Finn J.D. John

"Offbeat Oregon:" Unusual stories of historic Oregon ... suggestions welcomed.

Image: Salem Public Library##Salem as it appeared looking west from the dome of the capitol building in the late 1800s.

Offbeat Oregon: Was Joe Drake a murderer, or just an innocent patsy?

On April 1, 1884, an event occurred that probably should have tipped 25-year-old woodcutter Joseph Drake off that bad things were coming his way: His neighbor, David Swartz, filed for divorce ...

Image: Oregon Historical Society##
A line of Tillamook Guerilla Rifle Club members practice taking up a battle position behind a berm in March 1942, in this photo by an Oregon Journal photographer.

Offbeat Oregon: If Japan had invaded, the Tillamook Guerillas were ready

Early 1942 was a really nerve-racking time to be an Oregonian — especially if you lived on the coast. The United States had just gone to war against a country that was already famous for being able ...

Image: Port of Portland##A pilot’s-eye view of the Troutdale Airport as it appears today.

Offbeat Oregon: Massive passenger jet landed at tiny airfield by mistake

It was about 4 a.m. on August 12, 1962, and United Air Lines Flight 861, a red-eye flight from Chicago to Portland, had just landed. The 81 passengers were unbuckling their seatbelts and peering ...

Image: NY Historical Society##This woodcut image from the 1837 edition of the Davy Crockett Almanac probably depicts the story of the time Davy and a panther found themselves on the same tree branch together, which is mentioned in the comments about the joint occupancy of Oregon with Great Britain.

Offbeat Oregon: Davy Crockett in Oregon territory? Yes, in song and legend

Nearly everyone knows the story of David Crockett — the Tennessee mountain man and future politician turned folk hero who died at the Alamo in 1836. Most of us just remember the details from ...

Image: Café Unknown##C.S. “Sam” Jackson II at the controls of the “Newsroom Dragonfly” in 1947.

Offbeat Oregon: Crash changed face of Portland journalism

A few days before Christmas in 1947, a young ex-Navy flier, looking to kill a little time before dinner, invited a friend to come out for a quick spin around a nearby golf course in his new helicopter. An ...

Image courtesy Mike Nolan##State Senate President Marshall Cornett, holding the door of his new Beechcraft Bonanza, chats with Dr. C.V. Hugh, who went with Cornett to pick up the airplane from the factory in Witchita earlier that year.

Offbeat Oregon: State lost leaders in 1947 crash

On the afternoon of Oct. 28, 1947, a brand-new airplane lined up and took off from McNary Field in Salem. It was a gleaming red-and-white beauty, one of the very first examples of a model that ...

Image: Herb Neufeld##The interior of a Ford Trimotor as seen from the viewpoint of a passenger. This particular aircraft, a model 5-AT-B (serial number 8), was built in 1928 was once displayed at the Evergreen Air and Space Museum.

Offbeat Oregon: Fatal crashes made 1933 a rough year in Oregon aviation

Commercial air travel has become so safe and so banal — especially for the poor fish packed into “coach” seating — that it’s sometimes easy to forget what a new experience ...

Ken Potter/wreckchasinginoregon.blogspot.com##The remote wooded slope south of Welches is still littered with debris where West Coast Airlines Flight 956 crashed.

Offbeat Oregon: State’s worst plane crash also its most mysterious

When a commercial airliner crashes, it’s very rare to have absolutely no idea what happened. Even if the cockpit voice recorder is destroyed, usually there are enough clues left at the scene to piece ...

Image: Multnomah County Archives via VintagePortland.wordpress.com##A Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office photograph showing the remains of United Flight 173 after it crashed. The tail of the plane, visible just to the right of the center of this picture, is at about 15809 E Burnside.

Offbeat Oregon: Lessons from Christmastime plane crash still saving lives

It was well after dark — 6:15 p.m. on a Thursday night, three days after Christmas in 1978, in a quiet suburban neighborhood of southeast Portland. Theresa Salisbury was having supper with her two-year-old ...

Image: Ruth A.S./ Wikimedia##A Fairchild F-27 turboprop of Air South at Atlanta Airport in 1974. West Coast Airlines Flight 720 was this same type of airplane.

Offbeat Oregon: Klamath Falls airport had an unusual run of bad luck

The Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport in Klamath Falls has a lot going for it. As Kingsley Air National Guard Base, it’s the home of the Oregon Air National Guard’s 173rd Fighter ...

##The Portland Oregonian’s coverage of the crash of Flight 845, on the front page of the next day’s paper. The newspaper rushed a news team to the airfield in Portland and got to the scene of the wreck even before the rescuers arrived.

Offbeat Oregon: Hawaii-bound flight from PDX ditched off Coos Bay

At around 11 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, March 26, 1955, Florence Hollister was reclining on a comfortable window seat on a Boeing 377 Stratocruiser as the stewardess busily prepared a sumptuous lunch. The ...

##The Portland Morning Oregonian’s staff artist published this sketch of convicted murderer Kelsay Porter shortly before his execution.

Offbeat Oregon: Gunfight left three neighbors dead and a fourth hanged

In the 1890s, 47-year-old Kelsay Porter lived alone on a remote farm in the foothills of the Wallowas, in a tiny Union County community called Pine Valley. He was a shy, timid bachelor who had moved to ...

Image: Oregon History & Memories Facebook group##Currier’s Village as it appeared during the late 1930s, full of late-model luxury cars.

Offbeat Oregon: Little-known resort was packed with celebrities

Little-known Lakeside resort was packed with Hollywood stars   For people like Bing Crosby, Lily Pons and Clark Gable, success in show business came with some distinct drawbacks ... millions of ...

Image: UO Libraries##The original Wasco County Courthouse as it appeared before 1884, when the current courthouse was built. This view shows the sheriff’s office on the lower floor; behind was the jail with no windows on the Third Street side. The narrow door to the right leads to the outside stairway whereby the courtroom on the second floor was reached.

Offbeat Oregon: Murderer took mysteries to the grave

On the evening of December 1, 1878, all four prisoners in the Wasco County Jail, in the back of the county courthouse, were out of their cells and relaxing in the common area near a glowing woodstove. ...

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