Alphabetical Index|A|B|C|D|E|F|G|H|I|J|K|L|M|N|O|P|Q|R|S|T|U|V|W|X|Y|Z


quicklinks|buses|cars|customs|designers|fire apparatus|limos|pro-cars|taxis|trailers|trucks|woodies

Belmore, MacDougall & Moores
Belmore, MacDougall & Moores Co.  (aka Belmore, McDougall & Moores), 1908-1914, Portland, Oregon
Associated Firms
Portland Body Co.

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 short-lived (1908-1914) automotive enterprise that offered Portland automobilists a full service automotive facility that bought, sold, serviced and repaired automobiles of all types. Edwin A. Belmore was in charge of the firm’s service department, George M. MacDougall headed the body building, painting and varnishing departments while Merrill B. Moores, the son of well-known Portland attorney 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. MacDougall, president; 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, Alder S E cor 17th.

1910 directory - Belmore, MacDougall & Moores Co., Geo. MacDougall, pres.; Edwin Belmore, vice-pres.; M.B. Moore, sec. auto repairing 532 Alder.

1914 directory – Edwin Belmore, vice-president, Belmore, MacDougall & Moores Co.,

1914 directory – Belmore, MacDougall & Moores Co., George M. MacDougall, pres.; Edwin Belmore, vice-pres.; 462 Hawthorne, Portland.

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 Elizebeth A. Belmore. A machinist by trade, Edwin moved to Oregon from Colorado in 1907.

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 (Egbert) MacDougall. His first auto coach building position in Portland was with the Pullman Auto Car Co. after which he joined his two partners in the establishment of Belmore, MacDougall & Moores Co.

Secretary Merrill B. Moores (b. Feb. 8, 1884 in Salem, Oregon - d. Apr. 9, 1970; wife #1 Gertrude V.; wife #2 – Estella M.) was well-known to many Portland residents via his father, Salem attorney Charles B. 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 – Charles had been chief clerk starting in 1880 and from 1882 to 1887 worked as the private secretary of Oregon Governor Z. F. Moody. A Republican, Charles was later elected to the Oregon House of Representatives and served as its Speaker from 1895-1896. Following this term Charles B. Moores was appointed to the register of public lands at the United States Land Office in Oregon City in 1897, and served in that position until 1903. In 1910, Portland Mayor Joseph Simon appointed him to the public docks commission, serving as its chairman for five years. Moores was also the chairman of the Oregon Republican Party’s central committee in 1912 and 1914, and served on the Salem city council. He ran for the office of Oregon Secretary of State in 1912, but lost the election to Ben Olcott. Charles’ father (Merrill’s grandfather) John H. Moores had been in the Oregon State Senate, his grandfather, Isaac R. Moores was in the Oregon Territorial Legislature, and his uncle Isaac R. Moores, Jr. had also been Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives. Merrill’s brother Gordon C. Moores served in the Washington State Legislature and his brother Chester A. Moores served as chairman of the Portland Housing Authority.

Merrill was considered to be the playboy of the Moores clan and in 1909 he ran afoul of the law while driving one of his numerous flashy motors, the August 18, 1909 edition of the Oregon Daily Journal reporting:

“Automobile Has Narrow Escape

“W. McDonald, night engineer on the Burnside street bridge, today swore out a warrant for the arrest or Merrill B. Moore., of 21 East Fifteenth street, a member of the firm of Belmore, McDougall & Moores, dealers in automobile supplies, with an office at 527 Corbett building. The charge is disorderly conduct.

“McDonald declares that about 8 o’clock a steamer signaled for the opening of the Burnside street draw. He rang the bell, threw off the 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 was about to start the controlling engine, automobile No. 668 drove up at a fast rate of speed and crashed through the gates onto the bridge. It came with such force so McDonald says, that it forced both gates wide open.

“Not waiting for the machine to cross the bridge McDonald started the machinery and carried the machine out on the draw.

“‘Frequently,’ said McDonald, ‘autoists push through the gates and are generally disorderly while on the bridge, attempting to pass and cut around teams and street cars. If I had not held the bridge last night, the 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 path.”

Back in those days, justice was quick, and within the week Merrill appeared in court to answer the charges, the August 23, 1909 edition of the Oregon Daily Journal reporting:

“Drove Motor Through Gate

“A.B. Moores, of the automobile supply firm of Belmore, McDougall & Moores company, Seventeenth and Alder streets, pleaded guilty in municipal court today and was fined $25 by Municipal Judge Frank S. Bennett and given a warning. Mr. Moore was brought up on a charge of disorderly conduct.

“Engineer McDonald of the Burnside bridge, preferred the charge against the automobile man, accusing him of having driven his machine against the gates of the bridge, just as the draw was to have been set in motion to open for a steamer. It was shown that Mr. Moores forced the gates open with the machine.

“County Judge Lionel R. Webster and County Commissioner Lightner sat on the bench with Judge Bennett while the case was being heard. As the county court they have charge of the bridges.”

I could locate only a single period picture of Belmore, 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 Company, Portland, Oregon, to J.P. Findlay & Son of that city. The body is mounted on a Chalmers ‘36’ chassis lengthened to 130 inches. The body was built by Belmore, McDougall & Moores. The exterior finish is a beautiful egg-shell gray.”

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, Imperial Busses were built by Belmore, MacDougall, Moores Co. Builders of Metal Automobile 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 Oregonian announced that Moores had been awarded the Portland distributorship for the Stearns automobile:

“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 and trucks, starting operations as soon, as cars can be shipped here. - Moores has been manager of the automobile body-building company of Belmore, McDougall & Moores. He is a son of C. B. Moores, chairman of the Republican State Central Committee.”

Although Belmore, McDougall & Moores soldiered on without Moores for the next year, by 1914 the firm had dissolved with MacDougall forming the Portland Body Co. with J.H. Crans - their listing in the 1916 Portland City directory being:

“Portland Body Co. (J. H. Crans, G.M. MacDougall), auto bodies; 129 E. Water St., Portland.”

When that firm disbanded in 1918 MacDougall enlisted in the US Army as an inspector in its Philadelphia, Pennsylvania branch after which he moved to Amesbury, Massachusetts where he took a job as superintendent in one 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 lists him as proprietor of an auto body shop, located at the corner of Hillside Ave 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 indicates that while serving in the US Army Air Service at the end of the First World War, Moores suffered an injured jaw in an airplane accident, and spent several 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 exist until just recently when a Landaulet body with a Belmore, McDougall & Moores coachbuilder’s plate was offered for sale on Portland’s Craigslist with the following description:

“This early Landaulet or taxi cab body built and used in the Portland Oregon area somehow found its way to Montana in the last few years. It is time for it to go back home to be a permanent part of the Portland Oregon 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 both are 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. Since it has a 2x10 across the front for a dash, I suspect this body may have been used on a horse drawn vehicle chassis after it was no longer of any practical 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 relatively good original condition except for the thin material on the roof that has shrunk up and cracked as you can see in the last photo. The doors are still nice and 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 another passenger. I have seen several landaulet or taxicab bodies of this vintage but they were all larger than this body and had a pair of jump seats rather than a single one like this body has.

“This body still has the 6 original plate glass windows intact and they all have beveled edges on them. The pair of small side rear quarter windows are fixed. The pair of windows behind the front seat and the pair of door windows are framed in wood and slide up and down to provide 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 above and below located in the right side of the front seat heel board. I suspect this hole was for a small electrical switch that may have originally operated combination oil and electric side lamps, electric side lamps or even later on electric headlamps. It appears that there was an electric dome lamp in the roof the rear seat area at one time but it is now gone.

“I originally guessed that this body is 6 to 8 inches too long to fit on a Model T Ford chassis. Well, I was definitely wrong in making that guess and should not have done so without first taking a few measurements. If one assumes that the rear axle is centered in the curved cutout for the question mark rear fenders, then this body measures 73" from the center of the rear axle to the front of the pair of angled toe board supports that fit against the engine side of the vertical wood dash panel (the dash panel missing from this body).

“My 1914 Model T touring measures 26" from the driver's side of the cherry wood plywood dash to the centerline of the front axle. If 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 gets 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 on a Model T Ford chassis but I see no reason why it cannot be successfully mounted 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 had a 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 the longer the hood, the longer the wheelbase of the chassis can be and still have this body fit as it should.

“This body measures 100" long not counting the 2" thick 2x10 fastened temporarily to the front of the front seat angled toe board supports. It measures 62" tall not counting the pallet it is setting on. It measures 52" wide at the rear door which is the widest part. The front 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 padding on the front of the compartment. The front seat backrest is located 36" back 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 wells and measure 45" wide.

“This body originally had question mark rear fenders which do not match the stock 1909 through 1914 Model T Ford rear fenders. However, I see no reason why question mark rear fenders could not be used with this body on the back of a brass era Model T Ford chassis. This body would have been too 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 fit 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 name 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







Beverly Rae Kimes & Henry Austin Clark - Standard Catalog of American Cars: 1805-1942

Submit Pictures or Information

Original sources of information are given when available. Additional pictures, information and corrections are most welcome.

Click Here to submit pictures or information


quicklinks|buses|cars|customs|designers|fire apparatus|limos|pro-cars|taxis|trailers|trucks|woodies

© 2004-2017, Inc.|books|disclaimer|index|privacy