The Hood River Glacier, Hood River, OR., February 8, 1906, page 1

"Outing" Lavish In Its Praise
Says Fruit Grower is Preeminent, But That Social Equality and Industry Travel Hand and Hand

     The fame of Hood River Valley as an apple growing section of country that has no peer is gradually becoming known the world over. In the February number of "Outing" appears an article descriptive of the varied resources of Oregon, a portion of which is devoted to the Hood River country. The article is as follows:
     "Farther down the valley the regular rows of trees and plants show where the valley has been plowed under by the fruitgrower and gardner. If we were to go into statistics, it would be easy to prove how much the people of the valley yearly contribute to the wealth of the Northwest. Every crack in the river wall on the Oregon side contains its highway leading back among the farms.
     Through one of these cracks flows Hood river. The name tells that its source is the snow fields of Mount Hood. It is not a large river. Perhaps its many twists and turns would measure thirty-odd miles. The gorge where it meets the Oregon is so widely picturesque that the few houses near it do not distract from the scenery. Only a few years ago the trail of the bear was followed by the huntsman along its banks. The salmon-trout still in its waters leap to the spoon. As yet, the only sound of industry near it is the sound of the axe, for in the forest at its head-waters the lumberman will be busy for years before his harvest is over. Outside of the forest is a rolling plateau. They call it the Hood River valley. Few maps have even the river indicated on them, and to the school boy -- outside of Oregon -- it is doubtful if the valley exists.
     It is refreshing to get back in here away from the world for a little time, for you are next to nature. On every side are the orchard and garden. On every side is heard nature talk. After a time Newton pippins and Spitzenburgs and Johnathans and Ben Davises become as familiar names as John, Tom and Henry. It is the land of the apples, likewise the land of the berry. Twenty years ago the tree and bush were a rarity. Then someone found out that the sun shining thro' the clear atmosphere gave the rare crimson tint to the fruit that is so highly prized. With whitecapped Mount Adams overlooking one end and Mount Hood the other, the cool breezes with which they swept the valley made the apple hardy so that it would keep well. The fine sand, which the Pacific folk believe to be the powered ashes from volcanic eruptions ages ago, gave the rich flavor.
     Here was the opportunity, and the few people in the valley took it. Mile after mile they covered with trees. The waters of the river were turned on the soil to moisten the roots. The orchards were care for like children. As they began to bear, the fruit was "thinned out" to make that remaining larger. When it was ready for gathering, each apple was picked separately from the others, wrapped in paper and packed in a box as if it were a piece of fragile china. The motto of the fruit growers was quality, not quantity, and to obtain the best they brought to their aid the latest discoveries of the scientist. Some of them pursued special courses in the agricultural college. If one man adopted a method which gave more tint or taste or made his trees more prolific, his neighbors were quick to take the cue. They found it paid to raise strawberries, and again vied with each other to show the largest and sweetest. Such has been the spirit that has caused the orchards of this little valley to become known abroad perhaps better than in their own country. But as they have prospered these Oregonians have made life more worth the living. Enter the home, small or large, and in nine cases out of ten you see the piano, the center table with its books and periodicals. On the walls hang pictures selected with taste. All about are the surroundings of a family accustomed to the refinement of life. Nor are the majority farmers in the ordinary sense of the word. In the twenty years which have changed this bit of country from a stretch of bare hillside and plateau into a region fit for living, into it have come the physician, the lawyer, the clergy man, the chemist -- not to take up their professions, but to make nature yield them health as well as an income through shrub and tree.
     There is the co-operative idea in the valley. You can see it when the directors of the Fruit Growers' Union hold their weekly meeting in the little shed which forms their headquarters. Here Chris and Hank and Ned and Jim sit on apple boxes or the manager's desk or lean against the window sill, while they discuss the business the manager presents to them. They are merely the half dozen growers who have been selected to settle the questions of prices for the community and where to ship the harvest. They suggest to the manager what they think is best, then hurry away to finish up packing or spraying or whenever else there is on hand, leaving him to do the rest. Sometimes there is a question about the best kind of fruit to stand to a certain place. Will it stand the climate, will it keep long enough?
     "Let's leave it to Old Man Tucker," says Hank.
     In comes the old man. Coatless, his blue shirt unbutton at t the throat, his features literally gnarled by the sixty years he has been making the world give him a living, he does not look exactly like a man who can tell the nicest points of an apple as the palmist tells the lines of your hands, but his word is the final judgment, for he has never erred yet. Ask who he is and you hear, "Why, he's the one whose Newton pippins are so good that they go to Europe." And beside him the college graduate, even the mayor, has to take a back seat. Here in the valley he is one of the biggest men, even if he does come to town in his shirt sleeves and rides a bicycle because he hasn't time to "hitch up." Every body is as good as his neighbor -- good enough to be called by his first name. No matter where one has come from or how his former standing, here he is measured by one thing -- his ability to grow fruit.
     Such is only one phase of the human activity that is going on in the valley of the Oregon, unknown to the world. Traverse another rift in its rockformed side and you enter the country of the sheep breeder. Watch the flocks of a thousand, sometimes ten thousand, nipping the herbage of the hills, and you realize why Oregon's "wool crop" is of such yearly dimensions. And back of the great river, far beyond the whistle of the locomotive or the sternwheeler, are the haunts of the cowboy of the Northwest. We have read of him and heard of him in Texas' Panhandle, on the plains of Kansas and among the hills of Montana, but in this Oregon country are riders who can wield the lasso and rope the steer as accurately as any of their fellows. Some have drifted here from across the mountains, but most of them, like the people of the Hood River country, have followed the course of the Oregon -- have come upstream like the salmon which swim in it.
     As in other parts of the Pacific Northwest they tell of wheat fortunes and gold fortunes. In this great valley are being created sheep and cattle fortunes. There are fruit growers who are picking wealth from twig and branches; but from the waters of the river itself come the salmon fortunes, made like that of the gambler -- merely by the turn of the wheel. A mystery is the salmon. Every year the Oregon is alive with the silver Chinook. Even in the flood they work their way toward the spawning ground. As the river flows toward the sea, its current revolves the huge circle of netting into which they fall by the hundreds. Out of the water the current lifts them enmeshed. There are single days when one salmon wheel will take over five hundred dollars worth. When a man owns a dozen they are truly wheels of fortune.

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer