Huntington Historical Society

Oregon Museum and Historical Society

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The following was written in 1977 as an English assignment by Alice Burley:



Huntington A Railroad Town


                 What started out as a stage tavern, boomed into a lawless town where there were four times as many saloons as churches; then after 89 years of impetuous life nearly died?  Huntington, Oregon is the place; a level valley surrounded by mountains and sagebrush.  The railroad made it what it was and took it away, leaving it to die a lamented death.

                 There is some controversy on the exact year Henry Miller started his stage tavern, Miller’s Station.  Most sources comply with the year 1862, though some say 1870.

                 Henry Miller came from Salt Lake City, Utah with merchandise.  After selling his merchandise he journeyed down the Burnt River.  He took his claim in August of 1862 which consisted of the original town site of Huntington.

                 James Marsh Huntington with his brother John Burnham Huntington bought the claim in 1881. It is often read that it was Alfred Henry Huntington with his brother, J. B. that acquired Huntington from Mr. Miller.  It is said that James and John purchased Henry Miller’s holdings in 1882. They later had the town laid out and began selling lots.  They built, or took over a general store-trading post.  They established a post office in the store and James Marsh became the first postmaster. The first patent for the town site of Huntington was issued by the United States of America to August Kickburch for 120.47 acres. The land then went to R. E. O’Brien who transferred it C. H. Prescott.  I can’t find any records where C. H. Prescott sold the land to the Huntington’s. Yet the next land transaction shows Eloise I. and John B. Huntington quitclaim 360 acres and also Block 5 to Sidney Dillon and Charles H. Prescott, trustees for the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company and the Oregon Short Line Railway Company on February 3, 1886. There is another quitclaim dated January 22, 1886 showing James M. and Mary B. Huntington ‘selling’ 360 acres to Sidney Dillon and Charles H. Prescott.  Same land description as his brothers minus Block 5.

                 The Oregon Shortline Railroad Company started laying track from the Union Pacific westward; while the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company laid track eastward from the Columbia River.  Both companies joined track in Huntington in 1884.  It wasn’t until 1890, six years later that they agreed on through rates and both companies leased their track to the Union Pacific Railroad.  Huntington’s monthly railroad payroll was $5,000.

                 Ranchers from all around would drive their cattle to Huntington to ship them to market.  Huntington had huge stockyards for this purpose.  Cattle already on the train were

Huntington, A Railroad Town

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