When I first recall the Hood River Historical Museum it was in that building. Then Arline Moore was very instrumental to getting the museum located in the downstairs portion of the new court house across the way on State Street.
Charlott on 29th April 2021 @ 7:07am
Did the Yasui family have two stores?
I always thought of their store being on Oak and 1st St.
L.E. on 29th April 2021 @ 7:41am
What year, or at least decade, would this picture have been taken? I am curious about the "Japanese Employment Agency" business in Hood River. Did they recruit and manage workers for the Hood River valley orchards?
kmb on 29th April 2021 @ 8:12am
Yes, they had two stores. Homer and I mapped out the details a while back, but the basic story is they acquired the second store (Niguma Bros., if my memory serves) and kept both operating for a while. One specialized in Christmas gifts, according to newspaper ads. When I dig up the research I'll post it.
ArthurB on 29th April 2021 @ 9:39am
Here is my correspondence with Homer Yasui about the dates for the different store buildings:
Homer— So good to hear from you. I can fill in a few details about the building on the corner of 1st and Oak. We know it was an early Post Office. It appears in the oldest dated photo we have of Hood River, by Carlton Watkins in the winter of 1882/1883. The 1893 Sanborn map identifies it as the Post Office (1st floor). The 1902 Sanborn identifies it as “Office” and “Dress Making”. In 1905 it’s identified as “Lodging”. In 1909 it is “Billiards”. The 1916 map says, “Japanese Dry Goods and Merchandise”.
The photograph I published with the comment about a “liquor store” was a W.D. Rogers image with notes on the back from E.R. Bradley, first editor of the Hood River News, who dates it to 1907. The awning of the store says “Cigars and Liquor,” which could be during the “Billiards” phase. The 1907 date isn’t definitive, but it is consistent with the 1909 map identifying a billiards parlor.
The Niguma Company store is definitely the same structure. I see the first ads for M. Niguma’s store in the December 23, 1909 Hood River Glacier, so I am reasonably confident the liquor/cigars/billiards moved out and Mr. Niguma moved in at the end of 1909.
We know in November 1913 Yasui Bros. store and M. Niguma combined, with both store locations open through the holiday season. The Yasui Bros. signs went up at 14 Oak Street sometime shortly after that. This means the M. Niguma store photo you sent is from between the end of 1909 and 1913. I am not sure how long after 1913 retail activity continued at the Third Street location, but there was at least some overlap. The 1916 Sanborn map still indicates “Japanese Curios” at the Third Street address.
If you’ll remember we also spoke about 14 Oak Street when you were helping me track down Mr. Yamaguchi, who in 1911 petitioned the City Council to be the first trash collector in the city. He lived upstairs above the Niguma store, and seems to have gotten work through his employment agency.
I hate to complicate things, but I have some questions about the July 1908 date for the opening of the first store on Third Street. The ad below was published in the August 20, 1908 Hood River Glacier announcing the opening of Yasui Bros. Co.— but the address is 256 Cascade Avenue! There are multiple ads with that location throughout 1908, then a large gap until December 1912, when the advertisements use the Third Street address. The 1909 Sanborn map does not give enough detail about the occupants to identify the store location.
If there was indeed a Yasui Bros. Store at 256 Cascade Ave., then we may need to renumber all the other locations, with the still existing building on Oak Street becoming the 4th location instead of the third.
I am very interested in what documentation you might have seen about the location of the store when it opening in 1908. I think the timeline is reasonably well documented from 1912 onward, but I am hoping for some more definitive evidence from 1908-1912.
ArthurB on 29th April 2021 @ 9:44am
Like Charlott, my first memory of this building was of it when it was the HR Historical Museum. This was in 1952, when we moved into the Bartmess Building in the same block. I went through that museum many times.
Bill Seaton on 29th April 2021 @ 11:07am
I think that this "second" YB store was in business until 1930, after which it was razed to make room for a brand new Texaco service station there and for the construction of our new "third" YB store located at 16 Oak Street -- a little further east of the location of the second store. This "third" YB store is the one that still stands in that location. Also, I am not sure of the correct address, because I have seen that the "second" YB store had sometimes had a hyphenated address of 14-16 Oak Street. I have also seen the "first" YB store address listed as 194-192 Third Street. . . .but I have no idea why they had such confusing addresses.
In one of your photos of First & Oak Street, you had also noted the presence of a white building which was immediately north of the Niguma/YB store. According to a story that I had heard -- I don't know or remember from whom -- maybe it was from my older brother Ray "Chop" Yasui -- but at one time that building was a "Chop House" -- a Japanese restaurant operated by a man named Taichi Kuga. In Roy Higashi's book, Japanese Americans of the Mid-Columbia Area and Their Relatives, it says that at one time there had been 3 Kuga men in the Hood River Valley, and that one of them was listed only as "T. Kuga". And according to Higashi, this "T. Kuga" was a "Farmer; Restaurateur (on First Street between Cascade and Oak Streets). So, I will guess that Taichi Kuga ran this restaurant. As an incidental bit of information, the maiden name of the wife of a well known Japanese orchardist in Dee, was Rei (Kuga) Kiyokawa, and she was said to have had two brothers who also had once lived in the Hood River Valley.
I didn't know Mr. Taichi Kuga, but I did know the Nakagawa family who lived in the white building next to the Yasui store some time later. I think that the Nakagawas lived there from around 1928-1929 when my little sister and I would play with the youngest Nakagawa daughter, Kiyoko. Around that time, Mr. Seitaro and Mrs. Tsunao Nakagawa were running what my brother "Chop" called a meshi ya (a "food house" in literal Japanese; but colloquially, an "eating place") and a tofu ya (in literal Japanese, a "tofu house" -- a place for making tofu). There were 6 children in the Nakagawa family and from the oldest to the youngest they were: Kiyoshi (boy), Aiko (girl), Manabu (boy), Izumi (boy), Kiyoko (girl) and Isamu (boy). I think that the Nakagawas moved to White Salmon around 1929 -1930, about the time that the Yasui Brothers decided to build their "third" and last store.
And around the time that the Nakagawas lived in that white frame house, I remember that the building next door to the north -- the former Rand Livery -- was owned and occupied by the Loft & Son -- "Sand & Gravel", I think -- business. I still remember the large cavernous opening to the front of this huge wooden building, but I don't remember that they had any sand and gravel in it, or even in their lot. I think that their sand and gravel business was actually located on the east side of the Hood River, somewhere near Button's Slough. And I do remember that that big, scary, dark building still smelled of horse manure -- just like the smell of Cuddeford's blacksmith shop, which I also remember.
In my next email, I will plan on sending you a picture of the "First" YB store located at 194-192 Third Street.
ArthurB on 29th April 2021 @ 1:44pm
I can narrow the date down to 1913-1924. This store opened in December 1912, and the Butler Bank Building was built in 1924 (and would be visible)
ArthurB on 29th April 2021 @ 4:29pm
The three Kuga brothers were Toishiro, Toichi and Mantara/Manlara. The last one had two children Sadao and Mary.
Wendell on 30th April 2021 @ 7:20am