Currinsville (Young’s Prairie, Zion)

Name: Currinsville (Young’s Prairie, Zion)
Class: H2
GPS: 45.315114, -122.342886
Directions:
Currinsville is located about two miles south of Eagle Creek, Oregon and four miles North of Estacada along Eagle Creek Road.

Description:
The area now known as Currinsville was known as Young’s Prairie by the earliest settlers. It is unclear when Joseph Young settled here, but along with Philip Foster, he went into partnership with Sam Barlow in running the Mount Hood Toll Road, now known as the Barlow Road. The Barlow road ran by the Foster Farm, where Philip Foster and family also provided shelter and a warm meal for weary travelers along the road. This exact area later became known as Eagle Creek.

In a short biography of Erwin Charles Hackett, county recorder of Clackamas County and three term mayor of Oregon City, he was quoted as having a picture of a barn located on the site of a fort built in 1855 on Joseph Young’s land claim to protect against hostile natives who had been killing Pioneers and burning houses along the Barlow Road. This would have been during the Rogue River Indian Wars that took place mostly in southern Oregon but spread around the entire territory.

On June 25, 1874 the first post office in the area was opened on Joseph Young’s Claim. It was named Zion by religious settlers. William H. H. Wade was the first postmaster. The Post Office was renamed ten years later, on January 8th, 1884, to Currinsville.The new name was in honor of George J. Currin and Hugh Currin, with George being the first Post Master.

July-12-1888-Oregonian

Stage Coach ad, July 12, 1888 – Portland to Currinsville, Damascus, Eagle Creek, and Lent’s Post Office (now the Lent’s Neighborhood in Portland.)

From Church History, Clackamas Oregon: “Dr. Swander reports the Currinsville Church was launched in 1891. The town was located on Highway 224 four miles north of Estacada. The 1892 Disciples Year Book shows there were eight members and the contact person was Frank Lemon. Since the group was so small and no property value is listed, it is doubtful if they had a building of their own. It is thought that the group was later absorbed by the Estacada Church.”

Located in what was at the time heavy forest, fires were not unknown to Currinsville residents. One local farmer lost his house and barn to fire in September 1893, and another lost his barn with cattle still inside.

In 1902 Currinsville became one of the stops on the Oregon Water and Power Railroad to Cazadero. This provided residents easy access to Portland, and a perceived new prominence in local affairs. But this was not to be, the Post Office was closed on February 16, 1906. And the residents split between the Eagle Creek Post Office and the Estacada Post Office.

August-12-1909-Oregonian

Unusual bequest, commentary on the lack of education?

But the story of Currinsville doesn’t quite end there. The Oregonian of March 23, 1912 talks about a Sessionist Movement of East Clackamas County with Estacada as the County Seat over high taxes imposed by Oregon City. The article talks about speakers being sent to Currinsville. While nothing much seems to have come of the movement, the subject of high county taxes in Eastern Clackamas County refused to die for several more years.

The East Clackamas County Fair of September 13, 1914 in Estacada featured community bands from Currinsville, and another nearby community called Garfield.

Currinsville, Oregon

The age old problem of high taxes is the popular subject of the day.

March-24-1916-Oregonianpg2

Page 2 of the March 24, 1916 Oregonian article about high taxes in East Clackamas County.

Sessionism seems to be in the news again on March 24, 1916. County Judge H.S. Anderson spoke to a crowd of 75-80 people at Ely’s Hall (maybe John Ely’s house, who seemed to be on of the organizers) during the Eastern Clackamas Taxpayer’s League. The League meets again on July 20, 1916 (in the evening due to farm work it is noted,) in Barton to again discuss the matter of high taxes. This time with County Assessor Jack (no last name) in attendance to hear, and perhaps address, grievances.

July-20-1916-Oregonian

Who was County Assessor Jack?

Unfortunately concerns over “The Great War,” or WWI as we know it today quickly overshadowed Tax issues. Several locals were killed, among them James A. Linn, son of James O. Linn and Mary L. Cater. James A. Linn was in the 37th Engineer Battalion and died at Walter Reed Hospital March 29th, 1918. The unit was mobilized in January 1918 in Virgina, and didn’t see battle until September 1918 so it’s most likely that James died of disease or accident. The obituary makes no mention of cause of death, but does say he was a member of the Modern Woodmen of America which is a fraternal life insurance organization that still exists today.

Another local, Newton Moak, who apparently attended the Currinsville Schools died from blood poisoning on December 2 1918 after being shot with shrapnel. Most likely the original wound came in November during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. The funeral was being held on October 9th, 1920 in Oregon City. Moak was a member of the 363rd Infantry of the 91st Division and had been originally buried near Paris France. Tragically, WWI officially ended a month before his death on November 10th, 1918. He lived to see the end of the Great War, but didn’t make it home.

But Currinsville’s patriotism didn’t stop at sending it’s population to war. The district was one of several to exceed it’s quota in war bonds in July 1918.

On May 30th, 1925 George Currin (the guy the town was ultimately named after) and his wife celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary – in their home in Gresham. But the final blow for Currinsville must have been the consolidation of election districts on July 31st, 1933. The number of districts was reduced from 104 to 60, with a savings of $2000 per a district. Currinsville was merged with Barlow, North Molalla, Meadowbrook, Dodge, South Estacada, George and Garfield.

Only a few years later Currinsville is in the news again. This time locals are reporting that horses are being spooked and taking off. And not just young animals, but hardened veterans that know their job well.

August-13-1939-Oregonian

There is no further word of what was causing the problems with the horses.

Further news stories wander into the mundane from here on out. Death notices, land for sale, advertisements for groceries in the 1960’s, and car accidents. These days Currinsville is hardly a bump in the road. A few dilapidated barns, older farm houses and Portland Crafstman style homes along with a cemetery (located on private property at the corner of Duus Road and SE Eagle Creek Road,) all point towards a once vibrant community. A simple street sign says “Currinsville,” and a few maps still remember the name. But Currinsville has joined many other Oregon Cities in the annuals of history to become a true Ghost Town.

More Information:

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