Dr. G. Orlo Jefferson (1860-1949) was an optometrist in Portland Oregon, and also a trustee of Pacific University. He and his wife, Matilda J. Calhouns Jefferson (1859-1933) traveled extensively in the Western United States, the Middle East and Europe during the early twentieth century. They appear have to have enjoyed automobile travel, going on lengthy car trips in remote areas.
From 1909-1910, the Jefferson went on a lengthy trip to the Middle East and Europe, travelling by train, ship, carriage, donkey and their own personal car.
They began the trip by train, leaving Portland on September 29 for New Orleans via Juarez, Mexico. They took a boat from there up the Mississippi, eventually arriving in New York. There, the Jeffersons bought a 1910 Cadillac Model 33 and had it shipped ahead to Italy, where they would pick it up later. They left the United States from New York on the "Cedric" on January 5, 1910. Their ship stopped briefly in the Azores, Madeira and Gibraltar. After pausing at several cities in Italy, they moved on to Egypt, where they spent about a month sightseeing. From there, they went to Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, and then stopped briefly at Beirut and Damascus before reaching Constantinople in Turkey. From there, they travelled on to Greece and then back to Italy, where the Jeffersons picked up their automobile from customs in order to drive for the remainder of their trip. They drove to various cities in Italy, and then went through Austria to Germany, followed by the Netherlands and France. After shipping the car across the Channel, they then travelled through England, Wales and Scotland, and after another ferry ride, through Ireland. They logged 1,246 miles in the British Isles alone. They sailed back to New York City on October 15, 1910, more than a year after beginning their journey.
The Jeffersons also saved early images of tourist routes through scenic areas of the Western United States, including roads in the Mount Rainier National Park (late 1910s or early 1920s), the Columbia River Highway (circa 1920), and Tioga Pass near Yosemite National Park (1923).
The Jeffersons appear to have had no close living relatives when they passed away. The bulk of their estate was bequeathed to Pacific University and funded a building for the new School of Optometry, which had just opened in 1948. The building is named Jefferson Hall in their honor.