The notes on this one are even mudier than the image.  All is says is “John H. Koberg”.  It came to the museum from the Chamber of Commerce in 1956, so it’s hard to be sure this identification is correct.

We saw Koberg’s “Twentieth Century Truck Farm” in one of the earliest Historic Hood River images.

Here’s Delia Coon’s entry on Mr. Koberg:


John H. Koberg was born in Schleswig, Holstein, Germany, August 26, 1865. His father was an engineer and a machinist. He received a good normal school education, and has always been a reader and seeker after information. When a young man he learned the dry goods business and followed it seven years in his native country.

In 1887 he came to the United States and joined his uncle Hans Lage at Hood River. He was unable to speak a word of English but secured a job in a sawmill, then the mill burned and he lost all his wages. He then worked in The Dalles with Tackman & Company grocers. One year later he went to the redwood country in California then returned and became car inspector for the O.R& N. at Albina until 1892 when he went to Walla Walla and took charge of a wrecking crew for this company. He was married March 21, 1894 to Miss Emma Lage, daughter of Hans and Lena (Hoeck) Lage. In 1895 he came to Hood River and located by purchasing the Stanley home east of Hood River. Their farm on the bank of the Columbia River proved to be very productive. He has made a success of garden truck and early fruits.

In addition he has erected a pavilion and improved his grounds until he has an attractive resort for summer outings, and a beach safe guarded for swimmers.

They have two daughters and two sons. Mr. Koberg now speaks good English and the family is welcomed in all social gatherings.

The newspaper record shows that Koberg was, even for his time, very racist.  He was a leading local voice for the anti-Asiatic sentiments of the early twentieth century, and published numerous letters in the newspaper expounding those views.  Here is an article describing Koberg’s actions in the Hood River Anti-Asiatic League.  This article states their position, and this one describes the national movement to deny property ownership to United States citizens of Japanese ancestry.

It’s not hard to see the connection between these racist views of the 1920s and the more familiar anti-Japanese sentiments and actions of the 1940s.

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