GOVERNMENT CAMP N aming a community after a world-famous disaster may not strike most of us as a bright idea -- sort of like naming a new power station Chernobyl -- but local historians say government red tape led to Government Camp's first post office being named Pompeii.
The name came and went 100 years ago, and the Mount Hood Cultural Center and Museum and the post office at Government Camp are planning to celebrate not being named Pompeii anymore with a special postmark next week
Lloyd Musser, the volunteer curator of the Mount Hood Museum, said Oliver C. Yocum, who homesteaded the area, petitioned the government for a post office at the Government Camp Hotel he built in 1899 on the side of volcanic Mount Hood. He proposed Government Camp as the name of the post office.
Yocum's application was rejected. "The post office didn't like names with two words," Musser said. "They turned him down and asked for one word."
The volcanic soil inspired Yocum to choose Pompeii. He apparently didn't think the association with fiery death would be bad for business, but the name unnerved some.
The local people never accepted that," Musser said.
The post office was discontinued after a year. People continued to call Government Camp by the name they had used for years, not because the Army camped there 150 years ago, but because the soldiers gave the mountain some of its first abandoned vehicles -- wagons left behind.
The village didn't have a post office again until 1931.
To mark the anniversary, the post office and Mount Hood Museum and Cultural Center will reactivate the Pompeii name for one day only, next Tuesday.