This page is the start of a week-long exploration of a wonderful photo album from the Liberty Home Orchard near Pine Grove. This series of photos gives a glimpse into what it was like to create an orchard in the Hood River Valley in the 1890s.
Albert and Ollie Mason bought 80 acres of heavily timbered land in 1896 for $9.25 per acre. They proceeded to work their land into a model apple orchard, specializing in Newtown and Spitzenberg apples. This pair of images shows what they started with: a forest and a small home. That is probably Ollie Mason and daughter Hattie Joy posing in the doorway with the chickens. Joy is also in the upper image, possibly with her father Albert and her uncle Thomas Mason.
Amazing to see forest land this dense on what is now Masosn Road in Pine Grove and look at all the native lupine. Ollie Mason was a remarkable woman, as once their land was cleared and planted Albert, known a A.I. worked in Portland to support them and she ran the ranch.
Eventually they would have a beautiful large home and massive warehouse barn combination.
The "landmark" of their farm was the water tower that sat beside their home. Initially the bottom portion was to house fruit pickers and later there were a couple of apartments.
This tower was initially painted white, but weathered over the years. As a young mountain climber my Dad related that on a very clear day he could see the water tower from the top of Mt. Hood. Too bad that important landmark was not saved, as I have never seen one like it anywhere. For those interested there is a photo, taken by my Dad, not too long before it was taken down in the Pat Krussow book on page 64.
Walter Wells & Sons packing house is located just a little southwest of the home on the railroad track.
Charlott on 23rd April 2012 @ 7:08am
Thanks for all of the info Charlott.
The trees almost look like fir to me, but since it is called Pine Grove and lupine prefers pine habitat, they must be pine trees.
It looks like a creek behind the house.
Next time I am going up 35, I will have to pull off at Pine Grove and see if I can find where this photo was taken.
l.e. on 23rd April 2012 @ 7:29am
Hattie looks very happy to be sitting for this picture holding her chicken. What a great glimpse of early Hood River Valley life. Can't wait to see the others.
Connie on 23rd April 2012 @ 7:35am
What on earth is that thing the girl has her left hand on?
db on 23rd April 2012 @ 7:40am
The creek type thing in the back is a natural type cut that went up through there. Now it is where the railroad goes. this gives me a pretty good indication where that house was located. It would have been west of where the present house is and north some ways from Walter Wells and Son's packing house. There was water going through there no doubt and would have been closer for watering livestock.
She has her hand on either a cow or horse, can't figure it out. If you note on the right hand side there is a fence.
Both pine and fir grew abundantly in Pine Grove in that era.
Charlott on 23rd April 2012 @ 8:08am
noticed the fence too! might help w/ location, that's probably on a section or quarter section line. I wonder if the horse moved, caused a blur, makes it look funny. large trees in foreground are doug fir, one behind the girl is a large ponderosa pine. is that a building in the secod photo, under the eave, in the background thru the trees? part of the housing/water tower per chance?
spinsur on 23rd April 2012 @ 9:18am
I would say Hattie Joy has her hand on the family milk cow.
There was some discussion of Albert Mason in photo #183, since his name was at the bottom of the photo.
l.e. on 23rd April 2012 @ 9:42am
Yep, on second look the head of the cow becomes more clear. Wonder what is tied with the rope to the roof support in the second photo. Cute "lap" chicken. Neat photos!
Arlen Sheldrake on 23rd April 2012 @ 10:17am
I'm pretty sure it's a cow. You'll get to see the water tower Charlott mentions later in the week when we move forward a few decades.
Another copy of the photo #183 l.e. mentions appears in this album, so we can be pretty confident it was part of the Liberty Home Orchard operation.
Arthur on 23rd April 2012 @ 10:29am
I put a detail of Ollie and Hattie Joy at flickr so you can see their faces more clearly: http://flic.kr/p/bPZZXv
Arthur on 23rd April 2012 @ 10:37am
Water tower came many years later.
I don't think that is probably a building. If it is it is on the other side of the cut and would not have been on the Mason property.
Charlott on 23rd April 2012 @ 5:08pm
Martin Dragseth bought his property on Mason Road across from what is now the Wells packing house and home. I agree that the water tower came later. I remember seeing it when we first moved here.
f. Ackerman on 23rd April 2012 @ 5:48pm
Hey, Faithy did Uncle Walter buy Mason'[s directly from Mason or was there an owner inbetween? I guess maybe Gary would know.
Charlott on 24th April 2012 @ 5:30am