Wood & Dreams

Homestead

Sunday, March 21, 2021

I’m sorry not to have taken a photo of the one that’s hanging before I framed and hung it.

This photo is of an old homestead built one-hundred, or one-hundred-fifty years ago. It’s on a property that also nearby has a modern large home. Old structures still standing in Central Oregon fire the imagination. This one is in very good condition, relatively speaking.

Central Oregon’s history is young. It begins around 1850 with adventurers who drove their wagons west. Not all went all the way to California for the goldfields, or to developing cities like Portland and Seattle. In those days, the government was awarding land through the Homesteading Act to brave pioneers. They had to live on and improve acreage over a specified amount of time to earn their property deeds.

The earliest settlers dug in toward the north and near the Columbia River. Their followers trended southward, creating a few small communities before reaching Central Oregon in the late 1880s. Central Oregon had a massive timber forest, which attracted attention, and in the early 1890s, developers began to arrive with visions of creating a lumber industry.

That industry became viable around 1910. That’s when finally a railroad became a reality after the massive effort of laying rails. They were laid between the Columbia River and Central Oregon, in rugged country, through the Cascade Mountains and over deep fissures. There was competition to build a railroad which became a great war between wealthy rival companies. It’s a nail-biter story.

Anyway, my photo of large and probably wealthy homesite, built of wood and set in the then-countryside, might have belonged to a lumber baron. Someday, I’ll knock on the door of the nearby modern big home and inquire about the old home’s history.

About the photo, maybe from five years ago. I liked it enough to have it printed, before being sidetracked by care needed for my older sister. I forgot all about the picture. The other day, I accidentally rediscovered the print and again felt pleased. Best of all the image has held up well over time and now hangs proudly.

Dear Friends: If I can locate the original, saved somewhere online, it too will be posed. Diana

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