Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Aloha History- an interview with Glen Gordon

On March 1st and 2nd 2010 I interviewed Glen Gordon who owned the company from 1959 -1970. He is a really cool guy and had lots of interesting stories but here are some of the historical highlights. Thanks to Ted Timmons via Wikipedia for tracking him down and getting contact info.

The company was originally started in Aloha Oregon in 1954 (hence the name), Glen Gordon bought the company on July 6, 1959 when he was still in his 20's with a business partner and they expanded the business and moved it to Beaverton near 142nd Ave. They sold the company in 1969 to a company called Woodtech for 'several million dollars' because of changes in automobiles and the economy travel trailers were falling out of favor.

Although they were most well known for their travel trailers they also manufactured a variety of truck campers, and made a few custom motor homes by attaching their trailers to Chevy frames and even a few house barges by attaching their trailer frames onto barges (how cool would that be?)

The smallest trailer they made was 11' and the largest they manufactured was 28', at the height of their production in the 1960's they were making 17-19 trailers a day, had several hundred employees, owned their buildings and even had a night shift to keep up with production. The main areas where they sold and marketed their trailers were OR, WA, ID and BC and at one point held 13% of the regional market which was 'a remarkable amount' for a small company. Their most popular trailer was the 15' Beaver.

Because they were making their trailers for the NW market they had a few unique characteristics including a larger than normal drip rail and thicker plywood around the wheel wells to help deal with moisture. Their biggest technological innovation however was wrapping the framing stringers around the frame so there wasn't just a box built onto a frame, this resulted in much higher stability than other travel trailers at the time.

They also made several custom trailers for nature writers such as Francis Ames. They were also significant to the 1964 Seattle Worlds fair because there was a shortage of housing for all of the tourists they sold hundreds to enterprising Seattleites whom rented them out as vacation rentals.

26 comments:

  1. I own a 1964 16’ aloha trailer and I will tell you that it is the best built trailer on the road today. It’s built like a Sherman tank and weighs just as much. This trailer had been sitting for 15 years when I bought it for $150 dollars the interior was in great shape for as old as it is. I’ve put in a new hardwood floor and curtains, and now we have an awesome little trailer.

    love the site
    Joesph MacLean
    www.jigilojoes.com

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  2. Hi Joesph, I'm glad you like the site.

    Ha! I just looked at your website, I was worried that you were advertising porn! Keep on fishing and camping!

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  3. I actually enjoyed reading through this posting.Many thanks.


    Custom Trailers

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  4. glad I found you. Great site, great interview with Gordon. thanks!

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  5. thanks everyone, glad you like the site. I would encourage you to join our Aloha flickr group, it's the closest thing we have to a fan club. Share some photos!

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/aloha_travel_trailer/

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  6. I actually enjoyed reading through this posting.Many thanks.

    Custom Trailers

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  7. my pleasure, I'm glad you liked it!

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  8. We have a 1970 Aloha with the door in the back. We never see any others with the back door so reading your article makes me think we have one of the custom ones. Good information.

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  9. A door in the back?!? I hope you will put some photos of it in the flickr group. It's as close as we get to an actual fan club.
    http://www.flickr.com/groups/aloha_travel_trailer/pool/with/4991690193/

    I've never seen an 1970 Aloha so it would be nice to see one even without the fancy door.

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    1. we also have a 1970 aloha with the door near the back. love our 16 ft trailer its built to last and she is getting a new paint job this summer.

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  10. Hey We have a 1965 door closer to front but with the over hang loft. I can't seem to find any other ones like this. I will definitely post some pics we puck her up tomorrow.
    Thanks

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  11. Hi- We have a 1969 that we bought and need to reconnect everything in and get a heater for. What do you use for a safe heater? We have two little ones so we want to be super safe before we use it. Thanks for the website!

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  12. Hi Mary, I wish I had a good recommendation for you. It probably depends a lot on where/how it will be installed. Anyone else out there have any ideas?

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  13. are aloha's and oasis's pretty much the same layout? they look the same to me.

    what is the width on the 19' trailer? can anyone help? thanks

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  14. I lived in Aloha for years. Heck, I thought the town was named after the trailer company with it's iconic palm tree logo. Who knew?

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  15. We just made our very 1st camper purchase ever. A 1969 Aloha 21' tow-able for $700. Looking for advise from some seasoned owners... there are two things notable things wrong.
    ONE: At one time the floor got wet because there are some soft spots in the floor that the current owner covered with plywood cut too form. Do I have to pull up the whole interior to lay plywood, then laminate or just the soft spots if I can get that area level with the rest of the trailer?
    TWO: On the outside, one of the drip railings is a spot where it separated from the trailer and there is moss that has grown in that crack.
    Obviously the moss has to go but should I be able to just get a brush and water/bleach and scrub it out or do I need to peel off the skin? Also I was thinking of using a copper corner molding as the outside edging to inhibit the moss from coming back.
    Also solar panels, on the roof??? what hurdles do I face?
    Everything else is pristine, from the glass windows, screens, vents, cabinets, interior, walls, tables and seats, and lighting... showroom clean!!!!! Outside other than that one corner the rest is straight, no dents! I know it's an amazing deal, not sure of the value of it though.
    Where do I start on repairs and upgrade as I want it to support new electronics inside...... suggestions?

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  16. So I just purchased a 1958 Aloha camper for $900 in great shape . Problem ? No title how do I go about getting one . I have bill of sale but in Missouri you NEED a title to sell it to someone else .. uugh . other states I can title it in ?? Help love it and wnat to use it to trout fish. What about getting a MSO ? Possiable ?

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  17. Kim, we inherited one Aloha 67 from a back pasture, registered in WA but no title and another 57 purchased in an estate liquidation registered in OR no title. I'm told the way to register them is through 'salvage.' Many of these trailers that have been sitting around, haven't been tagged in a long time and the benefactors have no clue to the location of the paperwork. So we have been told. My buddy and I are still rehabilitating both trailers so we haven't explored this theoretical approach as yet. But, I expect we will soon. I'll let you know how it goes, or you let me know first. Others on this forum might know better. But, you can at least start by researching aquiring salvage titles in your State and surrounding States. Hope that helps.

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  18. LegalShieldORdotcom... be careful about mixing metals. Copper and Aluminum are very far apart on the galvanic scale. Using Copper molding may cause severe deterioration of the Aluminum at a very critical intersection. As for the Solar panels, I have been considering that as well. Keep in mind that the roof structures are no designed to hold much load. Those RV PV packages are not incredibly heavy. The concern is the amount of pull or drag (uplift) they will experience in transport. Securing them flat will help. Rigging them to a cross bar might be better, clamped around the trim with the load distributed to the sides. Or you can make them removable and store the panels in the trailer when not in use. If you're in OR, so am I. Would love to share info on our efforts. I'm working on an 18' '67 in West Linn.

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  19. anyone know how to get old caulk off the side of an aluminum camper without scratching the metal. Plus how to get black TAR off the roof so I can repair it correctly ? not afraid to get dirty!

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  20. Anyone know what year this model (K1750) was built?
    zargo4u@gmail.com

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    1. have you posted a photo in the flickr group? I'm sure you will get more info there.

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  21. What a great site to come across! I was hoping to find information on my cousins trailers. There is much more about the Aloha trailers than I ever expected to see. THanks for putting this up for people to see. George W. Gordon, father of Glen Gordon, is my dad's mother's brother. Of course George is no longer with us, but Glen is! He still lives in the area.

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  22. What a great site to come across! I was hoping to find information on my cousins trailers. There is much more about the Aloha trailers than I ever expected to see. THanks for putting this up for people to see. George W. Gordon, father of Glen Gordon, is my dad's mother's brother. Of course George is no longer with us, but Glen is! He still lives in the area.

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    1. Hi VickiLF, thanks for sharing, I'm glad you liked the site. We don't post much new stuff here but we love our little Aloha and it still looks great.

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