This page from the A. I. Mason family album captures the secret to the early prosperity of Hood River. These boxes are labeled "Fancy Hood River Newton Pippen Apples/ Hood River Apple Growers Union/ Hood River Oregon". With the construction of large cold storage facilities like the Union Building by the railroad tracks, Hood River apples could be packed in insulated rail cars for shipment to market in Chicago or New York. Hood River orchardists cultivated a brand identity for Hood River Apples. Midwestern farmers were recruited to increase the acreage of orchards in the valley growing the production levels to what we see today.
Category: [Downtown Hood River]
brings to mind Dad's talking about loading ice into those cars.....Arlen
Arlen L Sheldrake on 9th September 2021 @ 8:35am
I wonder how they loaded the ice? I understand they also used sawdust as an insulator. I wonder if the ice blocks were in containers or if they just loaded blocks of ice after they loaded the apples.
ArthurB on 9th September 2021 @ 9:39am
My dad also got into the job of icing reefer cars (fortunately, mechanical refrigeration had taken over by the time I started), which happened after he and his crew had loaded the cars with boxed fruit. Image 31 gives some idea of the operation. Ice was made in the end of the building closest to the camera in large blocks. The blocks were then dragged out onto the catwalk hanging from the side of the building and dragged along the catwalk until they were opposite the hatches in the roof and then tipped into the metal lined ice bunkers in the ends of the cars. Small electric generators were driven off the cars axles to power electric fans that circulate cold air from the bunkers throughout the car. (On cars that carried meat the Ice would be salted to make it colder, brine dripping from their bunkers created serious corrosion problems on steel railroad bridges) The Pacific Fruit Express Co. (jointly owned by the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific Railroads)had icehouses at intervals along the lines traversed by refrigerated freight, allowing the ice bunkers to be periodically replenished.
That said, the picture does not appear to me to be inside a railcar. We were always able to stack apple boxes eight wide in a railcar, and reefers had ventilation ducts in the ceilings and floors which are not evident in the picture. my guess would be this is a truck or truck trailer. Either way, that gap on the right will require blocking to prevent the load from shifting.
JEC on 9th September 2021 @ 3:39pm
Excellent info JEC. Looking more closely I think this image needs to be rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise. The "floor" and "ceiling" don't have any scratches, but the left wall does. In fact the "floor" and "ceiling" have some graffiti on them which reads correctly after rotating the photo. I guess they loaded the boxes on their sides! This would be very early in rail transportation for apples so maybe they were still figuring it out?
ArthurB on 9th September 2021 @ 6:41pm
So the handwritten caption on the right side is actually upside down? I agree with the ccw rotation theory based on the evidence, but this would make the "car" appear to be wider than it is tall, which doesn't appear correct for the typical profile of a rail boxcar.
kmb on 9th September 2021 @ 8:10pm
Yep, I see it now. These were the old wooden boxes (before my time), I guess they may have been stronger stacked on their sides than upright. Six high would be about right for the load limit weight the car would have been rated for at the time. For those who don't know "Fancy" apples are ones that have too many defects to be "Extra Fancy" which in turn have too many defects to qualify as "U.S.No.1"
JEC on 9th September 2021 @ 9:11pm
Thanks JEC. Great information for those of us who know nothing about the food shipping industry.
L.E. on 10th September 2021 @ 5:52am
Good stuff! Also explains how top two boxes in third row from picture left are "hanging"!
starboard on 10th September 2021 @ 10:18am
I didn't even notice that Starboard. That should have been a dead giveaway.
ArthurB on 10th September 2021 @ 10:24am
JEC's explanation is most appreciated......did not know about the salt and drip causing bridge problems......the same happened to our vintage passenger rail cars as they used salt to cut the ice in the vestibules causing LOTS of "cancer" that we continue to deal with. The Inland Railroad Museum has a couple of heaters that were also used in these box cars to keep the fruit from freezing during cold weather. So much history.............
Arlen L Sheldrake on 11th September 2021 @ 8:18am