Historic Hood River
Who is “Me”?
A beautiful photo album has been sitting in my “in basket” at the museum for a couple of years now. Thumbing through it revealed familiar local places, people doing interesting things, lots of dates, cool old cars, photogenic dogs– in short, all the things which will bump something to the top of my scanning queue– except it was missing an author. The attached paperwork noted it was found in the museum in 2019, meaning it had somehow become detached from additional identifying information.
This was especially frustrating because the album’s owner had neatly identified so many people and events. Family members “Mom” and “Dad”, William and Andy, dog Buster, Uncle George and Cousin George, friends Hattie Plog and Helen Pifer, and dozens of other folks in her orbit were identified with full names and images. She was a young woman when the Columbia River Highway and Mt. Hood Loop Highway were completed, and she toured the area by automobile, bringing her camera to document what she saw. She left us one hundred pages filled with great images capturing the place and time, but her own identity was just “Me”. In short, a great mystery!
Just when I was getting ready to toss this mystery to the genealogists following HHR, I noticed a page with what appear to be tags from gifts indicating the name of the gift giver– but one tag said, “Miss Alta Walters from Mr. and Mrs. Tewksbury.” Sure enough genealogy records show an Alta Walter (not Walters) in Hood River, born in 1899, who married Wallace May, had no children, and lived until 1996. In our collection we have other material from the Walter family, received in 1996, possibly on Alta’s passing. In fact, we saw this image of Miss Walters last year. This album probably got separated from that collection.
So, without further ado, meet Miss Alta Walter and her high school friends Hattie Plog and Helen Pifer, circa 1915. There are far more than a week’s worth of images to share from Alta Walter’s photo album, but we’ll start there. Her album will be joining those of Olga and Edna Plog, Arline Moore, Pansy Dewitt, A.I. Mason’s family, and others in providing an invaluable glimpse into the life and times of people who lived in the Hood River Valley.