Finn J.D. John

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

Image: Oregon Historical Quarterly##The McLoughlin House near the bottom of Singer Hill in 1909, during the moving process.

Offbeat Oregon: The McLoughlin House’s unlikely journey to local historical treasure

To the average Oregon City resident, there wasn’t much to celebrate in the vacant, dilapidated old house by the foot of Willamette Falls. The house had, until a few years before, been known as the ...

Image: Polk County Historical Society##The Polk County Courthouse as it appeared in 1859. It was one of the second-story windows on this building that Enoch Smith leaped out of in a desperate attempt to escape from custody and avoid a death sentence.

Offbeat Oregon: After frontier murder, suspect was auctioned off as a temporary slave

In the first month of 1852, everyone in the frontier community of Cynthian was talking about the big crime wave. Well, it was big by frontier Oregon standards. Although it was (and still is) the seat ...

Image: James Russell/Naval History & Heritage Command##USS Alazon Bay, renamed Casablanca just two days prior to launching, at right, about to be launched at Henry J. Kaiser’s shipyard, Vancouver, Washington, on April 5, 1943. Two other escort carriers — probably the Luscome Bay and the Anzio, or possibly the Corregidor — are still under construction at left.

Offbeat Oregon: Vanport residents built nearly half of US WWII aircraft carriers

During the first year of the Second World War, the conflict in the Pacific was all about aircraft carriers. With a carrier, one could take the fight to the enemy. Without one, one could only huddle on ...

Image: Wolfram Burner##The Neskowin “Ghost Forest,” a series of stumps rising out of the beach sand and surf. The Ghost Forest was submerged when the land under it slumped in the last Cascadia Subduction Zone megathrust quake, in 1700.

Offbeat Oregon: 'Like the ocean had become vertical'

On the evening of March 23, 1964, Seaside resident Margaret Gammon hadn’t been asleep more than an hour or two when she was awakened by howling. It was the community fire siren, blaring at full ...

Offbeat Oregon: Treasure of lucky ‘beach gold’ prospectors may still be out there

Imagine you’re a gold prospector from the Willamette Valley, on your way to the California gold fields in the first year of the 1848 gold rush. You’re a little late to the party, and you’ve ...

Offbeat Oregon: Oregon’s largest uranium mine was discovered by amateur rockhound

During the go-go years of the uranium-mining rush of the early 1950s, the character of the uranium prospector became iconic. He was basically the gold-seeking “miner 49er” updated for the atomic ...

Image: Postcard ## This postcard image, from a note mailed in 1909, shows the tiny Cloud Cap Inn on Mount Hood, with the peak behind. Built in 1889, the Cloud Cap was the only hotel onthe mountain until Timberline was built, and after guests started arriving in cars rather than on horses, it proved woefully inadequate to serve the demand for lodgings there.

Offbeat Oregon: Iconic Timberline Lodge could have been a gaudy skyscraper

High up on the side of Mount Hood, Timberline Lodge has over the years become an Oregon icon. Its rustic, WPA-financed design and construction strike most visitors as a good fit for the state’s general ...

Image: Oregon Historical Society ## Sam Simpson as he appeared on the frontispiece of The Gold-Gated West: Songs and Poems, a posthumous collection of Simpson’s work published in 1910.

Offbeat Oregon: Quest led to madness and death

By 1899, when Samuel L. Simpson’s drinking problem finally got around to killing him, he was essentially Oregon’s poet laureate — the Stewart Holbrook of the 1800s. Offbeat Oregon Finn ...

Image: Oregon Historical Society ## California Street in Jacksonville as it appeared in the mid-1880s. The town probably looked not much different in 1868 when Sam Simpson and Ted Harper came through on the trail of the Wilson brothers’ stash of gold.

Offbeat Oregon: Wildest lost-cabin gold mine story may be true … or not

The “lost cabin gold mine” is a certifiable Western trope. If every ounce of legendary gold buried in an old log cabin became real and hit the banks at the same time, it would probably crash ...

Image: Oregon Historical Society ## T. Edgenton Hogg as he appeared in 1862, sporting his Confederate Navy uniform.

Offbeat Oregon: ‘Colonel’ Hogg’s war record? Robbery on the high seas

Corvallis/Toledo railroad tycoon T. Edgenton Hogg (pronounced “Hoag”) was always somewhat reticent about his past. Especially the Civil War part. To some extent, that was understandable. “Colonel” ...

Image: Britt Studios ## Ed Schieffelin in 1880, when he posed for a series of portraits in his prospecting outfit — including Sharps rifle, rock hammer, Smith & Wesson revolver and canteen.

Offbeat Oregon: Famous prospector’s death sparked ‘lost mine’ legends

They found the grizzled prospector’s body slumped over a sample of ore on the floor of the rude log cabin he’d been staying in, deep in the wilderness of southern Oregon, late in the spring ...

## In this old postcard image, the Columbia (Lightship LV-88) is shown dockside after it was brought to Seattle to serve as a museum ship, in the early 1960s. This was the lightship whose crew claimed to have seen “Colossal Claude” in 1934. No. 88 went into service in 1909 and stayed there until 1939, when it was replaced with Columbia Lightship LV-93.

Offbeat Oregon: ‘Colossal Claude,’ the great Columbia Bar Sea Serpent

Ask anyone to name a mythical Oregon creature, and you’ll get a very predictable answer: Bigfoot, a.k.a. Sasquatch. Offbeat Oregon Finn J.D. John, an instructor at OSU, writes ...

Image: University of Oregon Libraries ##
The first page of the “Voters’ Book of Remembrance,” A.C. Edmunds’ double-sided election’s-eve flier, which insulted Portland voters badly enough to turn them off both temperance and women’s suffrage for nearly 40 years.

Offbeat Oregon: The ‘own-goal’ champ of state history

This is a continuation of the Offbeat Oregon column that appeared in last week’s Connections. A.C. Edmunds’ experience in Portland before the Civil War had been so short, and by his personal ...

Image: Library of Congress ## This drawing, from an 1874 issue of Frank Leslie’s Weekly, shows the Ohio women who were the Portland temperance workers’ primary inspiration, singing and praying before a saloon. This scene, drawn by S.B. Morton, is set in Logan, Ohio.

Offbeat Oregon: With a friend like A.C. Edmunds, suffragists needed no enemies

One of the most dramatic things that can happen in a soccer game is an “own-goal.” Not the kind where a player on offense bounces a shot off a defender and into the net, but the full-on ...