Not all apples are suitable for market. These bins of culls and windfall are waiting to be converted to apple vinegar. There was a steady stream arriving from nearby packing plants.
Back then vinegar was for more than salad dressing. Before the days of home refrigerators pickling was very popular, ketchup was still the most popular condiment, and the Hood River Apple Vinegar Company found a ready market for their product.
This building was on Industrial (then Railroad) between 6th and 7th, directly to the east of the present day "Big 7" Building. The 1916 Sanborn map identifies six large fermentation vats on the north side of the street. The vinegar apparently moved through pipes in that bridge to an evaporation tank on the south side of the street, where water was removed to increase acidity. Then it would return back across the street to five storage tanks and a bottling facility.
Here's the Google street view of this location.
Ed. Note: This description has been changed substantially from the original post based on material provided by a reader and further research.
Category: [Downtown Hood River]
Can you imagine all of the fruit flies?
l.e. on 12th May 2011 @ 7:11am
There is a nematode that lives in fermenting vinegar calleld "vinegar eels" or "mother of vinegar." The little critters were thought to be necessary to the process. They are transparent, a millimeter or two long, and make the vinegar look cloudy. I wonder if this company had vinegar eels.
db on 12th May 2011 @ 7:55am
If a Hood River Resident wanted to see some of these vintage photos in person, where might she go or whom would she contact?? They're wonderful!
Brenda Thompson on 13th May 2011 @ 7:22am
These photos are just a sample of the archive photo collection at The History Museum of Hood River County. The museum has just received a Google grant to digitize the entire collection. Hopefully within the next six months, the entire collection will have the capability of being viewed on-line through the museums' website. Thanks for the interest...stay tuned!
Connie on 13th May 2011 @ 7:37am
I have red hair as did my mother. When I was growing up my mother regularly rinsed our hair with vinegar (the darker, not the white) to enhance the red color.
Mary-Ethel Foley on 13th May 2011 @ 8:59am
Brenda, the museum has many great photos on display and they're open for the season. Just call 541-386-6772 to check on hours.
Arthur on 13th May 2011 @ 8:59am
Vinegar was also used in the medical field for various things.
True Hood Riverite got used to "fruit flies".
Charlott on 8th June 2011 @ 11:23am
In his early adulthood Eldon Russell "Fred" Bradley was the bookkeeper for the vinegar company. He later, after the war worked for the Hood River post office.
Charlott on 5th July 2011 @ 5:33pm
I remember a couple of those big fermentation vats. They were wooden barrels about as big around as a farm silo, only not as tall. We passed them on our way to pick up my dad at work at Webster Orchards, on the railroad tracks. My parents lived in New York City when they were first married, and they enjoyed the accents of city-dwellers, especially those in Brooklyn. So my dad often referred to the vinegar company as "the winnegar woiks." We always breathed deeply as we passed it, to get the full olfactory benefit of the fermenting fruit.
Barbara Parsons Bernstein on 24th March 2013 @ 10:31am