McKenzie River Reflections - Make the McKenzie Connection!

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Mob, corrupt union men battled over pinball

If you were a fan of the classic ABC television sitcom "Happy Days," you know The Fonz had a special relationship with two particular machines: His trusty '49 Triumph motorcycle, and the pinball...

 

Harry Lane resisted nation's rush into WWI

Many historians, when asked to cite the single biggest and most far-reaching government misstep in American history, will immediately start talking about the First World War. By getting involved with...

 

Oregon's Chautauquas: Summer camp for grown-ups

The Oregonian summarized the whole movement as "a great university whose students are scattered in homes, on farms, in shops and factories ... wherever a human soul carries the love of learning." A ty...

 

Oregon's Chautauquas: Summer camp for grown-ups

In the decades before the First World War, an organization called Chautauqua arose that was something like a summer camp for grown-ups. People would take vacation time and travel to the Chautauqua...

 

The McCarty gang's Oregon story: "Bonanza" meets "Unforgiven"

Imagine yourself as a television network executive at NBC in 1973. The bright, happy Western classic "Bonanza" is about to be canceled. In a last-ditch effort to save it from the ax, you've been...

 

The Samurai pilot who bombed Oregon

It was a little after 6 a.m. on September 9, 1942. A tiny seaplane with red balls painted on its wings was making its way through the skies over Brookings, Oregon. At the controls was a young man...

 

Did Oregon miss a chance to stop a serial killer?

As urban legends, go, it's one of the oldest and scariest: A teenage couple drives to a secluded spot late at night and parks, planning to do some of the usual canoodling. But before they do, a news...

 

Rival Roseburg newspapers settled their differences with a big gunfight, right downtown

The “Oregon Style” of newspaper journalism was already a thing in 1871, when upstart newspaper publisher William “Bud” Thompson got in his famous gunfight in downtown Roseburg. But until that...

 

Legends of lost cabins and gold mines

Lost or abandoned cabins pop up so often in legends of missing gold mines and buried treasure that they are almost a cliché. Most of them follow a clear pattern or formula - in fact, all...

 

Bank robber became vice-president of the bank he robbed

When the First National Bank of Joseph, Oregon, picked David Tucker as vice-president in 1928, it didn't look like a particularly unusual thing to do. Tucker was a widely respected part of the communi...

 

Bridge-building scandal aroused fury of 1920s Portland

Early Portland was a relatively corruption-friendly town. But even the best of us have our limits, as three Multnomah County Commissioners learned the hard way in 1924. In that year, the Portland area...

 

Early anti-prostitution crusade was an embarrassing fizzle

One November evening in 1885, Portland residents walking past a row of tiny houses at Third and Yamhill heard screams coming from one of them. Bursting in, they found the mutilated and lifeless...

 

"Shoe-string railroad" beat Southern Pacific

Very few people outside Coos County, and probably not that many inside it, know what a big deal Coos Bay is. It's the biggest deepwater har-bor on the Northwest coast -- that is, between San...

 

Rabies epidemic was like a war in Eastern Oregon

To Dr. W.H. Lytle, Oregon's state veterinarian, the entire idea was preposterous. A rabies outbreak in northeast Oregon? Bah. Rabies was barely known west of the Rockies. "However," he added - no...

 

"March on Washington" involved train hijackings

Many people today think of the 1890s as a prosperous, carefree era - the term "gay '90s" (or even "naughty '90s) jumps to mind. But what most people don't realize is that much of that decade was...

 

Shipwreck miracle was an inconvenient one

It was January 3, 1852 - the middle of the night and the middle of winter, just off the middle of the Oregon Coast. The U.S. Army's schooner Captain Lincoln, carrying a detachment of U.S. Army...

 

Lost Soldier's Mine: A ledge of rocks worth $8 a pound?

Early in the summer of 1853, deep in the Coquille Mountains of what's now Douglas County, six U.S. soldiers were trudging dispiritedly through a trackless wilderness. The wilderness wasn't totally...

 

Mill owner's fight with city sparked infamous anti-Japanese riot

In the summer of 1925, an event took place in the Coast Range town of Toledo that would spark widespread outrage and an international incident. The event was, for all practical purposes, a race riot:...

 

Radical Wobblies found support among Oregon loggers

In early 1917, shortly after the U.S. declared war on Germany, the first detachment of U.S. soldiers was dispatched ... to the forest of western Oregon. It turned out the wildest, boldest and (if you...

 

In the First World War, Allies flew planes made of Oregon spruce

The last year of the First World War saw an explosion in Allied aircraft. The forces of Imperial Germany put up the best fight they could, and fielded probably the best aircraft of the war - the...

 

America's first "shock jock"

The first radio broadcaster ever to do be sent to prison for cursing on the air was a hard-charging early shock jock known as "The Oregon Wildcat," who kept the city of Portland and surrounding region...

 

Legend of Portuguese buried treasure farfetched, but possible

Stories about buried treasure are very seldom completely untrue. Even the wildest flight of golden fantasy started out, hundreds or thousands of augmented and embellished retellings ago, as true...

 

Larry Sullivan's shanghaiing syndicate

In the mid-1890s, ship captains and sailors' boardinghouse owners were like partners in crime - both busily and happily swindling sailors out of what little money they had and were owed. But in the...

 

Prizefighter, politician, con artist, shanghai man

Sometime around 1897, complaints suddenly started pouring into the headquarters of shipping companies in Liverpool and Hamburg from the captains in charge of their ships. It seemed something new was...

 

Created to stifle Indian culture, boarding school has done the opposite

On the northernmost outskirts of Salem, tucked quietly away on a 275-acre campus between the Interstate 5 freeway and Highway 99, is the oldest continuously operating Native American boarding school...

 

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