The Hood River Glacier, Hood River, OR., April 15, 1893, page 2


     The town of Hood River is situated on the Union Pacific railroad, 64 miles east of Portland, has a population of about 400, and is the shipping point for the products of the farms of the Hood River valley. The site is a beautiful one, sloping to the north to the Columbia and east to Hood river, and commanding a beautiful view of that grand stream and the mountains of Washington. Indeed, the view of the canyon of the White Salmon, which enters the Columbia directly opposite the town, is one rarely equaled, furnishing an appropriate foreground for grand old Mt. Adams, which rises to a height of the 10,000 feet and is distant about 35 miles. The town contains two handsome churches buildings, the Congregational and United Brethren, in which services are held regularly, besides which the Methodists have regular services in temporary quarters. A good school building, which has heretofore served to accommodate the wants of the community, is now crowded to its utmost, and a new and commodious building will probably be erected this summer. The school is in charge of Professor C.I. Gilbert and Miss Callison, each holding a first-class certificate, and, better yet, being in every respect first-class teachers. Five general merchandise stores, two well-stocked liveries stables, one furniture and one drugstore, two butcher shops, one notion store, blacksmith shop, hardware store, tin shop, harness shop, printing office, two hotels and barber shop go to make up the business of the place, to which should be added a fine plant belonging to the Hood River Manufacturing Co., where anything in the line of wood work is manufactured. Of the resources of the neighborhood, an adequate idea cannot be conveyed in the brief space at our disposal. Hood river valley, with the foot-hills adapted to fruit raising, is about 18 miles long by 8 wide, and lies at an elevation above tide water of from 400 to 1000 feet. The soil is varied, but nearly all good, and produces excellent crops of cereals, although this crop is not extensively raised on account of the land being too valuable for other purposes. Hood River became famous in earlier days for her fine peaches, and of recent years is acknowledged to be the best fruit raising section of Oregon, and, we think, therefore of the world. Her apples have taken the prize over all competitors wherever exhibited, and that they are not only beautiful to the sight, but also have excellent keeping qualities, is emphasized by the fact that two-thirds at least of all sent from the state to the world's fair came from here. Pears, prunes and cherries yield abundantly, and small fruits find here the soil and climate necessary to their fullest development. A few years ago strawberry culture was an experiment, none being raised for shipment, but four years ago a few were shipped, and the results were so satisfactory that the business has become one of considerable magnitude. In 1892 about 6,000 crates, of 24-pound boxes each, were shipped, mostly to Helena and Butte, Montana, the price averaging about 12 cents on the cars here. The earlier berries (and Hood River has for three years sent the first berries raised in the state to market) were sent to Portland, bringing from 25 to 40 cents per pound. The total return from this crop alone, last year, was about $23,000, and the return from each acre in cultivation was about $650. This year the area in cultivation has been doubled, and although the crop will be perhaps a little later than usual, it is expected that it will put $50,000 in circulation here. Notwithstanding the magnificent returns to the berry grower, it is easily seen that the apple is to be the pride and product of this favored section. The shipments of this fruit have been small because the orchards are small, and having been set principally for the purpose of supplying the grower only, too many varieties are raised in each orchard. In a short time this will be changed, as the thousands of young trees now planted come into bearing, and there will be carloads for shipment where now there are only boxes. While the fruit industry holds first place, it must not be supposed that Hood River's resources are confined to that. A wealth of fine timber covers the mountains around the valley, and the river furnishes cheap transportation for it as well as an abundance of power for manufacturing it into lumber. Hood River has at lowest water not less than 80,000 inches, miners' measurement, and has a fall of 70 feet to the mile. At a small outlay, comparatively, a large portion of this water could be diverted from its channel, and after supplying water for irrigating purposes, where needed for small fruits, could be delivered on the hill above the town, at which place it would have a pressure of over 200 pounds. A dam near town would furnish a magnificent water power, and no doubt in the near future the river will be made to carry the fine timber from its head and to furnish the power for transforming it into lumber. Another possible industry, and one which should prove profitable, is tanning. There are large bodies of hemlock furnishing an abundance of the very best material for this business. In Connecticut hemlock bark sells for $12 a cord, while in Pennsylvania, which is absorbing the tanning industry on account of the cheaper bark, it brings $5. Here it could be delivered at one-half that sum; and at the same time the hides would cost about half as much as in the Eastern states. At Winans, the new town at the forks of the river, is a magnificent water power, easily controlled, and it is only a question of a short time until a saw mill will be built there, and from it a flume to the railroad at this point. This would prove particularly beneficial to the farmers near the line of the flume, enabling them to send wood to market at prices that would put the supplying of the country east of us practically in the hands of Hood River. Besides its wealth of agricultural resources and manufacturing possibilities, Hood River is one of the most charming summer resorts on the coast. Cool and shady drives, splendid roads that always delight the wheelmen; magnificent scenery, flower-clad hills and mountains streams that gladden the heart of the angler, all combine to make it a summer ideal and idyll. The most attractive feature to the tourist, however, is the trip to Mount Hood, distant 28 miles, and reached over one of the finest mountain roads in the world. Winding in easy grades around the long slopes of the mountain, as the ascent is made, view after view breaks upon the vision, ever increasing in beauty and magnitude until, as Cloud Cap Inn is reached, on the summit of a high spur, and distant a few hundred yards from the Elliot glacier, the surrounding mountains are out-topped, and the grand plateau of Eastern Oregon is seeing stretching away to the Blue mountains, while Rainier, Adams and St. Helen, clothed in perpetual snows, seem almost within reaching distance. The ascent of Mount Hood can be made from Cloud Cap and a return made in time for 6 o'clock dinner. It is not possible to give an adequate idea of this trip in a brief newspaper article, but we can say from the experience of those who have made it, that there is no other in the United States approaching it. From this place, also, the White Salmon country, Trout lake, Mt. Adams and Cammas prairie are reached. Trout lake, as its name implies, is a fisherman's paradise, the inlet and outlet furnishing splendid fishing as well as the lake itself. The country around it is open pine timber, practically level, and is a splendid place for a few weeks' outing. We may add that there is still considerable government land subject to location in this neighborhood, though of course it is some distance back, but it is, in our opinion, the best fruit lands we have.

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer