Historic Hood River
Downtown Hood River, circa 1883
Last week’s Carleton Watkins view of Hood River was so nice I have to share some of the finer details with you. I’ve zoomed in on Oak Street, as it was circa 1883.
Nearest to the camera is the post office building on First Street at Oak (though I don’t know for sure it was the post office prior to 1893). We’re seeing it from the back, so you see the one story woodshed behind the building, the two story building, then the back of the false front. The building faced onto First Street, NE corner of First and Oak, so Oak Street runs to the left of that building. The same building later housed the Yasui store, and is now the site of the New Yasui Building (Celilo Restaurant).
On the other side of Oak Street (to the left), facing onto Second Street(SW corner Oak and Second Street), is the E.L. Smith General Store (later George Crowell General Store). It is peaking out between the trees from the current location of the Gorge Fly Shop (the Hall Building).
The large building to the right is the back of the original Mt. Hood Hotel which faces onto Cascade Avenue.
As our State Street urban renewal project is finishing up I’ve gotten many questions about why we don’t have more room for parking, travel lanes, bike lanes, etc. in our downtown district. The answer goes back to Henry Coe’s original plat of the downtown in 1881, just a couple of years before this image. The width of our downtown streets was determined all the way back then. 60′ to 80′ right-of-way for parking and travel probably seemed pretty extravagant to the folks living in that cluster of wooden structures, but in the era of Sprinter vans and extended cab pickups they seem pretty cramped.
Just 30 years after this image the majority of our downtown building were in place, and I suspect they were already wishing our streets were a little bit wider.