Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pugh, Hops, and a Tower in Independence

INDEPENDENCE NATIONAL BANKThe City of Independence once called itself the "hops capital of the world." It turns out that a historic bank, related even to a hops fortune, was designed by Walter D. Pugh. So there you go: That's the beer connection!

In The History of Oregon (1922), Charles Henry Carey writes of that in the late 1880s
H. Hirschberg* entered banking circles, establishing a private bank, which he conducted until January 7, 1889. He then organized the Independence National Bank, of which he has since served as president, with C. A. McLaughlin as the vice president and Ira D. Mix as cashier. The bank Is capitalized for fifty thousand dollars, has a surplus of fifteen thousand dollars and deposits amounting to four hundred thousand dollars. In 1890 Mr. Hirschberg erected a modern bank and office building which the bank has since occupied....On first coming to this county he invested in farm land and has since added to his original possessions, now owning fifteen hundred acres in one body, in addition to other farm property in the county. He is extensively interested in the growing of hops and in 1920 raised from three hundred and fifty acres, a crop valued at one hundred and eighty-three thousand, seven hundred and twenty-eight dollars. He has seventeen hop houses on his land and all modern equipment necessary for the proper production of hops...
Walter D. Pugh designed the bank! It still stands today. I believe it is a Sterling Savings Bank. For a larger photograph see the University of Oregon collection here.

Hops in Independence are making a comeback. Rogue Brewery notes that
The Rogue Nation's Department of Agriculture has entered into a strategic alliance with Heritage Hop Growers, the Coleman Family. The Rogue Hop Farm is on the Willamette River, south of Independence, Oregon on the former John Haas Alluvial Hop Farm. Four varieties are now being planted on 42 acres with an initial harvest in 2009. The four varieties are Perle, Sterling, Horizon, and Centennial. The hops will be processed and baled on the farm.
The historic bank sketch is from The Oregonian's Handbook of the Pacific Northwest By Edward Gardner Jones (1894).

*I didn't try super hard, but I wasn't easily able to find his first name.

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