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~ Kathy M.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sepia Saturday 102: The Hotel McCredie Springs

Welcome once again to Sepia Saturday!  I may be stretching this a bit to claim that I am on theme this week, but I have included a sign and a business.  To see what others have written this weekend after Thanksgiving, please "CLICK HERE",  after you are all done here at Oregon Gifts.  Thanks!

  Source: Lane County Historical
Oregon Hot Springs Map Courtesy of The Oregonian

The Hotel McCredie Springs

"Frank Warner"

In 1878, a trapper named Frank Warner discovered a series of hot springs as he hiked an Indian trail on Salt Creek in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.  Frank staked a claim and built himself a cabin, living there until the early 1900's.  He probably would have stayed there, living happily ever after, if the U.S. Forest Service had not come into existence and kicked him off of his land. Dang! It was public domain at it's best; such a piece of property was claimed for public use instead of private.   (I don't know if the picture above is of Frank's cabin, but it could be.  It was in the group of McCredie Hot Spring historical photos that I am using courtesy of The Lane County Historical Society.)

"John Hardin"

  Source: Lane County Historical

If you were pretty smart and a developer from Eugene, you could still figure out how to get your hands on that land though.  This is exactly what John Hardin did in 1911.  Knowing that the law allowed you to file a mineral claim if there was salt around, he did just that, on land at Salt Creek near the hot springs.  Come to find out, Mr. Hardin never did intend to become a salt miner, he just wanted to build a resort.  It seems that he leased the land from the Forest Service and got to work.  By 1914, the hotel was completed and open for business.  

"Walter 'Judge' McCredie"

  Source: Lane County Historical

 Source: Lane County Historical

Two years later, in 1916, John Hardin let go of the resort and a certain baseball player named Judge, from Portland, eventually took it over. (One account says this happened in 1916, another states 1926.)  

Source: Judge Walter McCredie

Quite a character and owner of a semi-professional baseball team (The Portland Beavers), Walter "Judge" McCredie bought the hotel with the idea of using it as a baseball camp.  Judge brought his baseball team members up frequently to relax, soak in the hot water, and to just enjoy themselves.  The name McCredie Springs stuck. 

  Source: Lane County Historical

  Source: Lane County Historical

  Source: Lane County Historical

  Source: Lane County Historical

  Source: Lane County Historical

  Source: Lane County Historical

 Source: Lane County Historical
  Source: Lane County Historical

You could get to the hotel by car, but by 1923 the train was an easier option. The resort was a favorite of those living in Eugene and Portland, and was at its most popular during the 1930's.  The train stopped up to five times daily to drop off and pick up travelers.

"The Madam" 
By the 1940's the resort had changed hands several times, and began to fall out of favor as a destination resort.  In the late 1940's it was managed by a madam, and actually became a bordello.  There were three shifts of prostitutes working daily.  The woman gave the Forest Service and local sheriff fits, but they failed to close down her operation.  She threatened them with guns, and would always seem to make bail and get right back to work.  When her work was finally complete at the resort in the 1950's, she left without any trouble. (I still need to research her and learn more of her story, which shouldn't be very difficult and quite interesting.)

"George Owen" 
A man named George Owen took over the resort next.  Poor George would be the last owner.  The hotel burned to the ground in 1958; and then a major flood in 1964 wiped out the bridge that crossed Salt Creek; how you got to the lodge.  After the flood, the Forest Service took the lease back from George Owen.  They burned the remaining buildings, removing nearly every remaining trace of the establishment.  The pools are now primitive soaking pools along the river.  (I paraphrased much of this information from Jeff Birkby's book, "Touring Washington and Oregon Hot Springs" c. 2002, p. 90-91.  Jeff has a whole chapter full of interesting facts about this cool spot to visit.)

"Present Day"
Cary and I like to stop there and stretch our legs when we travel to Eugene.  I have done several posts with photos of the river before, and you can see them if you would like by  "CLICKING HERE"  and by " CLICKING HERE: "Naked in Nature",  and here: "Road Trip, May 2010.

The area was flooded again in 2010, and the river has changed course.  It wiped out some of the pools.  We stopped there on Wednesday, and I was very surprised at how different things are now.  There are three main pools, and two are super hot.  The big pool is not as muddy as it used to be.  Here are some of the pictures that I took that day:

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

I found this live video of Salt Creek and McCredie Hot Springs on You Tube ... 

So, there you go for this week's little story about some Oregon history.  Happy Sepia Saturday! 

Kathy M.

At Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy, if you miss a day, you miss a lot!  All material on this post is copyrighted and not for use without my permission ...Please click here to go to my home page and see what is happening in Mayberry today.
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Wendy said...

If that was a "stretch," then stretch on! Great stories and photos. I enjoyed them all.

Postcardy said...

That place has an interesting history. I wonder how many places throughout the U.S. have hot springs.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

It's so beautiful it makes me want to cry. The history is so interesting - thank you!

Gloria (The Little Red House with the White Porch) said...

Great post, Kathy, very interesting. I love the photos of the old cars and especially that picture of the little cottages!! Your personally-taken photos at the end were gorgeous, as usual. :)

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

I'd love to hear more about the madam! She sounds like quite a character. And you have at least two pics I'd like to use for BBF. May I? :)

BECKY said...

I just love your posts and photos of the Old Days!!

Marilyn said...

What a beautiful place and great history too.

Alan Burnett said...

That is bang on theme as far as I am concerned. Some great pictures, linked together with your usual style - and even a few fish thrown in.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Kathy, the historical info about the hotel was fascinating. I'd would have enjoyed relaxing in one of those hot pools and staying in a little log cabin. Jo

Arkansas Patti said...

A ball player and a prostitute(excuse me--madam) now there is a story line if they over lapped. Interesting post.
Oh yes, I am now reading and enjoying 44 by your Bend author. It may be intended for YA but it is good for OF(old folks)also.

Bob Scotney said...

What a mmoth post with fine photos - old and new.With a clothes line full of fish you have met the theme never mid about the sign.
Bodello in the 1950s - perhaps you need to talk to the old men in the area for a first hand account!

Little Nell said...

You’ve done it again Kathy. And now I want to visit Oregon even more. Maybe one day.

Liz Stratton said...

What a great collection of photos and a great story to tie them all together. When I read that the buildings had burned I was sad; but only until I saw how beautiful the area is now. Thanks!

Mike Brubaker said...

Wow! Great story and photos.

louise said...

Just learned more about Mcredie Hot Springs than I ever learned in the 12 years I lived in Oakridge. Don't think my family every visited there even once.Would have been a great history lesson in school.

Slow Dance said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Thanks to Curt (Slow Dance) for sharing his memories with us:

> As a child my parents used to take my siblings and I there every year. I was born in 1957 so my earliest recollection probably isn't any earlier than 1960. There was a concrete pool with a deck around it and we spent all day swimming and splashing about. I recall it was fed by the hot springs. There was a large building next to the pool that was used for events but I remember it as vacant (and dark and scary). There was an older couple that lived in a house near the pool and I believe they were the caretakers. There were also four or five cabins in the trees that we stayed in and every year, in the spring, we would go repair the doors that the bears scratched down, repaint and clean them up. I'm not sure when the original hotel burned down but there was certainly a large building next tot the pool in the early sixties. The bridge and half of the pool was washed out in the Christmas floods of 1964. I remember going back with my parents to see it and I distinctly remember seeing half the pool. I think we may have some old super 8 movies of us having great times there. Sad that it is all gone.


Olivia Smoody said...

Have you done anymore research on "The Madame" I'm very interested in that time period but can't seem to find anything about it. Thanks!

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