I believe this is the aftermath of a fire at a vinegar factory.
For much of Hood River's history vinegar factories co-located with fruit storage facilities along the railroad tracks. Fruit which wasn't high enough quality to ship to market could be converted to vinegar by fermenting it and then boiling off much of the water and alcohol. It's probably not too surprising that an industrial process like this resulted in some of Hood River's more spectacular blazes. The loss to the company was significant, but it gives us a unique view into the operations of this factory.
Category: [Downtown Hood River]
It is definitely down low, due to the buildings up on the hill side. I don't know that much about making vinegar, but know there are tons of uses for it.
Are those two big metal things on the left boilers of some type? That thing to the right of it looks like a "moonshiners still." No doubt used in the process.
Wonder if that was a "smelly" fire???
charlott on 16th April 2014 @ 7:03am
I tried to check around and see if I could find a vinigar fire. I don't think this is the Kelly Bros. fire that we saw in an earlier photo. I think this had to be earlier than that one.
charlott on 16th April 2014 @ 7:09am
When I first opened this up, I thought, "There's that fire again."
But this is an earlier fire.
Wonder how many fruit flies burned.
l.e. on 16th April 2014 @ 7:31am
From the history of the HR First Baptist Church:
1915: How the heart of the church leaped for joy
when Secretary Wright said that two families of useful workers, the
Bennett’s and Olmsted’s, from the Hinson Memorial Church in Portland
were coming to Hood River to operate a vinegar plant for the A. G. A.
1932: After the bank failure, the operation of the vinegar plant was
suspended and the Olmsted’s and Bennett’s were forced to leave Hood
River. They had been good supporters.
l.e. on 16th April 2014 @ 7:41am
From "Chicago Packer, 16 May 1925"
Vinegar Plant Destroyed in Hood River Fire .
Hood River , Ore ., May 15 . ”Fire which for a time Sunday morning menaced the entire cold storage properties of the Apple Growers Association along the O .-W . R . & N . Railroad tracks here , destroyed the plant of the Hood River Apple , Vinegar Company and the apple . storage and supply warehouse of Kelly Brothers , local apple shippers , entailing a loss in excess of $ 200 , 000 . The fire started from some undetermined cause ln the boiler room of the big vinegar plant , engaged at the time in the manufacture of fruit pectin , a jelly-making substance . The vinegar concern , in which many local orchardists held stock , was managed by C . J . Calkin , who founded the business 18 years ago . Mr . Calkin was unable to state Sunday night whether his company will rebuild . Orchardists generally expressed hope that the plant would be replaced , as they will feel the loss in disposing of their cull apples . The vinegar plant loss , which included 250 , 000 gallons of vinegar , will reach $ 175 , 000 , it is said . Kelly Brothers estimated their loss at $ 30 ,- 000 . Both concerns , it was declared , are well protected by Insurance . Kelly Brothers will rebuild at once .
l.e. on 16th April 2014 @ 7:56am
The only intellectual discourse I might add, although somewhat irrelevant to this photo, is that we used to have fun when kids shooting drunk rats that were feeding on cull fermenting fruit they used to stockpile on the old highway.
Buzz on 16th April 2014 @ 9:55am
Not sure that they would have boiled the vinegar to get rid of either alcohol or water. The normal process for making cider vinegar is to first make hard apple cider (yeast transforms the sugars in apple juice into ethanol) then Acetobacter bacteria is introduced and the cider goes through a secondary fermentation where the ethanol (alcohol) is turned into acetic acid (the thing that makes vinegar sour). The alcohol left after that fermentation is negligible. In my home cider making experience, the vinegar tends to be too acidic (higher than the 5% of store bought vinegar) so you need to dilute down with additional water if anything. Not sure what the boiler was for. . . alcoholic fermentation stops if it gets too hot (shouldn't be hotter than a nice spring day) and acetic fermentation is enhanced more by oxygen than heat (commercial vinegar is made in just a couple of days because they use super aeration systems). Could it have been a boiler to run some sort of steam engine?
Heather on 16th April 2014 @ 10:38am
Not sure where I got the idea the vinegar needed to be concentrated by boiling. I know much commercial vinegar production is Pasteurized, so perhaps that's the reason for the boilers.
Buzz gets the prize for the best comment of the month with his story about shooting drunk rats.
Arthur on 16th April 2014 @ 11:04am
Not only was Buzz's comment the best....it was also intellectual!!!.
Thanks for the laugh.
I'm not sure how they made pectin, but wouldn't you boil for that? Seems like you would reduce the water in the apples until you had the thick syrupy pectin.
One time when I had the flu and kept throwing up, someone told me to peel an apple, cook the peelings until I had a thick pectin syrup and drink it.
All it did was make what came back up, thicker.
l.e. on 16th April 2014 @ 11:47am
Yes, Arthur, I think you are right on the boiler being used for pasteurizing. Unpasteurized or homemade vinegar often gets a "mother of vinegar" on top--kind of looks like a floating slime mold. Visually unsettling but completely harmless.
Heather on 16th April 2014 @ 1:14pm
I am curious where this is. Could it be down by the ruins? Or is it over by the big cold storage building?
I bet that concrete wall is still extant, in some form.
AndyB on 16th April 2014 @ 1:30pm
If l.e.'s research is correct, and it is an AGA fire, then the Vinegar building was just east of the Big 7 building at what is now Seventh and Industrial. Not sure who the tenant is now, Port of HR building, Shred Alert was in there a while back. "Chicago Packer, 16 May 1925" - amazing!
And of course a tip o' the hat to Arthur and crew for the work to get these up, but I'd also like to offer one to l.e.,Charlotte, Buzz, Rawhyde, and all the others who have put their knowledge, and sleuthing skills to work to add an immense amount of background to the photos! Nicely done folks, take a bow!
spinsur on 16th April 2014 @ 1:43pm
The 1916 Sanborn map has a vinegar factory along the tracks between 6th and 7th, on "Railroad" (now Industrial) Street. I believe the Big 7 building was built on the site.
The map shows a tank and boiler layout very similar to this. The Sanborn map indicates "BLR USED FOR EVAPORATING". It also indicates the second boiler to the right was "FOR BOTTLE WASHING".
While I'm looking at the Sanborn, it indicates a 2 1/2 story building and a sub basement on the right side. The sub basement was for storage and coopering, the basement for storage tanks, receiving and bottling on the 1st floor, and warehousing on the 2nd.
I don't understand the road in the foreground-- if this is the same vinegar factory it should be a railroad spur. More research needed.
Arthur on 16th April 2014 @ 2:16pm
Also, there was a previous posting of the vinegar factory:
Arthur on 16th April 2014 @ 2:28pm
Looks like a house on the hill in the far left of the picture. Does this help anyone in placing where this vinegar factory was?
Longshot on 16th April 2014 @ 2:55pm
I'd like to suggest that the huge, banded cylinder behind and between the vertical and horizontal tanks is the watering tank for railroad steam engines. And the dark black canon-like thing at the bottom of the tank, aimed up and a little to the east, is the water spout, which was in the 'rest' position. The railroad rails would have been on this side of the tank, whether it was the mainline or spur. Or maybe the tank held vinegar, and they loaded tank cars with it.
PK on 16th April 2014 @ 3:43pm
Where else can you read the history of drunk rats.
In the photo #35 Eldon Bradly is mentioned.
He married Gretchen Calkins daughter of Charles Jacob Calkins mentioned in the Chicago Packer article. They left off the (s).
Bradley was the bookkeeper at the vinegar factory and there is suppose to be more information about him in a book "History of Hood River County, Oregon 1852-1982." by the HR County Historical Society. page 128.
Bradley is also featured in photo http://historichoodriver.com/index.php?showimage=240 with the fire engine.
l.e. on 16th April 2014 @ 3:50pm
American Vinegar Industry and Fruit Products Journal vol. 1 1921
This is an old story told by the present writer in The Country Gentleman at the time but it embodies a principle that is still working in the vinegar industry The stranger was Charlie Calkins who had dropped off a train at Hood River Oregon some years before that.
Hood River is a famous box apple town where the Spitzenberg and yellow Newton Pippin are grown. Charlie Calkins had been a wholesale grocery salesman and knew good vinegar. Somebody started a little vinegar factory in Hood River with a few thousand gallons capacity to use up culls. But it hadn’t been a success. Charlie Calkins took hold, set to work and learned how to make good vinegar, and by cleanliness in raw material and operations, chemical control of alcohol and acid reactions, filtration and ageing he eventually turned out a product that made its own market, selling at an average premium of five cents a gallon. The factory not only grew to four hundred thousand gallons capacity, but a large evaporating plant was installed to turn the better grade culls into a more profitable product.
l.e. on 16th April 2014 @ 4:02pm
I've looked through all the vinegar factory photos. While Hood River only had one vinegar factory, it grew rapidly and changed all the time. Our oldest photo is a single small wood building in 1907. By the time it burned in 1925 it spanned Industrial Street with buildings on both sides and an elevated connection. After looking at different angles on the fire, I think we're looking at the evaporator building on the south side of the street. The main facility on the north (against the tracks) was also totally destroyed. I'll need to post some of these other pictures later.
Arthur on 16th April 2014 @ 5:21pm
Turtle Island is 601 Industrial, wonder if this is in that location considering the road, I would guess, is Industrial/Railroad.
AJ on 16th April 2014 @ 7:55pm
This is hard to decipher. It is from the Sept. 1918 Oregon News and I think indicates a Hood River vinegar mill destroyed by fire.
"Sept. 18. On the first day of its tour of the state the "yellow demon" shook hands with $205,000 and butted Into a. cam paign of Incendiarism that Hood River valley people believe to be pro- Uerman work tor discouraging sub scription to the fourth Liberty loan. Within the last tew daya a sawmill engaged In the manufacturing of boxes tor the shipment ot apples, a vinegar mill designed to utilize the waste apples from the great or chards under the shadow of Mount Hood, and a creamery where dozens ot farmers get their ready cash be tween seasons have 'been destroyed by fire. In at least two cases the owners have positive proof that the build Ings were set on fire, and no other motive than to embarasg the bond Issue1 has been discovered. Hood iR,lver growers stand to make a most successful cleanup from ap ples it they can get to the market."
l.e. on 17th April 2014 @ 12:06am
Sorry, this makes a lot of reading, but much of HR's early employment and history is tied up in this vinegar, cider pectin and dried apple mill.
Nelson Emry came to HR in 1901. He and his father built the first cider and vinegar mill in the area.
In the Mt Hood RR National Register of Historic Places it says C.J. Calkins started plans for opening a vinegar factory, the Hood River Apple Vinegar Company, in August of 1909.
There is evidently an article about it in the HR News August 11, 1909
The corporate name, Hood River Apple Vinegar Co. was filed July 18, 1908.
He made big improvements in 1913 and the evaporator was a big investment.
"Evaporator at Hood River. The Hood River Vinegar company, that now manufactures about 100 carloads of cider and vinegar each year, will erect a large apple evaporating plant in connection with the vinegar factory. It la expected to build the evaporator with enough capacity to care for all tin- apples of the cooking and Q grades us well as the regular cider apples."
"The Hood River cider and vinegar recently completed its apple crushing operations for the season The season's run the heaviest in the history of the plant…..The company makes plans to expand. "
There was a lawsuit in 1914 and a larger lawsuit in 1924.
Douglas Pectin Corp. (manufacturers of Certo) wins injunction suit against Hood River Apple Vinegar Co. for infringing patents.
But then, the New York company contracted with HR to manufacture their jelly making substance and market it under the brand name Certo.
The link tells about the lawsuit and also the process of making pectin. You would definitely have needed boilers.
I have found no indication that the vinegar plant was moved since 1908.
Charles Jacob Calkins passed away in HR in 1929. So far, no information about the plant after the fire. It must have put a lot of people out of work.
l.e. on 17th April 2014 @ 7:51am
Oh...and did I mention there is a 1917 Benjamin Gifford photo of the HR Vinegar Company?
l.e. on 17th April 2014 @ 7:55am
I have a bottle from Hood River apple vinegar co. Cider soda water vinegar. What year did they made the cider soda water vinger. Mosier had a plant that made cider vinger. How rare is the bottle.
ed walston on 17th April 2014 @ 6:01pm
If anyone is interested in buying a bottle from this factory I found one in somewhat rough shape but still a cool item. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651 398 3114
Debra on 7th June 2015 @ 2:09pm