Just wanted to start off the new post with a photo I captured. I am mesmerized with this amazing image from a few years back, taken in our Beloved Bandon-by-the-Sea.
Just wanted to start off the new post with a photo I captured. I am mesmerized with this amazing image from a few years back, taken in our Beloved Bandon-by-the-Sea.
Today seems like a good day for reflection… We are nearing the completion this spring of 7 complete years of happy little Jefferson Backroads Publishing… April will officially start our exciting 8th year, promising to be full of fun new ideas and local Old School American treats…
“Who knows where the time goes?” Yes, this is such a heart-wrenching and hauntingly beautiful song title from my childhood, thanks to the beautiful rendition by Judy Collins. I honestly and sincerely cannot listen to it to this day without crying… it is just so thought provoking, deeply beautiful and extraordinary.
Attaching a few photos from this day’s NICE long early winter snow storm seems fitting… It was snowing at first light and the snow continues still… My 16 year old barn cat is snug, fluffy and warm in her beloved outdoor wild world and my little delicate doggy is happy to be up against a toasty indoor stove. Both these sweet little girls have a few years under their belts… how DOES the time fly by so fast?
I have piles of fabric and materials scattered all around my home as we speak, sparkling for my imagination and enticing my creative dreams to emerge from the iron, sewing machine and scissors… Why not find a piece of fabric with some similar cool colorful designs and create some “memory squares” for your kids or grand kids to play memory games with?
This Autumn I became a lot more interested in feeding and watering our wild song birds and other local birds… now it is a new passion of mine. I have two superb windows in my creative workshop and both are loaded with views of hundreds of tiny birds, seed filled bird feeders and trees and bushes for them to flock to and rest in. I am on a new treasure hunt of natural material bird feeders and even have a couple ideas in my crazy brain for bird feeders I am going to build.
Trial and error has proven to me also that my heart-warming collection of wind-chimes don’t bother the birds unless there happens to be a hurricane blowing through our mountains… and so I have intertwined stunning wind-chimes with the bird feeders. What more could I ever ask for?
I love each of our four magically distinct seasons. There is always something for me to happily do or learn or create.
Story by Hank Nelson of Wasilla, Alaska
New Alaskan 1989
Reprinted with Permission
From the beginning, O.K. Joe was born to be a logger. It is academic now but there was a time in Joe’s youth when his fate might have been otherwise. Joseph Otteson Knutsen was born into a very wealthy Bostonian family. His mother, Elizabeth, was a pianist of some worth and her husband, Knute, was a first-rate baritone. Elizabeth Knutsen gave Joe his long name hoping it might inspire him to become a world renowned musician, but he did not have an ounce of musical ability. Merely singing “Happy Birthday” was a social embarrassment. What did interest young Joe was the life of a lumberjack. Two summers spent with Uncle Fritz in a Maine logging camp took care of that. It was only a matter of time until Alaska… the last frontier for tramp loggers… lured Joe north.
In Ketchikan, Joe hired out and hitched a ride on a float plane to a logging camp. Tom Moran, the camp boss, wise to the ways of tramp loggers, met Joe at the dock. Joe stepped off the plane wearing a sheepish grin and clutching a gray duffel bag. “Whatcha got there, friend?” Tom inquired. “Now don’t tell me it’s a sack of Christmas bells I hear tinkling. What’s the name?”
“Joseph Otteson Knu. . .”
“Hold it, hold it,” he said, lifting up his hand. “Ya got anything shorter’n that?”
“Okay, Joe. Let’s have’er.” Tom snapped his fingers.
Joe held the duffle bag close to his heart. Tom pointed to the plane. He was about to speak to the pilot, when Joe gave in.
“Okay… here it is. Just a stiff one or two for after work.”
The camp boss looked into Joe’s duffle bag and then back at Joe. “Looks like you brought enough with you this trip for a good many stiff ones! Okay, Joe, report to the bull cook and… THESE will be waiting for you at the office. You can pick ‘cm up at the end of the job.” Those who witnessed the event remembered. From that day Joseph Otteson Knutsen was simply known as O.K. Joe.
Now it was several years later and Joe was at another camp on Prince of Wales Island. Each day the snow line was creeping, inch by inch, down the flanks of the mountains. The countryside seemed laden and expectant, waiting only for nature’s command to begin winter. O.K. Joe started thinking of things like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and shutdown! The weeks passed. The snow came and drove the loggers from timberland. O.K. Joe and his brethren flew to town to begin waiting for the spring startup.
O.K. Joe walked along the sidewalk on his way to the mission. The sky was sullen gray. It was morning and Ketchikan was coming to life. The prospect of a long, inactive winter chilled him. Christmas and getting together with everyone for the traditional dinner at the mission was the lone, bright spot for Joe. He had done this each Christmas for the past 10 years, and looked forward to the occasion. However, this year would be different. Word had come to him that his old pal, J.C. Carlson, had been killed in an automobile accident up north. J.C. had always played his fiddle at the Christmas dinner. He would be missed.
Christmas was less than a week away but he was not in a holiday mood. He was flat broke! His last paycheck and bonus checks were gone. They had filtered through his fingers like dry sand. Even his unemployment compensation, usually a breeze, had hit a snag and was delayed. Being broke at Christmas time was pure misery. Joe decided he’d volunteer to help the mission gather toys and clothing for distribution before Christmas. The holiday season was in full swing. Displays and Christmas decorations adorned the shopping mall. Sounds of Christmas carols playing over loudspeakers added to the festive mood, but the gleaming gifts on display might just as well have been from a different world. They were for other folks who could afford them.
O.K. Joe walked on past to the downtown area, past the saloons and Pawnshops. Then he saw it! Ahead of him, crumbled up, lying on the middle of the sidewalk, was a bill! Instinctively, Joe quickly glanced around. Without losing stride, he bent down and scooped up the money. He walked quickly down the street and pushed the bill deeper into the pocket of his trousers. No one rushed up to him. Joe stopped, then carefully withdrew the money. It was a new crisp twenty dollar bill.
Now that he was unexpectedly prosperous his mind explored avenues of possibilities. What O.K. Joe wanted most was a stiff drink, but he knew what the first drink would lead to… and twenty dollars would not go far. A bottle of cheap wine would be more like it. As he toyed with these alternatives, he reminded himself of his vow to stay sober during the Christmas season. O.K. Joe had been the recipient of a gift, for whatever the reason. Somehow, it didn’t seem right to squander it. He stuffed it back into his pocket. The sooner he was out of town, out of temptation’s way, the better off he’d be.
O.K. Joe began walking then he stopped abruptly. He couldn’t believe his eyes! There behind the plate glass window of Klever Mueslix’s Pawn Shop was J.C. Carlson’s violin with a “For Sale” sign on it. He opened the pawnshop door. A tinkling bell, attached to the top of the front door, summoned the proprietor. His grim face reflected a “don’t bother me unless it concerns business” attitude. “What can I do for you?” he mumbled, as a man who had posed the same question a million times before. His eyes sized up O.K. Joe. To Klever Mueslix, he looked like a man down on his luck and about to ask a favor. He braced himself.
O.K. Joe cleared his voice. “I was just wondering about the fiddle you got propped up in the window.”
“You interested in buyin’ it?”
“No… I was just wonderin’ about the guy who left it here. It’s just like the one a friend of mine, J.C. Carlson, owned. I never thought I’d see his fiddle in a pawnshop.”
“Look, I don’t ask questions. People come in wantin’ money… for one reason or another. They fill out a form that makes it legal, in case it’s stolen goods, and I give ’em the dough. When sixty days is over I got a legal right to sell it. Could be the ‘fella’s name was Carlson. I don’t ask questions and I don’t run a charity.”
Later Joe spoke to Father O’Cain and told him about the fiddle. O’Cain nodded and added, “Yes, Mueslix is a hard man. He’s successful and owns a lot of property, but I’m afraid there isn’t a whole lot of charity in the man.” There were still nearly two days left before Christmas. O.K. Joe thought hard about J.C.’s fiddle. It had meant a lot to him. It wouldn’t be right if a stranger bought it; Maybe he could talk to Klever and work a deal. Joe walked down the avenue, along the waterfront. The sun had come out and though its orb was low, Joe welcomed its cool warmness.
Klever was not happy to see him. “Look here, your buddy’s already been here twice today an’ I’ll tell you the same thing I told him, I’m not running a charity. I’m running a business. Two hundred in cash or no deal! Saavy?”
O.K. Joe swallowed hard. “J.C. Carlson alive! You seen him this morning?”
“Didn’t I just tell you? Sure, I saw him. He was in twice, like I said.
“Well. I’ll be. ..Merry Christmas, Mr. Mueslix!”
Down by the waterfront, J.C. Carlson sat on the edge of the dock, his legs dangling. He was gazing across the water. O.K. Joe couldn’t believe it. He was alive!
“Hey, J.C., where in the world did you come from?”
J.C. swung his head around and smiled. “What’s the matter, Joe? Think you seen a ghost?”
“As a matter of fact, that isn’t too far from the truth. The guys at the mission said you’d been killed in a car wreck last spring near Tok Junction.”
J. C. laughed. “No, sir. I’m all here. Wait a minute, I’ll pinch myself to make sure. Yep. . .it’s me alright.”
“What happened, J.C.?”
“I was hitchhiking. Caught a ride up north, little ways out of town, we hit a moose… broadside. Driver got a broken jaw and me, a few bruises. The moose got the worst of it. We landed in a patch of muskeg ”
O.K. Joe shook his head. “You sure were lucky you didn’t get hurt worse.”
“Oh, I don’t know, Joe. Maybe the Big Boss is saving me for something He wants me to do.” He was quiet for a minute. “You know, I’ve been thinking, Joe, ever think much about God ‘n’ stuff like that?”
“Sure, I guess so, J.C., same as everyone else, but I ain’t too keen on religion. I’ll tell you one thing though, there’s got to be a reason for the ways things work out sometimes.”
Joe changed the subject. “Do you want to go and have a talk with Mueslix about your fiddle? I could put down twenty dollars and maybe he would hold it until we
figure something out.”
“I appreciate it, Joe, you wanting to help and all, but Mueslix expects the whole thing paid in full. You know I really hated to part with that old fiddle, swore I never would. It belonged to my Daddy. He had rambling fever when I was a kid. Just left one day. I went back home once. She held me, Maw did, the day I said goodbye. I could have stayed but Alaska is home. We’ll probably both die here with our corks on.” They laughed. Old horses want to die in their traces, miners with their picks and shovels in hand, fishermen making their last seine, golfers on the last hole; it seems frivolous, but that’s how O.K. and J.C. wanted it, to die with their boots on. Joe remembered the time a tree uprooted and almost killed him. A log could up-end, a widow-maker drop out of a tree, or a line could snap in two. A man just never knew… it was probably a good thing or he wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning.
The hours leading to Christmas Eve passed swiftly. They busied themselves making deliveries for the mission. It was after dark when the last truckload was delivered. Heading back, O.K. drove slowly by the main entrance of the mall. He saw the Salvation Army volunteer ringing the bell. It happened fast. Joe opened the door of the truck and quickly dropped the twenty dollar bill in the kettle.
Christmas dawned clear and crisp. The morning passed swiftly. The dining hall began to fill. Camaraderie and good tidings permeated the room. Joe could smell aromas of baked turkeys and hams, dressing, gravy and pies. When everything was ready Father O’Cain cleared his voice and asked for a moment of silence. Just as he was about to bless the food, the main entrance door opened and Klever Mueslix stepped inside. He removed his hat and nodded. “I didn’t mean to intrude, but I wanted to drop this here fiddle off for Mr. Carlson.”
For a moment, J.C. was speechless. “Thank you, Mr. Mueslix. I… I don’t know just what to say, ‘cept thanks.” Klever looked around the table. He fidgeted nervously with the brim of his hat. “Well… this being Christmas, I knew you all gathered here each year and figured you’d need some music.” As Klever turned to leave, Father O’Cain said, “We’d be pleased, Mr. Mueslix, if you’d stay and have dinner with us. We’ve plenty and you’re welcome.”
O.K, Joe placed his hand on Klevees shoulder. “Here, I’ll grab an extra chair and you can squeeze in between me and J.C.”
Father O’Cain gave the blessing. He looked at J.C. and smiled. “Do you have .a song for us, Mr. Carlson?’
J.C. stood up and walked to the head table. He took the fiddle out of an old case battered by years of travel. J.C. hadn’t played for a long time. He picked it up and tucked it beneath his chin. The bow scraped across the strings, striking a few hesitant notes. He began playing “Amazing Grace”. The first few notes were discordant and ragged. Then the music became bolder. The single instrument became symphonic, filling the room with reverence. J.C. finished, then gently placed the violin on the table. His gnarled fingers, bruised by years of harsh contact with countless chokers, lovingly caressed the curves of the silent wood.
“J.C., that was beautiful,” Joe said in a voice choked with emotion. “Guess that shows how an old fiddle can sound in the hands of a master?”
“No,” J.C. replied,”only when it’s been blessed by the MASTER’S Hand.”
Photo of Hank Nelson from the 1960s.
Note about the Author:
Tough fingers that pull the trigger of a chain saw daily are equally at home gently stroking the keys of a typewriter. Hank Nelson, faller at Coffman Cove, loves the people of his trade and in particular that disappearing unique breed of man, the tramp logger. This Christmas story is fiction but the characters and circumstances represent a compilation “of those I’ve met during the couple of decades God has blessed me to travel the timber harvesting circuit from Oregon to Alaska.” Multi-talented Nelson describes himself as a writer, editor, musician and maker of stumps.
My, my, my. You are in for a real treat with this amazing upcoming 2nd Annual Jefferson State FLIXX Fest… I have always wondered about film festivals… Ashland, Oregon has one every year and although I think the concept sounds MARVELOUS and I have still never attended it, I certainly know film festivals exist.
I finally experienced my first ever film festival in September, 2015. It was the 1st Annual Jefferson State FLIXX Fest held in the town of Fort Jones, Siskiyou County, California. We’re talking way up at the Oregon border, in rugged, gorgeous, extreme northern California. I will shout from our mountain tops: LAST YEAR’S FLIXX FEST WAS BEYOND PHENOMENAL!!
I learned a lot in a few days, viewing a select group of independent films that were chosen to be featured in that first ever FLIXX Fest. I was treated to films with depth… films with heart and soul… films that made me THINK! … films that made me laugh and films that made me cry, with both joy and sadness… Above all else, I was entertained. My wick of interest has been lit by these cool independent people teaching me about life and enlightening me about new concepts. I have been transformed through their unique and creative films, pondering concepts that I had no awareness of before, and this flame burns to explore more film festivals.
I was incredibly blessed to have already made acquaintance with the group of individuals who put on this film festival, earlier in 2015. I was invited to embed their Official Program inside our September Jefferson Backroads Publication and we ran with it. This gave the film festival attendees something additional to read between films. Lots of local history, events and businesses frost the pages of Jefferson Backroads each month and the joining of it all just delighted every one of us! It was one of the coolest projects I have ever been a part of. Scroll down on our Publication Page at www.jeffersonbackroads.com and download the September 2015 edition of Jefferson Backroads to see the first FLIXX fest program, if you like.
I am grateful to be publishing their 2nd Annual Official Program in our upcoming September edition and I am here to say IT IS GORGEOUS!! Created by their extremely talented graphics design team, it will blow your minds. I could not be more proud or more honored to share their amazingness with you: the delightful readers of our happy little local publications.
Check out their website at www.flixxfest.org and click around on the Schedule and Films tabs. You will be able to read some amazing film descriptions to get a taste of what is coming our way the long weekend of September 21-25, 2016 at their festival. Many other events and activities are going on in Siskiyou County the same weekend such as the Montague Hot Air Balloon Fair, McCloud Bike-Toberfest and Yreka’s Sizzling September Car Show, so start planning and making reservations now if you want to secure your FLIXX Fest tickets.
See you at The FLIXX FEST!! It’s going to be another phenomenal year… I KNOW IT!
You know that feeling you get when you walk into a home and all the decor and neat items the people have displayed are so cool you just can’t get enough? Well it happened to me again last week. I was honored to have been invited to the home of Gerry and Marlene Ludlow and what I found there was downright exciting!
First let me say that you can gaze upon, marvel at and even purchase some of the truly amazing items these two have created at the Siskiyou County Fiber Arts Show, being held at the Snow Creek Studio in Mt. Shasta City.
As individuals, Gerry and Marlene have many unique artistic skills and talents. As the perfect peanut butter and jelly team, their combined efforts deliver creations that are out of this world! Their whimsical hand-crafted, hand-painted wooden “boxes” (above) are just one example of their joint talents. He builds the boxes and they both take turns painting in fun imaginative styles! Their boxes even have names! Cute fun adorable names! Some of the wooden boxes are more elegant in their old world craftsmanship and are perfect for holding your precious treasures.
The first items I saw and fell in love with that Gerry creates in his perfect wood shop are his hand-crafted wooden knitting needles. These are stunning! I bought a set and I don’t even KNIT! I have always been a crocheter from wayyy back but the smooth and perfect feel of these creative wooden tools is impossible to resist. You can choose a set of these heirlooms for your very own at Weston’s Quilting and Crafts in Mt. Shasta City along with delicious yarns, threads and fibers…
Continuing on through their gallery, I mean their home, I found a delightful work of art that Marlene created. It is so unique! Hand-painted face, leather nose, perfectly placed rovings for its fur, patchwork fabric background, oh my! This is a one of a kind!
Everywhere I looked in their home I saw something else to ooooh and ahhhh about. He makes gorgeous musical dulcimers, she hand paints fish on the walls of their gorgeous ocean themed, hand-made thick ceramic tiled bathroom, and they both built the most incredible solid 4×4 foot wooden coffee table with hand carved branches and leaves surrounding it and decorating the many drawers!
Below is a wooden cabinet the two of them built and painted. Makes me smile just thinking of their sweet artistic realm!
My hat is off to Gerry and Marlene for sharing their beautiful works of art. The love and attention to detail that pour out of their partnered creations, surrounding them each day in their perfectly unique artistic styles is solid and so very inspiring.
I hope you take the time to go see the Fiber Arts Show at Snow Creek Studio and witness all the magic for yourself! Create cool stuff… and enjoy your summer!
It took from 1850 until December 16, 1887 before the railroad had the last piece of rail connecting San Francisco with Portland. It was with great angst that the railroad decided to bypass Yreka, the county seat, in favor of a different route via Montague. But, with determination and pluck Yreka set out to build a connecting line from Montague to Yreka so our residents could easily access the direct rail line for shipping and travel.
Many Yrekans took advantage of the train routes, but travel from Yreka to San Francisco and back was a mainstay for many Yreka shippers, merchants and travelers. It is interesting to note that special excursions were often advertised about the beautiful Shasta Route and the lovely scenery one could enjoy along this route from San Francisco all the way to Portland. In 1915, during the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, Southern Pacific had special round trip tickets from Montague to San Francisco. A 9 Day Exposition Rate, good with stopovers was $17.00 per person for the round trip. A 10 Day rate was on sale for a round trip cost of only $14.25.
If a person traveled from San Francisco to Yreka on this route their journey would begin at the Ferry Building in San Francisco at the foot of Market Street. The ferry boats of the Southern Pacific would take the traveler across to bay to the Oakland Pier. Boarding the train at Oakland the traveler would ride along the eastern shore of the bay and quickly arrive at Port Costa where the train actually was loaded on a ferry boat and was carried across the Carquinez straits. From there the train would be able to get back on the railroad tracks and head to Sacramento. Once they passed through Sacramento they would head north on the advertised “Road of a Thousand Wonders.”
The passengers would pass Mt. Lassen, chug through Redding and on up through the Sacramento River Canyon. They would pass Castella, view the beautiful Castle Crags, and arrive at Dunsmuir. Near Dunsmuir they would next pass by the beautiful Mossbrae Falls and stop at Shasta Springs which was known as one of the best all-the-year-round resorts! The passengers were able to stop long enough for a drink of the famous sparking Shasta water. The view of gorgeous Mt. Shasta would be seen as the passengers wound through the canyon and past the base of the mountain. Black Butte, also known as Muir’s Peak, was another advertised site along the way. The train would pass into the Shasta Valley via Edgewood on through Gazelle and Grenada and make its way to Montague. Once at Montague a passenger would either take a taxi service to Yreka or ride the short line to town. The Shasta Route continued as far as Portland.
This kind of service for Yrekans was available for many years, but unfortunately much of the route is no longer easily available for passengers. Those that do ride the train miss most of the beautiful scenery as the time table runs past the most scenic areas in the dark of night.
Well, very sad news… this lovely, historic and majestic place burned to the ground on Christmas morning, 2015… The history that you will read below was written and published just over a year ago…….. there are already plans to re-build this amazing place… if you are interested in offering any support and/or assistance, please go to:
E Clampus Vitus currently has 42 Chapters and one Outpost located in nine western States. When Clampers in new territory want to start their own chapter they must petition Grand Council with the blessing of a sponsoring Chapter.
Southern Oregon Clampers, sponsored by the Yreka Humbug Chapter 73, began their official E Clampus Vitus existence in 2004 after being recognized by Grand Council as the Umpqua Joe Outpost. The new organization erected their first plaque at the Butte Creek Flour Mill in Eagle Point, Oregon. During the Outpost’s third Doin’s held in May 2006, the plaque was dedicated on a sunny Saturday. Twenty five Red Shirts and assorted community members witnessed the first ECV plaque unveiled in the State of Oregon. During the last 70 or 80 years, ECV has erected over 3,000 historical monuments.
One of the guiding hands for the new organization was one Leo Champagne. On a trip to Medford to view the historic Hanley Farm he and his wife met Bob Russell, new owner of the Butte Creek Mill. After listening to Bob talk, Leo visited the mill and thought to himself, “We need to plaque this place.” With Bob Russell’s permission, Leo presented the idea to Outpost officers. Wagon Masters Glenn Hearrell and Zeke Van de Bogart approved the project. With the go ahead, Glenn took matters under his control, visited the Mill, did research and came up with wording for the plaque. Since the Outpost didn’t have much money at the time, a low cost solution was required. Glenn acquired 1/16 inch thick brass sheeting, had the wording etched and mounted the plaque on the Butte Creek Mill near the main doorway.
Dedication ceremonies followed a kick off breakfast of mill ground flour pancakes. Speechifyin’ was conducted by Leo, sponsoring ECV Humbug Chapter 73’s Noble Grand Humbug Jim McConnell, Zeke and Glenn. Bob Russell and Clamper helpers couldn’t get the keg tapped behind the old 1885 Placerville saloon back bar, so canned beer a plenty was made available to all dedication ceremony participants. Leo had also arranged for both former and current mill owners, Peter Crandall and Mr. Russell, to speak.
Bob Russell and his wife bought the mill in 2005 from Mr. Crandall. A decorated World War II veteran, Peter Crandall owned the mill for 33 years before selling. At the dedication Crandall spoke about how he came to own the grist mill, his restoration activities, the fight to retain water rights and the value of whole grain food. Local miller Mike Hawkins added to Peter’s discussion by sharing considerations for milling grain into stone ground flour.
Following these speakers, Russell led a tour of the mill. On that May 6th day ECV Redshirts learned how water driven belts and pulleys turn the mill stones as wheat grain dropped from a hopper above. Although the plaque wording conflicts with the actual dedication date, Clampers take that in stride as many of their activities don’t always turn out exactly as planned as noted above. Situated on Little Butte Creek, the mill is the last water powered grist mill commercially operating west of the Mississippi River. Built in 1872 when Ulysses Grant was president, it began its first year of operation almost 150 years ago. Serving as “community hub,” farmers traveled many miles to reach the mill. Waiting to have their grain ground into flour, wagons lined the Old Military Road at Snowy Butte Creek Mill during harvest time. The miller was paid for his services in 1873 by keeping every eighth bushel of flour which he sold in the general store as Snowy Butte flour. Old timers say when the mill operated in the nineteenth century, pitchforks were used to spear salmon in the mill raceway. Local Indians and farmers would drive wagons into the creek and shovel salmon into the back. Little Butte Creek, a major salmon and steelhead fishery, was most likely the source of food for bald eagles in the area, after which the town of Eagle Point was named.
On the National Register of Historic places, the mill has a fabulous web site describing its history, country and antique stores and hosted events. An excerpt from their web site below describes how the mill operates. (See photo of grinding stone on top of Page 32.)
“The Butte Creek Mill is not a water wheel operated mill, rather the water in the millrace flows into a penstock twelve feet deep, where its weight provides pressure to activate the turbine that runs the wheels, belts and pulleys. This movement also turns the large millstones that grind the grain. To reach the grinding stones, the grain is fed into a hopper that in turn feeds it into the “eye” of the stones. In about three hours, it is ground to flour or cracked wheat depending on how the stones are set.
The mill has a basement where water power is harnessed and three floors where grain is received, stored and ground. Architecturally the building is interesting because the frame was raised first. The beams were mortised together and pinned with hard wooden pegs. The walls of whipsawed lumber were nailed to the frame with square nails. Foundation pillars are two feet square and were hewn with a broad ax.”
The turbine discussed above, dates from 1916 and is still in use. The original turbine dating from 1872 is on display on the front porch at the mill.
Majestic Mount McLoughlin rising to 9,495 feet stood sentinel over the weekend Doin’s Clampout. Held at Medford’s Elks Lodge picnic grounds along the Rogue River, Clampers arriving from Oregon and California rolled out their bed rolls and had a grand time. Frolicking friars of yore would have been proud. Dining in the shadow of the snow covered volcanic peak was followed by Bob Russell being “taken in” by the Ancient and Honorable Order. His sponsor, Glenn Hearrell, mused he was probably “taken” by the old fraternal order.
Well worth your time, a visit to the Snowy Butte Mill should be on everyone’s “bucket list” when traveling through the Medford, Oregon area. Allow at least a half a day for the visit. Meet mill owner Bob Russell who is most cordial and easily accommodates on-site tours seven days a week. Learning how grain is ground into flour and the history of this location is a terrific way to spend the day. Walk away with wholesome mill products from the general store, and your visit will be complete.
To visit the Butte Creek Grist mill and view the ECV plaque, take Interstate 5 to Medford, Oregon and use exit 30 east bound. This road is called Crater Lake Highway 62. Travel ten miles to Eagle Point and turn right on Linn Road. Proceed to the first stop sign, which is Royal, and turn left. Their address is 402 N. Royal Avenue in Eagle Point, Oregon. A map and other information can be found on the mill web site: http://buttecreekmill.com.
Check out their Facebook page:
Facebook Butte Creek Mill
Address: Butte Creek Mill
402 N. Royal Avenue
Eagle Point, OR 97524
Phone Number: (541) 826-3531
A terrific booklet titled Historic Butte Creek Mill by Barbara Hegne can be obtained at the Eagle Point Historical Society Museum.
Photo of Modern Day Wilderville Store in Wilderville, Oregon was provided by E Clampus Vitus.
In 2009 when I was Humbug of the Yreka Chapter of E Clampus Vitus, our Oregon Umpqua Joe Outpost was searching for a site to plaque. Glenn Hearrell, the founder of Umpqua Joe had recruited John “Dick” Tracey, owner of the Wilderville general store. After talking to John and his wife they hatched a plan to plaque the store. With all the approvals in place, Glenn and John made a first cut at the plaque wording. With the usual wifely support, John’s Widder refined the wording. With final language in hand, Outpost Wagon Master Keith Long obtained the granite from a local tile company and had Recognition Specialties chisel the lettering into the granite.
Next, a Clampsite needed to be secured. Umpqua Joe officers selected Lake Selmac and the last weekend of April for the ECV Doin’s, historical monument erection and dedication. With all of us camped out at Lake Selmac, Glenn rounded up volunteers. Friday morning a number of us drove into beautiful downtown Wilderville, installed and taped the plaque, prepared the footing, set the monument forms, and poured the concrete. By early Friday afternoon the Wilderville plaque was ready to go, covered up pending the next day’s dedication ceremony.
Saturday, April 25th was another beautiful spring day in sunny southern Oregon. The sun and sleepy eyed Clampers rose at Lake Selmac that morning. As Joaquin Miller so eloquently might have put it about the Clampers that morning “stretched themselves in the sweet, frosty air, shouted to each other in a sort of savage banter, washed their hands and faces in the gold-pan like utensil that stood by the door of their tent, and partook of the eternal beans and bacon and coffee, and coffee and bacon and beans.”
Once fed, Umpqua Joe member Ken Kudrna, who owned a bus touring company, pulled up in the sleekest eight wheeler ya ever saw. Forty Clampers boarded the bus and off we went to the plaque dedication with nary another vehicle. Once in beautiful downtown Wilderville, the party started. Dan Weimers from Humbug Chapter 73 did a history presentation for attending Redshirts and civilians. When the plaque was unveiled a hearty cry was sounded, “What say the Brethren?” The response from all was a hearty “Satisfactory.”
Little information can be found about Wilderville’s early days. An 1869 narrative furnished by long time county resident Dr. Watkins mentions the town of Slate Creek. We do know the “Slate Creek Post Office” was established September 30, 1858, and later changed to Wilderville August 12, 1878. Some believe the post office was renamed after its postmaster, Joseph Wilder.
Historic Wilderville Plaque image provided by E Clampus Vitus.
Long ago one of the greatest marble mines in the United States looked down on this community. Nearby Slate Creek runs behind Wilderville and is a tributary of the Applegate River which held tremendous reserves of placer gold. An 1870 recollection from the Kerby Jackson archives includes a colorful illustration.
“Decades ago, when my grandmother first came to Oregon and wished to live a solitary existence, she lived on an old mining claim high up on Slate Creek and made her way with nothing but a gold pan and a rifle.”
To view this historical monument and enjoy a day in beautiful Applegate River Valley, drive north on Interstate 5 to southern Oregon. Use Exit 55 and take the Highway 199 route to Crescent City. Twenty seven miles from your freeway exit Wilderville can be found by taking the turn, off 199, to Wilderville. Enjoy the plaque, and a sandwich or snacks behind the general store in their lovely garden overlooking Slate Creek.