The Hood River County Sun, Hood River, OR., March 7, 1940, page 1

By Forrest Tomlinson, Senior

     Our community originated approximately eighty-five years ago when Baldwin and Tieman squatted here in 1865. It was known in those days as the Baldwin precinct. This district was a part of Wasco County until it was divided into Hood River and Wasco counties in 1908. Some of the first settlers were: the Coopers, Dimmicks, Langilles, Baldwins, Grahams, Tomlinsons, and Tiemans. Some of the early speculators were: Gifford Woodworth, Robert London and Powers, Sidney Babson, R.J. McIsaac, and Chester Walton. London, Babson, McIsaacs and Walton are the only ones residing in this community at present. Each of these persons are well established here.
     When settlers first migrated to this valley, it was covered with a dense growth of virgin timber, which was a relentlessly cut down. The first school house was erected on David Cooper's homestead in 1883. It was named Mt. Hood. The first church meeting was held there by Rev. Frederick Balch. The first sawmill was erected near David Cooper's homestead on the east fork of Hood River. It was owned by Mace Baldwin and Henry Tieman, later purchased by Henry Tomlinson.
     The first community house was built in 1903 at Mt. Hood by the people of the community, lumber being furnished by Henry Tomlinson. People congregated there for entertainment and to discuss the means of solving the community's problems.
     People from the east heard of the opportunity of raising apples in the Hood River valley. They migrated here and establish orchards which was the beginning of the Hood River valley fruit industry.
     The second school was built on Booth Hill, 1897; the third on China Hill, 1904; the fourth, Valley Crest, 1907; and then Parkdale, 1908. About 1900 a new addition was added to the community, which was the beginning of a Parkdale. The name "Parkdale" was suggested by Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Davies because of its natural appearance as a park and the need of a name for the post office, which was established in 1907. In 1911 the community church was built. There were many different religions and only one church, so the people voted to see what religion would be a predominant in the church. The Presbyterian religion was elected. Rev. W.L. Van Nuys was the first minister in the community and a leading figure in its progress. The church was not only used for religion, but also for a discussion of the problems of the community.      The Oregon Lumber Company completed the Mt. Hood railroad in 1910 for the transportation of virgin timber to their mill at Dee. Electricity was introduced into Parkdale in 1916.
     The first telephone that was connected at James Grahams at Mt. Hood in 1894. In 1920, Mrs. Alice Williams (Graham) telephone operator at Parkdale rendered service to 250 telephones. In 1933, Jennie Barrie rendered service to only 130 telephones. Parkdale was considered one of the best equipped communities of its size in Oregon.
     Alvis Anderson carried the first rural mail from the Parkdale post office. J.C. Candee carried the second during the month of March 1912. Ned Van Nuys took over the mail route on September 25, 1912 and retired in 1934. Lyle McIsaacs, Jack Sigler, and Jim Heaton carried it from 1934 to 1937. James Willey has been mail carrier since 1937. R.J. McIsaacs was the first postmaster and he held that position until A.L. Boe was appointed in 1938.
     The upper valley was originally surveyed by Alonzo Jesner and Mart Fullerton, government surveyors from Salem. Milt Odell, a local boy, acted as chain man. Mace Baldwin and Henry Tomlinson were also early surveyors.
     Oscar Frendenburg transported mail, ran the Star route, and freight from Hood River to the upper valley community from 1883 to 1896. Paul Aubert succeeded him in this position in 1896. Bill Edick built the first post office and was appointed at Mt. Hood in 1890. In 1909 the jitney started its run between Hood River and Parkdale on the Mt. Hood railroad carrying mail and freight.


     The natural resources are rich in our community. Our greatest natural resource is our magnificent stand of timber for the lumber industry. Many by-products of this lumber industry are wasted for the lack of factories. Water is very abundant for domestic use and for irrigation and power. Mt. Hood is a natural resource itself, by virtue of its supply of water, recreation and its growth of timber. There are some minerals in the upper valley but not in abundance and have not been developed. The country surrounding the upper valley is a natural resources as a recreational area. We have access to the greatest waterway in the west, the Columbia river. The upper valley has several neighborhoods: Booth Hill, Middlevalley, Mt. Hood, Valley Crest, Ditch Cabin, Parkdale, Woodworth and Trout Creek.


     The population of the upper valley is approximately 2,000. In the last few years the population has increased very rapidly due to the people coming in from the drought stricken area of the middle west. The sex distribution is approximately equal. Statistics show a decrease for 1940, in grade school enrollment and an increase in the high school.


     Economic conditions are one of our serious problems. Land is valued at from $10 to $200 per acre and the clearing costs from $75 to $100 per acre. On a percentage basis the living standards are below average, the reason being the lack of steady employment. Most of the work is seasonal, such as the fruit harvest. Our increased adult population has brought about a shortage of jobs. Thirty men are employed by the U.S. Forest Service. Other men of the community are employed by the county, small irrigation crews and state highway departments situated in Parkdale. One great problem is the turning over of jobs once held by established citizens to the relief administration. Farmers who formerly held jobs now used for relief are finding it hard to pay their taxes to keep their farms and the reliefers.
     The upper valley is largely composed of small farms growing such crops as potatoes, strawberries, hay, and some livestock. We have large orchards, which go to make up our fruit industry and creates seasonal work. Usually on the farms the whole family works.
     The lumbering industry provides the steadiest jobs in the community. The Dee mill has the largest payroll of any in the community.
     Turkey raising and dairying provide incomes for several of our families. Most of the people have their own automobiles for transportation. The Mt. Hood railroad and trucks provide for freight transportation. The upper valley contains approximately 13,440 acres of tillable soil. If Parkdale could live on the Mt. Hood's beauty, it would be rich.
     We are under the Hood River County government system. In the early days the Men's Forum of the Chamber of Commerce of the upper Hood River valley organized by Mr. Frank Keating, had much to do in organizing our community government. The Men's Forum met each Sunday at the church to discuss the needs and problems of the community. The Men's Forum instigated many activities and are responsible for such projects as the Irrigation Company, the city water system, the telephone, electricity, library, loop highway and many forms of entertainment for the people of the upper valley.
     Crime in the Parkdale community is very low. Early in our history we had murders, suicides and robberies. There have been several robberies recently. But these do not occurred very often. The most common type of crime is the stealing of automobile accessories. The law we have is enforced by the officers of the county seat and the state police.

(Continued Next Week)

The Hood River County Sun, Hood River, OR., March 14, 1940, page 3

(Continued from Last Week)


     The health standards of our community are comparatively high. The serious problem of health is that we have no immediate access to a professional doctor. The county health nurse comes out from Hood River and checks the health of the school children and gives advice to anyone who requests it. The absence of disease is quite marked in the community in general. Our community offers no great menace to the health of its inhabitants.


     We have an above standard educational system in comparison to the size of our community. In 1940 the grade school has 285 pupils enrolled and the high school has an enrollment of 114. Parkdale's first grade school was built in 1908 and the high school in 1913. Now several small school districts have consolidated to give students a larger school. The hight school district includes the Middle Valley, Mt. Hood, Valley Crest, and Trout Creek Ridge districts. We have a bus system for the school children. About ninety percent of the grade school graduates attend high school. The largest percent of high school graduates attend college. People who go to college usually do not return to our community to live. The reason for this is the lack of the type of vocation that they have trained for.
     We have two churches in Parkdale, the original community church and the new Nazarene church. From the very first the church has had a very important part in the formation of the community. People of the Catholic denomination go to Hood River to attend church. There are other religions practiced in private homes.
     We have any amount of recreation. The scenery is very beautiful with the ever watchful sentinel, Mt. Hood, standing at the head of the valley. We have hunting and fishing grounds in abundance which provide recreation. Mt. Hood furnishes sufficient mountain climbing and area for all winter sports. The U.S. Forest Service has over 300 miles of mountain trails. It has recently purchased Cloud Cap Inn, at the snowline, which has had much to do with the tourist attraction ever since the beginning of the community in 1883. The schools furnish recreation with dramatics, and other school activities. The Specialist club carries on adult recreation in the winter. We also have a local dramatics club. Parkdale theater provides outside entertainment. The Coopers Spur junction area is being improved each year for recreation. The greatest civic improvement of the community could be the improvement of the public thoroughfares in town and along the highways. The town should be incorporated.
    (Correction: A correction in the rural mail delivery should be made which was established in March 1912 by R.J. McIsaacs, postmaster at Parkdale. J.C. Candee carried the mail temporarily during the month of March. Alvis Anderson and Ned Van Nuys took the examination and both passed. Mr. Van Nuys, who had resigned as carrier in Indiana thought he would rather work in the Forest Service, so Mr. Anderson, who was a homesteader, 1 mile south of the store, was hired as carrier. In September he was called to California by his father and Ned Van Nuys took over the job as carrier on September 25, 1912, which he held until 1934.)

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer