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Book on Rhododendron is at the photo finish posted on 12/01/2020

Judi Graeper had originally planned to have a book celebrating the history of Rhododendron published for the community’s centennial celebration in August. But in the age of COVID-19, not to mention how life can also throw a few curveballs, neither the book nor the celebration made the target date.


“Even if August happened, the book wasn’t going to be ready,” Graeper said.

Now, Graeper expects the book, which will be published by Arcadia Publishing, to be finished in March, but still hopes for a little assistance in gathering more photos to be included. The pandemic has forced area museums to close, making finding and accessing historical photos incredibly challenging.

Graeper noted that she has collected a good number of photos from people who come from families who lived or visited in Rhododendron in the past, but a consistent theme keeps coming up.

“Part of the problem is, many of them say, ‘We didn’t have a camera, so we have no pictures,” she said.

Graeper added that her focus now is to find more photos of businesses from earlier in Rhododendron’s history, including the Begonia Garden, Gadwood’s Market, Barlow Road Furniture Company and the liquor store.

The end result will be a book featuring up to 270 photos and more than 100 pages long, similar to ones on the Mount Hood National Forest and Timberline Lodge also published by Arcadia.

Chapters in the book, which will include a large number of photos with detailed captions, will feature aspects of Rhododendron’s history, including businesses, landmarks such as Tollgate 5, notable moments like the 1964 flood, and significant people, such as the last tollgate keeper, Arlie Mitchell, and the Native Americans who utilized the area long before settlers arrived.

Graeper noted that photos need to be high resolution and that she cannot use any photos from newspapers, unless an original photo can be obtained.

The book will tentatively be available next summer when the Rhododendron Community Planning Organization hopes to celebrate the centennial plus one year.

Copies are also expected to be available at the Mount Hood Cultural Center and Museum, the Sandy Historical Society Museum and elsewhere in the community.

If you have historical photos of the community of Rhododendron that can be used for the book, please email Judi Graeper at jgraeps@comcast.net.

By Garth Guibord/MT





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