This beautiful image shows Hood River's agricultural experiment station in 1915. Current headquarters of MCAREC (Mid-Columbia Agricultural Research and Extension Center) are just off Tucker Road, so I presumed this house had burned down and been replaced with the current structures. Driving down Tucker Road the other day I did a double take when I noticed this house right at one of the bends in the road. How many times have you passed by this house without noticing it?
This is another one of those wonderful large glass negatives in the museum's collection, so I've had a chance to examine it in very fine detail. The mailbox is clearly labeled "Experimental Station." You can read the "Indian" logo on the motorcycle, the 1915 date on its license plate, and even an "S" monogram on the driver's keychain. As usual I can use some help with the make and model of the car.
This home across from the Catholic Cemetery has been in the Charles Sheppard family for many, many years. Charles Sheppard was, along with his brother William O. Sheppard the founders of Sheppard's, on State Street in Hood River. It is still resided in by Charles' son.
Charlott on 15th September 2011 @ 7:22am
I recognized this house right away as I have noticed it behind the hedge - one of my favorites. I even knew what you were talking about the the "Indian" since the Pickers on TV had quite an episode about finding one buried in a barn recently. I wonder - if this one is buried in someones barn. This image is another true treasure.
Connie on 15th September 2011 @ 7:32am
Agree with Charlott, looks like a Ford Model T roadster Arthur, was the old barn built back then ?
Jim Gray on 15th September 2011 @ 7:36am
Wow -- I notice that house every time I drive by or ride my bike past it. Always wondered its history. And now I know!!
Jim F on 15th September 2011 @ 8:07am
I believe this house was built by the illustrious Capt. Charles Patterson McCan, who in 1910, according to Ruth Guppy in the 1976 Panorama edition of the HR News, "bought 13 acres on the west side, most of it in orchard, from Lee Smith for $17,000, to be used as his country home. This was land on which the Charles M. Sheppard home, still known as 'the McCan house,' is located on Tucker road, opposite the Catholic cemetery. The following week brought news that McCan had paid $30,000 for the 20-acre Heilbronner property adjoining his first purchase.... In addition to his $117,000 property purchases in 1910, McCan imported a $7,000 Lozier touring car, built a race track on his farm and filled his barns with fine trotting horses."
Esther Smith on 15th September 2011 @ 12:28pm
She goes on to say: "The home on Tucker road was sold in late 1913 to J.L. McLean of Portland. It served as the first Horticultural Experiment station here in 1915, then was rented by several families -- LeRoy Childs, Ralph Bennett and Victor Follenius among them -- until J.L. McLean sold the farm to Charlie Sheppard in 1933.
Esther Smith on 15th September 2011 @ 12:30pm
And more: "It was designed by Albert Sutton, a San Francisco architect who had come to live deep in the west hills of the Valley with his twin daughters, because of a custody fight over them. The girls were never without a bodyguard."
(There's a lot more detail about the house, but I'm not sure whether you want it all posted here!)
Esther Smith on 15th September 2011 @ 12:32pm
Esther, great info. Feel free to post more details. That's what the comment section is for.
Arthur on 15th September 2011 @ 3:46pm
OK! Here goes more from Ruth McClain Guppy, 1976 Panorama issue, HR News:
"The main living-dining room has been kept much as McCan enjoyed it, in the classic style with sculptured plaster ceiling decor and open, curving stairway. The patina of 65 years has only increased the satiny gleam of the Italian onyx fireplace. The magnificent crystal chandeliers from Tiffany's still hang.
McCan's master stroke was the commissioning of hand-painted murals which encompass the upper six feet around the main room. It was the first paying work for young Herman Struck, whom McCan had known in his Paris art days. He received $200.
The Strucks' model orchard adjoined McCan's property on the east. The Struck home was in later years the Electric Co-op headquarters. Herman became a successful artist after going to San Francisco.
The murals' pastel shades have faded into a dream-like state, the pastoral scenes gradually emerging as you look -- meadows, trees, horses, sheep, haycocks and country houses.
A patio on the east side of the house had its own fireplace and tiled floor for outdoor living. This has since been enclosed. There is also a fireplace in an upstairs bedroom.
McCan had a Chinese cook for whom he imported a professional chef stove mounted on a brick base, long ago exchanged for a modern range.
Having little taste for fruit growing, McCan had ripped out the 13 acres of young apples to build the race track. Around his new home he planted lilacs imported from France, two hedges of them still growing today, as well as a magnolia tree and other exotic plantings.
The Captain stocked his barns with the finest horses he could buy. In his first year here he purchased the trotting sire The Bondsman in New York for $11,000. The horse would become the nucleus of a string of trotters after McCan left Hood River...
Besides horses, McCan stocked the farm with purebred collies, many cats and a Jersey cow (from Jersey, of course), which Forrest Carter later described as looking like "a structure of lathe with cowskin draped over it." The animals wandered everywhere, to the despair of neighbors.
East of the large barns McCan built a garage for his Lozier, for his Maxwell auto agency and private stalls for his friend's cars. A heavy snow in January 1912 collapsed the roof, causing much damage. The concrete slab for the building could be seen until a few years ago.
The McCan home became the hub of Hood River's high society. Life for the Captain at that time was a lark. Hood River was his toyshop. He impulsively bought whatever appealed to him, played with it a while and then took up another toy. He gambolled across the local scene for three years, living extravagantly and with gusto, a roguish, attractive young man...."
(There's more about McCan himself, which I can add here or wait to post if and when a photo of him surfaces...)
Esther Smith on 15th September 2011 @ 4:12pm
Great info! I checked our database, and we have only one photo in which Captain McCan is identified. It is a meeting with Sam Hill and the "Good Roads Movement." We haven't scanned it yet, but I will post it when we run across it. If it's where it's supposed to be, it should come up in a just a few weeks.
Arthur on 15th September 2011 @ 6:53pm
Thanks; I'll watch for it. Think McCan should be added to the tags? (and add an "l" to agriculture? Sorry; always proofing! If I could I'd edit the errant "z" out of my second post up there!)
Esther Smith on 15th September 2011 @ 7:01pm
Thanks for the copy editing Esther. All fixed. If we're creating an historical record we might as well get the spelling right.
Arthur on 15th September 2011 @ 8:55pm
And within the past recent years a race track was set up for motorcycles with side cars. Some drivers had on the old cap and goggles which made it even more traditional looking.
nels on 16th September 2011 @ 10:32am
Arthur your closeup of the car still looks like an early teens Ford Model T, noted on mail box it seems to say Experimental Station instead of Experiment Station.
Jim Gray on 16th September 2011 @ 4:38pm
Thank you so much for the history Esther. This has always been one of my favorite homes.
Years ago, I stopped one summer day to buy corn. There was a flatbed trailer parked between the house and barn, piled with ears of corn and a for sale sign.
l.e. on 16th September 2011 @ 8:24pm
It is not a race track that is set up, it is a class for people learning to ride with a side car. The class is given by Vernon Wade of Adventure Sidecar.
Jane on 6th October 2011 @ 7:37pm
Many thanks to Esther for contributing this factual history of the "aristocratic " history of Hood River. Fortunately I listened to my parent's tales of those times and have fond memories.
Bill Pattison on 8th October 2011 @ 7:30pm
Believe it or not in my era there were car races out there by teenagers.
Charlott on 19th October 2011 @ 12:19pm
...God bless Ruth Guppy~~~~
Phil Jensen on 19th October 2011 @ 10:30pm
I just came across this same photo published in the July 11, 1952, Hood River News. The caption identifies the men in the photo, which might be useful:
"The present Chas. Sheppard home on the secondary highway served for two years as temporary quarters of the Hood River Experiment station. In this picture, taken in 1915, are J.R. Winston (left), then plant pathologist at the station and now with the USDA in Florida, and Leroy Childs (right), then entomologist at the station and for many years after the Hood River station superintendent."
Esther Smith on 9th July 2012 @ 11:19am
Esther mentions artist Herman Struck whose family immigrated from Germany to eventually move to the Hood River Valley in 1902.
Herman has an autobiography:
l.e. on 15th February 2013 @ 10:29pm
Thank you! This is lovely. Herman Struck was my grandfather. He met his wife Jahney (my grandmother) in Paris after the war. Herman's autobiography was posted by my cousin Michael, and we are still in the San Francisco Bay area.
Jeane Struck on 7th August 2015 @ 8:12pm
A Hood River Glacier article on plans for building the house can be found at the following site :
Jeffrey Bryant on 31st October 2015 @ 9:49pm
McCan was an enthusiastic sportsman. He bought and showed expensive horses, and even a biplane in 1910, as shown in the following Glacier link.
Jeffrey Bryant on 21st November 2015 @ 8:07am