The Hood River Glacier, Hood River, OR., April 20, 1916, page 1

Ore. Lumber Co. Helps Progress
Fruit Trees and Berries Take Place of Monsters of Virgin Forests - Railway Extends Lakeward

     Ten years ago the town of Dee came into existence as the terminus of the Mount Hood Railway Co. and the location of the confluence of the East and Middle Forks of the Hood River, its structures reared in a level area at the bottom of the gorge of the combined streams. Dee has been characterized since its birth by the bustle and hustle of a big lumber mill. In the earlier days the logging camps were within a short distance of the humming saws. But each succeeding year the timber from a larger area has been consumed. That huge firs of the Dee flat country, a level plateau of fertile land lying between the West and Middle Forks of Hood river and just west of the town of Dee, were manufactured into lumber, and gradually the deep, red shot soil has been planted with apple and pear trees, successors to the virgin giants of the forest, and strawberries grow in an ever increasing acreage between the tree rows. This red shot soil is peculiarly adapted to all kind of fruits, and especially do strawberries thrive on it. For the past several seasons the growers have been marketing berries in carload lots. In the near future the district will probably be the largest berry producing section of the Hood River valley, for growers there have planned to set out this spring 400,000 new plants, 12,000 plants to the acre.
     And so today Dee is not known merely for its lumbering industries, but for the surrounding agricultural district. The development of the Dee flat country was fostered by the Oregon Lumber Co., which in 1908 organized the Dee Power & Irrigation Co. Two thousand inches of water in the West Fork of Hood river, just above the confluence of that stream and the Lake Branch was filed on and a main canal less than five miles in length was constructed. Purchasers of land are charged $40 per acre for a perpetual water right. The maintenance of the ditch is not difficult, and the cost of upkeep merely nominal. With the exception of the Mount Hood Water Co., which waters a stretch of land in the Upper Valley, the system furnishes the cheapest irrigation service in the Hood River valley.
     About 20 of the employees of the lumber company are owners of orchard tracts that are being rapidly developed and brought into bearing in the Dee flat section. Investments there, too, had attracted the general public, and some of the best cared for and most productive areas of the Hood River district may be seen by the numerous pleasure seekers, fishermen and outing parties that traverse the community annually bound for the headwaters of the Hood River branches and the Lost Lake country. A pear orchard belonging to the estate of the late "Cash" Jones, of Portland, is located here, and is pointed out as a model Hood River orchard tract.
     As in other Hood River districts, the residence of the Dee flat car cosmopolitan. J.R. Edgar, a former businessman of Manila, P.I., purchased a 10 acre tract there last year. Last year Mr. Edgar purchased 15 acres of near by property. C.B. Compton, Manila newspaper man, owns a place here. He has retired from his profession in the Orient and is due here this week to become actively engaged as an orchardist. A number of Japanese own tracts in the flats.
     A native Filipino boy came here last summer to make his home with Mr. Edgar. The winter weather, however, proved too severe for the lad used to the tropical Fourth of July weather the year round, and after the first few heavy frosts the brown boy left for Portland to seek employment indoors during the winter months. Mr. Edgar will be joined next spring by his wife and two little daughters.
     Except when weather conditions prevented and a period of inactivity caused by a fire in 1913, when the big plant was destroyed, the Oregon Lumber Company's big mill at Dee, has been in continuous operation. Following the fire the plant was replaced as rapidly as possible. The new mill cuts between the 125,000 and 150,000 feet daily, operating 10 hours. The mill and the lumber camps employee about 300 men.
     The town of Dee, however, is no longer the terminus of the line of the Mount Hood Railway Co., for the tracks in 1910 were extended to Parkdale in the Upper Hood River valley, and a daily train service is maintained between Hood River and this point. During the berry harvest season, iced refrigerator cars are hauled to Parkdale and Dee for the accommodation of the growers.
     A six mile line of railway has been extended to the West Fork of Hood River, tapping the rich tracts of timber there. The company's logging camps are now located on the West Fork. This West Fork line will be gradually pushed farther to the southwestern part of the county until eventually it will end at the shores of Lost Lake, one of the most scenic spots of Hood River county, and it may be safely predicted that the time is not far in the future when a tourists' hotel will be erected by the banks of the crystal clear body of water, which in the summer months mirrors the glistening peak of Mount Hood. The fishing in the district is unsurpassed, and even today, with the journey to the lake calling for the most strenuous endeavors, many men and women journey there annually.
     Much of the heavy timber land extending to the very shores of Lost Lake are owned by the Oregon Lumber Co. The management of the company, however, declares that the magnificent virgin forests at this point, firs, cedars and spruce will never be despoiled. A bill has been prepared for introduction into Congress that provides for the exchange of timber lands further to the east of the lake, thus the shores of the beautiful body of water will pass again to the government. A chain of wooded government land, too, will be preserved along the line of the proposed road into the lake from the ends of county roads already penetrating the scenic district, and the whole will form a part of the proposed Mount Hood boulevard park.
     Dee received its name from the late Judge Thomas D. Dee, of Ogden, Utah, who was formerly a member of the board of directors of the lumber company.
     Chas. T. Early, now general manager and treasurer of the Oregon Lumber Co., continues to spend a great deal of his time at the Dee offices of the concern. Mr. Early began his career with the big lumber company in the capacity of a flume boy. His progress up the ladder to the top rung has been effected at the local plant, and he makes Hood River his home.
     Mr. Early is also a general manager of the Mount Hood Railway Co., which is an allied concern of the Oregon Lumber Co., both having been owned chiefly by the late David Eccles, of Ogden, Utah.

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer