Mt. Hood Town Hall History
Our Roots: Serving the Upper Hood River Valley
The Mt. Hood town hall has long been the center of its community–first as a school and now as a thriving community center. For more than 100 years this dear old building has served us well.
The Mt Hood Towne Hall Association was incorporated in 1985 as a 501(c)(3) non profit organization. The purpose of the association is to restore and maintain the Mt Hood Town Hall and to operate it as a community center for the Upper Hood River Valley. The association has a volunteer board of directors and appreciates (and relies on) the strong continuing community support (donations, building rentals, volunteers, instructors, etc.).
- The Mt. Hood School was designed and built by Lou Baldwin. Completed in December of 1914, it cost only $4,850.
- The school originally had only two rooms but was expanded in two additions until it reached its current size. 1926–kitchen and dining room in the basement and two additional classrooms above. 1932–gym and stage.
- Francis Rose, a teacher at the school, and a group of mothers (one of the first PTOs in the valley) organized the first school hot lunch program in the valley.
- The building served as an elementary school from 1915 until it was closed due to district consolidation in 1961. Mt. Hood area residents vehemently opposed the closing of the school.
- The building was privately owned by the Dougherty’s and served as a church until it was bought at the urging of area residents by the Hood River County board of commissioners in 1973. The agreement to purchase the building included the stipulation that no county funds would be involved in its operation or renovation. The volunteer Mt. Hood Towne Hall Association then formed to manage and improve the building and grounds.
- The Mt Hood Town Hall (MHTH) became a community center for the upper valley and has been maintained through the years by a volunteer board of directors with the help of many in the community.
- In 2004 we entered a phase of extensive renovation, thanks to the help of some very dedicated volunteers and the support of the local community and area grantors. Major grants were received to address the building’s failed infrastructure–plumbing, heating, electrical, roofs, bathrooms and to add an all abilities/accessible ramp from the back parking lot.
- In 2014, the MHTH celebrated its 100-year birthday with a grand summer BBQ event. The goal of the present board of directors is to become self-sustaining, with support of fund-raising.
- In celebration of the 100 years, the MHTH board organized the centennial improvement project, and received several grants to renovate the building and grounds. A new playground was added and the old tennis court was converted to pickle ball and extra parking space. The kitchen was renovated into a high end commercial space. The interior and exterior of the building was painted and new energy efficient windows replaced all existing windows. The grounds were updated to include landscaping and a healthy front lawn.
- The MHTH now has a staff of two: a part time building manager and part time caretaker but still relies on volunteers for its board of directors and for doing much of the operation, renovation and maintenance.