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Looking Back on December 23, 2018

History Mystery

Terray Harmon and Gary Conley contributed to this report.

Last week’s History Mystery photograph, above, was scanned from a negative reproduction found in the archives of The Dalles Chronicle. The negative file was titled “Pioneer Pix, Raymond Crabtree, copies.”

The photograph shows the “Depot at Dufur,” according to information seen on the print.

The sign on the wall facing the photographer appears to read, “Americas Express Co.”

Gary Conley recognized the photograph as the old Great Southern Railroad Depot at Dufur, and said it was “probably taken in the early 1900. Went out of business around 1932, 1933. I think they ran the train as far as Friend, the right-of-way went up another three of four miles but they never got the track up that far.”

Jerry Tanquist writes on the website histroicthedalles... that “The Great Southern Railroad of Wasco County, Oregon, was built in 1905 by John Heimrich and his son J.G. Heimrich. It ran from The Dalles to Dufur, along 15 Mile Creek.

“In 1913 it was extended to Friend, along Pine Creek. Their original intention was to build a railroad from the Columbia River, through central Oregon, to San Francisco.

“But in 1909-1911, James Hill and Edward Harriman built competing railroads up the Deschutes River to Bend, and that ended Heimrich’s plan.

“The original depot in The Dalles was destroyed by fire in 1910, as was the nearby flour mill. By 1912, both had been rebuilt, and both are still standing.

“Every few miles a siding was built, and usually accompanying warehouses. These Wasco County sites included Petersburg, Fairbanks, Fulton, Brookhouse, Daneville, Neabeck, Emerson, Wrentham, Rice, Boyd and Dufur, and then Annalore, Three Springs, and Friend.

The train ran daily until the late 1920’s when financial difficulties curtailed its operation. It combined freight and passenger service and it would stop anywhere, along the route to pick up or drop off passengers. Its main source of revenue was hauling wheat, and elevators were built at Emerson, Rice Boyd and Dufur.

When the railroad arrived in Friend in 1913, that community flourished. It signaled the end of the last stage coach out of Dufur and the demise of a neighboring town of Kingsley. When the railroad was closed down in 1936, it in turn meant the down-sizing of Friend. However the store, school and post office survived in Friend for a number of years after that.

The railroad was never a very profitable operation, and by the mid-twenties, its decline began. It went into bankruptcy in 1931. The senior Heimrich’s son-in-law, Steven Hull, took over the remains and tried to extend the railroad in to the mountains west of Friend to harvest timber. Right-of-way was constructed as far as Jordan Creek in 1932-34, and a large trestle was built there. But times were too hard and the railroad finally folded in 1936, and all the assets were sold to pay off back taxes.

The times, they were a-changing. The railroad had served its time and it passed into the sunset of history.

Great Southern Railroad train is shown leaving the depot at the east end of The Dalles. The depot burned in 1910.

20 years ago – 1998

Gasoline and household solvents fueled a blaze that raged with 30-foot flames and billowing black smoke in downtown The Dalles late Tuesday afternoon. Arriving at 4:15, firefighters were able to quickly knock the flames down with an engine deck gun, which held spread of the fire until lines were developed.

Despite a fairly strong staff assertion that computer problems warranted immediate action, the city council held off this month.

The Dalles School District is negotiating for property to replace the current bus barn at 10th and Walnut streets.

With the move into their new central station nearly complete, the directors of the Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue District have turned their attention to the plaques that will be displayed in the new facility.

PORTLAND — With the kind of nasty weather headed this way, Oregonians will settle for just a white Christmas. “We’re just catching our breath because it sounds like Thursday will be an even bigger and worse situation,” said Mary Volm, spokeswoman for the Portland Office of Transportation. “The Grinch just stole Christmas from the maintenance bureau.”

The Wasco County Grand Jury returned open criminal indictments against 26 persons when it met in regular session on Dec. 17.

40 years ago – 1978

Fewer election days in Oregon seems a popular idea. Secretary of State Norma Paulus says 44 is too many and she will ask the legislature to reduce the number.

Dr. Robert Doughton of Portland drew some support Friday night at a meeting here where he explained his plan to create a medical research and treatment center at Columbia Park Hospital. He and two associates told the 80 people at the meeting that an effort would be made to have the Emergency Board consider the plan when it meets Dec. 28, Thursday.

Both Santa Claus and his chief assistant were needed to help distribute gifts at Columbia Basin Nursing Home at its Christmas party Thursday. Santas for Columbia Basin and Valle Vista’s part on Wednesday were provided by the Loyal Order of Moose lodge.

GENEVA, Switzerland (UPI) — Secretary of State Cyrus Vance said Friday the United States and the Soviet Union were near the “end of the road” on a new strategic arms limitation accord and might announce a new SALT treaty Saturday.

LOS ANGELES (UPI) — The little pink whatchamacallit in the City Council chambers is indeed a far cry from the glorious Christmas trees of past years, but it is open to question whether tax cut crusader Howard Jarvis deserves the blame as the “grinch whole stole the Christmas tree.” The matter of the council’s conifers is more complicated than just grabbing a tree off a lot, it turns out.

60 years ago – 1958

“The man with the hoe”—or with metal-pointed wooden plow and a team of oxen—is gradually being supplanted by machines in Azerbaijan province, Iran, where E. M. (Al) Nelson, former Wasco county extension agent, is serving as a U. S. agricultural adviser. But farming in that rugged country still must be classed as primitive by western standards, Nelson said here today. He and his wife, Edith, flew back home during the weekend after two years in Tabriz, in Iran’s northwest province that has Russian, Turkish and Iraqui neighbors.

Thousands of Americans faced a lean Christmas today in the wake of strikes. Nearly 100,000 office and factory workers were idled. Largest of the walkouts were against Eastern and American Airlines and International Harvester.

The body of Oscar Heintz, 42, of Portland, missing since Dec. 19, when he left the John Day Dam site driving toward Portland, was found about one mile east of Maryhill Junction near Highway 830 this morning.

A hearing on motions made by convict Ernest Leroy Smith of Empire will be held in Wasco County Circuit Court Monday, Dec. 29.

SALEM (UPI) — Thieves made off with about $5,300 in bills from a downtown bar and restaurant either late Sunday night or early Monday. Officers said an expert job was done in “punching” the safe.

80 years ago – 1938

Santa Claus, whose time is invaluable this week, stopped off in The Dalles yesterday, en route on his air tour around the world, to make a personal visit at the local Kiwanis luncheon. Special guests for the day were 43 underprivileged children in the city, attending the first to the fourth grades of school, who enjoyed a turkey dinner and program planned by Santa’s right-hand men, local Kiwanians, under the chairmanship of J. H. Weiss.

A sacred pageant, in four scenes, depicting the first Christmas, will be presented at the Calvary Baptist church Sunday night at 7:30 o’clock.

E. J. Anthony was elected president of The Dalles central labor council for 1939 at a meeting Wednesday night, it was reported today.

ROWENA, Dec. 22.—The observation of a truck driver passing the home of Mrs. Elizabeth Eiffert saved the house Thursday evening when he noticed the roof was afire.

GRAFTON, O., Dec. 23. (UP)—An 84-year-old farmer shot to death an unemployed father and wounded the man’s wife, authorities said, as the couple attempted to take a Christmas tree from his farm early today for their children, then disappeared as officers sought him.

BERLIN, Dec. 23. (UP)—The German press singled out the presentation of a Jewish medal to President Roosevelt today as the first Nazi reaction to a stinging diplomatic rebuke given to Germany by the United States.

100 years ago – 1918

Reminiscent of the time when John Michell, whose death a occurred a few days ago, was editor of the Times-Mountaineer in this city, E. H. French has discovered a copy of that paper dated February 10, 1883. At that particular time The Dalles was suffering from the coldest weather recorded since ’62. The presses of the Mountaineer were run by water power, but the city mains were frozen solid and the paper, much reduced in size, was printed on a hand press.

Boasting a population of 3,700, Sherman county has passed the 1,500 mark in the roll call Christmas campaign for universal membership in the Red Cross. Last year the county had 1,100 of its residents enrolled as members of the Red Cross.

District Game Warden W. O. Hadley reports that the cement fishway around the powder dam of the Portland Railway, Light & Power company on the Big Sandy river has been completed, giving the fish an easy passage around the dam. Mr. Hadley reports that the Oregon Sportsmen’s League, at its recent meeting, took up the matter of making the fishing season uniform throughout the state and will make recommendations to the legislature at its coming session.

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23.—American aviators downed 834 enemy planes during the war, of which 491 were confirmed and 354 were not, according to information reaching the war department today. Major Harbord in a cable to the director of the air service thus summarized the work of the United States flyers and the scope of the operations of the air service. On the day the armistice was signed 39 American aero squadrons were in operation on the west front.


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