unloaded, fed and watered here.
After the railroad was established, businesses sprung up. They weren’t lined up along the streets in a straight row like they are today. They were built wherever there was room close to the tracks. There were five saloons, Terrell’s Livery Stable, The Oregon Commercial Co. General Store, Ed Fifer’s Store, Duffy’s Drug Store, The Pacific Hotel and the Gate City Hotel. John Flynn, an old timer of Huntington, claimed you never slept alone at the Gate City, you had a 100 bed bugs for companions.
The Herald of Huntington was first published in February of 1891 by F. A. Bowen, with a circulation of 500 copies. He sold it to John G. Foster in November of 1896, he sold it a year later. The newspaper never saw the turn of the century.
A water main conveying water furnished by the railroad companies extends around several of the principal business blocks giving adequate protection against fire, with the help of the volunteer fire department.
Huntington had a stage coach operated by Water Frame. He ran it daily from Minerakin, Idaho and three times a week to Burns and Malheur, Oregon.
In 1863 the steamboat, Norma, was constructed at a cost of $25,000. It was to run between Huntington and Seven Devils Copper District. The government spent $50,000 to improve the Snake river channel. The government expected business on the river to increase.
Along the Snake River for 50 miles and 20 miles up the Burnt River is the fruit belt. In 1892, 14,000 boxes of fruit were shipped to eastern markets.
A road was built from Conner Creek to encourage miners and farmers to trade in Huntington. This road cost $10.000.
According to Ralph Friedman in his book, “Tales Out of Oregon” Huntington was one of the most wide open towns in the west due to its gambling tables and dance halls.
Robert Charleston Lee, a Methodist minister called Huntington a cesspool of sins. He was out to dry them up. His sermons always gathered huge crowds. When the offering plate was passed the saloon owners always contributed the most.
Lee’s sermons made the owners of the saloons and dance halls feel threatened. They tried to bribe Rev. Lee. They left a note on his door saying they’d give him a couple hundred dollars every month if he’d quit attacking their businesses in his sermons. To Lee these notes showed he was making progress. He kept up his sermons, attacking the saloons and dance halls. Many times his life was threatened. During his sermons he was shot at. At some sermons he was said to have a six shooter on both sides of his bible. It is told that the bullet holes were visible on the church wall before they put up paneling.
It was Rev. Lee who asked Governor West to come “clean up” Huntington. Governor West offered to send his militia, but Reverend West thought the presence of West would do. The gambling halls hear Governor West was coming so they hid their equipment and furniture replacing it with worthless equipment. It was around 11 pm when Governor West and Reverend Lee entered the dance hall. Governor West attracted every ones full attention and then turned the place over the Lee. With Lee in charge, Governor West retired to his room. Reverend Lee told the dance girls to get dressed in proper attire and return immediately. When the girls returned, he told them he would decide in the morning what to do when he got up at 9 am. A train left Huntington around 6 am in the morning. When Lee got up that morning he checked the train depot finding all the girls had left on the 6 am train.
Around Huntington, coal and kaolin had been found. Kaolin was used in making fine porcelain. Samples of the kaolin had been sent to China to tested: it was found to be of fine quality. Chinese worked in the mines and on the railroad. Some Chinese owned businesses, such as restaurants and laundries.
Four miles west of Huntington was the Oregon Marble and Lime Company. Lime was made here and shipped out by rail.
After the turn of the century, Huntington claimed 1500 people. In 1902 there were 29 businesses as follows: There were four general merchandise stores belonging to O. C. Company, Shirk, Graham & Company and J. T. Fifer. W. M. McLure and J. M. Duffy had drug stores. The only shoe store was owned by F. M. Stubblefield. There were 3 hotels; the Pacific Hotel owned by the O. R. & N. Company, the Gate City owned by Mr. Kruse and the Central Hotel owned by a chinaman. Mrs. Tirrell owned a private boarding house. L. Tirrell and the Brown brothers ran a livery stable on the block where Wayne and Dottie’s cabins are located. Frank Macri ran a blacksmith shop. His daughter-in-law lived there till she passed away in 1976; of course it wasn’t a blacksmith shop when she lived there, it had been remodeled into a house. Cole and Isenhoffer had a meat market. Mrs. M. B. Stephens had a millenary store. The jewelry and notion store belonged to Mrs. W. A. Young. William J. Moore and A. C. Degel competed in the barber shop business. The Abbot Brothers ran a fruit, cigar and confectionary store. There was the Frame Forwarding Company. J. H. Aitkin was president of the Bank of Huntington. J. W. Gray had a harness shop. L. Tirrell also had a coal and wood business. Woods & Laman had a real estate & mining agency. E. H. Griswold had the only bowling alley. There was a telephone exchange which employed several telephone operators. Two doctors were residents: Dr. W. C. Spencer and Dr. J. B. White. There was a hospital located in the same building where A. K. Heiland now makes his home. It was run until 1917, just before a flu epidemic.
Huntington has 3 Christian churches, the congregational, catholic and Methodist Episcopal. The priest of the Catholic church did not reside in Huntington.
In 1911 or 1913 they sawed the Pacific Hotel in two; moving it from where it was next to the tracks to where it is today.
In 1914 Huntington was installed with electricity. The population was 800 and there were board sidewalks.
I interviewed Jeanette Pelliser, an old time resident of Huntington now living in Boise, Idaho. She came here in 1925 with Mabel Dunleavy, Ben Dunleavy’s mother. When I asked her if the town was wild she laughed. She said no, just the normal things went on.
There were only 3 people in Huntington who had license plates for their cars because they were quite expensive. Whenever you had to go to town you would borrow a plate from whoever had them. Sometimes you would have to go to all 3 before you found one. When someone borrowed them from the original owner, he might loan it to someone else, and when the original owner needed his plates he really had to chase them down.
Henry Domey was the water master in 1925. He came from a wealthy family. He invented time clocks to turn on the water pumps so he wouldn’t have to tend to them. If any problems arose, henry was called upon because he always seemed able to solve it. If it had to do with locks he was definitely called.
There were no yards in 1925, cows and horses ran loose in town. The black soot from the malley engines was terrible, you couldn’t keep anything clean. When my grandma Annette first moved to Huntington she was appalled to see her nice clean laundry on the clothes line covered in soot. She told her husband, Bob that she wanted to move right now.
In the late ‘30’s two men, Wiley and Garrison, put in the city park where it is today. They tore down the shacks that were there and planted trees.
There was a man named Bill Fyfer, who most residents of his time remember well. Bill was out to get rich finding gold. He dug holes everywhere looking for gold, all over the hillsides and all over town. Persons who rode horses always had to be extra careful that they didn’t fall in his holes because he never filled them in.
During the depression a lot of people came to Huntington to find work, mainly on the railroad since the cement plant at Lime ceased to operate in June of 1932.
In 1942 a unit of 250 men from the United States Army was stationed in Huntington. They guarded the railroad bridges from being attacked by the Japanese. They had quite a few bridges to guard between Huntington and Weatherby, the one crossing the Snake being their main concern. If this bridge was destroyed it would cut Oregon off from the east and all rail traffic would cease. The government built barracks to house the men. These barracks were later moved, some above the current school and used as teacher apartments. A few of these barracks exist today as houses around town.
The last of the Chinese in Huntington was Charlie Woo. He was the most honest man in town. He earned money doing yard work and washing windows. He always did a perfect job. He died in the early 1940’s.
In 1950 they started to build a new fire station and when the station was built a new fire truck was bought. The schoolhouse burned down in 1950. One man, Mr. Suire was killed. The children had to go to school in the barracks until the new school was built.
The roundhouse burned down in 1952. Some residents claim this to be one of the most terrifying experiences they’ve known. The old malley engines were inside the roundhouse when it caught on fire. Their whistles blew mournfully as the roundhouse burned. About 12 smaller fires were started from the big one because the wind was blowing. People around town had to water down their roofs as cinders were landing everywhere. The Baker fire department was called in and four of their men were hurt.
The year 1967 was an appalling year for Huntington. The railroad was lengthening its routes; the men stationed in Huntington were transferred elsewhere. In 1973 the trains no longer stopped in Huntington. The Smokehouse rooms, the Pacific Hotel & the