December 26, 2015
Dale Roberts of Maupin, Terray Harmon and Gary Conley all contributed to this report.
The image above was scanned from a 4 by 5-inch negative from the archives of The Dalles Chronicle.
Casey Roberts worked at the plant as a teenager, and wrote: “The area in the photograph for the History Mystery looks very much like the dock at the west end of what was then the Stadelman Fruit Company packing house.
“Today the packing house is at West First Street and Bargeway Road and is owned by The Dalles Cherry Growers.
“The dock area was used for storing and repairing the used whiskey barrels that Stadelman Fruit Company purchased for use in making Maraschino cherries. I worked in that area for a couple of summers during high school in the mid 1950s. Mostly, I tightened up the hoops using cooperage tools so that the barrel staves were tight enough together to prevent, or at least minimize, leakage.
“Once the bottom head was secured in the barrel and the hoops driven toward the center of the barrel to tighten the barrel for use, each barrel was filled with cherries and a dilute solution of sulfur dioxide in water which served to preserve and bleach the cherries. The barrel was then sealed as the top head was put in place and secured with a top hoop.
“Later, the cherries would be immersed in the coloring and syrup which turned them into Maraschino cherries.
“During the mid 1950s, George Stadelman, Jr., was, I believe, a student at the University of Oregon at the time and during the summers worked in the packing house run by his father. I worked under a man named Jim Goff.
“I don't recall the east side of the roof being open, so I assume that either part of the roof was blown off or, less likely, this was when the roof was being installed.
“Inside the packing house were several conveyors loaded with fresh fruit (cherries for most of the year), alongside of which women (I don't recall any men) would pick individual cherries and hand pack them into boxes for shipping.”
Gary Conley added it must have been “One heck of a windstorm, one that ripped the roof off and made a real mess.”
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