OLD TIMERS: The 1930s | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
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OLD TIMERS: The 1930s 

Bend remained festive throughout the era of the Great Depression, seeing its first Pet Parade and Bend Water Pageant. It also saw the opening of Erickson's grocery and the Pine Tavern during the 1930s. Carmen Capell is a second-generation Bendite; her father moved here in 1915, and she is mom to city councilor Mark Capell.

Source Weekly: Where were you born?

Carmen Capell: I was born here at the old St. Charles Hospital on the hill in the 1930s. My grandparents moved here from Minnesota in 1915 because my grandfather became the logging superintendent of Shevlin-Hixon Logging Company, and my other grandparents moved here from Indiana. I lived with my mother, father and sister Sandra Taylor, but we also had lots of uncles, aunts and cousins in the area.

SW: Can you describe what your house was like?

CC: Our house was a two-bedroom stick built home on Newport Avenue. We were very lucky to have all the modern conveniences available to us at the time. We'd go to Erickson's on Wall Street to get our groceries. Erickson's was run by two brothers and was split in half. If you were going to pay with cash you would shop on one side of the store and if you were going to pay with credit you would shop on the other. We also got a lot of our produce from our family's ranch and eventually our victory garden.

SW: Where did you go to school?

CC: I walked across the street to Kenwood School (which is now the Highland Magnet School) for first through seventh grade. We didn't have a junior high so we went off to Bend High for grades 8-12. When I graduated we had a graduating class of 110 people that we thought was really big. My dad worked for Shevlin-Hixon and my mom was director of Campfire.

SW: Was there a festival at the time that was a "big deal" in town?

CC: I loved the Water Pageant and the Pet Parade. The Water Pageant was a pageant where the princesses and queen rode on swan boats on Mirror Pond and there were other floats lit up at night on Mirror Pond. There was always a big arch lit by the footbridge in Drake Park. It would all happen over the 4th of July and one year I remember it snowed! The Pet Parade back then was also a very big deal. Of course, it is still a big deal, but it felt especially big back then. I have many fond memories of going to both as a kid.

SW: What has changed the most about Bend since then? Why have you stayed?

CC: Well, after graduating from Bend High in '49, I left for Oregon State University where I met Bud Capell. We got married and Bud joined the Air Force so our whole family started living the air force life all over the world. We moved back to Bend in the '70s and managed property downtown. My family is still active in the Bend community and our son Mark Capell is now a member of the City Council. Coming back to Bend, the growth was unbelievable. I don't particularly like the traffic and not being able to find a parking place, but the city's growth has also been very good. We have stayed in Bend since coming back because all of our family loves Bend and enjoys living here after living in big cities. It feels safe.

About The Author

Lucille Ausman

Lucille Ausman is a (more-or-less) native Central Oregon currently interning at the Source while on break from Smith College, where she Smith's student newspaper The Sophian and works as an undergraduate research assistant for the Anthropology department as a STRIDE Scholar. Just like every other girl of her generation...
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