Sunday, September 14, 2008
Small Town America - Condon, Oregon
I picked Condon, Oregon for the fourth town in my Small Town America series, but my research on the town didn't bring up a lot of information. I do know that Condon is located at the junction of Oregon highways 206 and 19 in Gilliam County and boasts a tiny little Powell Books store. Who would have imagined that there was a Powell Books out in the middle of wheat country hundreds of miles from Portland? It's located inside an adorable little shop that has everything from fresh cut flower arrangements to a soda fountain. Really cute and well worth a stop if you're in the area. Open Sundays! I grew up in a small farming town where nothing was open on Sundays, so was amazed at this little fact.
Condon has a population of around 700 people and was originally known as Summit Springs. The town is now named after a local attorney from years ago, I know not why the name was changed, only that it was. I suppose I could make up a good story to go along with it, but would probably be called out by someone who knows the real story and I don't duel well, so we'll just leave it at that for now. I do know that two, yes count them, TWO Nobel-prize winners have lived in Condon. A Dr. Linus Pauling was presented with the award for his work in Chemistry in 1954 and again for peace in 1962, while a Dr. William Parry Murphy won the Nobel-prize in 1934 for medicine. I certainly would like to know those stories and will need to do a bit more research to find out more. Fascinating!
Pretty parks and pretty girls are to be found in Condon. Oh, wait. That's Shilo, she's going home with me!
Looking up Main Street in Condon. Right next to the hotel is the Liberty Theatre which I understand has been restored also. Condon is a sweet small town that has some very cute shops that we would have like to visit had it not been a late Sunday afternoon. I very much may go back someday when there's more time to poke around. I did see some really nice old houses also. Old houses, old stores and small towns are a big weakness of mine. Real people live here. Real lives are lived and characters are made.
Hotel Condon was built in the 1920's and has been beautifully restored by Taylor's family. It boasts really nice guest rooms, a restaurant that serves some incredible food and a great little bar. It was an absolutely perfect setting for a bridal shower.
Leaving Condon and headed for home. What will we see in this beautiful farm country? What might be around that next bend?
Ah, two of my favorite things ~ windmills and old abandoned buildings always start the stories going in my mind. Who lived here? was this a house, a shed, a barn, a school? What did the windmill power? Does it still work?
Windmills - Did I mention Windmills? Hundreds of windmills? This country is known as the High Plateau Columbia River Region and the Columbia River Gorge produces great amounts of wind. Driving home, we were amazed by the vast amounts of new white windmills for as far as the eye could see. What an incredible resource. The windmills themselves are kind of mesmerizing. Could be dangerous for this driver who could get lost in those turning blades. Along this lonely stretch of highway there are many old wooden windmills next to the new ones. That second picture is my attempt at trying to capture the new and the old together: the old standing tall and proud but making way for the young ones who are creating energy for so many.
It was a hazy day, due to some fires in the area so we could catch glimpses of some of the incredible mountains to the south, but nothing ever clear enough for pictures. A hot drive in early September, but beautiful and off the beaten path which is where I like to be.
I hope you enjoyed your little visit to Condon and Gilliam County, Oregon. Be sure to stop by the soda fountain for a cool drink when you're in the area.
Posted by Paula at 8:45 PM