Historic Hood River
Valley Crest School
There are a few things to talk about with this image.
The first is that it was mis-tagged as “Valley Christ Church” instead of “Valley Crest School.” Mistakes like this are easy because the software makes helpful suggestions as soon as you type “Valley.” This is a good reminder that whenever you search you are depending on the quality of the indexing to find what your looking for. When I do research if I’m having trouble finding what I’m looking for I cast a wider net, recognizing what I’m looking for may not be conveniently tagged with the keywords I am looking for. Archives are full of material insufficiently or incorrectly cataloged, which is why scholars make “discoveries” of important material all the time.
The second is the term “Valley Crest.” Hopefully some of the long time residents can help me here, but from what I am reading in the newspaper archives the term “Valley Crest” comes into usage about 1909 and fades out sometime about 1920. The papers have sections for news from “Mt. Hood” and “Valley Crest” about 1910, then start adding a section for “Parkdale” about 1911 and eventually “Valley Crest” fades away. I’m not 100% sure what “Valley Crest” refers to, but this article in The Hood River Glacier gives a few hints. In describing the “Stage Road to Mt. Hood Country” they say, “He traversed the Mt. Hood stage road from Booth Hill as far south as China Hill, now known as Valley Crest, and visited homesteaders on the east side of the East Fork, and along Dog River.” From what I read in the newspapers, it seems these terms are being driven by the real estate boom of that era, when people were working hard to sell orchard land to mid western transplanted farmers. “Valley Crest” was probably a little more appealing than “China Hill.”
And finally, notes indicate the Valley Crest School was constructed in 1907-08. It seems to have replaced an earlier “China Hill School.” I’ve never seen a photo of the earlier school. Miss Carrie Candee was one of the early teachers. The building was still around in 1920, but I can’t find any later references. I see an earlier reference that the Mt. Hood School, the Parkdale School and the Valley Crest School all funneled students into the Parkdale High School when that was constructed.