The ghost town of Mitchell came about because of the mail. For me it’s always been the gateway to The Painted Hills.
Because of the gold was discovery at Canyon City a mail route to was needed to the Dalles on the Columbia River.
Most of the gold from Canyon City was being shipped to Portland via Sherar’s Bridge and over the Barlow Road or to The Dalles using the mail route. Because of Indian attacks along the latter route mail route, the U.S. Government improved the trail to allow for the movement of soldiers to base camps along the way. This route became known as The Dalles-Canyon City Military Road.
The town was named after J. H. Mitchell, a former U.S. Senator from Oregon. It was a stopping place along the mail road.
By 1884, the town was doing well and had a hotel. The town, located at the bottom of a narrow canyon was in a bad location. During that year, many heavy thunderstorms in the nearby mountains eventually sent down a nine-foot wall of water that inundated the town and swept away most of its buildings.
An even worse flood hit the town in 1904 sending a thirty-foot wall of water down the canyon.
As recently as 1960 there have been disastrous floods that have inundated the little town, but it lives on providing supplies for ranches and gas and ice cream for the travelers.
It seems that over time most of the town has moved up on the hills. Seems like a good idea to me!
We were there on Sunday, New Year’s Day so we spent most of the time in town without seeing anyone.
It seems Mitchell has the same deer problem as Antelope but they also had a lot of roving flocks of wild turkeys.
They were soooooo funny to hear. When they thought we were disturbing them they gobble, gobble, gobbled up the hill.
We stumbled on the lovely church.
We only saw one person a dapper western dressed older gentleman. He was nice. I asked where the cemetery was and he said “Which one?”
“Ohhhh…(MORE THAN ONE???....AWESOME) The oldest?”
He gave us directions and off we went.
To get to the old cemetery we went out the road east of town to the Dollarhide Pond and took the first left up a hill. It dead-ends at the cemetery (hahahaha…).
On the way we passed a barn with some cows who were kind models for Autumn Eden. The field they were in had literally thousands of Robins in it. Every cow patty had a Robin on it and in between as well.
I had been pondering the start of the new year and would it be better? Would we find jobs? And the like….this little stone really put things in perspective.
The town was cute and could be interesting. I’ll come back and visit with some locals as soon as I can.
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