On November 4, 1926 Queen Marie of Romania (1875-1938) visits a lumber camp at Longview. Queen Marie and her entourage are traveling from Portland to Seattle on board her personal train, the Royal Roumanian.
Sam Hill and His Friend
Queen Marie, her son Prince Nicolas (1903-1977), and her daughter Princess Ileana (1909-1991) came to the United States at the request of wealthy Northwest businessman Sam Hill. Hill, a friend of Queen Marie’s, asked her to dedicate his partially completed Maryhill Museum in Goldendale. The dedication occurred the morning of November 3, and at the conclusion of the ceremonies the 85-member royal entourage traveled to Portland, Oregon.
Queen Marie visited Longview at 7:00 a.m. after an evening spent in Portland dining and watching a horse show. Longview, dedicated in 1923, had a population of about 4,000 in 1926 and was being developed by the Long-Bell Lumber Company into the Pacific Northwest’s first fully preplanned town when Queen Marie stopped in.
A Planned Town
She found the notion of planning out a town in advance “most interesting. They foresee how a place is going to grow and build it by degrees but entering upon a finished plan conceived beforehand. They trace and cement the roads, lay the electricity, water and pipes, everything beforehand, all is planned and mapped out and they let their town grow into this plan so that it becomes a perfect town, nothing left to hazard or luck -- stupendous” (America Seen By A Queen, p. 100).
In her memoir, On Tour With Queen Marie, Queen Marie’s American hostess, Constance Lily Morris, describes the rest of Queen Marie’s party (with the exception of the Queen) as “greatly annoyed at having to arise so early. As we had gone off without any breakfast everybody was somewhat disagreeable” (p. 134).
Trees Like Pencils
The Long-Bell Lumber Company plant was located on the edge of town on the northern shore of the Columbia River. “In the mill we saw giant trees lifted as though they were pencils, stripped of their bark and slit into huge planks and beams as though they had not greater resistance than butter. They burn their own saw-dust as fuel and it suffices them for running the whole power-plant” (America Seen By A Queen, p. 101).
The stop at Longview was made specifically at Queen Marie’s request. She was originally scheduled to travel overnight from Portland to Seattle and greet Seattle mayor Bertha Landes (1868-1943), numerous dignitaries, and citizens grown almost apoplectic with anticipation. “Mill’s Wheels Turn Clocks Back 4 Hours -- Queen’s Desire To See Lumber Plant At Longview Delays Her Arrival In Seattle,” the Seattle Post-Intelligencer fumed.
Queen Marie, however, was genuinely curious and appreciative of the difference between Europe and America as exemplified by the lumber camp. Visits such as the one to Long-Bell were her personal reward for the many hours of formal receptions, dinners, and interviews with the press.