- The unique Monarch Sno-Motor was designed by the US Forest Service of Portland, Oregon.
- It was originally intended for carrying wood and was adapted to carry skiers up to the ski slopes of Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood.
- The Sno-Motor was made by Monarch Forge & Machine Works – Portland, Oregon and powered by a Hercules flathead 6-cylinder engine.
The Monarch Sno-Motor
Sometimes machinery that was originally intended for utilitarian use has its fun potential seen by some creative person and finds a whole new lease on life giving enjoyment. Such was the case for the Sno-Motor built by Monarch Forge and Machine Works of Portland Oregon.
The Sno-Motor was originally conceived as a light truck for transporting cargo, mostly timber, across the snow to and around the construction site for the new Timberline Lodge.
But the Sno-Motor was also able to be used as passenger transport and when the Timberline Lodge opened it was re-purposed as a “fun machine” for carrying people up to the ski slopes. Some would ride in the passenger trailer while others would attach a line to the rear of the trailer and be towed on their skis up to the slopes.
Mt. Hood Timberline Lodge
The Mt. Hood Timberline Lodge was created during the second half of the 1930’s as the world recovered from the effects of the Great Depression. It was a symbol of hope, hope that the exigencies of the Depression would all be in the past and that Americans could freely enjoy their lives in the pursuit of happiness – and there are few things more able to give a sense of excitement and happiness than skiing and snow sports.
The Timberline Lodge was constructed between 1936-1938 up at an elevation of 6,000 feet (1,829 metres) in the Mt. Hood National Forest.
This elevation served to ensure that the lodge experienced snow for the full twelve months of the year – and thus provided a yearlong environment for the enjoyment of snow sports: Mt. Hood having a height of 11,240 feet (3,426 metres).
The construction was done using materials naturally available at the construction site as much as possible. The skilled labour was provided under the Works Progress Administration, which was a program provided under the American New Deal which saw unemployed people gain employment on government projects. Of the total cost of building the Timberline Lodge around 80% went to pay for the labour of the workers doing the construction.
A Unique Antique of American History
There is only one surviving Monarch Sno-Motor and it has been treated to a full and detailed restoration by the renowned Schaaf Tractor and Truck Museum.ARVE Error: src mismatch
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If you would like to find out more about the Monarch Sno-Motor or the other items from the Schaaf Museum coming up for auction by Mecum Auctions you can visit the sale page here.
There is a detailed article by the Mecum Magazine about George Schaaf and his collection “From Power Hitter to Prairie Power available to read here.
Picture credits: (All pictures of the 1938 Monarch Sno-Motor courtesy Mecum Auctions).
Jon Branch is the founder and senior editor of Revivaler and has written a significant number of articles for various publications including official Buying Guides for eBay, classic car articles for Hagerty, magazine articles for both the Australian Shooters Journal and the Australian Shooter, and he’s a long time contributor to Silodrome.
Jon has done radio, television, magazine and newspaper interviews on various issues, and has traveled extensively, having lived in Britain, Australia, China and Hong Kong. His travels have taken him to Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan and a number of other countries. He has studied the Japanese sword arts and has a long history of involvement in the shooting sports, which has included authoring submissions to government on various firearms related issues and assisting in the design and establishment of shooting ranges.