Please join us for a great time to celebrate a great cause. See our Parks merchandise and learn how you can help us with the restoration of key landmarks in our National parks! Won’t you join us? Find a Pendleton retail store or Pendleton Outlet by clicking: HERE.
Our friend Greg Hatten, the WoodenBoat adventurer, is floating some of our country’s National Parks as part of the centennial celebration of the National Park Service.
Greg is an accomplished guide and fisherman who splits his time between Missouri and Oregon. He is happiest on the river in his wooden drift boat, the Portola. Greg’s Portola was built to the exact specs of the original Portola piloted by conservationist Martin Litton down the Colorado River in 1964 as part of a historic journey that helped save the Grand Canyon. As difficult as it is to believe, there were plans at the time to dam the Colorado River, flood the Grand Canyon and turn it into a gigantic reservoir. Wooden drift boaters took to the river, along with a documentary crew, to make a film that brought national attention to the proposed reservoir project. This river journey helped save the Grand Canyon for future generations. Greg’s 2014 recreation of this journey is part of his larger commitment to our National Parks.
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Greg is running rivers through some of our most beloved Parks. Pendleton will be following his journeys on our blog, starting with his trip to Yellowstone Lake.
As Greg says in his blog post:
On this WoodenBoat adventure… it was late May and the lakes in Yellowstone National Park were free of ice earlier this year than anyone could remember. Usually on Memorial Day weekend, this park is just waking up from its winter hibernation – the snow is patchy in places, the campgrounds are just starting to open, and the staff and crew coming from around the country to work for the summer are learning the answers to hundreds of questions they will be asked by the visiting tourists from around the world. The park was green, the wildlife was stirring and except for the sparse number of tourists, it seemed like it was midseason.
Greg sets up camp Pendleton-style, in a canvas tent with our Yellowstone National Park blanket AND one of our newest products. Greg has only good things to say about our new roll-ups, which are virgin wool camp blankets attached to a new waxed cotton fabric that we are just a little bit proud of.
As you can see, so far we are offering this blanket in Badlands, Glacier and Grand Canyon. Greg says it sleeps like a dream in the wild, and we trust his opinion. So go read all about his trip on his WoodenBoat blog, especially the meal. Everyone here in the office wants to try Greg’s campsite cuisine!
We are absolutely charmed by this Backcountry feature on Romance in the Wild, featuring our “Love Me” blanket by Curtis Kulig. This is actually a phone app, but you can view it perfectly online by clicking here. Just click that arrow to the right to see a campfire and more. Go see! It’s adorable! Thanks to Backcountry for the love.
Are you gearing up to celebrate America’s birthday this weekend? We hope you’re celebrating the good old-fashioned way, with cookouts, picnics, sparklers and family fun. We will celebrate with two very patriotic blankets; Dawn’s Early Light and Brave Star.
“O say can you see by the dawn’s early light.” These words were penned on the back of an envelope in 1814 by young lawyer and poet Francis Scott Key. Key was held captive on a Royal Navy ship as British ships in Chesapeake Bay bombarded Fort McHenry throughout the night. When dawn broke, the fort was still standing, the American flag still waving. It was a turning point in the war of 1812, and the birth of our national anthem, the “Star Spangled Banner.” This blanket, woven in our American mills, commemorates the Bicentennial of that momentous morning in U.S. history. Fifteen red and white stripes and stars represent those on the flag at that time. Each star is shaped like an aerial view of the fort, which was built in the shape of a five-pointed star. Striations and imprecise images give the design a vintage Americana look.
This contemporary interpretation of the American flag celebrates the patriotism of Native Americans. In 1875 Indian scouts carried messages from fort to fort in the West. Native American soldiers saw action with Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders in Cuba. And soldiers from many tribes battled in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf and Iraq. Five Native Americans have been awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery “above and beyond the call of duty.” The design marries modern asymmetry and vintage Americana. The unique striations, using pulled out yarns, reflect an era when dyes were made from plants.
Beautiful blankets for our beautiful country.
Now go out and watch some fireworks.
Our National Parks are protected and enriched by a small army of volunteers whose time, enthusiasm and energy are put to use in so many ways. Over the next year, we would like to recognize the efforts of some of the people who help protect America’s Treasures. Today, we’re going to start with Jim and Ellie Burbank. The words below come from Lauren Gass, Special Projects Director for the Great Smoky Mountains Park.
Jim and Ellie Burbank give selflessly of their time on a weekly basis to enhance and improve Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Residents of the great state of Tennessee, they embody the volunteer spirit. They are former operators of the Snowbird Inn in Robbinsville, NC. Ellie is a world-class chef and baker and Jim is a retired biologist with the Tennessee Valley Authority. Both are weekly hikers who thrill at any chance to introduce their friends and family members from across the U.S. and around the world to the wonders and beauty of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Jim is a key member of the Volunteers-in-Parks program, and the Friends of the Smokies Tennessee office just would not function very well without Ellie’s help.
Jim actually goes out and meets strangers and tells them about the national park in his work as a weekly educational interpretive volunteer in Cades Cove, and he meets plenty of them with 2.5 million people visiting this beloved valley in Great Smoky Mountains National Park every year. He also leads monthly full moon walks in the Cove for campers and families to experience the quietude of this mountain treasure at night. Jim also leads wildflower walks for other nonprofit organizations including Friends of the Smokies, and has helped countless hundreds of hikers differentiate between a yellow trillium and a trout lily.
Ellie acknowledges all of the contributions made to Friends of the Smokies, which involves keeping the organization’s donor records up-to-date and accurate, printing tens of thousands of acknowledgment letters each year, and she does it all in two days each week. She has volunteered with Friends for more than 14 years, and is the equivalent of another part-time staff member. Jim and Ellie dedicate substantial amounts of time to impart their love of Great Smoky Mountains National Park to others, and they take their volunteer work very seriously. They are extremely knowledgeable about the Park and its needs.
The Great Smoky Mountains national Park hosts over 9,000,000 visitors each year. Yes, you read that correctly–Nine. Million. Visitors. As the most-visited park in the United States, it needs the help of people like the Burbanks. We thank them sincerely for their generosity and commitment.
Learn more about helping to support our National Parks here.
There’s a new way to share your love of Pendleton with your best buddy, and it’s finally here.
Pendleton Pet includes an assortment of beds, collars, leads and jackets.
All sizes are included, from the tiniest to the largest. Your dog is really going to enjoy this. And so will you, of course.
These are offered in National Park blanket stripes representing U.S. National Parks; Acadia, Badlands, Crater Lake, Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains, Rainier, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, Yosemite and Glacier. Yes, your best friend can recline in the finest Pendleton Pet style, or take his walks on a Park Stripe leash, and show his commitment to preserving our National Treasures with his Park Stripe collar and his spiffy little National Park dog coat.
Doesn’t your best friend deserve the best? We know you share your favorite Pendleton blankets with your best friends all the time. We have photographic evidence!
So check out the new line and see what’s right for your dog. And if you Instagram, please tag with #PendletonPet. We’d love to see the line at work.
More information on Pendleton Pet can be found here. And remember, your purchase of these products helps to support the National Park Foundation. More information here.
In 2016, we will honor the centennial of our National Park Service. We will celebrate our National Parks, along with the employees and volunteers who work to hold the Parks in trust for generations to come. An important part of that trust includes preserving and managing each Park’s wildlife. The National Parks have played a key role in the preservation of the American bison, commonly known as the buffalo.
In the 16th century, North America was home to 25 to 30 million bison, making the American Plains Bison the most abundant single species of large mammal on Earth. The Plains Bison is a “keystone species.” The trampling and grazing of these thundering herds actually shaped the ecology of America’s Great Plains. A bison can weigh over 2,500 pounds, jump six feet vertically, and run 40 miles per hour when alarmed. This is an impressive animal.
The bison played a crucial part in the lives of Nomadic Native American peoples. One bison could provide 200 to 400 pounds of meat, as well as hides, robes, and sinew for bows. Hunting was accomplished on foot and on horseback through herded stampedes over buffalo jumps. For an accurate and detailed account of Native American hunting methods, along with art and photography, see this blog post at www.nativeamericannetroots.net. Hunters thanked the animals with rituals and prayers for the gift of their lives. The Natives, the herds and the habitat thrived.
Two hundred years later, the bison was hunted nearly to extinction. Decimating factors included loss of habitat due to farming and ranching, and industrial-scale hunting by non-Natives. The systematic destruction of the herds was promoted by the U.S. Army in order to strike an irrevocable blow to the way of life of the Plains Nations. The loss of the buffalo was an economic, cultural, and religious tragedy for the original inhabitants of North America. It was also a great loss to the natural ecology of the Great Plains.
Somehow, tiny “relict” herds survived. A few ranchers attempted restoration of the herds through private ventures in the late 1800s. Samuel Walking Coyote (Pen d’Oreille) started a small herd with seven orphaned calves he found west of the Rocky Mountain Divide. Another herd was formed from this initial group, and in the early 1900s, small herds were sent from this second herd to Canada’s Elk Island National Park, and the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma.
Left to graze in protected wilderness and park areas, the buffalo began to rebound. The Yellowstone Park Bison Herd formed naturally from a 23 bison that remained in the park after the massive slaughter at the end of the 19th century. This is the only continuously surviving herd in the Americas, and the largest at over 4,000 head. There are preservation efforts in many wilderness areas and National Parks, in part due to the beneficial effects of bison on regional ecology. Unlike domestic cattle, bison herds cultivate rather than deplete the native grasses through grazing.
Because of the close relationship between our national wilderness areas and the American bison, Pendleton commemorates this impressive land mammal as part of the Pendleton National Parks Collection. Our newest buffalo blanket, “Buffalo Wilderness” celebrates the resilience of a magnificent animal and its role in shaping the Great Plains.
The Buffalo Wilderness design recalls a time when millions of buffalo roamed grassy plains from Oregon to the Great Lakes, from Canada to Mexico. Today our National Parks protect the wilderness, and the buffalo herds can roam free. One of the largest herds (more than 4,000) of free-ranging wild buffalo lives in and around Yellowstone National Park. It is thought to be the only place in the United States where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times. You can also see herds in Badlands, Grand Teton, Theodore Roosevelt and Wind Cave National Parks.
This is a photo of Robert and Matt Raven, father and son, taken in 1963, and shared with Pendleton this last year. It was taken by Carl “Pete” Petersen, who was there along with his son Grant.
Here are some words about his father from Matt, who is a professor at Michigan State University.
My Dad (Robert D. Raven) was the epitome of what Tom Brokaw termed the Greatest Generation. He grew up on a farm in Michigan and was a gunner/mechanic on a B-24 in the South Pacific during WW II. This was one reason he was such a great wing shot. He went to Michigan State (then Michigan State College) on the GI Bill. My mom (Leslie Erickson Raven) was a Marine during WWII (an aircraft mechanic) and also went to Michigan State on the GI Bill. They moved to California after they graduated in 1949 with $200 in their pockets. My Mom help put my Dad through Law School at UC Berkeley (Boalt Hall) and he graduated in 1952. He practiced law for Morrison Foerster (home office in San Francisco) all of his professional career and help build them into one of the premier law firms anywhere. He was one of those men that helped the United States become the greatest nation on the planet after WWII. He died in 2004 and I miss him every day. I am proud to be his son.
What a great American story. We love this image so much, we chose it for our Instagram #PendletonDad photo contest this year. It just says Father’s Day, and it’s a fitting way to wish Happy Father’s Day to all the admirable dads out there from Pendleton Woolen Mills.
We received a letter from Sharon Myers Knoph with some wonderful photos of her father, Fred Myers. We decided to save this post for Father’s Day, because it’s about a Pendleton dad.
Here are Sharon’s words about her father.
My dad, Fred Myers, was born in Parkdale, Oregon. He joined the United States Marine Corps and served in Korea. He married Margaret Hinrich of Hood River, Oregon, in 1956. They eventually settled in southern California where he graduated from the Police Academy. He was an undercover narcotics officer during the 1970s. After retiring from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, my parents traveled the country in their motor home.
My dad loved his Pendleton shirts. He bought his first one in 1957, a shirt that he actually wore for 57 years. He was described more than once as “the officer in the Pendleton”. He held his first grandchild wearing a Pendleton shirt.
When he passed away in May of 2014, my mother couldn’t bear to give away his Pendleton shirts. She decided to use them to make three quilts. They are very special to us, reminding us of the man that his friends and family loved very much. In the photo below, his first shirt from 1957 is circled.
Here at Pendleton, we have seen quite a few quilts made from our shirts. But we have not seen one made with the pockets, which is a charming touch. What a way to have your dad keeping you warm forever.
To all the admirable fathers out there, happy Father’s Day from Pendleton Woolen Mills.
In 2010, Pendleton Woolen Mills introduced our Tribute Series, paying homage to the American mills that thrived during the Golden Age of Native American Trade blankets.
In the early part of the 20th century, Pendleton Woolen Mills was one of five major mills weaving Trade blankets. The Buell Manufacturing Company of St. Joseph, Missouri, incorporated in 1877. St. Joseph was the gateway to a booming Wild West, thanks to homesteading and the Gold Rush. The Buell mill, operated by Norman Buell, his son George, and another partner named John Lemon, was well-run and successful.
According to the county records of 1904, the Buell Manufacturing employed 175 workers and used more than a million pounds of wool a year. Buell products were sold in every state of the Union (45, to be exact). Buell products included far more than their Trade blankets. Their colorful designs were only a fraction of the products woven by Buell from 1877 to 1912. Since the Pendleton mill opened in 1909, we were only competitors for three seasons.
According to our friend Barry Friedman in his book Chasing Rainbows, “The blankets produced by Buell Manufacturing are without question the truest copies of Navajo and Pueblo Indian designs.” The original Buell blanket designs were given tribal names in keeping with America’s romantic view of the west during those years. We’ve included the original names strictly for your information. Please keep in mind that the Buell designs often bore little-to-no resemblance to the weavings of that particular tribe. Our re-weavings of these blankets are simply named for the original manufacturer, with the number of the blanket in the series.
Buell #6 ( available here ) was originally called the “Choctaw” or the “Spider and Hawk” design.
Buell #5 available here was called the “Winnebago.” Though Buell has a darker palette than many of the other mills producing blankets back in the day, this blanket is an eye-popper.
Buell #4 (retired) was called the “Ojibwa.” Dale Chihuly has one of the originals in his incredible collection of Trade blankets. The banded design of diamonds, stripes, stars and that central sawtooth band is just gorgeous.
Buell #3 (retired) features a rare pictorial element–bands of Thunderbirds. Buell blankets were generally without any type of representational figures. This banded pattern was known as the “Comanche.”
Buell #2 (retired) is called the “Zuni” pattern in the Buell catalog, but is actually a copy of a Hopi manta according to Barry Friedman (who knows pretty much everything there is to know about Trade blankets).
Buell #1 (retired) is named “Aztec” in the original Buell catalog. It was offered in at least four different color combinations. An example in this coloration is also part of the fabled Chihuly collection of Native American Trade blankets. This blanket was a bestseller in our first year of the Tribute series.
Buell blankets are among the most rare and most sought after by collectors today. This mill actually accomplished a major commercial weaving innovation–the incorporation of a third color in a weaving line. This was beyond the capabilities of Pendleton Woolen Mills at the time, so we tip our hat to the Buell Manufacturing Company of St. Joseph, Missouri.