The Hood River News, Hood River, OR., July 29, 1921, page 1


     Last Tuesday was Columbia Gorge Hotel Day with the Lunch Club and over 80 members and their guests enjoyed the hospitality of Henri Theile, at his famous hotel. Wm. H. Boody was chairman for the day and a fine program was presented under his supervision. Mrs. P.S. Davidson sang two solos to the great delight not only of club members, but also of the hotel guests, and was much applauded for her efforts. C. King Benton rendered a violin solo, which was much appreciated. Both artists were accompanied by Miss Sarah Howes.
     Judge Henry F. Mason, of the Supreme Court of Kansas paid a glowing tribute to the magnificent scenery and hospitality of the people of this section, and claimed that Mother Nature had made a wise provision when she left a gap in the hills that her children might see both Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams from this valley. He declared that the Columbia River Highway can only be described with the word "wonderful," and those who live in this section should we regard themselves as especially fortunate.
     Rev. Wm. H. Boody, drawing the attention of those present to the fact that it was Columbia Gorge Hotel Day, eulogized the foresight of Simon Benson and Henri Thiele in choosing such a fine site for their magnificent hotel and said he was glad that it had already proved to be a great success.
     C.W. McCullagh, called upon to explain what the people of Hood River could do for the hotel, urged all to make it a meeting place for their social events and to advertise it to their friends in other parts of the country.
     Discussing what the hotel can do for Hood River, Henri Theile told for the first time, the true story of the beginnings of the hotel. The hotel was born at Eagle Creek, when Mr. Benson and himself went on a motor trip over the Highway before it was paved. That afternoon that both agreed that what the Highway would need was a first class hotel. Then the Benson hotel was sold, and Mr. Benson offered to start Henri Theile in business in Portland. However, the prospect did not appeal to him and he began to make arrangements for going East to New York, where he was offered position of chef in one of the largest hotels. Some days later two ladies asked Mr. Theile if he would go to Cascade Locks with them and choose a site for a big restaurant which they proposed to build. He looked over the proposition and drove with them to Hood River and went across the river to White Salmon and The Eyrie. When he saw Wau-Gwin-Gwin, he knew instinctively that it was the site for the Highway hotel of which he had dreamed. Next day he told Mr. Benson what he had seen and within a few hours, Mr. Benson and himself were traveling over the highway to look over the proposition. From the moment that Mr. Benson looked over the Rand property things moved swiftly and an option was at once taken, and within two weeks the property had passed into their hands. When he mentioned the matter to Simon Benson, Mr. Benson summed up the situation by saying: Hood River is God's country. Then Mr. Theile went ahead and had plans drawn up for the hotel, but Mr. Benson did not agree with them because he said such a building as proposed would not do justice to the site and the Highway. Finally, Mr. Benson secured an architect to draw up plans and the present hotel is the result.
     Mr. Theile said he wishes to do all he can for Hood River. Only that morning he had passed bills to the amount of $5000 for Portland and only $1000 for Hood River produce. While some of the local farmers are producing foodstuffs for his hotel, he had sometimes found it hard to do business in the city of Hood River because some of the businessmen would not make an effort to get his business. He made this statement in the hope that it would reach those concerned and act as an incentive to them. He stated that people are coming to the hotel from all parts of the world, and that morning a big party had arrived from Scotland. On August 21, a party of 125 will be here from New York. Every visitor concedes that the Hood River section is the most beautiful in the world, and it is the duty of every live citizen to wake the people up to the big opportunities that lie ahead.

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer