Arkyville On The McKenzie

It’s high noon….I said after my Old Man Nap failed to take me into the future, because, the future has arrived at the New Gateway to the McKenzie! I found another Rose. Billy Ruth Rose is The History Keeper, a true Oregonian Hobbit. She might be my kin!

Two days ago my niece, Shannon Rosamond, sent a message of concern. She had hear about the fires in Oregon on NPR radio. She offered me a safe haven in Arizona where she lives close to Christine’s other daughter, Drew Benton.

Dianne-Frye Dundon is third generation Finn Rock. The Fryes are one of the oldest families on the McKenzie River. She married Michael Dundon, the brother of Jim Dundon who married my younger sister, Vicki Presco, who I saw running around topless on John Allensworth’s land. John owned the Log Cabin Inn. Jim built a geodesic home on John’s property. His brother built a cabin next to the dome. Three years later, Michael is a father of four working in the woods as a tree-topper. He later became a foreman for a famous logging outfit. This is ‘Sometimes A Great Notion’.

Michael was a cook at the Inn and the Cougar Room. Both these places burned down years ago. Dianne bartended at the Inn and all her children worked at other restaurants and stores.  Dianne got my newfound sixteen year old mother, a job teaching at McKenzie High School. Jennifer Dundon had just moved out of the cabin you see above, and it was for rent for $500 a month. I sent these photos and offer to Heather, but she had moved. There was no forwarding address – until three days ago! I am in theory, moving all my Rose Family – to Finn Rock – for the rebuilding time started at Noon today! Come back for a visit, for this post….will grow. You can’t keep the dream of a good man down. The ghost of Harold Carlson woke me this morning.

“Time to go to work!”

John Presco

FINN ROCK: USA Track and Field Oregon has announced it will be holding Oregon championship races on the track at the 3,000m and 25,000m distances. The event is set to start at 9 a.m. on Sunday, September 10th, at McKenzie Community Track and Field in Finn Rock. The Oregon Track Club Masters is a major sponsor of the event.
Both races will serve as the USATF Oregon Championships for men and women for open athletes.

Doyle Hawks

EUGENE: “It was a wonderful place to live,” Billie Ruth Rose had to say about the community of logger’s families that once thrived near Quartz Creek on the McKenzie River. “My folks lived there for 20 years. There were probably 100 kids in the area and the mothers mainly stayed home to raise families. It was a good place – like Mayberry without Barney and Andy.”

Rose and Doyle Hawks, also a fellow kid from “Arkyville,” as the camp was called locally, were featured last weekend at the McKenzie Memories presentation in Eugene. Hawks shared some of the history about how the settlement came to be – tracing founder “Whit” Rosborough’s migration from the pine woods of Arkansas and the contingent of workers who followed him when he reestablished his mills in Oregon.

“I grew up with a fishing rod in one hand and a rifle in the other,” Hawks recalled. But he and other boys in the neighborhood had their hands on some tools. Most started working in the woods when they were in the 9th grade, and kept at it until they graduated – planting trees for Rosboro for a dollar an hour.

Finn Rock Camp

FINN ROCK: “I always wondered why they called it a camp,” Billie Rose recalls. “Our folks lived there for almost 20 years. I guess ‘camp’ sort of gave the impression we were transients but we weren’t.”

Billie, her sister Nancy and brother Joe, were part of a gathering of old friends last Saturday who grew up in a community that many of today’s McKenzie Valley residents might never know existed. Their home, the Finn Rock Camp has long roots, stretching back to 1890, when Thomas “Whit” Whitaker Rosborough built a sawmill in Rosboro, Arkansas. After his honeymoon itinerary swung though the Pacific Northwest, Whit had a longing to return. He did that in 1939 when he moved to Springfield, Oregon, and built what a newspaper of that time called the region’s “most modern timber manufacturing plant.” Timber for the mill came from lands he’d purchased up the McKenzie Valley.

Rosboro bridge

The McKenzie River Trust (MRT) has purchased 154 acres of riverfront land along the McKenzie River near the town of Blue River in a closed-bid auction. The property includes approximately two miles of riverfront, numerous side channels, ponds, wetlands, and an old floodplain forest in the scenic McKenzie River corridor.

“We are grateful to the folks at Rosboro for working with us on this legacy project,” said Joe Moll, Executive Director of the McKenzie River Trust. “When you think of the McKenzie River, you imagine clean blue water, incredible salmon spawning habitat, and healthy floodplain forests. This property has all of that.”

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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