Last year someone asked me for a picture of the library groundbreaking for their centennial celebration. We didn't have a good one. But as is often the case you just need to keep looking. Just last week Matt and I found a small envelope with 6 images of the groundbreaking in a box of Ella Mae Davidson documents. What other secrets are hiding in the archives?
The coverage in the September 4, 1913 Hood River Glacier tells the full story:
GROUND BROKEN FOR CARNEGIE LIBRARY
Ground was broken for the new Carnegie library at 10 o’clock last Friday morning, and the building will be rushed to completion as the contract states that it must be completed in four months. Only a moderate crowd turned out for the ground-breaking ceremonies, as the date of the commencement of the new library was apparently little known.
Mrs. Chas. H. Castner, president of the Woman’s club, made the presentation speech in behalf of the club, giving Miss Mary McLaren the spade. tied with a green and white ribbon, with which Miss McLaren dug the first shovelful of dirt, which was followed by cheering of the onlookers.
The building committee, comprising Truman Butler, chairman, E. O. Blanchar, Mrs. H. F. Davidson, Miss Mary McLaren, and Judge Castner, J. W. Putnam and G. A. McCurdy, of the county court, were all present with the exception of the two last named men. E. J. Bloom took a group picture of the crowd.
The final culmination of the efforts of many of the citizens for this new library, after several years’ work toward this end, is indeed gratifying. Socials, contests and entertainments have been held to raise money to launch this undertaking, which is now assured success. It was deemed necessary to cut down one of the large Oak trees, but those remaining will contribute toward a beautiful library site.
You should be able to pick E. L. Smith out of the crowd, fifth from the left. E. O. Blanchar is fourth from the left. Truman Butler is closest to Miss McLaren, and Judge Castner is holding his top hat. I recognize the man in the bow tie, as he appears in many class pictures, first from the Barrett School. His name is J. O. McLaughlin, and by 1913 he was a teacher at the Hood River High School.
Category: [Downtown Hood River]
Do we have any idea why Miss. McLaren was given the honors of shoveling the first dirt?
Charlott on 12th January 2015 @ 7:06am
All I can find is that Mary McLaren was born in Wisconsin and at this time lived with her aged mother Harriet. They had their own income so apparently she wasn't working.
Charlott on 12th January 2015 @ 7:12am
Is that the Smith house visible through the trees?
Perhaps Miss. McLaren made a large donation?
Any clue as to which one of the ladies is Mrs. H.F. Davidson? She was a sister in law to Ella Mae.
I wonder if the team of horses is dragging away the oak tree.
l.e. on 12th January 2015 @ 8:36am
Yes, that's the Smith house behind them. I think you can see the old telephone exchange building to the far left.
According to the Glacier Miss McLaren was president of the Hood River Women's Club. They were a major proponent of the library.
Arthur on 12th January 2015 @ 9:57am
and the fellow in the background holding the horses is saying....."fine, I'll take my hat off if you will just get this dang picture taken". sure glad this important HR moment was captured and preserved. someone forgot the dog......
Arlen Sheldrake on 12th January 2015 @ 10:16am
Wonderful picture. All I know of Truman Butler (aside from the bank connection) was my mother's recollection that he was very popular at dinner parties in the Valley as he brought and played the mandolin. I wrote about an unfortunate mishap he experienced a few weeks back. This is the first time i have seen his picture.
Jill on 12th January 2015 @ 1:27pm
A 1915 article about the library:
I think this might be the same Mary McLaren: If she is around 50 in this photo,
From the Milwaukee Sentinel Oct. 29, 1960
"Word of the death Monday of Miss Mary McLaren, 95 in Seattle, Wash., reached Milwaukee Friday.
A member of the Milwaukee Downer College Class of 1884, Miss McLaren was believed to be the oldest living graduate of the college. She lived in Milwaukee until 1906 when she moved to Hood river, Ore., with her mother and soon afterward to Seattle.
Miss McLaren was the daughter of William Pratt McLaren, who for many years was a vice president of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. He was president of the college's board of trustees until his death in 1893. A college dormitory is now named for him and equipment in the college observatory donated by him is still in use, the college said.
In Milwaukee, Miss McLaren was active in Immanuel Presbyterian Church and the YWCA. A nephew, Wyeth Allen, former president of Globe-Union Inc. and now a professor at University of Michigan and a grand niece, Mrs. Hilton L. Neal, Milwaukee are among the survivors."
There was also a connection to Dr. Stanton Allen who died in 1916 in Hood River. Perhaps Mary's sister was married to him.
He was involved with Allen-Bradley Factory:
The company was initially founded as the Compression Rheostat Company by Dr. Stanton Allen and Lynde Bradley
l.e. on 12th January 2015 @ 5:59pm
You did it again l.e.Thank you so much for doing the work to make this picture come alive and become 3-Dimensional with all of your information. I always check this site in the evening just because you and so many others come on with such expansion beyond the simple photos.
nels on 12th January 2015 @ 11:30pm
I know this deviates from the Library History, but since I found information about Dr. Stanton Allen, it might be of use to someone.
Dr. Allen was married to Mary McLaren's sister Marie.
His obituary is in the Oct 16, 1916 HR Glacier.
He was picking apples at his East Side orchard when he passed away. He was a member of the board of directors of the Hood River Apple Growers' Union and helped start the Pine Grove community packing house.
His son Wyeth graduated from Hood River around 1910.
All three of the Allen children attended college in Michigan.
Here is some history and photos of the family. Charlott might recognize the home.
l.e. on 13th January 2015 @ 7:18am
I didn't even have to look at the photo to know where Dr. Allen resided. Just there where you leave Hwy 35 onto Dethman Ridge Rd. His house was on the left after you cross the bridge. It is a beautiful old house and he actually did at least part of his medical practice in the house.
Charlott on 13th January 2015 @ 8:15am
I am wondering if the guy on the far right of the photo was photoshopped into the picture?
Longshot on 15th January 2015 @ 6:34pm
To answer the earlier question, my great-grandmother, Mrs. H.F. [Mary] Davidson is standing in the center of the front row. She is the lady wearing a white blouse and dark skirt, standing between the tall gentleman with the bow tie (J. O. McLaughlin) and the lady with the large, dark hat.
B. Copper on 15th January 2015 @ 7:41pm
Very funny, Longshot. I didn't Photoshop that guy into the photo, but that edge of the postcard was moderately damaged by finger oils so he looks "different" from everyone else. I assure you if I Photoshop someone in you won't know it!
I adjusted exposure on this one since the original was considerably over exposed and the detail of the clothing was lost. No other changes.
And thanks for the ID of Mrs. Davidson, B. Copper.
Arthur on 15th January 2015 @ 9:41pm
"City Vacates Site for Public Library," Hood River News, September 27, 1911
Jeffrey Bryant on 2nd July 2017 @ 11:48am
A summary of efforts toward the library in 1912 can be found on the following page:
Jeffrey Bryant on 27th September 2017 @ 5:09am
Just one small correction to the post by nels. My great-grandmother was Maria McLaren, the sister of Mary. (Her name was Maria, not Marie). Interestingly, my grandfather, Wyeth Allen, son of Stanton and Maria, married Lillian Carnegie. We are not directly related to Andrew Carnegie, but we are very pleased that he funded so many libraries.
Judith Neal on 16th November 2017 @ 4:11pm
A Hood River Glacier article announcing the new library would be built can be found at: https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn97071110/1912-12-19/ed-1/seq-1/
Miss Mary McLaren was a member of the library board.
Jeffrey W Bryant on 9th July 2018 @ 5:13am
Contract for the Carnegie Library was let on July 24, 1913.
Jeffrey W Bryant on 11th June 2019 @ 5:10pm
Work began on the new library:
Jeffrey W Bryant on 15th June 2019 @ 8:21pm