The Hood River Glacier, Hood River, OR.,  January 12, 1900, page 4

Rapid Development During the Year
Strawberry Crop Netted $60,000 to Growers - Valuable Water Power That Could Be Utilized

     Cradled between the eastern foothills of the Cascade ranger, blocked on the south by the broad base of Mount Hood, opening upon and fronting the Columbia river on the north, is Hood River valley, one of the most resourceful and beautiful of the lesser valleys of Oregon.
     The valley and its incorporated town derive their names from Hood river, an important stream the area of whose drainage basin exceeds 200 square miles, about one-half of which is adapted to the requirements of husbandry. It is not, however, within the limits of this article to speak at length of the manifold resources of Hood River valley, for what part of Oregon is not abound in undeveloped resources, of its climate, a happy mean of humidity and temperature, of health-giving air and unrivaled scenery, captivating to the invalid and tourist; but rather of the material development and growth that has come to it in the year 1899.
     Confidence has been restored at Hood River, and we find ourselves sharers, in a moderate degree at least, of those improved business conditions that so happily prevail over our entire country. During the past 12 months the town of Hood River has increased over 50 percent in population, and the growth of both valley and town has been unprecedented in their history. Let us note some of the more important industries that have been established at Hood River during the year.
     First in importance is the plant of the Lost Lake Lumber Company, Captain P.S. Davidson, president, situated on the Columbia river near the mouth of Hood River. This plant comprises 60 acres of land, a two-story mill building, the main part 256 feet long by 50 feet in width, with wings for boilers, sheds, machine shops, etc. The mill is a two-band mill, with two gang edgers, lath and shingle mills, and all up-to-date appointments. Its battery of five boilers and an engine of 500 horsepower drive the machinery. Steam takes the logs from the Columbia, steam turns them on the carriage, steams carries the lumber from the gangs and cut-off saws to the yard, and even dumps the refuse on the waste-pile. Captain Davidson makes but little use of muscle in his modern mill. The mill has a capacity of 300,000 feet per 24 hours, cost approximately $100,000, and commands the timber of the Middle-Columbia from the Cascades to the Klickitat river.
     The fine sawmill of Nicolai & Cameron, just completed, also situated on the Columbia river, four miles west of Hood River, has, I am informed, a capacity of 75,000 feet daily. Logs for this mill are to be driven down the White Salmon river, in Washington, of which is being improved for that purpose.
     Davenport Bros. added a new mill to their plant during the year.
     From November, 1898, to November, 1899, this firm shipped 4,700,000 feet of lumber and 4,500 cords of wood, giving employment to 80 men and 14 teams. During the month of September they shipped 978,000 feet of lumber, in addition to a large amount of wood, and paid $4,000 for the labor. The value of value of their output for the year exceeded $40,000.
     The aggregate capacity of these new mills for 1900 will be nearly 300,000 feet per 12 hours, giving employment to a large number of laborers, with corresponding pay-roll. The manufacture of lumber at present is the leading industry at Hood River.



     Fruitgrowing is the second industry in importance. It not need to be repeated that our fruits are the recognized standard of excellence. The Hood River strawberry has yet to find its peer in any market. Shipments of this berry for the season of 1899 approximated 40,000 crates of 24 pounds each, returning to the grower, after payment of commissions and freight, about $60,000.
     As illustrating the volume of our fruit crop, I find that our local box factory manufactured, during the year, 45,000 berry crates, 72,000, plum baskets and 6,000 apple boxes. As a further auxiliary to our fruit industry, the Davidson Fruit Company completed last spring an extensive cannery and preserving factory, with a capacity of carload of canned fruit daily. Owing to the shortage of the fruit crop and the consequent high prices paid for fresh fruits and in the markets, the year 1899 was unfavorable to the business of this firm; yet they report having given employment to 90 persons, that their products have all been sold, even fruitful Los Angeles taking a carload of canned strawberries.
     Among other recent minor additions to the town, and one liberally patronized, is a well-appointed bakery, with a daily capacity of 1,200 loaves.
     As marking a new era of growth, we note with satisfaction the erection of the first brick store building, now receiving its finishing touches, of the property of A.S. Blowers & Son. The brick for the building was brought from Newberg, but the contractor, Mr. Boyd, has bought machines and will manufacture brick exclusively the coming summer.
     It is well known that there is no better index of a community than its schoolhouses, and during the past year three modern buildings of this character have been erected in Hood River valley. The town is proud of her six-room school building, built at a cost of over $8,000, and we have in the country districts four two-room and three one-room schoolhouses that would be a credit to any community of similar age and population.



     Our wants are numerous, and in common with most Oregon communities we need more people and more capital. We need a bank to facilitate our rapidly growing commerce. We need a commodious hotel to accommodate, more especially, our summer guests. But more than these we greatly need an electric or steam-motor road extending some 20 miles up the valley of Hood river. Such a road would have an assured and business up to its capacity the first year after construction. It would pass along side of a mountain of building stone in layers of varying thickness, and easily quarried. This stone is fine granite, receives a high polish, has regular cleavage and great resistant crushing force. Such a road would also intersect an extensive and valuable forest, from which the great mill at the mouth of the river would be supplied with logs, and many thousands of cords of wood shipped to supply the great treeless country to the east as far as Snake river. Many other forest products, local traffic and rapidly increasing tourist travel to Mount Hood, would also contribute to the support of such a line of road as I have indicated.
     Hood River receives all the drainage of the north, and east side of Mount Hood, and the melting snows in summer send down a large and constant volume of water. The average descent of the river for the last 11 miles of its course is 60 feet per mile. A well-known Eastern manufactured and capitalist who visited Hood River last summer said to the writer: "The biggest thing you have at Hood River is your undeveloped water power." Subsequently he employed a highly qualified electrical engineer to survey and measure the river, with the result, as I have been informed, that it would afford 10,000 horse-power per mile, or 100,000 horsepower for 10 miles.
     Hood River is happily situated for the distribution of her products, being in close touch with three transcontinental roads, and is it not probable that with this great, cheap power at her threshold she may become an important manufacturing center, and the silent wires convey the surplus products of her motors to turn the industrial wheels of Portland?

Hood River. E.L. Smith.

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer