Historic Hood River
You never know what you’ll find in the Museum’s photo collection, and this is a good illustration of that point. We found a very faded, crinkled cellulose nitrate negative mixed in a box of glass plate negatives. I could barely make it out by eye, but the scanner did its magic and revealed this image. Clearly not Hood River, and clearly not this century.
Following a hunch that this might have been a “world’s fair” of some sort, I was able to find similar architecture at the Paris Exposition of 1900. This was one of the less photographed parts of the fair. The photographer was standing right in front of the Eiffel Tower, looking down the Esplanade des Invalides. We can see it in all its glory in this image courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum.
I knew very little of the Paris Exposition before this image prompted some research. I’ll share two facts.
- 1) These spectacular structures were all built just for the Fair, and are long gone.
- 2) This is the same Paris Exposition at which Campbell’s Soup won the gold medal they still boast about on their label.
It’s hard to imagine someone from Hood River traveling to Paris in 1900. We’re not sure who the traveler was, but he or she left behind some pretty good evidence of an amazing summer vacation.
Which brings us to our Monday Mystery: Was this visitor to the Paris Exposition in 1900 tied in some way to the “Paris Fair” Department Store which opened more than 5000 miles away on Oak Street the following year? Or was an unrelated entrepreneur simply capitalizing on the worldwide press generated by the fair?