Willamette Historical Trip

April 6, 1975

A beautiful Sunday morning favored us. Left S.E.H.S. at 8:45 am. minus five people who signed up but didn’t show up. We drove the back roads through Coburg, Harrisburg, to Corvallis where we crossed the Willamette the second time by bridge. Proceeded to Buena Vista for our first ferryboat crossing. Fun! We saw three chimneys still standing which we assumed had once belonged to the pottery factory for which this early pioneer town was once famous. Also passed a “fighting cock” farm and a wildlife refuge. When we arrived in Salem we stopped at historic Bush house which to our dismay was closed until 2:00 p.m. We strolled through the beautiful grounds, however, and enjoyed all the spring flowers, but decided to go on. Our second ferry crossing was at Wheatland. This ferry once enabled farmers from up-river to get their wagonloads of wheat to the Portland market. The town here was finally razed after the abandonment of the Willamette as a trade artery. We then drove to Champoeg State Park, site of the memorable meeting where the first civil government west of the Missouri river was born, and out of which the State of Oregon grew. Here we had lunch, visited the small museum, and exclaimed over the many blossoming trilliums and Johnny Jump-ups. From Champoeg we drove to the Canby Ferry crossing. Here we were delayed by a stalled car which had to be moved from the ferry before others could board. Our last stop was at Aurora where we visited the Ox-Barn Museum, Steinback log cabin, and the Kraus pioneer home—all memorials to Dr. Wm. Keil who founded this communal-type pioneer settlement. We took I-5 home after having crossed the Willamette a total of eight times.

Those on this trip were: Annette Aylworth, Hazen (leader) and Lorene Bressler, Tori Gilman, Virginia Horton, Art Johnson, Lillian Johnson, Janice and Pat Pattison, Clarence and Dorothy Scherer, Grace Smith, and Merle Traudt.


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