Historic Hood River
We’re told this image is circa 1900 and shows a Stanley Smith Lumber Company flume, which places it somewhere on the westside of the Hood River valley. They had flumes running from Rainy, Black and North lakes down to Greenpoint (Kingsley) and then on down to the Belmont and Ruthton mills.
This area of forest (if we can call it that) seems to have had a major fire. I suspect this is just east of Greenpoint, but that’s just a guess.
This looks more like a roller coaster than a flume. Perhaps it’s the end of this flume, given how it seems to widen and decrease in slope. It also looks like there is a trip gate a little ways up the flume. A trip gate lets the flume operator divert the flow if something goes wrong, so the water goes someplace where it can be managed with less damage while they repair the problem.
Well, I missed this guess when I first opened the photo.
I thought it was the Jantzen Beach roller coaster.
Completely confused, a lot of construction to defy the law of gravity ,
Amazing! Not over water, not a burn (small regrowth of 8 – 10 year olds), upright dead trees on other side. Any water would pile up at the bottom of the structure.
Recreational? Like Kenn says, a lot of wood to get that height, which for all thoughts looks useless.
I'm going to suggest that time, money, and wood wasn't to be wasted then any more so than now. I think the camera is foreshortening, and that hill is dropping away to us more than is apparent. They probably knew more about trip gates than we do! I would guess that grade had to be kept relatively flat to employ the gate against the force of a flume full of water; after the gate the flow could be be released, likely into the mill pond. At the gate I believe there will be a natural drainage to take the water that the gate is releasing.
It is amazing what the old timers knew about grade. Close to where I grew up there was an old flume to the Camas Paper Mill. It was about six miles long and I don't know how they knew they could get logs from point A to point B.
I can't tell for sure, but it appears that there is water in the flume. I assume that is what the gentleman is watching. Maybe there is even some lumber floating by. Otherwise, it would be rather boring sitting there.
In photo 892 there is a 1911 map of the Hood River area. If you enlarge it, you can see the dotted line for a flume.
My guess, the water was flowing from right to left in the picture but there was a break in the flume to the right and out of the picture. Looking at the side wall there is not only a failure of the structure in front of the gentleman and to his right, but farther to the left of him in the uprights. And the gates are facing where the water and logs were flowing 'downhill.
Does the original show water in the mill trace?
After a week wondering about this one I should give up, but having fun with the “befuddlement”.