History

Travel tips from the Willamette Valley led to 1853 tragedy

S Meek & ElliottRAINBOW: Emigrants  who’d been sent for help were themselves rescued in the Eastern McKenzie Valley over 150 years ago. What they endured and the ground they traveled over were brought to life last Friday at the Upper McKenzie Community Center.
Telling their story was Daniel Owen, great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin Owen. As part of the eight-man advance party from the Lost Wagon Train of 1853, Owens crossed the Cascades, passed through the Three Sisters Wilderness and eventually became among the first Euro-Americans to, “Get lost in your neighborhood,” Owen noted.

By Finn J.D. John

White Eagle

Low on the east bank of the river, in the shadow of the Fremont Bridge, stands a narrow brick building that looks like it’s right out of the 19th Century.
It’s not — almost, but not quite. The White Eagle Saloon was actually built in 1905. But it’s one of a tiny handful of watering holes still open today that people were almost certainly shanghaied out of back in the age of sail.
Now owned by the McMenamins brew-pub-and-restaurant chain, it also regularly tops the lists of “most haunted places in Portland” which occasionally appear in the popular press.
“At the White Eagle, the line between this world and the other — and between fact and fiction — seems to have been thoroughly and wonderfully blurred,” writes the author of McMenamins’ official history of the place. “There is more than just good storytelling going on here, though.”

4th annual program will highlight tourist industry’s base

Log Cabin Guides
EUGENE: This year’s McKenzie Memories event will celebrate the history of the River with storytelling, rare historic photos, artifacts, and more. This year’s program ranges from a picture view of historic McKenzie River lodges like the Log Cabin Inn and the lodge at Foley Hot Springs to local storytellers Steve Schaefers, Don Wouda, and Dana Burwell from the McKenzie River Guides Association, founded in 1931.
People attending the event can expect to hear stories about what life was like as a guide in the early 1900s and the guides’ key role in conservation and stewardship of the McKenzie River.

Proposed McKenzie River Interpretive Center

Info Center entrance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New book about Camp Creek community to print soon

Small log truck

CAMP CREEK: Compiling a hundred years of local history has been a task Susan Thomas hopes to wrap up soon. “This whole project,” she recalls, “goes back to 1999 when I was teaching at Camp Creek Elementary, preparing for the school’s 50th anniversary. I started talking to a lot of people and visited with community member Betty Miller.”
Miller, Susan learned, had always wanted to put together some kind of community book that would include some of the photos and facts she’d already compiled. Struck by Susan’s enthusiasm, she passed it on to her.

Doyle HawksEUGENE: “It was a wonderful place to live,” Billie Ruth Rose had to say about the community of logger’s families that once thrived near Quartz Creek on the McKenzie River. “My folks lived there for 20 years. There were probably 100 kids in the area and the mothers mainly stayed home to raise families. It was a good place - like Mayberry without Barney and Andy.”
Rose and Doyle Hawks, also a fellow kid from “Arkyville,” as the camp was called locally, were featured last weekend at the McKenzie Memories presentation in Eugene. Hawks shared some of the history about how the settlement came to be - tracing founder “Whit” Rosborough’s migration from the pine woods of Arkansas and the contingent of workers who followed him when he reestablished his mills in Oregon.
“I grew up with a fishing rod in one hand and a rifle in the other,” Hawks recalled. But he and other boys in the neighborhood had their hands on some tools. Most started working in the woods when they were in the 9th grade, and kept at it until they graduated - planting trees for Rosboro for a dollar an hour.

Dave Quillan

1 - Dave Quillin, McKenzie "Redsides" Ca. 1956.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finn Rock CampFINN ROCK: “I always wondered why they called it a camp,” Billie Rose recalls. “Our folks lived there for almost 20 years. I guess ‘camp’ sort of gave the impression we were transients but we weren’t.”
Billie, her sister Nancy and brother Joe, were part of a gathering of old friends last Saturday who grew up in a community that many of today’s McKenzie Valley residents might never know existed. Their home, the Finn Rock Camp has long roots, stretching back to 1890, when Thomas “Whit” Whitaker Rosborough built a sawmill in Rosboro, Arkansas. After his honeymoon itinerary swung though the Pacific Northwest, Whit had a longing to return. He did that in 1939 when he moved to Springfield, Oregon, and built what a newspaper of that time called the region’s “most modern timber manufacturing plant.” Timber for the mill came from lands he’d purchased up the McKenzie Valley.

Thomson bridgeVIDA: The Thomson “swinging bridge” came down with a splash on Monday. Originally built in the 1930’s the bridge connected south bank residents with the outside world. Crews from Stayton Construction used cable cutters, chainsaws and an excavator to remove the privately owned structure around 10:15 a.m.  in response to safety concerns.

From the November 29, 1985 issue of McKenzie River Reflections - “GOODPASTURE ROAD in 1940’s” Courtesy Vida-McKenzie Neighborhood Watch Newsletter.

When the Goodpasture Bridge was built in 1938 the road only extended 1/2 mile or so beyond the bridge. There were only a few families living on the south side of the river that crossed on swinging foot bridges. Supples were packed, pulled and pushed across the foot bridges too.

HeadlinesBy Finn J.D. John

When the story first hit the newspapers, it all seemed very clear and simple:
An Albina man got drunk and beat up his wife. Her brother went looking for him to teach him a lesson, and brought along a friend who happened to be a police officer. The wifebeater, tracked down at a local saloon, came out shooting, and moments later the innocent, luckless policeman lay dying on the sidewalk as the wife-beating murderer fled into the night.
For newspaper readers on the morning of Dec. 19, 1907, it was like a Vaudeville stage tragedy come to life. There was a good guy – brave, valiant Joseph P. Sivener, on a mission to deliver a much-deserved thrashing to his no-good, wife-beating brother-in-law; a bad guy – Melville Bradley, the aforementioned brother-in-law, whose surly, shifty-eyed mugshot appeared next to the story in the paper; the fair damsel – poor, battered Mrs. Bradley; and an innocent victim: the poor policeman, who was just doing his job when sudden and undeserved death came and bore him away from his devastated wife and four tiny children.

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McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/subscriptions-0. Purchase copies online at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/back-issues-0. Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.