Saturday, June 14, 2008

Small Town America - Adams, Oregon


Growing up in a small rural farming community instilled a love of small town America in my soul. I have a dream one day of driving cross country and not touching a single freeway on my journey, traveling the backroads all the way to see what I think of as real America.
I want to try to do a series of the small towns that I run across in my little circle of the world, but my best intentions sometimes go by the wayside so this first one may be all that you get!

On a recent Sunday morning, Riff, Noah and I took a stroll through the streets of Adams, Oregon while visiting my Dad and Sharon. They moved to Adams about a year ago and really like living there. We were delighted with the sights and smells that this small town in the heart of wheat and barley country had ready for us. Nothing overpowering or assaulting to the senses, just that morning smell of farm country waking up to start the day. Maybe those of you who don't have country life in your blood won't know what I mean when I say that the golden shimmering smell of wheat hangs in the light morning air. Believe me, it's true.


This is Main Street in Adams, Oregon, population approximately 310. Adams is 13 miles northeast of Pendleton on Route 11 and was established in 1883. The Union Pacific Railroad was building tracks between Pendleton and Walla Walla, Washington when they came upon a pretty large problem. Hmmmm, how to get the tracks across Dry Creek Canyon. Quite a dilemma. All building of the tracks came to a halt and since it was late summer, some shacks were thrown up for the railroad workers to winter over in. Turns out that those shacks were on the property of farmer John Adams. Two years it took to resolve the problem of bridging that canyon and by then a little community was established on Farmer Adams land. Well, naturally the Adams family were the first residents so the little town was named after them. Soon a post office, Mercantile, saloons, a church, a schoolhouse and a brick-making factory were to follow. Present day Adams still can boast that many of these first building stand in immaculate condition. Join me on a little tour of one of the finest small town America's you will find.


Adams Store and Cafe'. We got in fairly late on Saturday night and left Sunday morning, so the store was not open while we were there. Next time I promise to get an inside shot or two. I have visions that it is to-die-for inside this country store. The cafe' is open for breakfast and lunch from 6:30 to 2. I think breakfast is on my list of to do's next time we're visiting as well.


This building houses Adams City Hall in one-half and the public library in the other. Being a lover of books and libraries, I stood, nosed pressed against that library window to take in, from the outside, the feel of this tiny public library. It was delightful. Dark woods and lots of shelves with magic waiting to be read.


This gorgeous schoolhouse, built in 1883 (I think), has been purchased by a private party and converted into their home. Can you imagine? It's incredible. Looks like there is still a gym in the back of the building. Oh what I wouldn't give to have a tour of that place. Beautiful!


Across the street from City Hall is this beautifully well maintained park. I'm sure it's large enough for all 310 Adams residents to enjoy a community picnic together and there is plenty of playground equipment for the little one's to enjoy. Swings, slides, a merry-go-round, 4 square, basketball hoops, tetter-totters, anything you can imagine is in this park along with public restrooms (clean!) right across the street. A little wooden footbridge going to I don't know where spans a pretty little meandering creek at the back of the park.


Adams is Small Town America at it's finest. Beautiful and clean right in the heart of farming country. If you're ever in Northeast Oregon, wander off the beaten path and drop in to the Cafe' for a soda. You'll be glad you did!

Check out the Adams, Oregon website for more fun information on this little town.

13 comments:

Wila (aka Ali) said...

I love this post! The small towns that I'm used to a those in rural, southwest Virginia. They look different, but have the same charm. I always think of my mother as a child living there...very nostalgic. Thank you for sharing this more western type of Main Street. I would LOVE to see in the general store. How fun!

Adrienne said...

Hi Paula -
I love small town America. We lived in a little town south of The Dalles when we were first married and I miss that 'feel', the smell of wheat in the air and the friendly folks who know everyone in town. And they care when you are going through tough times. I loved the way they came to our door with freshly-caught Salmon, produce from the garden and any number of things to share.

Thanks for taking us to Adams. We haven't been there but I know I would enjoy it. Can I go with you on your cross country trip?
~Adrienne~

Happy Zombie said...

I loved your little field trip and loved the way you wrote about it Paula. I could so see you writing a book. Your words are sweet and delicious, and with your beautiful photos... makes me feel like I was there with you.

Except that you made me sit in the car and didn't let me see what the inside of the general store was like. But that's ok, I spilled my coffee on the floorboard and stuck gum in the seat belt buckle while you were gone... having fun in the general store without me. You really shouldn't leave me in the car unattended.

Stacey's Treasures said...

How cool!!! & what a great idea!
I didn't get to tour the town while I was there.

Anonymous said...

Used to have family that farmed right outside of Adams...I remember going there as a little kid to hang with my cousins....we'd ride, shoot and rope the long summer days...I thought, being a beach kid, that at the time they had the best possible lives a couple of kids could have

Mimi said...

I loved the tour of Adams, Oregon...
please keep up the tours of small town America...it was great...reminds me of a small town I lived in as a child...

Mary said...

Paula,

What a delightful little town. I would love to visit there. It looks so serene - away from the usual hustle and bustle.

Thanks for the tour. I certainly enjoyed it and yes, I could smell the fragrance of wheat hanging on the early morning air.

Blessings for a great Sunday.
Mary

Tipper said...

How neat! Thank you-I feel like I've been on a mini-vacation. I love the way Adams was founded-it really just accidentally came into being. Must have been meant to be.

Britt-Arnhild said...

What a cute idea to do a small town series.
Good luck!

LEArning4Him: Lea Family Homeschool said...

Hey, you remember David Coppock. He's from Adams. We were good friends with him and his wife and kids while we lived in Pendleton. Got to hang out at the kids' birthday parties.

ancient one said...

Hey I love small towns.. I want to go with you on that trip where you never get on the expressway... I loved the store with the mural painted on the side...I would have had to take a picture of that... I love small town art...

Anonymous said...

Hey
This is such an amazing little town! I took a look at the website and I fell even more in love with it. Thanks for posting this. I'm considering this town for a book I'm writing. So if it ever gets published, probably not, and you read it and you see that this is the setting. Think of me because maybe I wrote it. I love Adams, Oregon!

Susan MERCER said...

I miss going to Adams! My mother, Alberta Kirby, was born and raised in Adams and her father, Albert Kirby, and his father John Kirby are the tall man and child with the trumpets on the left of the mural. My grandfather owned the Adams General Store when my mother was a baby. I love Adams!