The Hood River Glacier, Hood River, OR., February 28, 1924, page 1

(By Rev. R.A. Hutchinson, pastor of Upper Valley United Church)

     A community is known by its institutions. In making an appraisal of its work they are noted as its chief assets. Since Upper Hood River Valley became a settlement its people have boasted in the strength and influence of its church, school and library. Accustomed to supporting such institutions in other places and appreciative of their value, they set out to establish them here.
     That story of the development of the religious, social, recreational and educational interests of this community is a story of sacrifice, persistency and glorious adventure on the part of the early settlers. Considerable publicity has been given to the organization and work of the local community church. The Christian Century, Christian Herald, Unity Messenger and other leading religious journals have broadcasted its fame throughout the nation. In no other enterprise have our people shown more zeal and vision than in their attempt to build up a strong and efficient Christian institution unmindful of denominational affiliation. To quote Bishop Paddock: "Upper Valley set out to find the new kingdom in a new way." Conscious of the wasteful and un-Christian practice of trying to establish several churches in a community hardly able of supporting one church, "the wise men from the east" (and wise women, too!) decided to pool their genius and organize an interdenominational church. We do well to remember that the success of the venture was assured by the Christian statesmanship of Bishop Paddock and the Rev. W.L. Van Nuys. In their handling of the matter they demonstrated the same spirit of brotherhood and altruism which characterized the ministry of the great head of the church. The people responded magnificently to their leadership. Narrow sectarianism was scrapped and members of all denominations and no denomination were banded together under the banner of brotherhood and service. Mr. Van Nuys was generously supported by the national board of the Presbyterian church, and when the beautiful and commodious church building was erected the board made a liberal donation. Today we have one of the finest rural churches in that northwest. The church has a membership of about 150 and the four church schools have an enrollment of about 400. The Men's Forum during its five years of existence has made itself felt in a most valuable way in the development of the community. It has not only met on Sunday mornings for the discussion of subjects related in the vital way to the religious, social and political welfare of the people, but has also agitated for the improvement of roads, for increased efficiency and more adequate equipment in our schools and indeed has interested itself in every phase of the community's welfare. Perhaps its greatest achievement is its program of entertainment. It purchased a fine moving picture machine and through the year stages a weekly show. It also sponsors lectures and demonstrations of various kinds.
     The Parkdale school will favorably compare with any village school in the state. The two buildings are ideally located and well equipped. A faculty of seven instructors introduce our "young hopefuls to the goddess of knowledge." A few years ago the Valley Crest district voted to unite with the Parkdale district and the children from that section are furnished transportation to and from school. A bus also carries the children from the northern part of the district. With the improvement of our roads the transportation problem has been greatly simplified but it continues to be an expensive but indispensable part of our system. The present board has done much to improve the school grounds and further work along this line is planned.
     The Parkdale library was organized about 15 years ago and throughout these years has been a real asset to the community. It is well stocked with books and is open to the public twice weekly. Except for a small annual allowance by the county it is maintained by local support. There are scores of towns throughout the state with many times the population of ours which would be proud to own our library.
     The large measure of support given by our citizens to these institutions is a true index of the splendid type of people in this section. Despite financial reverses and other elements which enter into the life of a new community, Parkdale and has been going steadily forward along all lines. We do not to claim to have solved all our problems, we haven't yet attained Utopia. But inspired by the past achievements we courageously face the future and in partnership with other sections of the valley will strive to make Hood River county all that nature destined it to be.

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer