The Hood River Glacier
Hood River, Hood River County, Or.
The first newspaper in Hood River, Oregon, the Hood River Glacier was established in 1889 by postmaster George T. Prather, who claimed in the issuing number that he was not seeking a fortune in the newspaper business. Playing on the publication’s title, he wrote, “If the little Glacier will slide along slowly and grind out its own expenses we [the publishers] shall be satisfied.” John H. Cradlebaugh, a poet who also worked on the Wasco Sun [LCCN: sn93051664] in nearby Dalles City, served as the paper’s first editor.
Connections to the Sun proved beneficial as the first issues of the Glacier were printed in the Sun newspaper plant. The paper eventually found a plant in Hood River shortly after its establishment, a development that was announced in more than one issue. Cradlebaugh, who became the sole owner, sold the publication to Samuel F. Blyth in July 1894. Blyth expanded the Glacier and later included his son, Edward. By May of 1904, the paper was transferred to Arthur D. Moe, who installed a Simplex typesetter and brought on Joe D. Thomison as editor. The Glacier was eventually bought out by the Hood River News [LCCN: sn83009939] in 1933.
Early issues of the Glacier covered the development of infrastructure in the Hood River area, with articles on irrigation and the need for a reliable water supply appearing frequently. Other regional news included an account of the catastrophic 1899 fire in Seattle that burned 100 acres of the business district and waterfront, a total of 25 city blocks. A 1903 article detailed boundary negotiations between government officials and Yakima Indians. According to the Glacier, the Yakima Indian Reservation should have been more expansive, encompassing territory that was promised in an 1855 treaty.
In 1921, the Glacier reported on the kidnapping of the Millers, a local family, by Luther Fagan, an ex-con, who shot Mr. Miller and abducted his family, threatening their lives as he was pursued by a posse. In an episode that would attract national attention, Fagan was lured into an exposed position and fatally shot by Hermann Pregge, a local orchardist and noted marksman. The Glacier concluded, “The Oregon Parole Board should return fervent thanks to God for the availability of a man like Hermann Pregge.”
Moving beyond local developments, the Glacier covered the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, arguing that it “seems like a harsh measure but the law is necessary and good.” Another issue criticized a New York reverend for stating that the law would be hard to enforce and was an insult to an “accomplished people.” The publishers of the Glacier demurred, “It is passing strange how readily a religious zealot can clothe with imaginary attributes a people whom he desires to inculcate with his doctrine.”
Also featured were fictional stories such as “Her Rival’s Valentine,” which would run as a serial over several issues. Advertisements varied from local services such as George Prather’s Dry Goods and the Glacier Barbershop, to products including Gravely Chewing Plug, Mazola vegetable oil, and Studebakers.
Prepared with reference to:
Turnbull, George S. History of Oregon Newspapers. Portland, Oregon: Binfords & Mort, 1939.
— Written by Daniel Rinn