After touring Pendleton Woolen Mill we got on the road again. Just as we were getting on the freeway to head west we saw this scene:Herding cattle next to the freeway and across lawn? Look again. These are beautifully made full-size sculptures.Not far from Pendleton Highway 84 meets up with and then follows the Columbia River. We followed the Columbia River. This is the John Day Lock and Dam. In some places we saw windsurfers on the river, but elsewhere there were huge barges. I don’t have photos but we also saw several bighorn sheep on the rocky cliffs just south of the highway in this area. We turned south onto Highway 97 which would take us all the way to California. More stunning landscape, sky and wide, open spaces. Rolling hills of wheat. Isolated ranches and distant mountains.
We passed the town of Shaniko (population of 36 at 2010 census) which was known in 1900 as the Wool Capitol of the World. The largest landowner at the time was R.R. Hinton who had first homesteaded in the 1870’s and continued to purchase land until his Imperial Stock Ranch became the largest individually owned ranch in Oregon. The Imperial Stock Ranch eventually ran 35,000 head of sheep in 12-14 bands that would winter on the home ranch and be trailed to summer range on Forest Service land. Hinton was involved in breeding programs that led to the one of the first sheep breeds developed in the U.S., the large-framed, fine-wooled Columbia sheep, originating from Lincoln and Rambouillet ancestors. The newly formed town of Shaniko (built as the railroad reached the area) was less than 15 miles from the Imperial Stock Ranch’s headquarters, and its wool warehouse shipped 4 million pounds of wool by rail in 1901.Imperial Stock Ranch is now owned by Dan and Jeannie Carver and they have developed the Imperial Yarn Company using Columbia wool produced on the ranch and elsewhere in the state. This is some of my favorite yarn in the shop and I have recently been using it to weave blankets. Since we were going to be driving through this part of Oregon I had asked if we could visit the ranch. The photo above is the road into the headquarters.
Keelia, lives on the ranch and was there to show us around the headquarters. This is the house built by R.R. Hinton, now headquarters of the Yarn Company.The headquarters complex has been entered into the National Register of Historic Places and the history of the buildings and the Hinton family are available for review.
The grain silo. See the detail of the construction below. This is one sturdy building. We also saw the shearing shed and other buildings that are still in use.A few bottle lambs hand out under the house to greet visitors. As we left the ranch headquarters some of the sheep were near enough the road to get some photographs of them in this majestic setting.Back on the road on the last leg of the trip.
Next post: California’s scenery isn’t too shabby either. Mt. Shasta and home.