LIBRARY NOTES: Oct. 11, party like it’s 1913

The bad news about 1913? It was the year that the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, authorizing the federal government to impose and collect income taxes.

The good news about 1913? On Oct. 11 of that year, ground was broken for construction of the Hood River County Public Library.

And on Friday, Oct. 11, of this year, our Library will be celebrating that centennial with a Great Gatsby party at 7 p.m. Revisit the first days of the library with the Ben Bonham Jazz Trio and costumes from the 1920s.

Enjoy finger food, desserts, a no-host bar, kids’ activities and more. There will be prizes for the best costume — though you’re also free to come wearing the casual clothes you enjoy today.


What: Library Centennial

When: Oct. 11, 7 p.m., downtown library

What to wear: Go “Gatsby style.”

The all-ages event includes music, food and a no-host bar.


How did the groundbreaking that’s being celebrated come about, you ask? Well, here’s a brief version of the history we’ll be commemorating:

The Hood River Library Association was formed as early as 1895, and the Hood River Woman’s Club launched the movement for library construction in 1908, petitioning the city for money to buy books for a temporary library in the meantime. The petition was granted and the first library opened its doors in the E.L. Smith Building which still stands on the corner of Sixth and State streets west of the library.

A pivotal event was enactment of state enabling legislation of 1911, which authorized county governments in Oregon to establish levies in support of country library services. In 1912, library supporters in Hood River succeeded in getting an City ordinance passed authorizing vacation of Fifth Street between Oak and State for a building site. The vacated parcel was to augment lots offered for sale by pioneer businessman Ezra L. Smith from his large residential holding.

The dream of a new library building was realized with the help of a Carnegie Foundation grant and it opened in 1914 with a collection of 3,000 books. In 1935 Ezra Smith’s daughters donated the park area north and west of the library to the County in memory of their mother. Georgiana Smith Park, shaded by oaks, conifers, maples, birches and a stately copper beech tree, was then and remains the only green open space of scope in downtown Hood River.

So come and enjoy the party — and think grateful thoughts about its sponsors: Carol’s Country Pies, Columbia Gorge Hotel, Dog River Coffee, Friends of the Library, Hood River Hotel, Husum Highland Bed and Breakfast, Lucy’s Informal Flowers, Rosauers, Taste of the Gorge, Volcanic Bottle Shoppe and Waucoma Bookstore.


For more information contact the Hood River Library District at 541-386-2535 or, or visit

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