Historic Hood River
Report of Water Supply, Use and Duty of Water, of Hood River and Its Tributaries
You know I love learning about the logging infrastructure of the valley. Last week our friends at Farmers Irrigation District shared a wonderful document with the dry title, “Report of Water Supply, Use and Duty of Water, of Hood River and Its Tributaries”. It was prepared in 1917 by the state engineer as part of the adjudication of the valley’s water rights. Basically, the state courts needed to review all the claims on water to resolve numerous conflicting claims, and an important step was to review all the current uses as well as current stream flows (as of 1917). This ~80 page document includes the operations of lumber companies, power companies, irrigation ditches and municipal water in good detail.
This image, Plate No. 5, goes along with a discussion of the operation of the Stanley Smith Lumber Company, which in 1917 operated the log flumes from Rainy, North and Black Lakes down to the Green Point mill, and from there a lumber flume down to Ruthton.
I learned several interesting details which are illustrated in this graphic. The log flumes (which carried unprocessed logs) were the ones with the rectangular profile, while the lumber flumes (which carried processed cants down to the planing and finishing mills below) were V-shaped. This narrows down the location on some of the images we’ve seen before. I also learned that the log flume was actually a relatively mild grade, and didn’t contain a continual water flow. Instead, it operate more like a canal, with logs being moved from one section to the next by men with poles. They would open gates one at a time to move the logs along to the next section.
The map on Plate No. 5 shows the log flume route down to Green Point mill, which follows the current route of Farmers Irrigation pipeline. From there you can track the path along Ditch Creek, then across the “Phelps Cr. Divide” to Phelps Creek, which it follows down to the valley floor.
In coming days we’ll look at some more of the revelations of this newly rediscovered document.