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Wigrich Ranche Photographic Album, circa 1915

By Tiah Edmunson-Morton

Collection Overview

Title: Wigrich Ranche Photographic Album, circa 1915

ID: P 352

Primary Creator: Wigan, Richardson and Co.

Extent: 0.1 cubic feet. More info below.


The Wigrich Ranche (sic) was a hops farm located in Buena Vista, Oregon, approximately 3 miles southeast of Independence in an area that was called the “Hop Center of the World” between 1900 and 1940. The Wigrich Ranche (sic) Album documents the operational and worker activities of the farm.

Scope and Content Notes

The Wigrich Ranche (sic) Album documents the operational and worker activities of the farm.

Included are photographs of Major W. Lewis Rose, farm manager, and portraits of Rose with his wife Charlotte and daughter Winifred in front of their house. Also included are photographs of large drying kilns, storage sheds, and other equipment; the office of the yard boss; the bakery, restaurant, grocery store, market, dance hall, and blacksmith shop; a newly-planted orchard; plants damaged by a wind storm; bales of hops en route to warehouse storage and being loaded on a train at the Wigrich railroad stop; livestock used on the ranch (Jersey and Durham cows, and Poland Chinese and Duroc Jersey boars). Interior shots include a furnace room with a drying kiln; a tram car loaded with hops entering a kiln; men examining the hops harvest; hops stored in a warehouse, and men preparing bread in the bakery to feed the pickers. There are many photographs of workers, including group-portraits of laborers harvesting hops or transporting them to the warehouse; men in a baling pit; a view of a tent camp and grounds; workers waiting for mail delivery at the post office in the grocery store; dressed-up workers at the dance hall; and workers leaving the ranch after harvest to return home via train or automobile. One image shows a group of Armenian laborers of the Arslanien Brothers Contracting Co. training newly-established bines (hop vines) in a field. A series of photos entitled “Twelve Views of the Pickers,” shows seasonal workers divided into twelve groups, many wearing large hats, holding hops plants, pets, bales, etc. Some men are perched on wire fencing. The presence of women and children indicates many seasonal workers brought their families along.

The album is 8” x 12”, with black leather covers and 51 4.75” x 6.75” silver prints mounted on 32 brown leaves. There are 62 photographs. This genre of albums were created to document the operations of businesses; in some cases as a visual record and memento for management, for promotional purposes, or distributed to potential or existing customers.

Biographical / Historical Notes

The Wigrich Ranche (sic) was a hops farm located in Buena Vista, Oregon, approximately 3 miles southeast of Independence in an area that was called the “Hop Center of the World” between 1900 and 1940.

Originally known as the Krebs Ranch, the largest hop farm in the state, it was purchased by English hops merchants Wigans and Richardson in 1911. They called it Wigrich Ranche, the name is a consolidation of Wigan and Richardson. They established a buying office in Salem. In the 1920s, the Wigrich Ranche was said to be the largest hop yard under a single trellis in the world. In 1941, they sold the farm to the Steiner Company, headquartered in New York, and it was renamed the Golden Gate Hop Ranch. It was sold again in 1949 to Herman and Myrtle Moritz and then to Robert Fitts in 1952, who stopped raising hops.

Major W. Lewis Rose, formerly of the British Army, began his work as farm manager in 1913. He was formerly an estate manager in Ireland and in the army with Richardson. He managed the farm until 1928, when he resigned due to ill health; he died in Victoria, B.C. in 1930.

The photographs were taken by the Parker Studio, Salem, Oregon.

Author: Tiah Edmunson-Morton

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: One 9x13 box, 62 photographs.

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: Collection purchased in 2021.

Related Materials:

The Wigrich Ranche Photographic Album is complemented by the Zoller Hop Company Records, Mt. Angel Abbey Hops Photographs (P 349), Hop Growers of America Records, Oregon Hop Growers Association Records, Hop Research Council Records, and Godfrey Hoerner Collection. Also of note are the research reports in the Agricultural Experiment Station Records and Hops Research Reports, which have all been digitized, as well as materials in the Crop Science Department Records (RG 095) and College of Agricultural Sciences Records (RG 158).

The Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives Oral History Collection (OH 35), which includes interviews from industry professionals, journalists and community members. The Brewing and Fermentation Collection (MSS BFRC) consists of materials collected by the OSU Special Collections and Archives Research Center pertaining to the history, growth, and culture of the Pacific Northwest brewing industry, including regional hops and barley farming, commercial craft and home brewing, and craft cider and mead.

The Oregon Hop Grower /Pacific Hop Grower (1933-1940) and The Hopper (1945-1954) are periodicals that supported the growers, brewers, and related industries with articles about crop forecasts and yields, mechanization and technological advances, pests and diseases, research, health, and membership information. They also contain minutes and reports from various state and national grower associations.

The Hop Press: A Memorandum of What's Brewin' newsletter was prepared by Hop Specialist G.R. Hoerner and issued monthly by the Oregon State College Extension Service to provide information on hops and brewing to County Extension Agents in Oregon.

Collections linked to Oregon State University research, as well as other manuscript collections are described on the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives research guide. More information pertaining to the history of hop growing and brewing in Oregon can be found on the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives website.

There is a similar album from Wigrich Ranche at Yale University.

Preferred Citation: Wigrich Ranche Photographic Album (P352), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.


Wigan, Richardson and Co.
Parker Studio (Salem, Or.)

People, Places, and Topics

Hops and Brewing
Hops industry--Oregon.
Natural Resources

Forms of Material

Photograph albums.
Photographic prints.

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: Photographs
The photographs document the fields, facilities, processes, and people involved in the operation. Each photograph in the album has a caption, which is the title of the item. Additional description of photograph provided as needed.
Box-Folder 1.1
Item 1: Major W. Lewis Rose, Manager
Item 2: The Product of the ranche (sic)
Picture of hop clusters.
Item 3: The Wigrich Special
Train carrying pickers.
Item 4: Major Rose and Family
Major W. Lewis Rose, farm manager, with his wife Charlotte and daughter Winifred in front of their house with 2 dogs.
Item 5: Wigrich house
Rose family and other man in front of house, two dogs.
Item 6: General view of the yards
Includes drying kiln.
Item 7: The "upper six" dry-kiln
Kiln with hops being loaded, workers, horses.
Item 8: The "big four" dry kiln
Kilns and stacks of hop sacks on wagons.
Item 9: The bakery
7 adults and one child in front of a building.
Item 10: The restaurant
Woman in the doorway.
Item 11: The grocery store and market
Group in front of store, temporary tent to the side.
Item 12: Office of the yard boss
3 men on a porch, woman in 2nd floor window.
Item 13: The dance hall
Item 14: The blacksmith shop
Man and equipment in front of shop.
Item 15: Hops, galore
Field, unharvested hop bines, 3 full baskets.
Item 16: "Vine down": result of heavy wind storms
Field with pile of bines on the ground.
Item 17: Big load of the season -- 136 sacks
Hops in sacks stacked on a wagon pulled by 2 horses, 2 men.
Item 18: In the furnace room of the dry-kilns
Item 19: Sending green hops to the dry kilns
Item 20: Tram car, entering the kiln
Item 21: Examining hops after drying
Item 22: Dry hops, entering the storage shed
Open car of hops on trestle, 6 men, tents and fields in the background.
Item 23: Testing the hops after drying
Man sniffing hops in front of large pile of hops.
Item 24: 10,000 boxes of dry hops in one pile
Item 25: After the picking is over
Stacks of hop baskets.
Item 26: Pickers leaving the ranche (sic)
Men, women, and a child in and around a car.
Item 27: The "Wigrich Excursion" which returns the pickers to their homes
Item 28: Down in the baling pit
Group of men and horse, loose hops on the ground.
Item 29: Putting the crop into bales
Item 30: Transporting "baled hops" to the warehouse
Bales stacked onto a wagon pulled by horse, two men and a child on bales.
Item 31: Interior view of the warehouse
Bales standing on end on a row.
Item 32: Loading hops on the cars at Wigrich station
Train being loaded with bales, house to the side, sign with "WIGRICH."
Item 33: The accommodation train, Wigrich station
People and supplies being loaded onto Northern Pacific train.
Item 34: Leaving the ranche (sic) with the season's crop
Men standing in front of train on a track.
Item 35: Train leaving Independence, Oregon
Train on track with town in the background.
Item 36: View of campground
Multiple tents with trees around, dog in road.
Item 37: Mixing up bread for the pickers
3 men in a kitchen, large bowls on top of barrels with bread rising in them.
Item 38: Awaiting the daily mail: in the grocery and post office
Group inside at a counter, workers staffing store.
Item 39: Group of pickers: flashlight taken in the dance hall
Item 40: Horses of the W. R. Co.
Horses lined up in front of drying kiln.
Item 41: Jersey and red durham cows of the W. R. Co.
Item 42: Portland China boar: W. R. Co.
Item 43: Duroc Jersey boar: W. R. Co.
Item 44: Ten acres set out to young orchard
Field, house and barns in background.
Item 45: The loganberry patch
Rows of stakes and wires for berries.
Item 46: Blowing up stumps
Item 47: Clearing the land, preparatory to putting in more hops
Item 48: Armenians training the hops, Arslaien Bros., contracting co.
Item 49-60: Twelve views of the pickers, Divisions numbers 1 - 12
Pickers in fields.
Item 61: Views of the Willamette River
Item 62: The boundary line of the Wigrich Ranche (sic)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.