Gates, Pop (Charles Edwin)

Came to Medford in Feb. 1912 & established the C.E.Gates Auto Co. with its showroom in the Sparta Bldg at Main & Riverside. Originally a dealer for Overland Cars, by 1913 he was local agent for Ford, Fordson Tractors & Lincolns. Business was very successful in the 1920's but debts incurred in the depression forced him to sell the business in 1940 and lose his house in 1943. Pop Gates was very active in politics. He was Mayor of Medford from 1917 to 1923 (he only served after insisting in abolishing salaries for Mayor and councilmen - he served 2 years with no pay), spent 3 years on the State Hwy Commission, VP of the Farmers Fruit Growers Bank, Chairman of Red Cross Committee, President of Medford Chamber of Commerce for 2 terms, Director of State AA & more. Gates became involved in the Ku Klux Klan controversies of 1918 - 1922. After attending a KKK meeting & hearing their oath he was quoted statewide as saying their "obligation & oath is one that no Christian man could take exception to." His actual involvement with the Klan is subject to dispute. In 1922 he was presumed to be an independent candidate for Governor but announced at the last minute that he would not run. From 1927 - 1931 he was on the Oregon State Highway Commission during an important era of road-building in Oregon. In 1932 he ran for County Judge (now Commissioner) against a "Good Government" candidate with the support of Rober Ruhl, MMT's publisher. He was defeated.
1990 "Statement of Significance" for National Register of Historic Places for the C.E. Gates House.
SOHS vertical file

Other Name(s): 

"The Overland Man" C.E. "Pop"

Birthplace: 

Monticello, Indiana

Place of death: 

Salem, OR

Spouse: 

Leah A. Farmsley 12/28/1882

Children: 

Eltha, Marie, Laura, George E

Nationality: 

USA

Occupation: 

Automobile Dealership owner from 1912 - 1940: C.E.Gates Auto Co. Medford Mayor 1917 - 1923