The Dalles To Canyon City Wagon Road
In “downtown” Antelope Oregon is this sign.
“The discovery of gold at Canyon Creek on June 8, 1862, brought a rush of people and supplies into the upper John Day basin. Within a year, nearly 10,000 fortune hunters trekked to the gold fields from the nearest access and supply point – The Dalles – over a series of trails that became The Dalles to Canyon City Wagon Road.”
Much of the wagon road north of Antelope is now Highway 97/Sherman Highway. If you look closely in the hills on the south side of Shaniko you’ll see the cuts made by diverging paths of the original wagon road and stage coach roads. South of Antelope this road becomes State Highway 218. From there I’m not able to find the exact route, but would guess that it likely follows The John Day highway through the John Day Fossil Beds before ending at Canyon City.
Much of this road was an already existing road, The Dalles Military Road linking The Dalles and Fort Boise, which was completed in 1869. The history of that road is interesting in itself, consisting of lawsuits and multiple delays.
Antelope, Oregon is famous for the attempted take over by the Rajneeshpuram in the 1980′s. The Big Muddy Ranch which served as their headquarters outside of town still remains but has been taken over by another, less radical religious group. The rest of the town has reverted back to it’s sleepy ghost town status since then. Only a few items remain of those times. Most of the town now consists of houses, mobile homes and a couple of older buildings.
On the north side of town, the first building seen is the Antelope School. It no longer serves as a school, but still does duty as a community center. The Rajnessh apparently used as a barracks to house the homeless people from California, that they used to stack the town council and change the votes.
The Antelope Church. Note the date of 1897. Sorry for the bad picture, again, I was stuck on a bus and this is the best I could get.
The modern city of Antelope has two north/south streets, and several east/west streets. One of the streets is the main highway through town from Shaniko and leads into the John Day Fossile Beds. Most of the town burned down, and was never really rebuilt. These two buildings are the only remaining ones from that era.
Notice the painting on the side, left over from the Rajneesh times.
This one is across the street and up half a block.
This is a major update of my original Google Maps “Historic Oregon” file.
About forty new towns were added. I’ve also separated them out by Category instead of just alphabetical listing. More battles and military sites have been added, along with some general spell checking and links to web pages with information about the site.