6:10am Clark County Life

At 5 years old, Walter Cleland began playing the piano and didn’t stop until he died in 1995. Music filled his life. Read story

Vergne "Vern" C. Gorst (1876-1953), Pacific Air Transport owner and president, stands left of Claude Ryan, manufacturer of Ryan airplanes often used for airmail runs. The two had just finished a 1926 survey flight of Gorst's West Coast route. Boeing Air Transport bought Gorst's company in 1928. The merger led to United Airlines, making him the "granddaddy" of the airline.

Clark County history: Klondike gold seeker Vern Gorst

Vergne "Vern" C. Gorst (1876-1953), Pacific Air Transport owner and president, stands left of Claude Ryan, manufacturer of Ryan airplanes often used for airmail runs. The two had just finished a 1926 survey flight of Gorst's West Coast route. Boeing Air Transport bought Gorst's company in 1928. The merger led to United Airlines, making him the "granddaddy" of the airline.

August 5, 2023, 6:00am Clark County Life

A successful Klondike gold seeker, Vern Gorst, turned his gain toward flight in 1913. Before that, he dabbled in transportation, creating a boat motor launch service, an automobile business, and several West Coast bus lines. With an eye to the future of transportation, he watched the brothers Wright closely, even… Read story

Walter T. Varney (1888-1967) was an American aviation pioneer who built the forerunners of two major U.S. airlines, United Airlines and Continental Airlines. Both merged after his death to form United Continental Holdings. Varney was also a famous airmail contractor in the early 20th century, and his airmail planes landed at Pearson Field when the Swan Island airport in Oregon was unavailable.

Clark County History: Varney airmail

Walter T. Varney (1888-1967) was an American aviation pioneer who built the forerunners of two major U.S. airlines, United Airlines and Continental Airlines. Both merged after his death to form United Continental Holdings. Varney was also a famous airmail contractor in the early 20th century, and his airmail planes landed at Pearson Field when the Swan Island airport in Oregon was unavailable.

July 29, 2023, 6:05am Clark County Life

Portland and Vancouver fought a tug-of-war to wrangle airmail service. One would lose out. Neither city was the headquarters for Varney Airlines or Pacific Air Transport, but their planes often flew in and out of Pearson Field when the Swan Island airport in Oregon was fogged in or unavailable. Read story