Most Recent Posts

Sumpter Valley Dredge State Heritage Area: Sumpter, Oregon

In the middle of the 19th century, all around our newly established state, people began discovering gold. The southern Oregon gold rush in Josephine County began in the 1850s, Bohemia Johnson discovered gold in the Bohemia mines in 1863, and the town of Canyon City in eastern Oregon swelled to a population of 10,000 (larger than Portland at the time) once gold was discovered there. Further east, … [Read More...]

Bloom Time

Spring is here! Everywhere I go, I see mounds of brilliant yellow daffodils and smell the sweet fragrance of Daphne. After such a drab, gray winter, I am ready for some color. Luckily, we have a number of local parks and gardens where I can easily see flowers in bloom throughout the growing season. If you also enjoy flowers and gardens, here are nine near-by locations to explore. If you plan … [Read More...]

Wigwam Memories: Swisshome

"Daddy, Ed, and I spent an hour or two pulling slab wood off the Erskine sawmill conveyor belt leading  to their wigwam burner," writes Joe Moreland in A Place to Rest My Head, his memoir about growing up in the coast range after WWII. Needing to build a chicken coop, they drove to Swisshome one evening to get scrap wood from the sawmill. Joe writes: "... in those days, every mill had a … [Read More...]

Willamette Fish Hatchery: Oakridge

The Willamette Fish Hatchery sits just outside of Oakridge.  I can't tell you how many times I've driven down Highway 58 without noticing the road sign pointing toward the hatchery. Luckily, at some point it captured my attention, and the hatchery ended up on my "things to see" list. When we stopped by the hatchery last fall, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. I knew there would be ponds … [Read More...]

Lost Towns: Lane County Historical Museum Exhibit

In the days before log trucks, automation, or heli-logging, sawmills were built closer to the woods. Here in south Lane County, they sprang up along the O&SE Rail line (now the Row River Trail) to take advantage of the railroad. In some instances, whole communities would surround the mill, like the sawmill at Prune Hill. When I think of early sawmills, I usually think of teams of guys … [Read More...]

Cabin Fever

Like most people in south Lane County this weekend, we have been lying pretty low. I read a book by fire light yesterday afternoon while our power was out (luckily it came on just in time for dinner). Staying off the roads and enjoying the warmth of the fire was fun for a while, but this afternoon we had to shake off the cabin fever. So, we headed down to the Row River Nature Park with our dogs … [Read More...]

Cottage Grove

Cottage Grove Museum

The building which now houses the Cottage Grove Museum has had a visible presence in Cottage Grove since its construction in 1897. Its unique octagonal shape makes it easy to see, as this photo taken … [Read More...]