Applegate House & Old/New Cottage Grove

July 7, 2004

Forty-one riders left Valley River on a sunny day, traveling south to Cottage Grove. As we turned onto Main St. a fine mural of Buster Keaton, who was featured in the 1924 film (produced in Cottage Grove), “The General”, came into full view. Turning onto South River Road, we observed several historic sites which we would return to appreciate in the after noon. Soon we arrived at the entrance of the beautiful Cottage Grove High School, first occupied in September, 2003; we marveled at this state-of-the-art building. Our guide directed people to the elevator who chose to use the easy method rather than climb the spacious stairs. A grand library is located at the front with a massive bay window creating wonderful light and view. Continuing south, we arrived at the Applegate Homestead where we were greeted by Susan Applegate and Esther Stutzman. Susan, the artist and family narrator, and Esther, a Native American descendant, told us about life during the years after the Applegates arrived. Esther explained about the friendship between the family and the Yoncalla Tribe. The Applegate brothers asked permission from the tribe to settle there, which created a permanent friendly atmosphere. Susan told stories of life on the trail and life on the homestead. Members of the family had various talents which contributed to their successful ranching. At 12:00 noon we enjoyed our picnic lunch by trees planted during an earlier century. An anniversary cake in honor of Paul & Barbara’s 31st year was an added treat. At 1:30 p.m. we thanked Susan and Esther for their hospitality, then drove back to Cottage Grove, stopping at South River Road allowing riders to walk the suspension bridge over the Coast Fork, also visit the oldest Mill Farm Store in Lane County. This is the site where a flour mill was in production until the 1940s, also where “The General,” a silent movie, was filmed. Next to the Bohemia Mining Museum, where we were greeted by several volunteers dressed in attire depicting clothing of the early 1900s. Several of us learned to pan for gold, and we were allowed to keep the gold flecks. Our last stop was the new Cottage Grove Hospital. Most of us entered the lobby to observe the beautiful architecture. Residents explained that the new school and hospital are probably the reason Cottage Grove was awarded the “All-American City” award in 2004. After a rewarding day, our excellent driver, John Goddard, returned us safely to Eugene about 5:00. Riders were: Don Baldwin, Ewart Baldwin, Barbara, Paul & Paula Beard, Jean Blankenship, Ingrid Carmichael, Mary Lee Cheadle, Sharon Cutsforth, Sue David, Rose Mary Etter, Virginia Gilbreath, Barbara Hagerman, Dora Harris, Bob & Linda Hart, Evelyn Hile, Jean Jensen, Ben Kirk, Verna Kocken, Gloria Layden, Bonnie McKee, Natalie Newlove, Pat Patterson, Liz Reanier, Beverly Robertson, Nancy Schreiner, Carol Serbina, Pauline Sievers, Janet Speelman, Dorothy & Ed Sullivan, Jack & Liz Sullivan, Kay Ullman, Mary Ellen West, Betty & Doug Williamson, Ellen Zigler; Ethel Allen (leader) and Ray Jensen (co-leader).

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