Applegate House

July 11, 1995

Our bus, with 28 riders including 13 guests, left SEHS at 8:00 am on July 11 for a trip down to visit the Applegate House and history in Yoncalla. On the way we stopped at the establishment of the firm that has been manufacturing “yurts” for sale. The company has sales round the world and in the process they have enlarged their plant a great deal to meet the new demand. Relatively low cost structures for living or other types of containment buildings with less permanence. They are unique in that they use some aircraft developed material including a bubble type material for insulation. We stopped off at the Community Center at Drain for the usual visit and found that the Center was not a government grant but provided by the local lumber industry. It is a very nice facility for the City Council and some museum artifacts. Drain has some unique residences also which we took a minute to see and the covered bridge which originally crossed the river that was moved to the park as an added attraction when the new bridge was built. Yoncalla is only about six miles away and the Applegate residence and spread is just east of old Hwy. 99 on its own road, called the Applegate Trail. This house dates from the 1840s when the Applegate clan came from Missouri to Oregon. Originally three brothers came out to check on the Oregon Territory and they were dismayed by the fatalities involved in using the Columbia River to get down to the Portland area from The Dalles area. They decided, when they brought their caravan out, that they would come in from the southern end of Oregon and by doing that they took the California Gold Trail from Fort Hall for a way before turning northwest to come in from the southern end. The distinctive feature of this movement was that they had something like a thousand head of cattle and horses and a large contingent of people and they came prepared to run their own schooling problems and their own construction and farming equipment. The residence we visited is owned by Col. Rex Applegate, the inheritor of the Applegate history. It is a unique building that has been there for 150 years and it is in the same condition it was originally except that he spent some money to rebuild the foundations of the house, but all of the items on the inside are from the original family from very early days and he provides a lot of interesting stories about many of the items. The grounds are very beautiful and he describes enormous trees, some of which have been there since the arrival as well as an original rose at the back steps. We left the grounds at 1:00 pm for Roseburg. For five or six years now we have spent the afternoon at the Douglas County Museum, but we thought we ought to make a change this time. The original plans conceived back in the early part of the year turned out to be not suitable, so we scheduled a visit to the Sun Studs Sawmill on the southern outskirts of Roseburg. This is a very modern mill. It has two departments and it manufactures two items: One facility makes veneer that is sold to others who are making plywood, and the other one manufactures nothing but studs. That is 2 x 4 inch pieces of wood for a common element in house construction. Both products are made from logs about six or seven feet in length and they run through very efficient machinery to produce the product. Some of our members found the trip a little too physical and stayed on the bus. In one case we had to climb three stories high to see the manufacture of the studs. We stopped off at Rice Hill for the usual ice cream and the “facilities” and arrived back at SEHS at 5:15. It turns out this trip seems to have used up the market, probably won’t be done again. We had great difficulty in getting enough riders to cover the cost until a few people brought in the unusually large number of guests. We told the guests about the By-Ways by Bus Committee and some Membership application blanks were passed out. — William E. Eaton (leader).

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