History

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.

Grain fleetBy Finn J.D. John

The merciless waters of the Columbia River Bar are not known for easily giving up their prey once they’ve trapped a ship on their sandy shoals. But over the years, it has happened now and again, and the stories of these survivors are always interesting.

The Queen of the Pacific

There was no hint of irony in mind when the passenger liner Queen of the Pacific was launched in Philadelphia in 1882. The Pacific Coast Steamship Company of San Francisco had spared no expense. Competition on the San Francisco-Portland line was at its peak, and the Queen’s owners intended to have the very finest steamer on the route.

Old McKenzie Fish HatcheryLEABURG: Plans to develop a showcase for McKenzie River riverboats and their guides got a big boost last week when the Meyer Memorial Trust announced it had granted $13,000 to the Friends of Old McKenzie Fish Hatchery. The money is earmarked for a feasibility study for a proposed McKenzie River Interpretive Center next to Leaburg Lake.
Over the past several years, the Friends group has spearheaded a concerted effort by stakeholders – guides, scientists, community members, local, state and national agencies – to develop an interpretive plan, exhibit concepts, a capital improvements budget, and an architectural program for the proposed facilities, which are tentatively called the McKenzie River Interpretive Center.

 

 

Mr. Angel CollegeBy Finn J.D. John

Adelhelm Odermatt is not, of course, an Irish name. And the portly, jovial Swiss monk who bore it had not a drop of Irish blood in him, so far as he knew.
But he had come to visit this group of Irish Catholics to make his pitch for a donation to help save his monastery from an untimely foreclosure after a loan had been called in. And when in Rome, one did as the Romans did, right? So when he stepped up to speak, Father Odermatt tried his best to look Celtic as he introduced himself — as “Father O’Dermatt.”

Holstrom crewBy Finn J.D. John
Of the 80 American Army aviators who flew the Doolittle raid in April of 1942, at least seven were former Oregonians. Actually, with only one or two exceptions, all of them were former Oregonians, having been stationed at the Pendleton air base before preparations for the raid commenced; but for seven of them, the relationship with the Beaver State ran deeper than that.

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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.