History of Goble Tavern!
Delta Metcalf
Of Once-Booming Hamlet of Goble
The Oregonian, Monday, January 3, 1966
By: Mrs. Ervin Abraham
Staff Correspondent, The Oregonian

GOBLE (Special) -- About 35 miles from Portland, a motorist driving west along State Highway 30 will not even slow as he passes a tavern and a combined gas station-garage-store. The somnolent wide spot is Goble, a hamlet which has been fading slowly from Oregon's memory for almost a half century, but which still hopes to recapture it brawling vitality of yore.

Once upon a time, Goble was indeed brawling. It was way back around the turn of the century, beyond the memories of most persons. But one person remembers. She is Mrs. Bella Metcalf, 78, the daughter of Oregon pioneer Simon Abraham Neer.

The Neer came to Columbia County in 1852, when Oregon was still a frontier territory. Simon Neer took out a Donation Land claim and plotted Neer City in August, 1883. Later in 1896 Goble was plotted by pioneer George Foster and was named after Daniel Goble, the Ohio trapper who staked first claim to the city. The same year, a creek separating the two frontier towns was named Goble Creek. And later in 1896, one Reuben Foster, perhaps a relative of George Foster, founded Reuben. Thus, the hamlets were born.

Today, Reuben does not exist and Neer City is an unnoticed speck on the map. But that is in 1965.

In 1890's, Goble, Neer City, and Reuben were boisterous and booming. The railroad, which poked eastward, through Goble and Kalama, Washl, across the Columbia River helped. It drew jobs and people and eliminated, Mrs Metcalf recalls, the need to bring the mail from Kalama by rowboat. Later, the three communities got their own post office, first located on a scow and later in a store owned by Neer City resident Dick Link. As time passed, Neer City's population swelled to 100. In Goble, as many as six trains daily stopped on their run to Seattle. The biggest spurs to growth; however, were* timber and steam.

Steam boats plying the Columbia River required fuel, and the huge stands of native timber surrounding the three communities made them a natural fueling station. Lumber Supported

Two camps populated by several hundred loggers sprung up amidst the virgin timber stands. During the week, the lumberjacks labored mightily, just as legend says. And on Saturday night, bathed and shaved, they headed for town to round up an illegal jug and weekend action. The favorite hangout was the Red Men Lodge Hall, when the loggers spent the night dancing to trots, and two-steps and only occasionally brawling. Everything was first-class at Red Men Lodge, even the bands, which were often "imported" from Portland. Other bands were brought in from Clatskanie and elsewhere. Dr. J. L. Cook of Rainier can remember the Red Men dances, for he was a drummer in the Clatskanie group while working this way through dental school.

Legend notwithstanding, the dances generally went smoothly. The usual action occurred sometime during the evening when some besotten logger took a header down the long flight of stairs leading to the lodge. Old timers to Goble still remember the infrequent brawls which helped loggers build their hardy reputations.

Reaching back into the past, Mrs. Metcalf recalled the night when two belligerent lumberjacks were hauled caulked boots and all, in to the hoosegow by the lodge bouncer. Placed in the pokey for safe-keeping, the loggers escaped during the night by clawing through the jail's wooden floor with their "cork" boots.

Gradually, however, the boom diminished. River boats, trains and loggers began to move on, abandoning Goble's hotel, two mills, boarding house, barber shops, hardware store, two general stores, church, school, and lamentably, the Red Men Lodge Hall. Even the town's cold storage plant, where frozen fisher were packed for export, closed.

The post office in Neer City was transferred to Goble. And in 1923, the post office shut up shop permanently. The hardwood floor from the lodge hall was torn up and relaid in the 80-year-old home of Mrs. Metcalf's daughter, Mrs. Dave Easter. Fire and wreckers claimed other homes. The present swallowed the past and the three communities which belonged to it. But the memories remain - vividly for Mrs. Metcalf.

The brightest one is of the terrible storm of 1894. She was a girl then, just seven years old. She remembers the storm had struck and the Columbia River was running widly at flood stage. With her mother, Mrs. Metcalf went to a bluff a short distance from their Neer City home to catch a glimpse of the Iraida, a Rainier stern wheeler making a daily trip between Portland and Rainier. While walking to the bluff, the cyclone struck, ripping and clawing the earth. Rain fell in sheets, thunder shook the sky and lightning stabbed through the black clouds. Cottenwood trees toppled over in swaths as if uprooted by a bulldozer. Deep-rooted firs were toppled by the force of the wind. At the bluff, mother and daughter saw a huge swell rolling up the Columbia toward the Iraida. It picked up the stern wheeler, lifted it out of the river and dropped it on the railroad track running along the bank. A second later a second giant swell plucked the river boat of the tracks, returning it to the river. Back at home, buckets were used to bail the rain water out of their home.

For Goble, though, the day of the great storm, hard drinking loggers and river boat prosperity are gone. Nonetheless, the hamlet continues to mull its past even as it eyes the future. Columbia County is growing, and Goble hopes some of it will rub off. Obviously, with such a nostalgic history, the town does not want to be just another Oregon memory.


- Goble Tavern Renovation Update - History in the Making

- Lewis and Clarks Columbia River - A Photographic Essay - Goble, Oregon

- Cowlitz County, Washington Secretary of State, Sam Reed Website

-  Wikipedia - Goble, Oregon

  ARTICLES OF INTEREST - Related to Goble

- Positively Entertainment: Volume 24--Number 8 •August 29, 2000

- Positively Entertainment: Volume 25--Number 2• March 13, 2001

- Positively Entertainment: Volume 25--Number 7 •August 1, 2001

- Positively Entertainment: Volume 26--Number 7 •July 23, 2002

- Positively Entertainment: Volume 27--Number 7 •July 29, 2003

- Goble Related Links

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The 'Historic Goble Tavern',

Renovated and Regenerated
Betty Weinberg 11-3-08

I may not be a reporter, but I can still tell you what I see...

The Goble Tavern is alive and well and prepared to be around for another generation to discuss history, music, politics, family and friends.

And, Yes, in the Goble Tavern, all the above are possible.  

If only Daniel B. Goble were here to see  how the Goble area has survived, we would have many more stories to tell.

Thanks to the dedication of some and the sweat and tears of all involved, this incredible location remains alive and draws an amazing mix of people together.  

My husband and I will never forget the first day, when we met a diverse group of people; and to this day the diversity remains the same.  We can still talk of  history, and conversation can carry on to current  local, national or international issues.  

In this tavern, it is known;  we have lost some of our own in local and international situations and know that we may agree to disagree on some things.   When it all comes down to it; we are neighbors, family and friends.

We have seen a lot of transission, we deal with our losses and change;  but together we have developed an amazing community and hope to carry this type of gathering place long into the future.

Thank you to all that  have taken the time to renovate the tavern, and retained the historic characteristics  (including, the few spots of floor warp) to remind us that we are still in the "Historic Goble Tavern" .

No matter how long I live, and no matter how many taverns visited; the Goble Tavern is one of the most memorable.

Hope to see you all at the tavern to share in the history!

This tavern has been through flood and frustration,
and still it is here for all to appreciate.  

    Renewed life in Goble
Monday, August 18, 2003
By: Betty Weinberg

GOBLE -- In the fall of 1975, the pending arrival of a new business in a nearby community brought hope to the locals of Goble. Along with that hope came many of the standard and some, not so standard, concerns of a new business.

The reason for these concerns??? ....this was no ordinary business...this was a Nuclear Power Plant...Trojan.

Though several miles away and not visible from the tavern, Trojan brought a large number of it's 1,300 employees to this cozy hideaway. Coming here; as most do, to relax and enjoy some good music and company as they unwind from the hectic rush of their day.

In January of 1993, Trojan was shut down, and began the process of decommissioning, causing it's numerous employees to move on to new locations; only to look back on the memories they shared at the Goble Tavern. Many of these people are still drawn back to occasionally revisit this engaging little spot on State Hwy 30.

The now decommissioned Trojan is only visible as you approach Mile Poste 41, but shielded by the trees as you enjoy the magic of the Goble Tavern. This now quiet location with whispering willows and a park-like back yard, also includes a small camping area in a reserve like meadow with the opportunity to view a wide variety of water fowl and local area animals.

As you enter the tavern, you are drawn into history by an amazing number of items displayed around the room. From old paintings and photos, to tools and equipment parts, to novelty items that often lead even the local residents to ask..."What in the world is this supposed to be?" Generally to receive a chuckle, and as often as possible an explanation from a truly welcoming bartender. This only leading you to sit back and relax on a barstool, enjoy the food at one of the casual tables surrounding the room, or lounge back on one of their comfortable sofas.

Goble Tavern is definitely a place to make a visit; if for just one drink, or for an evening of fun and music during one of their regularly scheduled music nights (Open Mic-Wed, Scheduled Bands-Fri. & Sat.), or whenever someone chooses to open a music case (guitar, flute, etc.) or play one of the bar instruments; including, organ, piano, and guitar.

The Goble Tavern is a rich and rare, hideaway gem.

Stop by and see for yourself!


"Once In a Lifetime Experience!"

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