Digging up information on Weston is a little like digging for gold that someone already found but for some reason decided to rebury! I think money was spent by the town a few years ago towards an online presence and information about the history and historic buildings were posted at that time, unfortunately some of the sites have either been removed or the links are broken.
Because I spent a few hours digging, I thought there might be others doing the same thing and I could save them some time. Below are links and quotes to help you explore this town and understand its history.
First off, here is a map that I made using the locations listed on the Chamber Of Commerce web pages:
This is as close as I can get, but probably there are some mistakes – if you know different, please contact me and I’ll fix it!
More information on each building can be found on the Chamber Site here.
Short History from the Chamber Site
Weston was named for Weston, Missouri, by T.T. Lieuallen who came from Missouri. Lieuallen was the first postmaster at Weston, Oregon. The community is located east of Athena, and South of Milton-Freewater.
Weston is the second oldest town in Umatilla County, after Umatilla. Lieuallen erected the first two houses, a dwelling and a blacksmith shop. Rube Baskett, lawyer, and R.A. Steele, notary public, were the dispensers of law and justice.
Charles Patterson drove the first stage coach from Walla Walla through Weston to Pendleton. Barney Keenan, a farmer, was the second man to hold the reins of the stage coach. S.F. Neff was Weston’s first schoolmaster.
Hill & Baker operated a general merchandise store at Weston and were succeeded by Saling & Reese.
Weston was incorporated in 1878 and T.J. Lucy was Weston’s first mayor. The Weston Leader was established by W.L. Black.
Weston was the home for the Eastern Oregon State Normal School. It was established about 1882, but it wasn’t until 1893 that the school became a bona fide state school. The school served as a training school for teachers.
Novelist Nard Jones and Weston
http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Weston%2C-Oregon Weston is best known for its connection with novelist Nard Jones (1904 – 1972), who lived in the city with his parents between 1919 and 1927, and whose first novel Oregon Detour was set in an Oregon town of 600 inhabitants called “Creston”.
When his novel, written according to the tenets of the New Realism literary movement (established years before by Sherwood Anderson,Sinclair Lewis and others) was published in 1930, many of the residents were convinced that his characters were based on local inhabitants, and considered the work a slander against the town. While the legned that Jones was sued and ran out of town for his book is not true, members of the town made an effort to local suppress access to the book: copies of the novel were stolen from the local library; after the novel became the subject for a high school student’s book report, his English teacher removed the book from both the reading list and the high school library. According to George Venn, local litarary historian, even in the 1980s “trying to figure out or trying to remember who the ‘real people’ in the novel is still a local pastime.”
Isham Saling and his House:
I’ve searched everywhere and can’t find anything about this place other than it is listed on the National Register and was built in 1880. Very cool structure, and completely intriguing.
Some info about Mr. Saling:
From: History of Pacific Northwest – Oregon and Washington, 1889 Volume II
ISHAM E. SALING. – The gentleman whose name appears above is the leading merchant in the thriving city of Weston, Oregon. He came to his position by that firm and steady application to business which is everywhere the guaranty of success.
Mr. Saling is a native of Monroe county, Missouri, and was born in 1830. In 1852 he came to Oregon across the plains. At Salmon Falls on the Snake he exchanged his oxen for horses, packing in from that point to the Jacksonville mines, and remaining in that section until 1855. Coming to Yamhill county he engaged in farming until 1859, when he crossed with his stock into the Walla Walla country. The hard winter of 1863 starving to death many of his cattle, he decided to confine himself to farming. This occupation he followed until 1874, being among the first to prove the fertility of the general upland soil.
In that year he established himself at Weston in the merchandise business, and is now head of the largest business in the county. His other interests are also large. He owns a half interest in the brick hotel, three brick stores, and also the tract known as Saling’s Addition, and a farm of two hundred and thirty acres nearby. With his two sons he has three hundred head of horses and cattle on a place near the Columbia in Washington; and he is also much occupied there with operations in farming.
He was married in 1856 to Miss Melinda Morton of McMinnville. They have eight children. The eldest daughters are now married, and are conducting homes of their own. His sons are in business.
The labors of Mr. Saling and his compeers have even yet but slightly lifted the curtain of the future of the valley of the Columbia and its boundless possibilities. From this starting point, however, for him his children, as well as for many others, has begun a new world.
History of Frank Saling (son of Isham) can be found by clicking his name.