Historic Hood River
The wet snow Saturday reminded me of this view. We saw this image eight years ago, but I thought I would zoom in a bit and process it a little more to make it easier to read. This snowy scene is on Oak Street, just east of the Second Street intersection. This is sometime after 1899 when the brick building for Blowers Store was constructed on the SE corner of Second and Oak (now a bank). In 1899 Blowers Store moved across the street from a wood frame building on the NE corner. This image is sometime before 1905 when another building was constructed just east of the brick Blower’s building. You can also see the wooden building of George Crowell’s store on the SW corner of Second and Oak, which was replaced with the brick Hall Building in 1909 (home of Mountainview Cycles).
This is a good opportunity to talk about how I modify images you see on this site. There was a controversy this weekend because the National Archives modified some images to avoid politically charged content.
All the scans we perform at the museum are archived in an unmodified form, along with the original artifacts. The scans can be used for research purposes instead of handling the delicate originals, and digital images are much easier to share. That said, the original scans are very large files and many of them are hard to read as scanned from often faded or stained prints. I almost always adjust the contrast and sharpness using digital filters before I share an image with you. I also almost always crop the images. This site only allows a 930 pixel-wide window, so if I don’t crop away part of the image, the part I’m talking about may be very small. There have been times when I’ve shared less than one quarter of the original image so you could see a detail. I recognize cropping an image alters the original photographer’s intent, but it’s hard to discuss images if you can’t see what we’re talking about.
I also occasionally remove dirt or scratches if they are bad enough to get in the way of seeing key elements of the image, or sometimes because I want the image to be more pleasing to the eye. This is also altering the physical artifact, but hopefully in a way that makes it easier to see what the photographer intended.
That said, I will never alter an image for content. The HHR readership can make their own interpretations of the underlying content. History isn’t always pretty, but there are plenty of places you can go for pretty pictures. I don’t hide parts of images from you for political reasons.
If you’re ever interested in seeing an image “unprocessed” contact me through the comments section. A couple of times I’ve even retrieved an original print or negative from the archive when someone’s interest or research called for it. On these occasions I’m usually surprised how much harder it is to see detail in a physical print than on a good scan.