The Hood River News-Letter, Hood River, OR., September 29, 1906, page 6


Odell, Sept. 27, 1906.
Editor News-Letter

     At your request to furnish an article for the News-Letter concerning the Hood River country, I confess that I take up the task somewhat reluctantly, owing to the fact that I am a sort of a tenderfoot here, my residence in the valley dating back only four years; yet, with an abiding faith in the possibilities of our famous valley I am ever ready to say a word or write a line from my view point.
     What constitutes the fame of Hood River valley? Certainly not its area; for geographically speaking we are small indeed. Admitting that acreage cuts no figure, let's see if we cannot discover a reason "for the hope that is within us." In the first place we admit, for the sake of being conservative, that the two dependable crops are berries and apples. Why have these two crops been made a specialty and grown to perfection?
     During the past four years there have been thousands of trees and hundreds of acres planted and so carefully tilled that they are the envy of the world. The answer is simple. The analysis of the soil shows three distinct elements, towit: potash, nitrogen and iron that not only lend color to the apple but at the same time give it its keeping quality. This fact demonstrated and by intelligence and energy, every pest conquered, and we stand today in a position that is peerless and challenge the world on the merits of this particular product.
     And yet, we frequently hear the stranger say, (it matters little where he comes from) "We could grow just as good apples as Hood River if we gave the industry the same care." Well, why don't they? Echo answers, "Why?"
     During the past four years prices have each year advanced, right in the face of the kicker who has been saying "prices will drop," "the market will flatten," etc. While it would be unreasonable to expect that prices would continue to climb during the next four years as they had in the past, yet we use Mr. Loomis' words to express our opinion concerning it. "A first-class product always find a good market." Mr. Loomis, we understand is the party whose bid for this season's crop was accepted, and on apples and the future outlook for a market he is good authority. With the above the facts established, concerning the revenue producing power of the valley, let us briefly look at the other side of the picture.
     Without going into detail concerning our area, population, etc., we feel justified in saying that Hood River, town and valley, has the largest number of telephones of any town and suburbs of its size in the Northwest. The country adjacent to town has also the largest rural mail delivery system of any similar section in the country. There are poles and loops of wire all over the valley eliminating large expense in the transaction of business, while at every turn of the country road the daily paper is placed in the mail box at your door. In these modern improvements you see evidenced that Hood River spirit which is often compared to the Seattle spirit. The same spirit of intelligence that dominates the business of the town is manifest in the perfect condition of the berry field and apple orchard. From the gorge of the majestic Columbia almost to the base of Mount Hood spreading on every hand throughout our valley you see the berry and clover fields and the apple orchards decking and crowning the valley with gold. Go if you please to the hilltop east of Neil creek and with one sweep of the vision you get a picture of the suburban homes made glad and green, by the life giving waters that flow from Mount Hood, that will perhaps forever remain a sacred memory. Bennett, of the Optimist, said the other day in Salem: "See Athens and die," but I say, "see the Columbia and live."
     Apply the to Hood River valley and you have the writer's opinion of our valley in a nutshell. Our scenic beauty, our alluvial soil, our splendid climate together with the peerless prices paid for our products altogether form a call to Hood River today that is alluring the investor and homeseeker in such numbers as perhaps no spot of its size in the Great Northwest is doing. They are coming and they are investing. Why? We have long since passed the experimental stage. We are on a revenue paying basis, upon evaluations that are considered high by strangers. A few weeks ago I showed three pieces of land to a fellow who turned them down on account of the price. To day they are sold, and the party who fails to purchase today pays more tomorrow, and why? Because Hood River people are in love with the valley, they stick together and in a friendly spirit vie with each other in an endeavor to place the very choicest product upon the market.
     So, taking climate, scenery and soil; coupled with intelligence along the lines of adaptability concerning what crop is best for this or that land, the problem is solved and Hood River is in the front row.
     While present land prices seem high to those not acquainted with conditions here, yet basing these values upon prices obtained for our products and the knowledge that the red apple of Hood River goes into the best markets of the world, the present opportunity is perhaps as good as any previous one.
     Bishop Marvin said, "Improve the present opportunity. It may be your last one." The recent sale by the Apple Growers' Union has already had much to do in stimulating investors to come our way and to encourage growers to increase the acreage and the end is not yet. When all the young orchards (the work of recent years) in full bearing condition, the revenue that will come to the valley will astonish the old timer here. The best way to judge the future is by the past; so if, when we look backward over the recent progress about our development, the increased acreage, and price as well, we feel fully justified in painting the future picture of Hood River valley in most gorgeous colors.
     The biennial fruit fair to be given next month will no doubt prove the best exhibit ever yet again, and add another link in the chain of evidence concerning the greatness of the valley.
     In view of all that has been accomplished we have good reason to be proud of our record and to predict a most wonderful future for the valley.

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer