1908-1909, 527 Corbett Bldg; 1909-1913,
530-532 Alder St. at
Seventeenth; 1913-1914, 462
Hawthorne St., Portland, Oregon
Belmore, MacDougall & Moores Co., were a
(1908-1914) automotive enterprise that offered Portland automobilists a
service automotive facility that bought, sold, serviced and repaired
automobiles of all types. Edwin A. Belmore was in charge of the firm’s
department, George M. MacDougall headed the body building, painting and
varnishing departments while Merrill B. Moores, the son of well-known
and politician Charles B. Moores, headed its sales department.
Formerly organized as an Oregon corporation
on July 21, 1908
with a capitalization of $5,000, its officers were George M.
Edwin A. Belmore, vice-president; and Merrill B. Moore, secretary.
Little is known of the firm’s activities
save for a few
display advertisement in the Portland newspapers and the firm’s
listings in the
Portland City directories which follow:
1909 directory - Belmore, MacDougall &
Moores Co. (Edwin
Belmore, George M. MacDougall, Merrill B. Moores). Automobile repairs,
E cor 17th.
1910 directory - Belmore, MacDougall &
Moores Co., Geo.
MacDougall, pres.; Edwin Belmore, vice-pres.; M.B. Moore, sec. auto
1914 directory – Edwin Belmore,
MacDougall & Moores Co.,
1914 directory – Belmore, MacDougall &
Moores Co., George
M. MacDougall, pres.; Edwin Belmore, vice-pres.; 462
Vice-president Edwin A. Belmore (b. Feb.
1871 in Iowa - wife
Mattie Gilles m. 1899 - d. Apr. 15, 1939) was the son of John W. and
A. Belmore. A machinist by trade, Edwin moved to Oregon from Colorado
President George Melvin MacDougall [aka
McDougall] (b. Nov.
21, 1881 in St John, NB, Canada; emigrated in 1898 - d. Feb 12, 1943 in
Amesbury, Mass. Wife Edna C.) was the son of Marion and Emma Ulissa
His first auto coach building position in Portland was with the Pullman
Car Co. after which he joined his two partners in the establishment of
MacDougall & Moores Co.
Secretary Merrill B. Moores (b. Feb. 8, 1884
Oregon - d. Apr. 9, 1970; wife #1 Gertrude V.; wife #2 – Estella M.)
well-known to many Portland residents via his father, Salem attorney
Moores (b. August 6, 1849 – d. January 5, 1930).
Both Merrill and his brother Gordon worked
as clerks in the Oregon
House of Representatives, following in their father’s footsteps –
been chief clerk starting in 1880 and from 1882 to 1887 worked as the
secretary of Oregon Governor Z. F. Moody. A Republican, Charles was
to the Oregon House of Representatives and served as its Speaker from
Following this term Charles B. Moores was appointed to the register of
lands at the United States Land Office in Oregon City in 1897, and
that position until 1903. In 1910, Portland Mayor Joseph Simon
appointed him to
the public docks commission, serving as its chairman for five years.
also the chairman of the Oregon Republican Party’s central committee in
and 1914, and served on the Salem city council. He ran for the office
Secretary of State in 1912, but lost the election to Ben Olcott.
father (Merrill’s grandfather) John H.
Moores had been in the Oregon State Senate, his grandfather, Isaac R.
in the Oregon Territorial Legislature, and his uncle Isaac R. Moores,
also been Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives. Merrill’s
C. Moores served in the Washington State Legislature and his brother
Moores served as chairman of the Portland Housing Authority.
Merrill was considered to be the playboy of
clan and in 1909 he ran afoul of the law while driving one of his
motors, the August 18, 1909 edition of the Oregon Daily Journal
“Automobile Has Narrow Escape
“W. McDonald, night engineer on the
today swore out a warrant for the arrest or Merrill B. Moore., of 21
Fifteenth street, a member of the firm of Belmore, McDougall &
dealers in automobile supplies, with an office at 527 Corbett building.
charge is disorderly conduct.
“McDonald declares that about 8 o’clock a
for the opening of the Burnside street draw. He rang the bell, threw
jacks which hold the bridge in place, closed the cast gate, and saw
that one of
the gatemen had the west gate nearly closed. He says that just as he
to start the controlling engine, automobile No. 668 drove up at a fast
speed and crashed through the gates onto the bridge. It came with such
McDonald says, that it forced both gates wide open.
“Not waiting for the machine to cross the
started the machinery and carried the machine out on the draw.
“‘Frequently,’ said McDonald, ‘autoists
gates and are generally disorderly while on the bridge, attempting to
cut around teams and street cars. If I had not held the bridge last
automobile would have undoubtedly have rushed through into the water.
As it was
it nearly ran over the gateman, who was swinging a red light in its
Back in those days, justice was quick, and
within the week
Merrill appeared in court to answer the charges, the August 23, 1909
the Oregon Daily Journal reporting:
“Drove Motor Through Gate
“A.B. Moores, of the automobile supply
McDougall & Moores company, Seventeenth and Alder streets, pleaded
in municipal court today and was fined $25 by Municipal Judge Frank S.
and given a warning. Mr. Moore was brought up on a charge of disorderly
“Engineer McDonald of the Burnside bridge,
charge against the automobile man, accusing him of having driven his
against the gates of the bridge, just as the draw was to have been set
motion to open for a steamer. It was shown that Mr. Moores forced the
open with the machine.
“County Judge Lionel R. Webster and County
Lightner sat on the bench with Judge Bennett while the case was being
the county court they have charge of the bridges.”
I could locate only a single period picture
McDougall & Moores’ coachwork, an attractive hearse that appeared
in the July
1, 1912 edition of the Power Wagon with the following caption:
“Motor hearse sold by H.L. Keats Auto
Oregon, to J.P. Findlay & Son of that city. The body is mounted on
Chalmers ‘36’ chassis lengthened to 130 inches. The body was built by
McDougall & Moores. The exterior finish is a beautiful egg-shell
A 1912 advertisement in the local newspaper
reveal the firm
produced a series of motor coach bodies for a regional transit operator:
“Hotel Busses – The Multnomah, Portland,
were built by Belmore, MacDougall, Moores Co. Builders of Metal
Bodies, Fore Doors, Wheels. 530-532 Alder, Cor. Seventeenth.”
A modern-day image of the firm’s Alder Ave.
plant can be
seen to the right.
The October 13, 1912 edition of the Sunday
announced that Moores had been awarded the Portland distributorship for
“Moores Takes Stearns
“Merrill B. Moores is the latest dealer to
enter the Oregon
field. The Moores' Motor Car Company will handle Stearns pleasure cars
trucks, starting operations as soon, as cars can be shipped here. -
been manager of the automobile body-building company of Belmore,
& Moores. He is a son of C. B. Moores, chairman of the Republican
Although Belmore, McDougall & Moores
soldiered on without
Moores for the next year, by 1914 the firm had dissolved with
forming the Portland Body Co. with J.H. Crans - their listing in the
City directory being:
“Portland Body Co. (J.
H. Crans, G.M. MacDougall), auto bodies; 129 E. Water
When that firm disbanded in 1918 MacDougall
enlisted in the
US Army as an inspector in its Philadelphia, Pennsylvania branch after
moved to Amesbury, Massachusetts where he took a job as superintendent
of that city’s numerous automobile body manufacturing enterprises. The
1920 & 1930 US census list him in
Amesbury as a superintendent in an auto [body] shop. The 1940 US census
him as proprietor of an auto body shop, located at the corner of
and Haverhill Rd, Amesbury.
Moores lost the Stearns distributorship in
1915 and the 1916
Portland City directory lists him as an auto salesman with the
NorthWest Auto Co. Broadway, NE corner of Couch; F.W.
Vogler, president. A Feb 2, 1919 article in the Portland newspaper
that while serving in the US Army Air Service at the end of the First
War, Moores suffered an injured jaw in an airplane accident, and spent
weeks recuperating in a New York hospital.
Edwin Belmore continued to work as an auto
mechanic in the
Portland region for the next several decades.
No examples of the firm’s work were known to
just recently when a Landaulet body with a Belmore, McDougall &
coachbuilder’s plate was offered for sale on Portland’s Craigslist with
“This early Landaulet or taxi cab body
and used in the
Portland Oregon area somehow found its way to Montana in the last few
is time for it to go back home to be a permanent part of the Portland
local history where it would be most appreciated.
“I am guessing this gem was built sometime
between 1907 and
1912. This body has brass sill plates under each rear door and they
marked 'Belmore, McDougall, Moores Co. - Builders - Portland Ore'. I
am certainly no authority on this gem so 'PLEASE' help me out here on
the history of this body or the identification of what chassis it was
originally on if you possibly can.
“I recently bought this early body from a
friend in western
Montana who found it in a collection of horse drawn vehicles last year.
it has a 2x10 across the front for a dash, I suspect this body may have
used on a horse drawn vehicle chassis after it was no longer of any
use on an automobile chassis.
“This body is framed in wood and has steel
rather than wood
or aluminum panels below the belt line. All of the wood is in
original condition except for the thin material on the roof that has
and cracked as you can see in the last photo. The doors are still nice
rigid and do not "rack" when one shakes them. The leather upholstery
is weathered and hard and is most likely only good for patterns.
“Please notice the ‘jump seat’ that folds
down from the
front of the rear compartment to provide a very marginal seat for
passenger. I have seen several landaulet or taxicab bodies of this
they were all larger than this body and had a pair of jump seats rather
single one like this body has.
“This body still has the 6 original plate
intact and they all have beveled edges on them. The pair of small side
quarter windows are fixed. The pair of windows behind the front seat
pair of door windows are framed in wood and slide up and down to
ventilation in warmer weather.
“I suspect this body came from an early
right hand drive car
because there is a small rectangular vertical hole with screw holes
below located in the right side of the front seat heel board. I suspect
hole was for a small electrical switch that may have originally
combination oil and electric side lamps, electric side lamps or even
electric headlamps. It appears that there was an electric dome lamp in
the rear seat area at one time but it is now gone.
“I originally guessed that this body is 6
8 inches too
long to fit on a Model T Ford chassis. Well, I was definitely wrong in
that guess and should not have done so without first taking a few
If one assumes that the rear axle is centered in the curved cutout for
question mark rear fenders, then this body measures 73" from the center
the rear axle to the front of the pair of angled toe board supports
against the engine side of the vertical wood dash panel (the dash panel
from this body).
“My 1914 Model T touring measures 26" from
side of the cherry wood plywood dash to the centerline of the front
one adds the 73" rear axle to driver's side of dash dimension to the
26" driver's side of dash to centerline of front axle dimension, one
99" which is only an inch short of the 100" wheelbase of the Model T
Fords. I don't have any reason to think this body was originally used
Model T Ford chassis but I see no reason why it cannot be successfully
and used on one now.
“The above dimensional example assumes a
fairly short hood
length such as the hood used on a Model T Ford. The early Model T Fords
hood length of ". Therefore, if one has a chassis with a hood length of
5" or 6" longer than the Model T Ford hood, this body would fit well
on a 106" or so wheelbase chassis. What I am trying to explain is that
longer the hood, the longer the wheelbase of the chassis can be and
this body fit as it should.
“This body measures 100" long not counting
thick 2x10 fastened temporarily to the front of the front seat angled
supports. It measures 62" tall not counting the pallet it is setting
It measures 52" wide at the rear door which is the widest part. The
and back seats are both 44" wide while there is 48" of room in the
rear compartment measured from the seat back rest to the back of the
the front of the compartment. The front seat backrest is located 36"
from the front of the angled front toe board supports. The rear door is
22" wide on the outside and fits in a 21" wide opening in the body.
The tops of the rear fender wells are the widest part of the fender
measure 45" wide.
“This body originally had question mark
do not match the stock 1909 through 1914 Model T Ford rear fenders.
see no reason why question mark rear fenders could not be used with
on the back of a brass era Model T Ford chassis. This body would have
large for the shorter 84" wheelbase (16" shorter than a Model T) of
the Model N, R or S Fords. I also believe this body is too short the
longer 120" wheelbase of the Model K Ford properly even though that car
had a hood much longer than the hood of a Model T Ford.”
The eventual purchaser, Neil Gerrard of
Canby, Oregon, wrote
to me looking for information on the firm:
“Hi I recently purchased a landaulet body
built around 1910
in Portland Oregon. It has step plates inside the rear doors with the
Belmore McDougall Moores, Builders, Portland Oregon. A quick search
turned up a
few ads for the company. I can send pictures if you'd like.
“Thanks, Neil Gerrard, Canby Oregon”
The pictures seen to the right were taken
directly from the original Craiglist’ posting.
© 2017 Mark
Theobald for Coachbuilt.com