Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Travel Day, Condon to La Grande (Hardman)

Wednesday was a travel day, Condon to Heppner (with a side trip to Hardman) Heppner north to Lexington and then to Hwy 84 to Pendleton and finally spending the night in La Grande.
Hardman is listed as a ghost town but there were some very alive residents and we were lucky enough to meet Charlotte, a long time resident who actually had a key to the Community Center/museum and she let us in and gave us the nickle tour. There was a small typewritten story about the area which I found interesting enough to take a picture. I won't quote it all, but it is fun to read.
Sometime around 1870 a man, whose name cannot be recalled by the old-timers, stopped for the night beside a spring in the hills. Looking around him at the rolling hills leverling off to plateaus covered with bunch grass and sage bush, he must have envisioned the rolling wheat fields and peacefully grazing cattle which were to come, because he stayed. He stared Hardmans first settlement, building a cabin and barn and raising a garden here. Later he started a dairy and made cheese to sell.
Around 1879 two towns started, one about one and one half miles from Hardmanand one where Hardman now stands. One was called Yellow Dog and the other Raw Dog. Great rivalry ensued between them. Later by order of the courts, the Dog Towns were consolidated into Dairyville, but were still commenly called Dog Town by the settlers.
As one old-timer put it, "The towns first boss was William Royse. He operated the first hotel. One old timer tells the story that when the meal was ready, the Mr Royce would ring loudly the three-cornered dinner bell. He also had 5 or 6 hounds who howled loudly whenever the dinner gong sounded. One one occasion a drummer yelled at these hounds, "Shut up, you so and so's, you don't have to eat it."

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