Nestled between Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams inside the Gorge along the Oregon-Washington state line rests a hidden hideaway filled with snowy cliffs and cascading waterfalls. Founded over 211 years ago, Hood River, Oregon was first discovered by Lewis and Clark in 1805. They discovered the area that sits right near the Barlow Road, a road which pioneers traveled on to head up to the Oregon Trail and over Mt. Hood to what’s known as the Columbia River Gorge Highway. The two expeditioners quickly set up camp, nicknaming the site “Waucoma,” which means “place of big trees.” The campsite went on to earn many different names since its beginning. It was once known as “Labeasche River,” named after Francis Labiche, a French-Canadian waterman. Other historical sources have reported it as “Dog River,” but that name was quickly shot down by Mrs. Mary Coe, who was the wife of a well-known pioneer and landowner in the region, Nathaniel Coe. Mrs. Coe was finally successful in presenting the town with its final name, Hood River, which was fitting based on its close proximity to Mt. Hood.
Hood River, Oregon
The Coe Family was not only responsible for giving this town its name, but they also played a central role in Hood River’s economic growth. As the original owners of a 319-acre government land grant, they were the first farmers of the region’s fruit trees. Apples were the fruit the choice from 1890 to 1920, helping to put Hood River on the map until a terrible freeze killed the crop, but hope was not lost for the region. From apples to pears, farmers swapped out the trees and found success. Hood River is still known as one of the world’s leading producers of Anjou pears with more than 15,000 acres of orchards that are responsible for 45 percent of the United States’ winter pear crop.
Among the beautiful mountain scenery and between the orchards, you’ll find Hood River’s other token to fame: wind. Often referred to as the “Windsurfing Capital of the World,” Hood River became a hot-spot for adrenaline junkies between the 1980s and 1990s. Not only was the area’s sweeping winds great for windsurfing and kiteboarding, but the area quickly caught the attention of aviation and design specialists from around the world. Hood River saw massive growth in companies creating a variety of surfing components such as carbon fiber masts. The innovation continued to help shape the windsurfing industry in addition to leading the way towards the creation of a very important invention that, at the time, none of the designers could have even begun to imagine: the unmanned aerial vehicle, better known as a “drone.” Soon companies such as Boeing flocked to the area that was quickly becoming a major technological hub.
Scenic Hood River
Today, the scenic town just an hour outside of Portland still beckons engineers, recreational enthusiasts, and other visitors from all around the globe. With a population of 7,400, there are over 400 thriving businesses including wineries, distilleries, breweries, taverns, trout farms, mountain resorts, golf and country clubs, art studios and much more. Hood River is one place that remains true to its roots while still staying on the cutting edge of modern business and innovation.