This page part of the Wallowa County AGHP Site

These images contributed by Orvetta Harmon


Newspaper Photos from Orvetta Harmon

Orvetta's Index

The Old Canyon School  

     A memory of the old staging days in the settlement that formerly was found in the canyon of the Wallowa River.  Houses and small ranches were scattered along the river, the residents gaining a considerable part of their living from furnishing supplies and shelter to the freighters.  There were plenty of children then to make a school necessary, and one was maintained in the old log cabin shown situated among the redolent pines.  The teacher, standing in the doorway, was Miss Beatrice Littlefield.
     Since the railroad has been built into the county and the streams of freight wagons and lighter vehicles no longer

      traverse the canyon, the settlers have moved away in large part.  The old school house burned last summer and the two or three children in the vicinity receive their early education in the lower valley.


     The great buildings for the smelter and the hotel at Eureka, are shown here.  The smelter was never finished, as the destruction of the mining company's boat in the rapids of the Snake River, in the fall of 1903, put a stop all operations.  All work was shut down in the camp has been abandoned, and is going to wrack and ruin.

A Glimpse of Joseph and Surrounding Area

     Looking across the city of Joseph from the east one will see the town amid its shade trees lying at the base of the highest mountain in eastern Oregon.  According to Surveyor Rudd, Joseph mountain, the snow-covered summit at the readers left is 9617 feet high, while Eagle Cap, in the heart of the Wallowa a range of rises 9600 feet .
     As everybody knows this city takes its name from Chief Joseph, the Indian leader, who played a large part in the history of the county in its early days.  The Joseph post office was established in 1879, with Matthew Johnson as the first postmaster.  F.  D.  McCully who has taken century, conspicuous part in the whole history of the town arrived in Joseph in 1880.  The chieftain, the Pioneer newspaper of Wallowa County, was first published in Joseph in 1884, by S. A. Heckethorn. 
     In 1887 Joseph residence incorporated a city.  The officers chosen at that memorable first election were Mayor, E.  J.  Foresythe: recorder, George W.  Hulery; Marshall, John Martin; Councilman, A. W. Gowan, A. M. Hall, W.  W.  Briggs, and W.  A.  Leslie.
     Among Joseph’s other attractions today is its location of a short distance below the beautiful Wallowa Lake, which is visited by many summer tourists each season

Grande Ronde River

The canyons through which the rivers wind in this northeast corner of Oregon are generally similar in formation and appearance.  This is true of the Snake River Canyon, the greatest of all, the Imnaha and the Grande Ronde, and the dozen or so laterals, which drain the upland into these deep gashes.  The canyons are one of the most striking and from a scenic point of view, one of the most beautiful features of the Wallowa County landscape.  The rivers usually run more than 2000 feet below the level of the benches above, and on part of the Snake River.  The precipitous hills rise fully 5050 feet above the stream.  The beauty are shown is on the Grande Ronde River, near Ray's Ferry, where Oscar Akin, driver of the Paradise and Antone stage, had a cold experience two weeks ago.  The ferry boat was frozen to the ice and he attempted to ford the stream in his backboard.  The horses were carried off their feet and one was swept away and drowned.  Mr. Akin and two passengers were thrown into the water, but managed to get too shore.  The mail sack was lost.

          May Festival

     After weeks of drilling the May festival of the pupils in the grade of the public schools was held in the latter part of the month.  It was to have taken place the first of the month, but continued storms caused a delay, and at last on the appointed day rain and a cold wind marred the pleasure of the spectators and prevented the carrying out of the full program.  From the first to the seventh, every grade had its part.  The children wore special costumes for the various folk dances and the performances were novel and pretty.  A march of all the children was the opening number, and then the different grades gave illustrations of folk dances around the May pole.

First North End School

     The first school in the north end of Wallowa county was taught in district 17, 27 years ago by Mira Stanley, in the section now known as Arko.  The house was a small log structure with rough board floor, the lumber for which was hauled from near Enterprise.  The roof was of Shakes; there was no ceiling overhead and there were four half windows of four panes each, two on each side of the room.
     The school term was of four months, beginning May 7 and closing August 24, 1888.  There were 24 pupils enrolled, seven of whom,

on boy and six girls, have answered the last roll call.  Four have moved to other places.  Thirteen remain near the old school site, 10 of whom, with their teacher, are shown in this picture, taken by George Mason June 20, 1915, at the pioneer picnic at Flora.  From left to right they are sitting; Frank Mason, Susie (Botts) Conley, Hattie (Cole) Fordice, James Colo, Julia (Oliver) Martin, Amy (Fleet) Baker; standing: John Holloway, Al Cole, Mina (Stanley) Cannon, Barksell Holloway, Jack Cole.
     The first school board consisted of James Fleet, Sr., Lorenzo Bacon, William Holloway, directors, and B. Botts, clerk.  The territory then known as district 17 is now divided into several districts.
          Mrs. Cannon, who was the teacher, still preserves her records with the names and details of attendance and work of all the pupils, and this unusual account of the pioneer school is gathered from her old books.


Orvetta's Index

Back to Home Page

This site may be not be duplicated in any manner.
All rights reserved! Commercial use of material within this site is strictly prohibited!