Historic Hood River
I’ve used this postcard image in some talks but apparently haven’t shared it on this site. This aerial view of the west side of Hood River appears to be shortly after the 1927 construction of the then Hood River High School, which is now the Hood River Middle School. May Street and Belmont Street are the major east-west routes in the view, with a lonely 22nd Street in the foreground.
A prominent feature in this image is “the pit” where city and county public works offices are located. It turns out there is more history to this spot than I first thought. Apparently “the pit” was both city and county gravel pit generating gravel for road construction at the time of the school construction, and had been used for that purpose back at least a decade before that date. There was also a city water source which was developed at that spot, which was conveniently near an early city reservoir and first city pool. I suspect, but without strong evidence, this spot was the location of “Stranahan’s gravel pit” referred to in this 1900 article in The Hood River Glacier
. We know Stranahan owned much of the property in this area, and his property was just above Paradise acres mentioned in the article.
We also know the school district asked the city to expand the May Street right-of-way from 40 to 60 feet so the roadway could be broadened. I believe the gravel pit provided significant fill material so May Street just north of Jackson Park could be expanded from the “foot bridge” indicated in the 1928 Sanborn map to a major east-west route we see today. There is now a culvert and bridge at the spot, but you could be forgiven for not realizing you’re on a bridge because so much of the ravine has been filled in. I believe widening May Street and the construction of this grand new high school opened up the west side to much more residential development.