Small Town Oregon

We really know how to celebrate Valentine’s day. No fancy dinners, box of candy or red roses…forget those. We took 3 days and headed to small town Oregon with my Hasselblad and 6 rolls of black and white film.

We left our home at 8:30 in the morning on february 13th, headed south on I-5 and then east on 22 to 26 and our destination of John Day. I wanted to photograph the Painted Hills. I thought we’d manage a sunset outing and then check in to our motel in John Day around 8 pm. Well, I should have guessed that a normal 4 hour drive would turn into 12 for us. We stopped so many times along the way that we didn’t make the Painted Hills on the 13th. We rolled into John Day at 8:30 pm, checked into our motel and then to bed for an early start on the 14th.

I think my favorite stop on Friday was the tiny town of Mitchell, if you can even call it a town. Wikipedia says the population was 130 in 2010. I think it might be less now. There’s a small market and old hotel but not much else. The town was founded in 1873 and named after a politician. Wikipedia says: “In 1872 the first school in Wheeler County was established near Mitchell, and in 1874 it was relocated to the town itself. Over the next two decades, Mitchell grew to include a store, assay office, two churches, two hotels, livery stable, three houses of ill-repute (one of which is still standing), five saloons, a flour mill, a livery stable, and an apothecary. There were also two newspapers, The Sentinel and The News. The business district, including the saloons, grew up along Bridge Creek and became known locally as “Tiger Town”. The church and most of the city’s homes were built at higher elevation on a bench overlooking the creek; this part of town was known locally as “Piety Hill”. About half the town was destroyed by fire in 1899, but it was later rebuilt. The town has also suffered from several severe floodings, the last time being in the 1950’s.

I’m starting my trip in photos with Mitchell:

the main drag through town

the main drag through town


old gas station

old gas station


staying over?

staying over? no thanks

Seems many residents live in trailers. I don’t understand why the small towns of the west are dotted with so many mobile homes.



There were a couple of ‘homes’ for sale too:

house 'for sale'

house ‘for sale’

also 'for sale'. I think the toilet is out back

also ‘for sale’. I think the toilet is out back

Time to move on although we returned here the next day to take to road north to the Painted Hills. To be continued…..


About gretchen

I love living in the Pacific Northwest being close to the mountains and the ocean. My hobbies include photography, travel, reading, biking, walking and gardening. I am an Anglophile at heart and try to visit the UK often. My camera goes everywhere with me.
This entry was posted in film, Hasselblad, Oregon, Oregon, Photography, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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