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Out of the Past

Articles from 100 years of the Eagle archives.

Published on October 9, 2018 4:45PM

75 years ago

Oct. 8, 1943


History of the Prairie City Methodist Church

(Delivered at the Church Dedication in Prairie City, Ore., October 8, 1943)

An investigation of the beginning of any church, especially of a Methodist Church, is apt to reveal some school connection so it happens that the church building we are dedicating, at this late day, had, as its origin, a building formerly occupied as a school house and many of our elderly people attended the schools conducted under its roof. Prairie City’s first schoolhouse, built probably, when the town was the eighteen and sixties, stood at the upper end of town, near the old Pike Wright house. Few people are now living here who attended school there. Among these few are Patsy Daly, Mrs. Mary Tureman, Mrs. Adylotte, Wm. White of John Day and Chas. Evans, now California. Along about 1874, it became necessary to build a new schoolhouse, and Mr. Marvin Kilburn, who had taken a homestead at the eastern edge of town, donated the land, and a new building was erected, near where the Blue Mountain General hospital now stands. This, Prairie City’s second schoolhouse, served as a schoolhouse until about 1888 or 1889, when it was moved by a man named Duncan, to a site near where Mrs. Angie Laurence’s house now stands, and became Prairie City’s first church, and a new school building was put up on the Kilburn site. This was the town’s third schoolhouse. Mr. William Donaldson, Sr. put a belfry on the transformed schoolhouse and it served for church purposes, without a church spire, until 1990 when Mr. Joseph Dixon put the steeple over Mr. Donaldson’s belfry, and, in so doing, almost lost his life when he fell from the tower, when it lacked but about ten minutes work to complete it. At this site, the former schoolhouse served as a spiritual center until around 1933, when land was acquired at the present site, the big basement was made and the church was moved to the new place and given a general overhauling. The east and west wings were added and the building took on its present familiar form. In this work, Dr. and Mrs. David Lawson helped greatly by liberal contributions. From the first, the church has been served by many able and consecrated ministers, and much of the time was united with Canyon City and John Day under one pastorate. Many of these pastors were not known to this writer, but among those he did know and love, were the Reverends Abram Eads, Ezera Hayes, R.C. Moter, Henry Young, George R. Archer and Perry Chandler. Mr. Chandler (father of the late P.F. Chandler) had been the pastor of the writer come years before at Pendleton, Oregon. Others whose names have been mentioned as faithful servants at this charge are the pioneers, G.W. Graniss, Mark White in whose pastorate the last move was made, Rev. Mulkey, Rev. Garner, Rev. Lines, Rev. Dressler and Rev. Trueblood. No doubt there are others whose goo service merit mention, but lack of time does not allow. However, we must not forget to remember the very efficient, but later service of our good friend, Rev. Leslie Bailey and of the long services of Mr. and Mrs. Bach. This account would not be complete if mention were not made of the many devoted lay members whose faithfulness made the continuance of this work possible. and too, those non members who have been liberal in their contributions, deserve the gratitude of all public spirited people. Time will allow mention of a few only of these pioneers, and most of these named can be found carved on the stones of our Quiet City of the Dead, the nearby cemetery. Among the earliest supporters of the church were the brother Wm. and Henry Hall and their families; John Taylor and his bother Sol, and Mrs. Sol Taylore; Mrs. Pike Wright; Mr. and Mrs. Chidsey and their family; Mr. and Mrs. John Coombs; Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Bradford; Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Donaldson; Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Mack; Mrs. Addie Sullens; Mr. and Mrs. Tom Meador, with families of young folks who made up a fine boy of young workers, many of whom continue the work begun so long ago. We must not fail to remember Dr. and Mrs. V.C. Belknap nor Mrs. Carpenter, nor Mr. and Mrs. R.D. Williams who, with their family, were so closely connected with both church and school. And now, in closing this imperfect account, may I bespeak the support of all, for the present administration, headed by Rev. Wayne Brown and his very helpful wife, who are trying so hard to keep the Light burning. With sweet memories of friends or long ago, “Let us pass onward and upward toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Jesus Christ.” Until the shadow lengthen, and evening comes, and the busy world is hushed and the fever of life is over, and our work is done.


50 years ago

Oct. 7, 1968


Council vote split stops mobile home ordinance

One dissenting vote plus an abstaining move killed the much-discussed mobile home ordinance at the John Day city council Tuesday evening. The ordinance failed to receive the five affirmative votes required to override Mayor Frank Chester’s veto. Four councilmen voted for the ordinance, while one abstained and another voted against the ordinance. Presently there are no plans, either by the council or private homeowners, to bring the mobile home ordinance before the voted of the city of John Day. Before the roll call vote was taken, the council considered changing two words in the ordinance to clarify a misunderstanding. The motion amending the ordinance was withdrawn wen Claud A. Ingram, attorney representing mobile home owners, said the change would make it a new ordinance and that the mayor could veto it. The council agreed to go ahead and vote on the ordinance as it was presented. In a roll call vote, Alva Farley abstained; Wallace Williams, Dr. George Gibson, Gordon Glass and Bob Boethin voted affirmative; and Ed Tussing cast the lone dissenting vote to defeat the proposal. Had Farley voted “yes” the ordinance would have passed. Farley voted for the measure at the September meeting. Tussing was absent from the earlier meeting. In other business at the council meeting, Fire Chief Bill Shanley informed the council that the fire hydrants on the new water line connecting John Day and Canyon City at Grant Union High School are o State Highway property. He also said the hydrants should be straight up and down. City Attorney Tom Mosgrove requested council action in securing the right of ways for surveys of the Canyon Creek flood control project. In the event they will not agree and because of the city’s obligation to provide the right of ways for legal survey, the city will take a legal action. The Army Corps of Engineers need right of ways to make a final survey for the flood control project. Boethin was given approval to investigate the possibilities of constructing a housing unit for the valves at a lower water reservoir. Glass informed the council that the amendment to the city’s park proposal has been approved by federal officials. The amendment consists of purchasing playground equipment for the city park in lieu of building a tennis court, which was planned earlier but dropped when the Fair Board built a court on the fairgrounds. Williams retorted that the Fifth St. deeds have been secured for the city. The problem of trucks parking on Main St. in John Day was discussed. The problem will be referred for further study. Additional refuse containers with plastic liners for the downtown area was considered. Farley reported that the Northside annexation petition had not been completed but it was expected to be finished by the first of next week. The council also objected to plans of lowering a bridge on SW Canton behind Buck’s Union Service.


25 years ago

Oct. 6, 1993


Ranch in Silvies Valley offers a working experience to all

City dwellers with a yen for wide-open spaces, beautiful scenery and western hospitality can now come to Grant County’s Ponderosa Guest Ranch. The ranch entrance is located on the west side of Highway 26, about six miles south of Seneca, at the north end of the Silvies Valley. The 120,000-acre ranch was purchased in 1988 as a working cattle ranch by the Oren and Fleming families. It encompasses nearly the entire Silvies Valley. It’s approximately 25 miles long and 18 miles wide at the widest point. According to Nancy Oren, it wasn’t long after acquiring the ranch that the family began discussing ways to diversify and develop the ranch for more than just raising cattle. Once the idea of a guest ranch took root, there was a lot of discussion and drawings done around the kitchen table with various family members before plans reached the stage where an architect was hired. The actual construction of the main lodge and guest lodges began last October, and work continued through the winter. A few details like landscaping, and a pond are not yet completed. The main building, as well as the nine guest houses are all constructed of large lodge pole logs, they were sided and hand-peeled by WR2 Forest Products of John Day. The interiors are log and knotty pine, with beamed ceilings and wide plank floors. Guests enter the main lodge through a wide chainsaw sculpted door of wild horses done in high relief by central Oregon artist, Chester Armstrong of Sisters. Once inside, the warm wood and western décor of the 6,400 square foot main building that house the gift shop, the lounge, and the ‘chow hall’ make visitors feel welcome and relaxed. The gift shop features a selection of handcrafted jewelry by local silversmith, Lon Davis, along with the colorful saddle blankets, tack, western wear and greeting cards. The lounge where guests may relax after a hard day in the saddle is dominated by a full-sized old style billiards table with woven leather pockets. According to Izzy Oren the bar runs to simple things like Jack Daniels and Beer, at this time ‘fancy’ drinks aren’t served. Outside on the wide veranda with its spectacular views of Silvies Valley guests can rest, relax and watch eastern Oregon sunsets. The ranch also features a 3,250 foot paved airstrip for guests that travel by air. As in the hit movie, “City Slickers” this is a working guest ranch, where the guests may participate in actual ranch work such as well as round-ups and branding. The ‘cowboy season’ runs from May through October, with a three-day minimum stay. After Oct. 15, reservations may be made for one day stays. According to Izzy Oren, the activities the ranch offers will be tailored to fit the abilities of the guests. For instance, which horses the guest may ride will depend on their experience and abilities. They pick the right horse to fit the guest, with safety always first in mind. The ranch has a number of reservations already confirmed and advance reservations are required for all stays at the ranch. There will be weekend brunches and evening dinners available in the dining room, reservations are requested.


10 years ago

Oct. 6, 2008


Grant County residents have been watching the economic news with interest and concern. Even with a bailout plan, Greg Jackson, owner of Jackson Oil, said last week he isn’t expecting nay quick fixes for the economy. “It will turn around, but it’s going to take time,” he said. He said he’s no expert on the situation, but it seemed like “they should have tightened up before this happened.” “Maybe we are all going to have to do with less,” he said. “The federal government – they’re going to have to quit spending.” Maurice Kimball of John Day also felt the economy would take some time to straighten out. “I watched the stock market go below 10,000 this morning,” he noted. “It’s not going to be easy and it’s not going to be quick.” As for the bailout, he said, “I didn’t like it but it had to be done. It had to be done, otherwise all the credit markets would go to zero.” Kimball recalls living through the tail end of the Great Depression. “I don’t want to go through that again. I don’t want to see babes and kids going without food,” he said. Rich Boren, owner of ER Printing and Graphics in Dayville, urged people to think of the glass as “half full.” “We have more positive on than negative,” he said. “The current financial ‘crisis’ is caused by the negative focused reporting of the media coupled with the negative political climate from both branches of government. As soon as the new president and legislators are sown in and the negative advertising stops, the overall optimism of the population will rise and culminate in confidence in the future which will stimulate spending.” He said the “Band-Aid fixes” occurring now will allows the financial markets to recover. “This confidence will stimulate the stock market which will in turn stabilize and return it to its previous levels – safeguarding retirement funds,” he said. “Ultimately, the housing markets will recover, reducing the government’s exposure to failed mortgages. It comes down to confidence ¬– in our government, our president, our financial institutions and our stock market.” Carol Kilpatrick of Mt. Vernon said she’s not happy about “rich bankers being bailed out.” “But the chickens have come home to roost because of eight years of deregulation. If people had been paying attention, this wouldn’t have happened,” Kilpatrick said.



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