Applegate House & Big K Ranch
July 2, 2002
The purpose of this trip was to learn about the pioneers, especially the Applegate family, who settled in Oregon during the 1800s. For the occasion, the trip leader dressed in pioneer attire.
On a beautiful July morning 38 riders traveled south in the comfort of an Oregon Coachways bus. Our first viewing was historic Cottage Grove, famous for the title of “All American City”. It is now in the National Historic Registry. We entered the business district on East Main St. Traveling west, we crossed the Coast Fork River then turning on South River Rd. and soon passing a turn-of-the-century flour mill, now a feed and seed store. Until the mid 1940s a mill race ran for several blocks under a rickety wooden sidewalk to turn the mill’s water wheel. The mill race no longer exists and the sidewalk has been replaced with cement. The Coast Fork River flows north on the east side of the street, and several of the original houses remain.
We proceeded south beyond Weyerhaeuser lumber mill then turning east following a scenic drive to Cottage Grove Reservoir. Our next stop was the Shortridge County Park on the east side of the lake. We were amazed to see the reservoir filled to capacity after the drought of 2001. Beautiful lake and surroundings! On to the rural community of London, where the most noticeable landmark is the church. Then over the scenic Shoestring Rd. viewing incredibly beautiful mountains and forests. Our excellent driver, John Goddard, again maneuvered winding mountain roads to perfection.
Soon we approached Yoncalla and shortly were following the long driveway to the pioneer estate of Charles and Melinda Applegate and 15 children. Shannon Applegate and her cousin Susan greeted us warmly and escorted the group to the front of the stately house. Our group was divided equally and each narrator gave a splendid tour of the home. Refreshment tables filled with baked goods and beverages were available during our time there. Shannon and Susan bid us good-bye as we boarded the bus.
Lunch at the Big K Ranch was being prepared for us. We proceeded north to Drain then west to Elkton then south to the Big K Guest Ranch. There was a short time to enjoy the lodge and breath-taking scenery, then the dinner gong sounded. Delicious food was enjoyed either in the dining room or on the deck. Ingrid baked a delicious birthday cake which she brought as a surprise for Dora. Indeed, Dora was surprised when a waitress brought the candle-lit cake and placed it before her! It was a joy to all! Two guest cabins were open for our group to view, one family unit and one luxury unit. Altogether a delightful experience at Big K.
The final destination was the Applegate Museum in Veneta. We stopped to enjoy the Drain Civic Center as we followed the Applegate Trail through Lorane then Territorial Rd. Soon the museum was in sight, and Violet Schaefer and her crew of volunteers were there to greet us, taking pictures as we stepped off the bus. They were friendly and helpful during our time there. More interesting history! As we thanked them for their wonderful hospitality they invited us to return again in the future.
A long and wonderful day came to an end as we arrived at VRC parking lot about 5:30. Riders were: Rick Ahrens, Helen Barnard, Barbara & Paul Beard, Mary & Dick Bentsen, Marian & John Borchardt, Mary Bridgeman, Ann Bullock, Ingrid Carmichael, Mary Lee Cheadle, Marda Cloutier, Bob & Pat Dark, Fay Eoff, Jeannette Forsman, Dora Harris, Evelyn Hile, Mary Ann Holser, Marjorie Jackson, Jan & John Jacobsen, Jean Jensen, Mary Lemons, Grace Locheart, Marilyn Lynch, Natalie McClatchey, Rose Mary Mason, Mary Millman, Liz Reanier, Ardys Ringsdorf, Nancy Schreiner, Kay Warner, Mary Ellen West, Ellen Zigler, and trip leaders Ethel Allen and Ray Jensen.