Couple seeks photos of Rhododendron through the years for history book
This year marks the centennial of the Rhododendron community on Mount Hood. For 100 years, people have lived, worked and loved their own slice of the Mt. Hood National Forest and created memories for years to come.
Judi and Steve Graeper want to know about those memories and document them in a new book about Rhododendron's history — so they're seeking photos of people's time in Rhododendron.
Steve's family has owned a Steiner cabin in Rhododendron since 1942, and Judi has also called the community her second home for 45 years. Both have been involved in the Rhody Rising effort to revitalize the community and make those who'd normally speed through the corridor slow down and stop.
"There was a thriving little community here in the 1960s, and it disappeared," Judi said. "Why did all of those things go away? The local residents reminisce about those things and also say 'Why are they gone, and how do we get them back?' We see the speed going through Rhododendron increasing, and we wonder what would get people to slow down and stop."
The couple is hoping their book will aid in the effort to revive the community.
"I started some time ago thinking somebody's got to put together a book on the history of everything here," Judi said. "There was just so much history. Someone has to compile this and write this down."
Though she's been coming to Rhododendron seasonally for decades, Judi thinks of herself as a "newcomer," and hopes those who've lived here and watched it change will have photos they're willing to share.
The Graepers hope to have the book completed and published by Arcadia publishing in time for the tentatively rescheduled Steiner Cabins Tour and Rhododendron Centennial Celebration next summer.
"That's been kind of my driving force, my impetus, is to have it back in time for the postponed celebration," Judi said.
They currently have about 80 photos and are in need of roughly 150 to 220 by January 2021 at the latest. Many of the photos already compiled are of the families of the area, and Judi is still looking for more pictures of the early businesses in the area. Photos contributed should be accompanied by captions detailing who, what, when and where the photo depicts.
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