The Hood River Glacier, Hood River, OR., May 22, 1913, page 1
PROGRESS NOTED IN UPPER VALLEY
Many New Homes Recently Built
Orchard Tracts Planted in Scenic District - Diversified Farming Appeals to Progressive Farmers
In a no place in the Hood River valley has so much orchard
land been cleared or have so many new homes been constructed in the past
year than in that portion of the Upper Valley just south of Parkdale. An
unbroken stretch of more than a thousand acres of young trees greets the
traveler's eye as he passes along the highway leading south from Parkdale
to the Almira orchard, the property of A. Millard and J.F. Thompson. Here
Mr. Thompson has his home at the south side of a 116 acre orchard, the trees
of which are three years old. This is one of the largest single tracks in
the Hood River valley.
Six years ago on a tract of 160 acres where now rises seven handsome homes of newcomers, but one small house in a clearing was to be seen. Those who now own portions of the 160 acres and whose young apple trees are thriving in the loose, fertile soil of the district, are: Charles Steinhauser, J.S. Peironnet, Henry W. Steinhauser, M.O. Boe, Fuval and Wertgen, Hugh Dixon, William H. Tobey, C.I. Moody and Miss Bailey. The style of the architecture of the new homes and their proximity to each other might lead one to believe that he was in a neat, new suburban addition to a city, and all of the homes are equipped with modern conveniences. In this particular section of the Upper Valley, as in other districts there, the majority of the new residents are from eastern cities and have come west in quest of homes in the quiet of the country, where the simple life may be lived in a region replete with the magnificent touches of natural scenery.
Eight years ago, the greater portion of the Upper Valley was still a virgin forest. It is true that some of the oldest of the homestead places are in the lower part of that community and in the Mount Hood community, but commercial orchards had not been attempted by the pioneers, who eked out an existence from their small clearings and who spent the summer months in eastern Oregon, where they took part in the harvest of the large grain districts, bringing home their wages with which to supply their larders and to purchase the necessities of life that could not be grown on their places.
Mr. Thompson, of the Almira orchard, is one of the older of the commercial orchard planters in the district. He has farmed in many parts of the country, Ohio, Indian Territory, Oklahoma and Colorado. "But I have found no place that I liked better than the Upper Valley," he says. Mr. Thompson and his family left Indian Territory because of the climate. He was stricken with malaria and fever and came to the west seeking health. For a number of years he and his family resided in Colorado and other sections of the Rocky mountain country. Eight years ago when they left southern Oregon, where they had come in their journey toward the coast, and began a tour of the central Oregon country down to The Dalles and thence down the Columbia to Portland. After looking over parts of the Willamette valley, they decided to return to the Hood River valley, and their present location in the Upper Valley was selected as a home. Their entire tour was made by wagon and team. To see the large orchard of Millard and Thompson, with the latter has his home, one might well form the opinion that his journeys over the Beavers state, seeking a region of plenty and beauty, were not in vain. His home, as are those of his neighbors, is a wonderland, bordered on the east and west by the high ridges of the Cascades that meet at the base of Mount Hood, the ever changing white peak of which looms to the south of them. Far away across the Columbia the high, hoary head of Mount Adams shimmers in the sunlight of clear days and frowns beneath the great reflections of crowded skies. It is a region that attracts a chance visitor and weaves a spell around the hearts of those who linger for a while. The "Witch Mountain" is an enchantress, and those who have lived and toiled and smiled and wept in the region of her feet, feel the call of her ever changing face, when they are long absent from her environs. The only moments when Upper Valley residents ever allow themselves to become beset by a "grouch" are those during which the white peak of the mountain retires behind a heavy cloud veil.
While the average of bearing orchard in the Upper Valley is still small, the producing trees have proven that the fruit that is grown there is of the most excellent keeping qualities. Indeed, there are those, one of the exponents of which is Charles Steinhauser, who claim that the day will come when the Upper Valley Spitzenburgs and Newtons will be labeled by a special brand because of their keeping qualities. Ortleys, too, do exceedingly well in the Upper Valley. Mr. Thompson has a number of boxes in his cellar that have the beautiful golden glow, peculiar to the excellent fruit, and the apples remain firm until the summer months.
The Gravenstein, one of the well-known fall varieties in lower altitudes, becomes in reality a winter apple in the Upper Valley. At the Uptegrove, Cornell & Mason ranch, where a number of these trees bear prolifically every year, the apples are kept into the late spring, retaining all of their firmness, juice and richness of flavor.
The Upper Valley district is also known for the excellence of its strawberries, the cool nights giving them a firmness that enables the shippers to send them in prime condition to foreign markets. Housewives always like to get fruit from this section for preserving, for they declare that the berries, because of their firmness, retain their shape and do not cook into a general mass.
While not so many new homes have been built, a large acreage of land has been cleared north of Parkdale. Near the station of Boneboro on the line of the Mount Hood Railroad Co., the Boneboro Orchard Co., which owns a large tract of deep redshot soil there, has cleared several hundred acres of its holdings which have been planted to commercial varieties. The Boneboro Company has this year planted a large plot of the tract to wheat. The growth of the grain proves that the region will equal any grain producing section in the country in yield. Wheat planted there last year, according to estimates of experts, would have produced 60 bushels per acre if allowed to mature. The crop this year, which presents a beautiful sight, the shoots in a thick mass forming their boots and waving in a deep green mass over the level field.
All grasses and clovers thrive and grow luxuriantly on the Upper Valley and Mount Hood soil. A clover plant dug from the Uptegrove, Cornell & Mason ranch last year was six feet long, had 100 stems and 475 blossoms. A number of the ranchers of the district have recently been agitating a creamery for the Mount Hood district. The soil here is especially adapted to the raising of hay and dairying. The early pioneers constructed a ditch that has its intake near the point where the East Fork Bonded District ditch has its source and the community is well supplied with irrigation water, which is practically free. It is proposed by those who would have a creamery here to manufacture butter and supply the valley with the product, the greater percentage of which is now shipped into the apple raising district.
Irrigating water is cheap in all of the communities of the Upper Valley. The residents on the west side of the community are supplied with water from the Middle Fork ditch, owned by a cooperative company, which supplies all of the water needed at a cost never exceeding $2.50 per inch. The Glacier Irrigating Co. supplies the ranches of the west side of the Upper Valley. This system, the flumes of which were completed last year, takes its water from the Tillie Jane creek.
The opinion that orchardists should produce such products as milk and butter on their places is becoming more widespread in the Upper Valley everyday. Mr. Thompson says he is able to grow his own pork and chickens and produce his milk and butter and always has a surplus to sell at the local store. Last week he showed to the Glacier representative, who was in the upper community to gather facts of development, an average monthly statement received from the store. A gratifying balance was on that the credit side. His surplus of butter, eggs and bacon had far more than offset the total of the prices of articles that he had purchased.
Since the Mount Hood Railroad has been built into the heart of the Upper Valley to its present terminus at Parkdale, the commercial interests of the entire district above Booth hill which were centered at Mount Hood, have gradually moved to the railroad station. That town of Parkdale is growing rapidly. Where but a few years ago tall firs and pines grew, the general merchandise store of R.J. McIsaac & Co., a commodious school house, a union church, a blacksmith shop, a handsome railroad station and hotel and numerous residences have been constructed. New homes are rising at the station each year and Parkdale is becoming a thriving village. It is here, in the hall above McIsaac's store that the Upper Valley Progressive Association presents its lyceum course during the winter months for the entertainment and education of its residents. However, none of these presentations are more interesting than that of the club itself, the members of which annually prepare a play. Some excellent musical talent is to be found in the district as well as histrionic ability, and the amateur theatricals always attract a number of Lower Valley residents. About a mile north of Parkdale is the store of W.H. Rodenhiser, who does a general merchandise business.
The Union church movement has taken a strong hold of the Upper Valley residents. The district has two churches, one at Mount Hood, and the other, the latter built as a union church, at Parkdale. Rev. W.L. Van Nuys, a Presbyterian minister, who was formerly a resident of Pendleton, is in charge of both churches and preaches alternately at Mount Hood and Parkdale.
One of the features of the Upper Valley is its many young bachelors. Probably in no other rural section of Oregon in so small section can so many unmarried men be found. Within a radius of but a little over three miles, twenty-seven young men are enjoying single blessedness, doing their household work and performing culinary feats daily within their kitchens. The most of these youthful bachelor men are graduates of eastern colleges. It has been suggested by residents there that families with marriageable daughters who were seeking homes in the west might form the foundation for a pleasant task for cupid by moving to the Upper Valley. The little Love God has already been busy in the district, and a number of young bachelors have become Benedicts after having been captivated by the charms of school mistresses in the district.
A detailed list of some of the improvements that have taken place in the upper valley in the past two years and that are now under way of follows:
New blacksmith shop and residence built by C.A. Clark at Parkdale.
New implement warehouse constructed by R.J. McIsaacs & Co. at Parkdale.
New home erected by J.C. Craven at Parkdale.
Mount Hood Milling Co., a new mill about a mile south of Parkdale.
New residence built by Hugh Dixon, south of Parkdale.
New home by J.S.L. Peironnet.
Addition to home now being completed by Charles Steinhauser.
Improvements to residence made by H.W. Steinhauser.
W.H. Tobey, new home.
New residence by M.O. Boe.
All of these orchardists have made extensive clearing and improvements on their tracts.
G. DuVal, jr., and G. Wertgen have built a new home and have cleared 27 acres of their land, which has been set in orchard. Mr. DuVal came to the Valley from Baltimore. M. Wertgen is a former resident of Breman, Germany.
Henry S. Crouse has cleared four acres of orchard during the past year.
H.W. Rickman, a capitalist of Chadron, Neb., has had a tract of 40 acres cleared and set to trees this spring. The place adjoins that of A.B. Coulter, who has superintended the work of clearing.
London & Powers have cleared small tracts recently and have built a new house.
Barroll and Busch have erected a new residence.
Geo. W. Blodgett has cleared 20 acres.
John Goldsbury is making improvements on his place and has constructed an addition to his home.
C.C.M. ranch, new apple house.
Eugene C. Euwer, new home and tract cleared.
L.W. Tomlinson, two acres cleared this spring.
W.L. Van Nuys, and acre and a half cleared this spring.
Rodenheiser, four acres cleared.
West of Parkdale C.C. Walton and F.L. Keating have made notable improvements.
A large tract has been cleared by Colonel W.F. Tucker at El Corregidor.
Game is plentiful in the foothills near the homes of the Upper Valley ranchers, and deer may often be seen in the orchard tracts. The streams there are full of mountain trout and life never grows tedious in the summer and fall months because of lack of sport.
© Jeffrey L. Elmer