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The Union Building was constructed in sections between 1905 and 1912 to provide cold storage facilities for fruit from the Hood River valley. The building was essentially an enormous refrigerator-- by my rough calculations almost 800,000 cubic feet. It was completely insulated with thick sheets of cork, and contained a water-powered ammonia compressor to both refrigerate the fruit for storage and make ice for the long train trip to markets back east. The fruit and whatever ice survived the trip would be sold in cities like New York and Chicago.
I recently toured this building with its current owner. The refrigeration apparatus has been drained of ammonia, but the machinery is still largely intact. It is remarkable for its scale and engineering-- think Charlie Chaplin in "Modern Times." The eastern portion of this building was converted to law offices several years ago, and plans are afoot to renovate the rest of the building into commercial and residential space.
This photo must have been taken shortly after 1913, when Davidson Fruit got together with other growers to form the Apple Growers Association. Here's the same spot today.