100 YEARS AGO
April 24, 1919
Road-building authorities are predicting that 1919, 1920, and 1921 will prove the greatest in the country's history in the matter of road construction. In view of the unprecedented appropriations of funds for federal aid for road projects and the activities of the states in extending their road-building programs, the prediction appears to be fully justified.
The Division of Public Works and Construction Development of the United States Department of Labor is authority for the statement that there has been a revision and enlargement of road building plans in almost every state in the union since the signing of the armistice. This is due not only to the pressing need for road construction, which has been suspended during the war, except where construction was essential to military activities, but also to the obvious desirability and prudence of getting public works underway so there may be such a demand for labor as will absorb the surplus.
Ultimately, there will be a labor shortage in the United States. At present, there is a surplus and this is apt to grow to embarrassing proportions during the next few months of demobilization if no conscious effort is made to immediately revive building and construction activities to provide buffer employment until our industrial readjustment has been completed. Quite as important is the effect of an immediate acceleration of construction work on general business conditions. Federal, state and municipal construction projects, assisted by private and corporation building activities, will be potent stimuli for general business and will prevent stagnation which would spell commercial disaster.
Federal aid for road construction for 1919, 1920, and 1921 has been provided on a more liberal scale than ever before. If millions of federal funds are not absorbed by the states in state road projects, it will be no fault of the federal government; millions are now available. How completely the possibilities of the present opportunity are approximated depends on the state administrations.
Federal funds to the amount of $266,750,000 will have been made available for state road projects by the end of the fiscal year 1921. Under legislation enacted prior to the last Congress, there are available for 1917, 1918, and 1919 — and now apportioned among the states — $29,100,000. To this, the last congress added $48,500,000 for the fiscal year 1919, making a total of federal aid for road construction to the end of the fiscal year 1919, $77,600,000. In 1920, there will be $92,150,000 available for this work, and in 1921, an additional $97,000,000.
75 YEARS AGO
April 20, 1944
As a war-time necessity, expansive development of the Cove power unit of the North Unit reclamation project has been approved by the Army and Navy, according to Howard W. Turner, Madras.
Mr. Turner, chairman of the Jefferson County Water Conservancy District, received telegraphic confirmation that the Army-Navy munitions board cleared the project April 14, and that certificate of issuance could be expected immediately. At a recent meeting in Portland of the area production urgency committee, Army and Navy representatives were understood to have favored speedy development of the irrigation project, providing the big electric project be pushed at the same time.
Contractors engaged to make the two big bores through the Smith Rocks to connect the canal with the Crooked River flume were reported today to have practically completed their buildings, and to have made preparatory excavations.
It was announced that R.J. Newell, assistant regional director for the Reclamation Bureau, would arrive in Bend today for the purpose of forming a committee to make additional appraisals of proposed irrigable lands in the Madras area. Already 75 to 100 units on the south side, and between 60 and 70 units on the north side have been bid for, according to reports.
Kenneth Sawyer, the Jefferson County agricultural agent, left for Bend today to confer with other officials of the irrigation project regarding problems at this irrigation district.
50 YEARS AGO
April 24, 1969
Nearly 18 years later and in an entirely different field, Wallace Johnson has come back to Central Oregon.
It was in November of 1951 that Wally Johnson came to Madras to be the news editor of The Pioneer. Now he's a restaurateur in Redmond.
Following his tour of duty as news editor, Johnson went to work in the Portland bureau of United Press. Later, he joined the faculty of Oregon College of Education at Monmouth.
Early this year, Johnson and his brother-in-law, Darrell Davis, bought the Brand Cafe, located a few miles south of Redmond, from Mr. and Mrs. Bob Blair.
Johnson, conceding that the Willamette Valley is beautiful during certain seasons of the year, says, "We surely don't miss the rain. We're happy to be back in Central Oregon."
25 YEARS AGO
April 28, 1994
In 1923, a group of farmers and their wives gathered at the Mud Springs Schoolhouse in Paxton and decided to form a grange to help their business and provide entertainment.
Of the 37 charter members, current Grange Master John Barger said, "They initiated one of the first co-op programs in this area. Whatever they needed — grain sacks or other things — they could go in together and have one person buy the things wholesale."
The grange, a nonalcoholic, nonpartisan, family-oriented organization, also welcomed women and children.
"It was the first group that considered women equal to men. They are not in an auxiliary, but can be elected to any office," Barger said, noting that children were also welcomed "because everybody works on a farm and everybody is equal."
After several years of holding meetings at the Mud Springs School the members had a chance to purchase a building which had formerly housed the Citizens State Bank of Metolius.
In 1937, using Stehan Binder's caterpillar tractor, the old bank building was skidded on the snow from Metolius to Madras, then pulled into place at its present location on Third Street.
The old teacher's desk and chair, once occupied by Helen Hering of Madras when she taught at Mud Springs School, and an old piano from the school, also made the move and can be seen today, some 57 years later.
In 1957, when the old Grizzly Grange Hall was being torn down, Madras grangers saved the kitchen and had it moved to Madras for an addition to their hall. A new ceiling was put in, H.L. Meuret built "nine very fine tables for the dining hall," and Arthur Sykes built new kitchen cupboards. Outside trees were donated by Homer Earnest and he was assisted in planting them by George Clowers and Glenn Eidemiller Sr.
A Junior Grange with 20 members was also begun that year for kids 14 years and under. Albert Zemke was elected master and Gladys Barger, the matron.
"When I was a kid, my folks belonged and we'd go to grange meetings all day and have a potluck. When I got married we took our kids. All our kids played in the grange hall," recalled Bill Markgraf.
Grange ladies enjoyed practicing and showing off homemaking skills with yearly canning and sewing contests by the Home Economics Club. Ladies helped pay for the building by making quilts, selling handkerchiefs at "hanky bars" and through an annual food sale, which sold cakes for $1.50, pies for 60 cents and cupcakes for 50 cents a dozen.
Annual events included a ham dinner and carnival for the community, picnics at Sahalee and Cove parks, card parties, and promotion of the county fair and fair parade.
The grange hall has also served other purposes. During World War II, around 1944, U.S. Army soldiers, who were guarding the railroad tunnels from sabotage, were quartered in the grange and used it for their mess hall, Wanda Sykes remembered.