The Brosius Block at 2nd and Oak is one of the oldest and least changed buildings in town, though its tenants certainly move around a lot. In 1993 it the first floor was inhabited by Columbia Photo (One hour developing!), Designing Women Salon, The Gift House, and Columbia Gorge Real Estate. The Gift House is still there, though all the others have moved on. Unfortunately I can't read the signs for the second story offices.
I should have pointed out at the start of this series that you can view the full "Historic Resource Survey Form" at the Oregon State Parks website.
Here's some of the history she provides for this building:
The Brosius Building was constructed by Dr. Frampton Brosius, a prominent physician in Hood River. Brosius came to Hood River in 1894 from Kennesaw, Nebraska with his wife, Sarah Emma Williams. He was the mayor of Hood River in 1902, president of the Commercial Club and Master of the Hood River Masonic Lodge No. 105. Brosius was also very active in other organizations such as the Odd Fellows Lodge, Woodmen of the Worlds Lodge and the American Medical Association. Dr. Dumble shared office space with Brosius in the building, along with other businesses. The Bon Ton Barber Shop was one of the original businesses in the building, occupying the store for more than 80 years. A 1909 Hood River newspaper reported an incident of a cleaning woman falling through the second floor skylight and getting stuck in the opening. The paper states the proprietor had to get the assistance of a hypnotist to calm the woman down enough to get her out. The Bon Ton also had bathing rooms in the rear of the shop. Other businesses in the building was Kresse Drug store, a grocery store and the office of the manager of the Electric and Gem Theater.
Category: [Downtown Hood River]
It certainly is apparent to me that good old downtown Hood River never looked better than it does in 2015. Kudos to those in charge.
And yes, I miss the businesses.....in the 1950s I mowed the lawn for the barber who had the shop in this building..CRS, can't remember his name. Remember well riding my bike down from Belmont and how hot the coaster brake got. My big treat after the job was a ice cream sandwich that still brings fond memories. Did NOT love the HR hills.
Arlen Sheldrake on 8th January 2015 @ 8:30am
If I fell through a second story skylight, you would probably have to bring in a hypnotist to calm me down.
Thanks for posting these photos Arthur. I think to myself, "why should I take a photo of that. It is just a building or a street, and it won't change." But they do change, and in just thirty years I have forgotten what much of downtown HR looked like and the businesses.
A photo jars my memory. It also makes me notice how much updated sidewalks improve the looks and safety of a town.
By the way Arlen....Dr Brosius also rode a bicycle on the HR hills, or at least pushed one.
l.e. on 8th January 2015 @ 8:46am
Before Columbia Photo was in that spot, it was Marv's for Men. When I worked at Columbia Photo, there was a tiny restroom in the basement as a holdover from the Marv's days. I'm told that the pillars of the community would go there to sober up when they'd had too much to drink. There was a sheet of paper on the wall where they would write the date they visited. Some big names listed, as I recall. I don't know what happened to it since.
Melody Shellman on 8th January 2015 @ 9:05am
I have another series for later this year on "historic preservation," but I'd like to suggest the reason our downtown looks so good is so many owners of buildings and businesses have chosen to restore and maintain their buildings so well. Steffen's restoration of the Butler Bank Building two years ago is a good example, as was the city hall remodel and renovation-- but every building we're seeing this week has been actively improved in the past two decades by proud owners and tenants.
Arthur on 8th January 2015 @ 9:32am
Arlen, the barber who had the Bon Ton Barber Shop in the 40's and 50's was Hebe Moore. He was also the fellow who taught me to shoot marbles knuckles-down style, which he did on the floor in front of his barber chair.
Bill Seaton on 8th January 2015 @ 10:46am
Melody, you might check with Pete Jubitz. I think someone gave him that list as the Franz Hardware basement was also a well-known gathering spot.
Norma on 8th January 2015 @ 11:03am
Not a skylight but a freight elevator in the sidewalk that opened up behind Truman Butler as he was doffing his hat to my grandfather and new wife. Then, stepping back, he disappeared from sight. He was in the hospital, and then at home, recovering for several days. I wonder if he needed a hypnotist too?
Jill on 8th January 2015 @ 12:29pm
I can't remember what the facade looked like to the left, which was the JC Penney store. Too bad they put that on as it is rather an eyesore in comparison to the brick fronts on the others. There was a Mode O'Day store about there as well.
nels on 8th January 2015 @ 1:08pm
Another business that was located in that building was Howe Electric, just next door to the Bon Ton. I remember they sold records there and I bought a 78 record of the song Wunderbar from them in 1949.
Bill Seaton on 8th January 2015 @ 2:18pm
Hebe Moore sold the shop to my friend, Jim Mehlhoff, & Jim had the BonTon Barbershop for many years (until retirement) He would shave & barber customers for many years and yes, there was a restroom in the back where they could actually shower. It was right next to Hal's Mens Wear which later became Marv's for Men, until Marv Harder moved across the street (south) to start a western outfitting store. There was actually a little bitty restaurant squeezed in near the Mode O' Day store. You entered from the front and it was like a long hallway until you could sit down and get a doughnut, etc.
Judy on 8th January 2015 @ 2:57pm
My office has been upstairs above what was the hair salon, for about 25 years now and it has been called the Scott building for the duration. I don't know the history but perhaps the 2 buildings merged at some point?
melanie on 8th January 2015 @ 3:07pm
funny, speaking of the Penny's store, I have the aluminum awning from Penny's at my house for a wood shed roof!
spinsur on 8th January 2015 @ 3:28pm
Mr. Melhoff was such a nice man, and trimmed my long hair to perfection. He charged much less than women's salons. A woman sitting in the barber's chair did make the male patrons a little huffy...
Susan Baldwin on 8th January 2015 @ 4:05pm
The Brosius Block was built in two sections in 1904-05. I don't know when the owner started calling it the Scott Building, but the historic preservation people generally call buildings by their original name even if the owner uses a different one.
Arthur on 8th January 2015 @ 4:59pm
A young lady who worked in that tiny, narrow donut shop was Marge Jacobson who now lives over at Hawkes Ridge. Said she worked there during the war, waiting for George to get back from building runways on small uninhabited islands where planes could land for refueling. She is now 94 years old. George Jacobson came back and was an engineer on the dams and all the highways. He had sporadic bouts of malaria and dysentery from working in the tropics. Died of stomach cancer.
nels on 8th January 2015 @ 5:29pm
On the secound floor was the doctor offices of Dr. Edmunson, Dr. Thompson and Dr. Alan Henderson.
mary bartmess kramer on 8th January 2015 @ 8:25pm
I spy- ..... a great collection of shared knowledge and memories ...well done !
Steve r on 8th January 2015 @ 8:46pm
Used to get our tuxedos from Hal's Mens Wear for the proms in high school. Hate to admit it, but boy did we look good.
Buzz on 9th January 2015 @ 6:24am
In reading the old issues of the Hood River Glacier, I find it interesting that the bricks for many of the buildings in town were made in the Hood River area. Al Zeek first had a brick yard 3 miles south of town starting in 1904. In 1910 he moved his operation to the Belmont area on Indian Creek.
Jeffrey Bryant on 9th January 2015 @ 4:24pm
Before that barber shoo was pink, my dad Harold Parsons used to get his hair cut there every single week. Talk about white sidewalls! What a pity, as he had such pretty, cornsilk yellow hair. Waiting fot him there one day, I saw my first copy of The Sporting News, a fine old periodical. What do men read at their barbers' nowadays?
Barbara Parsons on 11th December 2020 @ 8:39am