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Canyon City

Canyon City administrative offices are located at 123 South Washington Street, Canyon City, OR 97820; phone: 541-575-0509.

Canyon City as described in 1940 [1]

Canyon City, seat of Grant County, was born in 1862 of the camp that sprang up on Canyon Creek following the discovery of gold on Whiskey Flat, a half-mile north of the present town, by a part of miners searching for the fabled Blue Bucket Mine. At the height of the gold rush about 10,000 miners and their camp followers trooped up and down the one street of Whiskey Gulch.

The street was choked with pack trains bringing in supplies. The Pony Express galloped into camp three times a week from The Dalles, 225 miles away, after having crossed swollen rivers, parched desert stretches, and mountain defiles that concealed lurking Indians. Later a freight service was inaugurated to carry supplies to the miners and gold dust from the diggings three times a week between the two cities over the old Dalles Military Road.

Clashes between unionist Oregon miners and the confederate California element, added to the white heat of the gold excitement. When the California miners raised the Confederate flag on Rebel Hill above the camp, on July 4, 1863, the Oregon men stormed up it and tore the flag down.

Although a fire in 1937 destroyed many of the old landmarks, weathered buildings still stand on the high banks of Canyon Creek. Above them in the rimrock is a cemetery set aside for the "bad men."

In June, Canyon City is the scene of the Whiskey Gulch Celebration, and meeting place of the Grant County Pioneer Association. On the courthouse lawn the oldest woman resident is honored and the oldest male resident decorated with a gold badge.

  1. Workers of the Writers' Program, Works Progress Administration, State of Oregon, Oregon: End of the Trail, American Guide Series, 1940, Oregon State Board of Control, Binfords & Mort, Portland.
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