The Hood River Glacier, Hood River, OR., November 2, 1905, page 1

Country With Bright Future
Railroad in Near Future Will Give Mount Hood all the Advantages of the Lower Valley

     When Roswell Shelley wrote up his Mt. Hood trip in the Glacier a few weeks ago, taking in the fine farms along the stage road to Cloud Cap Inn, that half had not been told about the upper valley.
     The upper Mount Hood country comprises a section that is a revelation to the visitor, and much larger in extent than is dreamed of in simply passing along the regular traveled route to the mountain. Possessing all the advantages of the lower valley, except that of railroad transportation near at hand at the present time, but which it will also have in another season, it is an ideal location for the settler. The question is often asked why many of the early pioneers in search of a home drove through the lower valley and climbed the steep grades to make a home at the very base of Mount Hood. There was plenty of government land near the Columbia, and many choice tracts of land to pick from. But at that time there were no large irrigation ditches. Improvements were few and fruit raising was given a little attention.
     As an earlier pioneer wended his way up the valley, he found that as he neared the perpetual snow of the grand old mountain, water was more plentiful, the scenery grander, and the opportunities for making a home apparently better than in the lower valley.
     The climate is even better in summer, and while the snowfall is heavier in winter, yet it is but little if any colder than on the banks of the Columbia. The distance from the modes of transportation, however, has retarded the rapid growth of the upper country, and there are still hundreds of acres of virgin forests still untouched by the hand of man.
     Scattered throughout the comparatively level stretches of land from the Booth hill to the government reserve, are to be found clusters of homes, filled with happy families, and everywhere are evidences of thrift and improvements that mark the growth of the country. All are contended with their lot, and have no wish to change their location. What better evidence could be found of a brilliant future?
     Most of the land holders have a quarter section of land, and are willing to sell a portion of it to settlers who will improve the country, and give them means to make extensive improvements for themselves. For the farmer with limited means, here is an opportunity to get cheap land, that will in a few years be among the most valuable in Oregon. There is no place on the Pacific coast where irrigating water can be had as plentiful and as cheap as in the Upper Mount Hood valley. The land lies favorably for irrigation at nearly every point, and water in abundance. Free water in more or less quantities is at hand, and the ditch companies now operating are owned by the farmers, who deliver water at cost, which amounts to be a nominal sum.
     West of the East Fork of Hood River lies a fine stretch of country extending from Winans to the snow line of Mount Hood that is seldom seen by the tourist who makes the Mount Hood trip. It can be reached either from the road leading from Winans, or across the East Fork from Helmer's or Gribble's stores. Here and there at intervals of a mile or more are located beautiful ranches, most of the improved places being in clusters of homes, so to speak.
     About two miles north of Winans is the homestead of A.B. Billings, who came into the country about eleven years ago, and found an ideal spot near the junction of the East and the Middle forks. He is now reaping the reward of his labors, having a clearing of fifteen or twenty acres, and a small bearing orchard that is bringing him handsome returns. Although feeling the effects of the unusual frost last spring, he has a fair crop of apples, which are of the first quality, and will bring top prices. Although the orchard has never been sprayed, there are but few worms. Mr. Billings will begin spraying next year, however, and it will take but little work to eradicate the fruit pests. He intends to set out six more acres of apples next spring, and in another year will have ten acres in orchard. Besides his fruit, Mr. Billings dug about six tons of carrots from a quarter of an acre, and over 40 sacks of potatoes was the yield off any equal area of ground. A comfortable home, a commodious barn and many permanent improvements give an air of thrift and comfort to the place that is at once apparent to the visitor. A fine spring of water runs close to the house, furnishing pure cold water for domestic purposes, while the Middle Fork ditch supplies the ranch with plenty of the irrigating water.
     Across the road, hidden by the timber that skirts Trout creek, are the ranches of W.H. Marshall, J.H. Thomas, H.T. Hanson and Allen Macrum. A private road leads across the creek, and as it is followed to the Marshall place, a grand scene of mountain and canyon bursts into view. To the north(sic) the snow capped peak of Mt. Hood towers up into the sky in all its grandeur, seeming so close that one could almost reach it in a ten minute's walk, while to the north through the deep canyon winds the turbulent stream of Hood River, with the vista of mountain and valley in the distance.
     Upon the level peninsula formed by the junction of the two forks of the river, W.H. Marshall has erected a pretty little cottage, about 20 acres have been cleared around the home, and with the well kept grass plot and buildings around the place, presents a very inviting appearance. The unobstructed view to the north presents a scene that is unrivaled for beauty in the entire valley. Being but a short distance from the present end of the Mount Hood railroad, it brings this now somewhat secluded spot into direct communication with the busy world, while retaining all of the primitive beauty and quiet of the mountain home. Mr. Marshall has a fine young orchard growing, mostly apples, and a few rows of peaches, and expects to have the larger part of 30 acres in orchard by another year. He will also set out five acres of strawberries, which will give him about eight acres of berries.
     J.H. Thomas joins the Marshall place on the south, and is laying the foundation for a pleasant and profitable home. He is clearing the land constantly and will set out several more acres to apples and strawberries. Mr. Thomas is the owner of a little more than half of 80 inches of free water that is taken out of Trout creek, Mr. Marshall owning the balance. Mr. Thomas is new in the fruit business, being a newcomer in the valley, but is readily adapting himself to the business, and is in no way behind his more experienced neighbors. In the pleasant surroundings of the home Mr. Thomas is ably assisted by his good wife, and to her influence is the home indebted for attractions that that can never be attained by the two neighbors on either side until they, too, bring home a wife to share the joys and comforts of life.
     J.T. Hanson is a close neighbor of Mr. Thomas, and single handed is making substantial improvements to his 60 acres of land. He has now about ten acres cleared, three of which are in orchard just beginning to bear and three more acres in apples and strawberries will be added in the spring. Mr. Hanson has a comfortable home, good substantial buildings and the future is full of promise.
     Allen Macrum is making substantial improvements to his ranch adjoining Hanson. He is enthusiastic over the future of the valley, and is clearing his land as fast as he is able. He now has eight acres cleared, and will add two more this winter, which will be set out to apples and strawberries in the spring.
     Another neighbor will be added to this little hamlet next spring. Mr. Billings has recently sold twenty acres to Eugene Priss, who will improve the place and become a resident of that section.
     Going through the heavy timber of the Oregon Lumber Co. for more than a mile south, the traveler comes to the clearing at the forks of the road, where is located the ranch of James Cooper. Mr. Cooper is a resident of Rowena, Or., and his place was cared for this year by George Wilson. On account of being somewhat neglected for a year or two past, the old orchard does not look as well as some of the other places. This year, however, Mr. Wilson raised nearly 1200 sacks of potatoes on 14 acres. This piece of ground will be set to apples in the spring, with about five acres of strawberries between the trees. The land lies nearly level, has plenty of water, and being well sheltered by the surrounding timber, will make a valuable ranch.
     Continuing on up the road for a mile through heavy timber, the traveler arrives at the D.E. Miller ranch. Mr. Miller lives alone in a new house which he put up this summer, with his clearing of 14 acres a garden spot in the midst of the forest. He has the place set to apples, which are showing a wonderful growth, some of the trees making a growth of fifty or sixty inches this year. He has also strawberries set among the trees.
     A short distance across Trout creek is the home of Warren Cooper, one of the forest rangers. Mr. Cooper's duties have prevented him from making many improvements on his ranch.
     Farther on R.J. McIsaacs is improving his home ranch, and making it one of the best in the upper valley. Mr. McIsaacs is a native of Iowa, having had the place but two or three years and is putting considerable energy and enthusiasm into the work, and is recognized as one of the progressive ranchers of the upper valley. He has about 400 acres of land in that section and is here to stay. On the home ranch there are twelve acres cleared, on which there are now nine acres of apples, and three more will be added in the spring. He will also plant three acres of strawberries among the trees. Mr. McIsaacs will continue to clear the land and increase his acreage of fruit and clover.
     Louis Burkhard was found digging potatoes and pulling carrots on his ranch adjoining the McIsaacs place, and the yield demonstrated the fertility of the soil. He seemed secured about 100 sacks of potatoes from a small piece of ground, and the carrots were of the kind that takes two hands to lift them. Mr. Burkhard has three acres in orchard and three acres in berries, besides two large clover fields. He will clear several acres more this winter. The north end of the lava beds cuts his farm into, and the constant stream of tourists that visit the place every summer makes that secluded spot quite lively during pleasant weather. The wagon road is becoming so well defined through Mr. Burkhard's place that he is afraid it will soon become a country road, to the detriment of his orchard and clover. Mr. Burkhard apparently lacks but one thing to round out his measure of comfort and prosperity, and that is a wife. But he says that in that case he would have to build a new house. It is rumored, however, that he has been figuring on a new house, and we are sure that all of the neighbors will be glad to be present at the raising.
     Orville Knox is another member of the Bachelor's Club who is making a good home. He is clearing several acres this winter, and will set out more orchard, but is giving more attention to the dairy business. He is milking seven cows, and helping to swell the output of cream the goes from the upper country to the Hazelwood Creamery at Portland.
     H.H. Tomlinson is building a new barn, having the concrete foundation nearly completed for the basement, and this will add to the improvement of the new house which he built last year. He is also clearing more land keeping pace with the thriving community.
     Robert McKamey has just completed a new house on his place south of the Tomlinson ranch, and it is reported he will soon bring home a bride to adorn the castle.
     C.A. Puddy is nicely settled in his new house west of the Johnson place, and will set out a couple of acres to apples and strawberries next spring. He still cares for the Bailey place adjoining, where he lived until his new house was completed.
     A.O. Johnson has closed his house for the weather and in company with Lawrence Puddy is working in Pendleton this winter. Mr. Johnson has a nice start on his place. The young orchard set out last year is making a fine growth, and the home presents a nice appearance. He is improving the place as fast as possible, doing a little clearing as he can.
     West of the main road a half mile are the Wishhart places. Mrs. Wishhart and her daughter live on the old homestead, which is being cared for by one of the sons since the death of Mr. Wishhart. Mr. and Mrs. Wishhart are among the early pioneers in the Mt. Hood country.
     James Wishart has a homestead adjoining his mother's place, and is gradually clearing the land and setting out fruit. He now has a small herd of Angora goats to help him clear up the brush land, and they are doing good work. They find most of their living except during the time of snow in the winter, and the wool more than pays for the feed. Mr. Wishart dug 150 sacks of potatoes from half an acre of ground, some of the potato tops measuring four feet in length. He will clear three acres this winter.
     Mrs. Annie Ries is turning her attention to the dairy business and is now milking seven cows. She is well satisfied with the returns and is receiving a steady income from the sale of cream. An addition to the barn is being made to accommodate the stock and hay.
     H.H. Meyers is clearing several acres on his homestead, now having about ten acres in cultivation, which is set out partly to apples, blackberries and strawberries. In addition to that he is carrying out for the Rodenheiser ranch. There are about thirty head of stock on the place, and he is milking seven cows, sending the cream to Portland. He raised some very fine popcorn this year, the ears being large and well matured. And yet they say that this is not a corn country.
     Ed Spencer is making improvements on his homestead west of the Ries place, and slowly making a fine home. He expects to have a good showing in apple trees in another year. Mr. Spencer killed a bear near his place last week.
     Robert Leasure is one of the enthusiastic dairy farmers of the upper country. He has a fine place for a dairy ranch, and is clearing up several more acres, which will be put in clover and enable him to increase his herd of cows. He was fortunate in securing his entire hay crop before the early rains came, and with his new separator, is well established in the business.
     Oscar Fredenburg, the Mount Hood mail carrier, will set out a couple more acres to Spitzenbergs and strawberries in the spring, and will then have ten acres in orchard, including his father's place, which he hopes to look after.
     Jesse Davidson, on the main road south of Gribble's store, is well hidden from view from the road, but a visit to his place at the foot of Bald Butte, is well worth the walk through the heavy timber. He is clearing several acres this winter, and has a fine young orchard started. Although his land is above the Bone ditch, he has some free water on his place, and the fertile soil is producing great results. A new barn was added late last fall, and the place is showing the results of thorough work everywhere. He intends setting out a pear and peach orchard as soon as the land is ready for it, and has an ideal place. Mr. Davidson is a first-class carpenter and has just completed a barn for T.H. Larwood that is a model of its kind. There is not a piece of large square timber in its structure. The supporting timbers are of sawed plank bolted together, thereby increasing the strength of the whole structure, and making a better appearance also. In the large hay loft the arrangement of supports is such as to leave an unobstructed room for storing away at the hay, while an extension from the roof shelters the hay fork from the elements. The body is 22x44 feet, with 20-foot posts, and will accommodate six horses and eight cattle, with a driveway sixteen feet in the center. The loft will hold thirty tons of hay.
     John Vauthiers is busy clearing up the land between his house and the road, and next spring will have twelve acres in orchard. He will also set out nearly an acre of strawberries. His house will be moved nearer the road and a new barn built. Mr. Vauthiers is contemplating setting out some French walnuts. He will get some of the best varieties that are a success where he was raised in France, where the trees have obtained a growth of three feet in diameter and 150 years old.
     Mr. Leroux is making improvements on his place, adding to his acreage and apples, and clearing the more land.
     Wm. Lawton has built a new house, clearing several acres, and will set out apples in the spring.
     Kelly & Wishart are running their saw mill to its fullest capacity, and have orders ahead that ensures them plenty of work all winter. They are furnishing lumber for buildings as far down the valley as Pine Grove, and to increase the capacity of their plant, will raise their flume six feet, which will give them 70 horsepower and enable them to add additional machinery. They are also furnishing 10,000 feet of lumber for a private bridge over the West Fork being built by Mr. Jones of Portland.
     W.S. Gribble is much interested in the walnut proposition, and intends setting out some trees next year. He has now some trees that came from the parent stock of black walnuts brought to Oregon by his grandfather, and they are now in bearing. John Gribble and family crossed the plains in 1846 from Missouri, taking about six months for the trip. They came on the old Barlow road, from Greenwood's cut-off, crossing the Cascades south of Mount Hood and wintering on the Clackamas river. In the spring of 1847 they located on what is still known as Gribble prairie, buying a claim for an Indian pony and a single-barrel rifle. Eight valuable farms now occupied this land. Mr. in Mrs. Gribble afterwood each took up a donation claim nine miles from Oregon City, giving them a section of land. On this land were planted walnuts brought from Missouri, and some of these trees are now two feet in diameter and seventy-five feet high, yielding great quantities of nuts. From these trees W.S. Gribble's father planted nuts on his homestead adjoining, and from his father's trees W.S. Gribble brought nuts to Mount Hood in the spring of 1894, and planted them on his homestead. One of these trees was transplanted on the Billings place.
     W.H. Marshall is an old railroad man and says the value of the Mount Hood railroad to that country cannot be overestimated. He believes the business of hauling cord wood alone will be a paying business to the road, while being of a corresponding benefit to the farmers. At present thousands of cords of wood are being burned up in the log to get rid of them, the long haul into town making it unprofitable to haul with teams. With the new road running into the very heart of the heavy timber country, wood can be loaded onto cars with a very short haul, and thus an added income secured for the settlers. The new road is also stimulating the strawberry industry in the upper country, as they can now be marketed almost at home, avoiding the delay and shaking up that is inevitable when hauled to the Hood River station. The Mount Hood berries come in after the bulk of the crop is gone in the lower valley, when prices are again on the up grade, and profits are correspondingly greater. The soil is the very best of strawberry land, the berries of the best first quality. The berry acreage is being largely increased, and the station agents of the new road will be very busy people during the berry harvest.
     The Middle Fork Irrigating company is planning to enlarge their ditch as soon as a permit can be had for passing through the reserve. The red tape machinery of the government moves altogether too slow, and the end is not yet in sight. The place where the ditch proposes to cross, goes through a comparatively barren tract, where there can be no possible damage to trees or overflow, yet the government is holding back the right to cross. When it is apparently the government policy to assist all irrigation projects, undertaking vast irrigation works in sections that barely warrant the cost, yet they are holding back the development of some of the richest country on the Pacific coast by withholding permission to cross a small piece of desert land on the reserve. All of the attorneys in Hood River have endeavored to push the matter through, but still they have been unable to hurry the officials at Washington.
     The Mountain Valley Water Co. have experienced the same trouble. They, too, must get their water by crossing the reserve, yet they have been unable to get permission. There ditch has been partially completed, and while they are waiting for the permit, they must wait and allow their lands to lie dormant for want of water, in places where they could irrigate large tracts that have been cleared, and which now could be doubling their income. A change in the glacial formation of the mountain last spring has turned the water course of a large stream into the Middle fork, which formerly drained into the Tillie Jane, and will force a change in the plans of the ditch. It is probable that the Middle Fork company will take in part of the Mountain Valley district (when they get the government permit) as the new route of the ditch will be high enough to supply most of the China Hill country.
     The cost of irrigating water in the upper country is very low, the present ditch supplying water for irrigating purposes from 25 cents to a dollar an inch.

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer