Dorena Historical Society

Back to School on Cerro Gordo

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The Doolittle School was located on the Doolittle Family homestead on Cerro Gordo.  The School was built in 1904 and closed in 1917.It was attended by the Doolittle kids and their neighbors, a rowdy bunch by the looks of it.

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Timber Family Portrait

row river lumber family photo

While searching for photos from the Row River Valley I often find old timber scenes and old family portraits, but this is a rare combination of the two.  This is the Row River Lumber Company in 1909. They were located where Vaughn Creek meets the Row River.  The company was owned by Albert Stocks and Carrol Harlow and perhaps it is the family of one or the other shown in this photo.

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The Hotels of the Bohemia Mining District

There were some hotels in the Bohemia Mining District to serve the many people who traveled to and from the mines for work, business or just to gawk.

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The lovely Painted Post Ranch on Sharps Creek Road was often the first stop on the long trip to the mines.  They offered food, lodging and fresh horses for the wagons going up to the mines.


The hotel at Lundpark was a popular jumping off point for the trip to the mines.


The hotel at the Vesuvius Mine also housed the Bohemia Post Office.

champion mine hotel

This 3 story hotel served the Champion Mine. None of these hotels were fancy.  They were put up quickly with local lumber.  There were no formal dining rooms or linen tablecloths, just rough-hewn common tables and simple but filling food. Sadly, none of these buildings have survived.



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Culp Creek School in the 1930’s

culp creek school mid thirties

Katie Kirk shared this great old photo taken at Culp Creek School. On the back is written “Betty Earnshaw, Reta, Rita, Charles, ?, and Mr Roth”. Reta was Katie’s mom and Rita her mom’s twin ( Shields) She guesses the date at 1935 to 1938.

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May Day 1948

dorena school may day 1948

The May Queen and her Court at Dorena School on the first day of May in 1948. The new Dorena School was just two years old when this photograph was taken.

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Valley on Fire

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This photo from 1948 shows the Row River Valley being burned out to make way for Dorena Dam. The new railroad tracks are in the foreground.

Before the dam, the railroad ran straight up the valley alongside the river.

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Chimney Rock

Chimney rock 1909

The Cottage Grove Historical Society has this wonderful photo of Chimney Rock from 1910.  Look at the figures on the bottom left of the rock to get a sense of its size. The rock is on Row River Rd, about a half mile or so up past Teeters Creek, but is best seen from Shoreview Drive across the lake.


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Winter Fun at the Bohemia Mines

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William Reeves was the Chief Engineer at the Helena Mine. He and his wife and two children lived at the mine year-round from 1936 until 1939. All of the winter provisions for the family were brought in during November and the family was not able to leave the mine until March. As the photo shows, the Reeves made the best of it and kept themselves entertained.  Here they are skiing down the mill roof.

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Civilian Conservation Corps at Disston

ccc camp disston

This photo of the Civilian conservation Corps camp at Disston recently appeared on Facebook.

The camp was on Brice Creek, just past Disston.  It was set up in 1933 with LaSells Stewart at the first training officer and supervisor.

Most of the CCC volunteers there were from Kansas and Nebraska.  Among their projects were 3 fire lookout towers, 20 miles of forest trails, 25 miles of road improvements,  bridges and even some telephone line.  The Musick Guard house and the Rujada Campground Registration Shelter are two beautiful surviving examples of CCC projects.

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Above are a couple of CCC recruits cutting down a tree.


Musick_Guard_Station_01The Musick Guard House.  The Forest Service rents this out in the summer.


rujada registration shelter

The Registration Shelter at Rujada Park


Most of this information comes from Bohemia by Michael Thoele.  Thoele also notes that the CCC camp volunteers were often enthusiastic participants in the weekend brawls at the Wildwood Saloon, aka The Bucket of Blood.

The camp was closed down due to the advent of WWII.  There was talk of converting it into a camp for conscientious objectors but that never happened.  Today there appear to be no traces left of the camp.



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More Row River Valley Faces and Places

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This is a 1901 photo of the Van Schoiack house in old Dorena.  An old family story says that while moving into the house, the family put the toddler into a huge old hollowed out tree stump nearby, which served as a temporary play-pen.  This kept the little one out from underfoot, and out of harms way.

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Sadie and Cage Van Schoiack

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Another Van Schoiack family photo with Sadie and Cage.


Steven Broadwater Mayben farming the old-fashioned way.

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The Kirk family farm with Cerro Gordo in the background.

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The Kirk family farmhouse in old Dorena.

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A Kirk family portrait with Clara, Fern, Bertha, Emit, John and Neva Merle.


Thanks go to Katie Kirk and Nancy Van Schoiack for sharing these photos.

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