Thursday, June 7, 2012

Oregon Factoids And John Day

Oregon Factoids
  1. Oregon is the 10th largest state -- over 97,000 square miles.
  2. More than half it's nearly 4 million residents live around Portland.
  3. There is NO SALES TAX!   Love buying things here.
  4. The state requires fuel stations pump gas for all customers!  A lost service elsewhere.
  5. Pronounced OR-UH-GUN -- never OR-EE-GONE.
  6. Virtually all the hazelnuts in the US are grown here.
  7. Oregon's Crater Lake is the deepest in the country at 1943 feet.
  8. Hells Canyon (in northwest Oregon) is the deepest river-carved gorge in North America.
  9. Klamath Forest National Wildlife Refuge has the highest concentration of wintering bald eagles in the U.S.
  10. John Day fossil bed is the richest in the world.
We camped for a few days at Clyde Holliday Oregon State Park Campground in the eastern region of Oregon. It is about six miles west of a town named John Day along the John Day River which ends at John Day Dam. The city of Dayville is nearby.  John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, with 40 million years of fossilized history, is just down the road.

All this begs the question, "Who Is/Was John Day"?
"John Day was a Virginia backwoodsman who joined the Astor-Hunt exploration party in 1811. After falling behind while traversing the rugged upper Snake river country, he and a companion underwent extreme hardship during the winter of 1811-12."

What is not mentioned above is that John Day was tall, handsome and robust as a young man -- but not when he joined the Astor-Hunt exploration group! By the time of the exploration, he was an older, arrogant man who believed himself to be invincible.
Also not mentioned in that description is that John Day was stripped naked and left to the outdoor elements by Indians (part of the hardship described here) before being rescued by Astorians.
In the end, John Day lost his mind and died in a Snake River watershed.
I still don't know why everything is named John Day... I don't see that he discovered, invented, saved, named, helped or did anything extraordinary...  furthermore, he was a Virginian -- not an Oregonian.  I can find no images of him.   So, I still don't know what makes him so famous.....
Anyway, we toured John Day and the surrounding area, taking a few pictures to remember this otherwise "not so memorable" little place.

 Clyde Holliday State Park and our campsite there was beautiful and well kept.
This bird woke us up early every morning with his noise making.

This Advent Christian Church was built in the late 1890's by an Advent minister. It was used for worship until the 1930.
It was purchased in 1947 by the Seventh Day Adventists. It doesn't appear to be being used now.   Too bad.
It's on the National Register of Historic Places.

This is not the Chamber of Commerce building.

In the late 1880's, John Day was home to about 1,000 Chinese immigrants. All were attracted here by a gold rush twenty years earlier. The Chinese community was called Tiger Town.

Around this time a trading post in John Day was purchased by two of the Chinese immigrants, Lung On and Ing Hay, who converted it into a clinic, general store and social center. The business operated continuously until the 1940's and was converted to a museum in the 1970's. It is called the Kam Wah Chung & Company Museum.  The building and it's contents are on the National Register of Historic Places and is now operated by Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

Lots of ranches in this part of Oregon.

Hard to read this sign so I'll post it here:  "Like this landscape. Thank your local agriculture community"
Which reminds me.... the very best cucumber I ever tasted came from the local grocery store here in John Day.
From here we'll be moving along to the central region of Oregon where we're sure to encounter cold, damp weather as it's so early yet.   We didn't learn that last year... obviously.

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