King of hops: The legacy of Herman Klaber

Jay Hicks

From 1952 to 1958 our family lived in the Boisfort area. There was still a general store near the end of what is now Hubbard Road. That was the wide spot in the road still called Klaber. We lived at the other end of this road which was then called Hicks Hill Road whenever there was a notice on the radio that the school bus would not be going up to pick us up. I had heard stories of the Klaber couple dying in the sinking of the Titanic, but now I know the true story. Across the road from the Klaber store was a farm where my father worked. At that time there were large fields of cucumbers. The owner of the farm had even invented a harvesting machine on which the workers would lie and be driven over the fields to pick the cucumbers and put them on a conveyor belt that delivered them to a container on the machine. It was much easier that carrying a bucket through the rows to pick the cucumbers and then take them back to a sack at the end of your row. During the time before harvest, my mother was one of the women who hoed the weeds out of the cucumber fields. It was also interesting to find out that I attended the oldest school in the state, but we moved in nearer to Chehalis and then down to the Columbia Gorge where I graduated from Stevenson High School.


What a great story. Michele Hulbert indeed has a great respect for Hernan Klaber. I've come to know Michele as I am a realtor assisting in her quest to pass the amazing home to another generation. Michele designed an impeccable 5000 square foot home that sits deservingly on the original Klaber homesite. If he were alive, Herman would be honored to live there himself. Klaber hops still rise there every year in Klaber honor.--Stan Giske Century 21 Lund, Realtors
What an informative article! I ran across it in a genealogy search as I was looking for Dorothy Danhauser. I didn't realize that she had been murdered in San Francisco. That's the kind of family news that Mom generally tells me about. Gertrude Klaber, Herman's wife, was my Great Aunt. I knew her growing up in San Francisco and she came to my birthday parties when I was young. (She passed away when I was 6.) What is surprising to me and my 88 year old mother is that the Klabers were so wealthy. Aunt Gertie lived in a nice apartment house in San Francisco, travelled to hot springs near San Francisco for vacations, also to Hawaii and Europe, but never put on airs. It's hard to imagine her as the wife of a hops tycoon and successful businessman.