Historic Hood River
Downtown Hood River, Early Cyanotype
In the 19th century there were many competing methods of producing photographs. The cyanotype (named for its blue cast) was an easy and inexpensive process. It is essentially the same as the process which was used to make blueprints. Since the photosensitive solution soaks into the paper instead of sitting on the surface, as with albumen or more modern resin coated papers, cyanotypes do not produce very sharp detail. They were sometimes used for proofs, with more expensive coated papers reserved for final images.
This is an early image of downtown Hood River on a snowy winter day. The camera was at the residence on the SE corner of Second and Oak, looking NNE. You can see the residence in this other image (note the fence line). The Wm. Rand livery on First Street is mid-field. It’s the same building we saw decades later in the very first Historic Hood River photo. On the right side of the image, at the corner of Oak and First, is the post office. To the left is an early incarnation of the Mount Hood Hotel. We’re looking at the rear of the hotel, across an empty lot which now houses the Hood River Hotel (Mt. Hood Hotel annex).
The size and shape of the hotel date this image to the first half of the 1880’s, before any of its three major renovations. In the mid 1880s a two story west wing was added along with verandas. In 1904 a third story was added with the cupola that we admired in an earlier image. Finally in 1911 the brick annex was added to the south.