This view of the Mosier packing house at prune harvest time was postmarked in 1912. The text on back tells the strory of a woman named Elsie writing to her mother, Mrs. E.L. Graham of Lebanon Oregon, about a visit to her grandmother in Mosier. She is traveling with her baby, and reports she made six quarts of prune jam that morning and will be spending the afternoon ironing.
Tags: 1910s Mosier packing_house prunes
I had no idea that prunes/plums were produced in the Gorge.
Dale Nicol on 28th December 2022 @ 8:43am
Arthur: I faintly remember a post in which it was mentioned that folks tried to make a go of plums in the HR area. I've seen a small patch of Italian plums on Indian Creek Trail.
Will on 28th December 2022 @ 9:43am
Yes, the east side of Hood River had plum orchards. The newspapers regularly reported on prune prices and the packing houses accepted prunes. We even had a picture from a distance which showed a line of pickers cabins near E Eugene and E 2nd. I have some of the descendants of these trees in my yard. They grow really well in our climate-- I guess they just aren't commercially viable.
ArthurB on 28th December 2022 @ 10:40am
I think there were plum trees in quite a few yards in the Heights in the 40's and 50's. We had a couple in our yard on Taylor St. as did some neighbors but I hadn't known about orchards on the east side (were the orchards on east side of valley as well as east side of town?)
Cecelia on 28th December 2022 @ 1:49pm
We always called these prune plums--not sure if that was variety grown throughout the valley.
Cecelia on 28th December 2022 @ 2:06pm
We always called ours Prune trees, although I guess technically they are plum trees until the fruit is dried.
This photo might have a connection to Samuel and Eveline Evans who moved to Mosier in the late 1800's. Their daughter Effie, married Charles Graham. Charles and Effie are buried in Lebanon, OR. They had a daughter Dollie Coyle, who would have had a baby about this time frame.
I think Samuel and Eveline established Evans Orchards.
L.E. on 28th December 2022 @ 3:28pm
I think we had a plum on belmont in the 1950s
Arlen L Sheldrake on 28th December 2022 @ 5:27pm
There was a plum tree just over the fence behind our house. Was a vacant lot for years. This was on Montello Street.
Norma on 29th December 2022 @ 10:43am
There were documented prune orchards within the city limits, but I am sure they were grown elsewhere in the county. There are many varieties of prunes-- I have three in my yard which vary in size, shape and flavor.
ArthurB on 29th December 2022 @ 11:25am
First house we rented in HR, 2016, had a massive Italian Plum tree in the backyard, probably 30 feet high? I picked 15 pounds of them from the 2nd story deck, and that's just what I could reach. They were delicious. Tree is still there (2022), I can see it from Oak St.
Kyle on 29th December 2022 @ 12:29pm
I think Italian plums/prunes grow true from seed, so they could continue to make an appearance where there is an old tree to drop the pits.
Charles Graham also had a son Gordon who married Elsie Denny in Mosier in 1910.
L.E. on 29th December 2022 @ 3:47pm
From the October 02, 1919 Hood River Glacier p.1.
EXPENSIVE TO BE FULL OF PRUNES: "It costs a fellow something in these times to be 'full of prunes.' " says Mark A. Mayer, owner of 150 acres of orchards in the Mosier district.
Of Mr. Mayer's Mayerdale tract seven and a half acres are planted to prunes. He has just completed the harvest of a little better than 50 tons.
"I wish that my entire 150 acres were in prunes," continued Mr. Mayer, "for I know of no crop that will pay the orchardist of Mosier better."
This PDF on prune driers and prune growing in the Pacific Northwest contains a photo of Duckwall's label for Italian Prunes. Very attractive. It also mentions that being close to a railroad was important to the success of shipping the product.
L.E. on 2nd January 2023 @ 8:33am