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Thirteen miles of twisted tracks between Kent and Shaniko turned into tools of war in 1943.

MADRAS PIONEER LOGO - The Madras Pioneer looks back over the past 100 years of newspaper archives.100 YEARS AGO

August 1, 1918

The Allies are still on the heel of the Huns, still crowding them back though the drive has necessarily slowed up somewhat. As the advance continues, the transport becomes more difficult as the armies get a long way in advance of their supplies. This makes the work of moving big guns and carrying supplies of all kinds arduous and difficult. In fact, before some of the heavy equipment can be moved to the front, railroads have to be built, necessitating the employment of the Engineer's Corps.

Early in the week, Fare en Tardenoise, with a heavy lot of ammunition and other army supplies, fell to the Allies, after a most determined defense by the Germans was overcome. Vast supplies of munition and other stores were captured.

The crossing of the Ourcq River was effected Monday after most bitter fighting. Here a German machine gun nest hoisted a white flag and when the Yanks went up to retrieve their surrender, they opened fire again. There are none of those Huns alive today. No prisoners were taken.

Turkey is reported to have broken with Germany over a division of the spoils coming from the Romanian Peace Pact. They probably see the signs of Allied victory, and the Turks like to be with the upper dog at the finish, and it will be decidedly to her advantage in the present case. If she is in a position to help the Allies receive Germany's final surrender, it will mean her very existence.

The relations have long been strained between these two countries, Germany using her Ally as a cat's paw to pull the chestnuts out of the fire. About 1 million men have been in action in the army of the Kaiser trying to stop the Allies on the Aisne-Marne sector, but they have been defeated.

In a strike at Kalk, Prussia, Germans turned machine guns on the strikers. It is reported that, despite this drastic action, the trouble still continues, and the police are still busy with the strikers. Many indications point to serious internal disturbances throughout Germany. Austria-Hungary is very war torn and startling information may be expected from there at any time.

75 YEARS AGO

August 5, 1943

Flocks and herds in the wide open spaces of Sherman County and that part of Central Oregon south of Kent Station on the Biggs branch of the Union Pacific Railroad, will soon be riding out to market on trucks instead of in slatted stock cars, because of 13 miles of the twisted and warped 56-pound rails laid by the almost legendary Drake O'Reilly and his associates 46 years ago, between Kent and Shaniko, are now to be turned into tools of war.

While regretting that even 13 miles will be abandoned, word from the Interstate Commerce Commission that they would not allow the 56 miles from the junction at Biggs to Kent to be abandoned caused rejoicing rely both in Sherman and at the Public Utility Commission in Salem, both of which had so strenuously opposed the proposed abandonment.

The rails on the entire 69 mile line from Biggs to Shaniko were requisitioned in 1942 by the War Production Board. Strenuous opposition on the part of the wheat growers, stockmen and the PUC commissioner convinced the Interstate Commerce Commission that the larger part of the railroad was necessary to the public convenience, and the 56 miles between Biggs and Kent will continue to be operated.

The farmers and stockmen asserted that is was not sound economy to abandon the rail operations in favor of truck transportation when rubber is as valuable as iron or steel to the war effort. They showed it would require around 30,000 trucks to move regional products if train service should be denied the entire district.

At present, trains will continue to operate on a twice-a-week plan, but it is expected that many "specials" will be whistling for the road crossings as the 4,000,000 bushels of wheat begin to come from the fields in the next 60 days.

Most of the 15 elevators maintained on the line by cooperatives will continue to be served, and Sherman County, together with many of the school districts, will continue levying and collecting taxes.

Shaniko, the town which developed from a stage stop station to a railroad terminal with round houses, huge storage warehouses for grain and wool and a fine hotel, is expected to become headquarters for the truck fleet that will transport cattle, sheep and wool. Twenty-five huge wheat farms have operated in the Shaniko vicinity for years.

50 YEARS AGO

August 8, 1968

Pacific Supply Cooperative was back in business Wednesday with a temporary office set up in a capacious trailer following a disastrous Friday morning fire which reduced a 60-by-120-foot galvanized steel seed warehouse to ashes and caused an estimated $250,000 loss. Stored seed belonging to PSC and to eight growers, stored farm chemicals, and office equipment was destroyed.

Manager Ted Freeman said that vital records emerged scorched but intact when the fireproof vault was opened Monday. Records not secured in the vault, including the complete records of the Women's Bowling Association dating from 1959, were destroyed, as were all furniture, office equipment, and files in the office, which occupied the north portion of the structure.

Freeman credited the quick work and efficiency of volunteer firemen, plus the presence of a massive concrete firewall, with saving the remainder of the structure from burning.

25 YEARS AGO

August 5, 1993

A Hawaiian man, Gordon Clark, has purchased the Hay Creek Ranch, one of the largest in the county for a reported $3.24 million.

The 52,000-acre ranch, 12 miles east of Madras, has been owned by several people over the years who have raised sheep, cattle and various crops.

The latest owner was Bill Waddle, of Southern California, who had the ranch three years until the ranch's mortgage holder, Connecticut Mutual life Insurance Company, foreclosed half a year ago.

Along with the ranch, Clark has bought a piece of Jefferson County history.

At one time, Hay Creek Ranch, owned by sheep king Jack Edwards and with 50,000 sheep, was known to be the largest sheep ranch in the United States.

Hay Creek became the first sheep ranch to install its own sheep-shearing plant and sold an average of 500,000 pounds of wool a year. Most of the wool was shipped through Shaniko, which earned that town the reputation of being the largest wool shipping station in the Pacific Northwest.

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