Stories from ghosts long gone

“Father made a great deal of money out of the mines and started a grocery store in partnership with Poindexter. The store was known as the Poindexter & Clark Mercantile Store. My father started in this business with a great deal of money and no experience. Mr. Poindexter started in with no money and a great deal of experience. The partnership ended with Poindexter having the money and my father the experience.”

Back in the “Good Old Days” of the soul-crushing Great Depression, the government thought up all sorts of make-work projects. I’m certain many folks thought it was just a waste of money, but instead of just dropping money into a big pit like we seem to these days, they made people earn their wages. The projects created some beautiful public buildings and managed to preserve the history of the “average American” in a way that had never been attempted before.

The quote above is from a Mrs. Ford of Portland, telling the story of growing up in Canyon City Oregon. The WPA American Life Histories Project collected hundreds of interviews across the nation, and it’s now all available online

Another incredible site for history buffs is the Oregon Digital Library, which houses a searchable database of collections from all over the state So many really neat photos and stories here, do a search for Oregon Shakespeare Festival and see photos dating back to the 1930’s.

Why is that man in a swimsuit?

Or what about the Salem Cherry Festival? There’s photos from the early 1900’s.

Getting ready for the 1913 Cherry Festival Parade with the old Capitol building in the background.

I could spend days wandering through these sites! How great is it to have all this at our fingertips and not just mouldering away in some library where only a few historians view it every year?


Dunes Pacific Railway, Florence Oregon

I just purchased an old copy of Oregon For the Curious. I remember this great book on our coffee table when I was a kid.

Flipping through the pages reminds me of lots of cool stuff we’ve seen, and still need to see here in our home state.

But then I come to a page covering Hwy 101 near Florence. Right near the entry for Sand Dunes Frontier and just after Woahink lake, there’s a picture of a train steaming its way through the sand.

Dunes Pacific Railway

It appears at some point (up until at least the mid 1980’s) there was a miniature railroad called the Dunes Pacific Railway near Woahink and Siltcoos lakes.

I mean, what a fun and insanely stupid thing to build in the dunes, since railroad tracks do so well on shifting beds of sand and sand is just so good at never coming in contact with greasy parts and grinding those parts to dust.

Other than the name, a photo and a location, there’s no more information on the attraction. Checking online only shows references to this book and nothing else.

Does anyone remember this? Did anyone ride it?  What happened to it?  Inquiring minds want to know!