Umatilla County, Oregon 1922


Back in the early days of Oregon, when our now prosperous and wealthy county was only a small part of a vast, unexplored, unbroken and unsettled West, even then the cry had gone out that here in our beautiful Blue Moun­tains, on to the south of us and bid in the bosom of Mother Earth, there was gold in abundance, which could be had for the finding. And what will men not dare for gold?

And so we see them come, by twos sometimes, but often one lonely man on a pony and leading another pony which carried a pack topped off with pick, shovel and gold pan. No paved road in those days to lead on, for the citizens had not yet voted bonds for roads. There was not a fence or a trail to break the monotony of waving buncbgrass except an occasional path made by roaming wild animals. Always in the far distance were those fascinating Blue Mountains, breathing of romance and mystery and beckon­ing on as plainly as though they had spoken the words, "Seek and ye shall find."

But the distance was far and as these explorers traveled over the plateau that is south of the present site of Pendleton they grew accustomed to watch for a guide that never failed them, R huge cliff of rock that can be seen for miles as it towers heavenward just at the junction of two creeks now known as East and West Birch Creek. This rock was such a true pilot to those who passed that way that it came to be called Pilot Rock. Under its shadow the weary pilgrim found rest and water for himself and beast and here finally these prospectors would bring their families for temporary homes, while they went farther into the hills in their search for gold. This soon necessitated a school, and Pilot Rock is proud of the distinction of having School District Number One of Umatilla County.

The town for many years was transient, but for the past twenty years its progress has been unwavering. The opening up of the resources of the country around and to the south has gone steadily on, and the three large

warehouses at Pilot Rock attest to the fruits of honest labor. Wheat, cattle, wool, sheep, dairy products, fruit, poultry, and lumber are shipped in large quantities from Pilot Rock, which is the terminus of the railroad for the

south end of the county. This also makes Pilot Rock the distributing point for many miles south, east and west for merchandise and supplies. To meet the demand thus created, the town has three prosperous general merchandise stores, one hardware store, one drug store, a bank, a hospital, a hotel, three garages, a lumber yard, a confectionery, a moving picture theater, two lodge halls, a newspaper, and a branch County Library. Her schools are among the best, two imposing buildings standing in conspicuous elevations on two sides of the town. One of these, the High School, was built in 1919 and represents the south end of the county, which united and formed Union High School District No. 2.

Pilot Rock has one good church building, where services are faithfully carried on in the Presbyterian faith.

The elevation of the town is 1,817 feet. The rainfall averages 15.08 inches. Close to 1,000,000 pounds of wool and nearly 300,000 bushels of grain pass through her warehouses each year. She also shipped out to the markets of the world during the past year 286 loads of livestock, 206 of which were beef.

Her citizens are worthy heirs of those sturdy pioneers of the early days and combine their sterling qualities of courage, perseverance and integrity with the progress of the present day civilization.

Pilot Rock

Historical landmark from which Pilot Rock derived its name
Pilot Rock Elevator
A real home First Bank of Pilot Rock
Union High School

Return to Main Umatilla, Oregon Index Page