Saturday, May 20, 2017

Joseph Oregon is the Perfect Place for Quilt Lovers



If you love and appreciate quilts, you will feel right at home at the Mountain View Motel & RV Park where most of the log framed beds are covered with quilts.

25th Annual Wallowa Mountain Quilters Guild Show Coming Up

To further feed your quilt passion, Joseph's annual quilt show takes place on June 9 and 10, the same weekend as the Oregon Mountain Cruise car show (June 10). We have found that our guests appreciate the scheduling of both on the same weekend for couples where the women don't want to look at cars all day and men don't care to admire quilts for hours.

The theme for this year’s 25th Annual Wallowa Mountain Quilters Guild Show will be The Oregon Trail, with more than 150 quilts for you to feast your eyes on at the Joseph Charter School at 400 East Williams Avenue, Joseph, Oregon. Yes, it is possible to purchase handmade quilts the show.

Hours are Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $3.50 for adults; children 12 and under free.

See Wallowa Mountain Quilters' Guild for info on the show, and if you have quilts to share or sell, get the online entry form in by May 25.

The Wallowa Mountain Quilters' Guild was formed in 1991 by a small group of local quilt enthusiasts. Their mission is to promote and preserve the ancient art of quilting, share information about modern quilting methods, and provide venues for quilters to learn from each other and display their quilting accomplishments.

Getting There: Joseph Charter School is 2.4 miles from the Mountain View Motel & RV Park. Go right (south) toward Joseph on Hwy-82. Drive through downtown Joseph and turn left on E. Walker Ave. Turn right at the 3rd cross street onto N. East St., then left onto E. Williams Ave. Bear left again to stay on E. Williams and drive to the school.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Wildest Race on Earth in Enterprise OR



Wild Horse Race. Photo by Angelica Ursula Dietrick, by permission of Mountain High Broncs & Bulls
See one of the wildest races on earth at the Wallowa County Fairgrounds in Enterprise, Oregon, during the 14th Annual Mountain High Broncs & Bulls Rodeo coming up June 17. Wild Horse Racing is on the schedule with more familiar rodeo events like mutton busting, and bronc and bull riding. Wild Horse Racing has its roots back in the old cowboy days, when wild horses had to be captured and trained from herds that roamed the open range.
 
Teams of three men work together to subdue a horse so it can be saddled and ridden to the finish line. When the horses come out of the chutes, the shankman of each team holds the horse in a position that allows the mugger to move up the shank and grab the horse by the halter. The rider then sets the saddle on the horse, cinches it, mounts, and rides to the finish line. The process usually takes 30 to 40 seconds in arena races, but for some teams it may take the entire two-minute time limit.

The Wild Horse Race was a common part of early day rodeos, when ranch hands would team up to compete against other ranches. The event dwindled to a handful of local races by the late Sixties and it looked like wild horse racing might die out as a rodeo event. But in the early Seventies a group of cowboys at Cheyenne Frontier Days organized to revive the sport. The category was officially reborn in 1981, when the Professional Wild Horse Racers held their first National Finals at the NILE Indoor Arena in Billings, Montana. Today the Professional Wild Horse Racing Association has a well-staffed office in Madras, Oregon.

Getting to the Rodeo: The Wallowa County Fairgrounds at 668 NW 1st St. is an 8-minute drive from Mountain View Motel & RV Park. Follow OR-82 north and west through Enterprise. Turn north on (right) NW 1st St. for .3 mile and see fairgrounds on your left.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Live in the Past for a Day in Flora, Oregon

If you're visiting Wallowa County during the first weekend of June, head to Flora, Oregon, to honor the days of old with a Dutch oven lunch and pioneer skill demonstrations, at the annual Flora School Day, June 3, from 10 am to 4 pm.

A volunteer from Spokane demonstrates spinning in the Flora School library. Photo: Flora School Education Center
Traditional Skills Demonstrations

Volunteers from near and far will share practical skills like blacksmithing, rope making, wagon wheel building, spinning, weaving, and basket making. Activities include the annual pie social, games for kids and adults, and candle making for children. You may catch a whiff of bread baking for lunch in the wood-fired oven, or the sound of the butter churn cranking. Buy something at the Country Store to help the non-profit Flora School Education Center restore the old Flora School and continue sharing the skills of northeastern Oregon's ancestors. Admission is free, lunch is $10/plate.

Education on the Frontier

Flora School District #32 was formed in 1891 with a one room log schoolhouse at Buzzard's Corner in the platted Town of Flora. A good education was a significant achievement on the frontier. Teachers often had only weeks, not months, to impart the basics, especially for boys, whose help was needed on family farms and ranches. In northern Wallowa County, the boys helped harvest wheat, barley, and hay, and were also expected to assist with lambing and calving. Logging families moved often from camp to camp so the children's school time was spotty. When children did attend school, they walked or rode their horses, so weather was always a factor. Nevertheless, the one room schoolhouse at Buzzard's Corner soon filled up and a larger one was built in 1900. A six month school year was instituted at that time.

Flora was a Bustling Frontier Town

Flora was a bustling western frontier outpost that served farmers and loggers. It had three shingle mills, a flour mill, hotel, bank, doctor and dentist offices, churches, Grange, a newspaper owned for many years by a woman, a photography studio, three blacksmiths and other craftsmen's shops. (Electricity finally reached the town around 1958). 

Center of Education in Northern Wallowa County

Continuing growth of the district justified construction of Flora's third school in 1915. It became the center of education and activity in northern Wallowa County. The two-story structure was built in the traditional Craftsman style and it was positioned to make the most of natural light that poured into its large windows.

At it's high point, there were eight teachers and 100 students at the school. Heat was provided by a wood and coal furnace in the basement, and a wooden boardwalk led to outdoor privies behind the building. Water was piped in from offsite and stored in a tank behind the school. 

Rural Population Declines

Flora's population and school enrolment dwindled as better roads, urban opportunities, and world wars drew people away from the rural communities of Wallowa County. Flora's high school was the smallest in Oregon with only twelve students when it closed in 1962. The elementary school held out until 1975 and only one student remained, sixth grader Ben Curry.  At that time, high school students were already traveling to Enterprise and Flora's elementary children had the option of attending the one room school 15 miles away in Troy, or bussing to Enterprise. (The one room school in Troy still serves four students).

Flora School a Historical Beacon

Nowadays the Flora School remains as the most prominent feature of pastoral Flora, which consists of a scattering of old houses and outbuildings, some vacant and some remodeled. Although people still live in Flora, Google and others refer to the community as a ghost town. The Flora School was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.

Getting There

Flora, Oregon, is situated between Lewiston and Joseph, Oregon, at the headwaters of West Bear Creek, three miles west of OR-3, 41.0 miles north of the Mountain View Motel & RV Park.

For more information or to become a volunteer, skills demonstrator, or just donate Email: volunteers(at)floraschool(dot)org.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Target Shoot


All shooters are welcome to Northeastern Oregon's Old West Target Shoot at the Eagle Cap Shooters Association, May 20, 2017, from 9 am, at Ant Flat Range near Enterprise, Oregon. Top Gun Prize is a new Henry 22 from Joseph Hardware.

The competition is a regional match and fundraiser presented by Joseph Lodge #81 AF&AM and is limited to open sighted lever guns and single action pistols. The pistol course is up to 20 yards and long guns to 200. Awards are for 1st and 2nd place rifle and pistol as well as top team. The cost is $40 per person or $110 for a team of three. Entry fee includes lunch.

Need Some Practice?
If you're looking for a place to practice, all National Forest lands, including the Wallowa Whitman National Forest, generally allow recreational target shooting (unless specifically prohibited by a Forest Service Order). This video provides tips on safe shooting in the public forest, not the least of which is preventing wildfires from sparks hitting metal targets.

Eagle Cap Shooters Promote Firearm Safety
Eagle Cap Shooters Association promotes firearm safety and education for youth and adults including hunter safety. They provide a facility for law enforcement to train and maintain certification. Their Eagle Cap Shooters Educational Alliance conducts programs for the public to learn about responsible ownership, storage, transport, and use of guns, and how to acquire a concealed weapons permit.

To register for the Old West Target Shoot contact Doug at dkwm37<at>gmail <dot>com.

The event is sponsored by Terminal Gravity, Copper Creek Mercantile, Wallowa County Grain Growers, Old Towne Restaurant

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Songs About Oregon



May is International Song Writing Month, so here are some songs about Oregon.

The official Oregon state song lyrics, "Oregon, My Oregon," were written by John A. Buchanan with music by Henry B. Murtagh. They entered the song into a contest in 1920 and won, It was published, endorsed by the state superintendent of public instruction, then adopted by the legislature in 1927.

"Land of the Empire Builders, Land of the Golden West;
Conquered and held by free men, Fairest and the best.
On-ward and upward ever, Forward and on, and on;
Hail to thee, Land of the Heroes, My Oregon.


Land of the rose and sunshine, Land of the summer's breeze;
Laden with health and vigor, Fresh from the western seas.
Blest by the blood of martyrs, Land of the setting sun;
Hail to thee, Land of Promise, My Oregon."
 
Last November, 1859 Oregon Magazine posted an article about 18 more contemporary songs that refer to Oregon, including Dolly Parton's "Eugene, Oregon," which is based on a true story about how she got homesick during her 1972 tour, and the people of Eugene made her feel better.
 
 

 

 
 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

"The Telling" from a Canyon Called Hell

"They say the Chinook ain't comin' back,
And the cowman must carry the blame."

Those wistful words by Snake River cowboy poet, Smoke Wade, say a mouthful about how the traditional American cowboy faded from the Snake River canyon. Today, Mr. Wade writes stories and poems that recall his rugged ranching life among the rich native grasses and rock faced cliffs of America's deepest gorge.
 
Cowboy culture is honored with a bronze statue in downtown Joseph, Oregon
Smoke Wade was raised on a spread in Hells Canyon where the Snake and Grande Ronde rivers meet. Like his father and grandfather before him, Mr. Wade grew up on the back of horses and rode six miles to a one-room school during his elementary school days. It was in his blood. His grandfather, J.H. Jidge Tippett, was placed on the back of a horse with his mother and three siblings at the age of four in 1891, and rode from their camp in the Blue Mountains to a new life along the Snake.

The home ranch lay about seventy miles from the county seat of Enterprise, Ore., on a travois trail that climbed 5,000 feet from the river to the prairie above. Mr. Wade's elders were renowned for driving cattle through the tricky rivers and even loading them one-by-one onto a boat (that's all that would fit) to reach grazing lands on the other side.
 
Smoke's first job off the ranch came in 1960 when he was fourteen years-old and worked as a muleskinner for the Cache Creek sheep drive. In those days, thousands of sheep were grazed at the bottom of Hell's Canyon in winter. In spring they were driven up the canyon, through the heart of downtown Enterprise, and on to summer pasture along the National Stock Drive Trail in the Wallowa Mountains. Mr. Wade celebrated his 15th birthday in the woods, sitting around a bonfire with the other men, nipping on a bottle and telling stories, with coyotes and cougars howling and screeching in the distance.

Tall tales and cowboy poems were a staple of life for America's legendary men of the land. It is how they held fast to essential cowboy wit and wisdom and passed it to the next generation. Now their words mostly memorialize the waning culture of the open range.
"Often, the 'telling' was a way of recalling the significance of events, the lives of other cowboys, or perhaps the general history of the range we rode. After the fall of the Hells Canyon ranching industry, cowboy poetry was a natural way for me to recall the history of the life I once lived and the cowboys I had known." Smoke Wade
 A Change of Season by Smoke Wade

We don't summer at Chesnim' these days,
Not since the For' Service shut 'er down;
They took away our permit to graze,
Now we pasture on the edge of town.

We don't fall ride at Cold Springs anymore,
In the teeth of an early winter storm;
Or hitch our boots by the cow camp door,
And play cribbage inside where it's warm.

We no longer winter by the Snake,
On benches carved below the rim;
The land was sold for the public's sake,
To the For' Service and to the BLM.

No, we don't spring calve on Cactus Flat,
Since it sold to the State Fish and Game;
They say the Chinook ain't comin' back,
And the cowman must carry the blame.

So, we gather now, at Third and Grand,
A beer garden after the parade;
And, here we'll make one final stand,
Until this season begins to fade.
 
 

© 1994, Smoke Wade. Reproduced here by permission of the author.
 
For permission to reprint this article contact Worthwhile Media.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Fish Free This Weekend in Oregon



Oregon's free fishing days in 2017 are:
April 22-23
June 3-4
Nov 25-26
Dec 31 & Jan 1, 2018

Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife advises that the need for a license is waived during free fishing days, but all other regulations still apply.  There is loads of good fishing information for beginners at Take Me Fishing, and specific tips for fishing Wallowa Lake is at the Best Fishing in America site.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Nez Perce Trail


During your stay at the Mountain View Motel and RV Park, you may want to check out the Nez Perce National Historical Trail, a portion of which traverses Northeastern Oregon. The trail is part of the Nez Perce (Nee-Me-Poo) National Historic Park which is comprised of thirty-eight various sites of Nez Perce history in Oregon, Idaho, Washington, and Montana.

 Nez Perce Trail marks historic flight of the Wallowa Band

The Nez Perce Trail marks the attempted flight in 1877 by the Chief Joseph band of Nez Perces from Wallowa County to British Territory (Canada) where Chief Sitting Bull had sought asylum. This flight became necessary in the wake of broken treaties, skirmishes with settlers, and pursuit by the US Army.

The trail was originally added to the National Park Trail System by Congress in 1986, with fourteen additional historic sites in Oregon, Washington, and Montana included eight years later. Of the 55 miles of trail in Oregon, 40 miles cross private property and 15 are on national forest land. This is not a trail you can follow in the conventional sense -- a line with a fixed starting and ending point. And it can only be toured by vehicle intermittently because it traverses rugged and largely inaccessible country.  


gravesite of elder chief joseph with wallowa mountains in background
The Gravesite of the Elder Chief Joseph Near Wallowa Lake
Chief Joseph's Grave

The Nez Perce Trail starts at the grave of Old Chief Joseph who died in 1870. This site, open to the public, is located along Hwy. 82, one mile south of Joseph, Oregon, on the north end of Wallowa Lake. It is the final resting place of the elder Chief Joseph who was originally buried near the convergence of the Wallowa and Lostine rivers, a traditional Nez Perce camp located about 12 miles northwest of Enterprise, Oregon. The chief's original grave was desecrated so it was moved to this spot near the lake in 1928 for protection. This is a sacred and sensitive place for the Nez Perce people.
 
Stone wall and gateposts built by the Umatilla Tribal Civilian Conservation Corps at Chief Joseph gravesite
Entrance to the Chief Joseph Gravesite near Joseph, OR
The cemetery is separated from the highway by a cobble wall and gateposts built by the Umatilla Tribal Civilian Conservation Corps in 1938-40.  The younger Chief Joseph is buried near Nespelem, Washington, where he died in 1904 on the Colville Indian Reservation after trying unsuccessfully to return to the Wallowas with his people.
 
Dug Bar

The trail heads northeast and crosses the Snake River at Dug Bar, the traditional crossing site where the Chief Joseph band forded before the 1877 Nez Perce War. They were intending to settle on the reservation near Lapwai, Idaho, but some young warriors were accused of killing settlers before they got there and the Army retaliated, so the Chief Joseph and the band headed to Montana until things cooled down but they escalated instead.

 Joseph Canyon

Another historical site along the trail is the dramatic Joseph Canyon Overlook along Oregon Hwy 3 between Enterprise and the Washington border. It was named after Chief Joseph who is traditionally thought to have been born in a cave on the east bank of Joseph Creek in Asotin County. Joseph Canyon contains Joseph Creek, a tributary of the Grande Ronde River, which flows into the Snake River. Prior to European settlement, the Nez Perce used the canyon bottomlands as a travel corridor from summer camp sites in the Wallowa valley to winter camps along the Grande Ronde and Snake rivers where wildlife and plant foods were plentiful. In later centuries, the Nez Perce grazed horses on the canyon grasslands. The Nez Perce Tribe lost the canyon land because of broken treaties but the tribe has since repurchased it. 
Tipi in foreground at Joseph Canyon Overlook in NE Oregon
Joseph Canyon Overlook in Northeastern Oregon
The Nez Perce Trail goes from Joseph, Oregon, to Northern Montana
The Nez Perce trail enters Idaho at Lewiston and cuts across north-central Idaho, entering Montana near Lolo Pass. It then travels through the Bitterroot Valley, after which it re-enters Idaho at Bannock Pass and travels east back into Montana at Targhee Pass to cross the Continental Divide. It bisects Yellowstone National Park, and then follows the Clark Fork of the Yellowstone out of Wyoming into Montana. The trail heads north to the Bear's Paw Mountains, ending 40 miles from the Canadian border, where the decimated band surrendered to federal authorities.

Driving from LaGrande, Oregon

If you are coming to Joseph from LaGrande on the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway you will pass Minam Hill, which marked the westernmost boundary of the Wallowa band's traditional territory, as well as that of the entire Nez Perce people. As the highway crosses the river, Bear Creek flows into the Wallowa River on the south side of the bridge. This excellent hay country supported the Nez Perce herds of thousands of horses and cattle.

About a mile east are the remnants of a marker old Chief Joseph made from poles set in the ground, originally about 10 feet tall. They mark the Wallowa reservation boundary of the 1863 treaty, which Joseph did not sign (and eventually led to the running battle from Wallowa to northern Montana). These poles were maintained by the Indians until 1877. They have diminished markedly since then. 

Hasotino Village Site

Another Nez Perce historical site is the Hasotino Village Site or Hesutiin, one of the largest ancient villages on the Snake River. An exhibit in the visitor center at Hell’s Gate State Park over the border in Idaho provides information.

Pictographs and petroglyphs along the Snake River at Buffalo Eddy, south of Lewiston, Idaho, can be seen by boat.

Interactive Map of the National Historic Nez Perce Trail

FAQs about the National Historic Nez Perce Trail

Here is a good web page about the Nez Perce National Historic Park

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Oregon Printmakers Exhibit

The Josephy Center of Arts and Culture presents an exhibit of Oregon Printmakers from the collection of Christy Wyckoff, April 1 through May 30, 2017, 403 W Main St. in Joseph. Oregon.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

York Comes to Enterprise March 5



The one-man play, "York," comes to the OK Theatre in Enterprise on Sunday, March 5.  

York, played by David Casteal of Spokane, was William Clark's childhood companion and slave. He accompanied the Corps of Discovery as the only black man on the expedition. This stirring performance describes the journey from the eyes of York, his history with Clark, and how became involved with the expedition. The story is interwoven with a blend of African drumming and traditional Native American drum recordings. 

York proved an important figure in the expedition, but as a black man and a slave, he was not recognized as a member of the Corps until nearly 200 years later, when President Bill Clinton posthumously awarded him the rank of Honorary Sergeant in the Corps of Discovery.

The play was conceived by David Casteal and playwright Bryan Harnetiaux, Spokane Civic Theatre’s Playwright in Residence. Directed by Susan Hardie, it premiered in Spokane in 2005 and has been performed for enthusiastic audiences from the Pacific Northwest to New York City.

Doors open at 6 p.m. with curtain time at 7 p.m. Casteal has been on numerous trips to Africa to study drumming and dance and he brings with him his collection of instruments and artifacts to display in the lobby, where savory refreshments will be available at the concession area.

Tickets may be purchased at the Dollar Stretcher in Enterprise, Joseph Hardware in Joseph and, and the Lostine Tavern in Lostine. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for seniors and veterans and $15 for general admission. Please mail group ticket inquiries and other questions to info@maxvilleheritage.org or call (541) 426-3545.