While putting away materials from the History on Tap exhibit we came across the interesting story of Joseph Earl Krauger and his Salem-based Hop Basket Manufacturing Company.

This hops basket, pictured above, has a fading stencil mark on the side that reads: J.E. Krauger, Salem, Ore.  While the exhibit illustrated to us the economic power of the hops industry, we hadn’t really considered the associated industries, like basket manufacturers, that also benefited from hops cultivation in the valley.

The J.E. Krauger Hop Basket Company was started by Joseph Earl Krauger around 1928.  His shop, which doubled as his residence, was located at 1025 N. Commercial St. in Salem.  They specialized in making wooden hop baskets, but also provided hops scoops and Quassia Wood Chips (we’re not quite sure what these were used for back in the twenties and thirties, but you can still by this tropical product today).

[1]  The business thrived at the same location for twenty years.[2]

Krauger was born in Foster, Linn County, Oregon on November 13, 1895, the son of Gus A. and Elizabeth K. Krauger.[3]  By 1917, he had moved to Tacoma, Washington, and was working as a waiter at Sheldon’s Lunch counter.  His WWI draft card, signed in 1917, indicates three years prior military service in the Oregon National Guard with the 5th Company, Coast Artillery Corps.  By 1920, Krauger was back home in Foster.  A 28 year old, dark haired, dark eyed Krauger married soon after.[4]  Krauger died November 21, 1950.[5]

[1] 1928-1929 Polk’s City Directory.

[2] The last city directory reference we could find was 1949.  No reference to the J.E. Krauger Hop Basket Company was listed in the 1951 City Directory and we don’t have the 1950.

[3] WWI Draft Card, 1920 US Federal Census.

[4] 1920 US Federal Census, 1930 US Federal Census, WWI and WWII Draft Cards.

[5] Oregon Death Index.