1971: Fire destroys The Met hotel, store and post office
100 YEARS AGO
September 22, 1921
Oregon Trunk Railway crop report: A considerable decreased acreage in grain crops will follow this season's banner yield. Farmers put every available acre under crop this year and will be compelled to summer fallow much of their acreage in 1922. Threshing in general is all along the Trunk and splendid yields are the rule. Madras, Metolius, and Culver districts are averaging from 22 to 28 bushels per acre with harvest about half over. Maupin and Bake Oven country is running 28 to 30 bushels per acre and their harvest is nearly two thirds completed.
All over this section ideal weather for harvesting in general and within two weeks the crop this year will be safely garnered. Grain here as in other sections is being forced to the markets owing the inability of the farmers to finance a holding program. This movement, however, is re-establishing the grower's credit and removing a heavy burden from the banks in the territory. Plowing will not begin until wet weather is here as soils are very dry and dusty.
Potatoes in the Redmond district will unless set back from some unforeseen calamity, return another bumper crop. Fields all look very good, and growers say the crop is of the best. Livestock is moving slowly and unless prices strengthen materially, dealers stand to lose heavily this year and may be forced out of business. Much hay will be lost also if present prices obtain as growers say it cannot be marketed now except at a distant loss. The crop was the heaviest ever gathered. Summing up, it may be said, that this section of Central Oregon had a bumper year, one that will be in all probability remain a mark to be shot at for many years.
75 YEARS AGO
September 19, 1946
When O.C. Hedgepeth, new lumber dealer here who formerly was engaged in noxious weed control work in California, discovered a patch of star thistle, a serious pest in some parts of the Pacific coast, he reported it to County Agent R.A. Hunt, engaged in cooperation with county authorities. The US Bureau of Reclamation and the Jefferson County Water Conservancy District in a campaign to eliminate weeds. As a result of warnings issued by Hunt, John Priday discovered a small plot of puncture vine, thinking it was star thistle.
"This discovery was most fortunate," declares Hunt, "for puncture vine, hitherto unknown in Oregon except for its discovery in a limited area on the Snake River, is a serious pest in California. The local infestation is very small and can be quickly eradicated."
The Jefferson County program to rid the land to which waters of the new irrigation district will be applied is declared of paramount importance because of plans for utilizing a substantial portion of the land in raising certified garden vegetable and field seed crops.
50 YEARS AGO
September 23, 1971
"The Met," a large two-story hotel, store and post office on the Old Culver Highway in Metolius, was completely destroyed by fire last Thursday afternoon.
Janiece Winnegar, who was running the store at the time, said one of the lodgers, Paul Faith, ran downstairs at 12:20 p.m. to report the fire. Mrs. Winnegar immediately called the Culver Fire Department and had just enough time to empty the cash register before smoke caused her to flee the building.
Cut off from the stairway by flames and smoke, several lodgers were reported to have tied sheets and blankets together to lower themselves to safety. No injuries were reported.
Based on her conversation with Faith, Mrs. Winnegar said she believes the fire started in a fuse box upstairs. Investigating State Police were not able to confirm this but did state that arson has been ruled out.
Minutes after the fire began, thick clouds of black smoke were billowing hundreds of feet into the air. The smoke was reported seen four miles away in Madras.
A strong wind from the north fanned flames, which raced through the frame building. When trucks from Madras and North Unit Fire Departments arrived to assist the Culver Department, most of the building was ablaze. The fire ran its course while fireman hosed down a café across the highway and a gas pumping area immediately in front of the building.
Two short hours after the fire began, "The Met" billed as "The most modern hotel in Central Oregon," just prior to its opening in June 1911, was a smoldering heap of black ashes.
In its June 16, 1911 issue, the Metolius Central Oregonian reported, "No detail for the first-class accommodation of guests will be omitted … no other hotel in Central Oregon will equal it in modern conveniences."
The fire closed a chapter in Metolius history. The building was the survivor of a fire that destroyed most of the buildings constructed during Metolius' pre-World War I heyday. Lately it has been the temporary home of transients. Thirteen people were living in the hotel at the time of the fire.
Present owners are Estar M. Belnap of John Day and Wilford H. Belnap of Portland. Insurance is expected to cover the loss.
25 YEARS AGO
September 18, 1996
Representatives of Portland General Electric said last week they are committed to re-establishing anadromous fish runs above the three-dam Pelton Round Butte hydroelectric project.
This will be a major undertaking, and there is no firm cost estimate yet on the proposal to re-establish the runs.
The PGE representatives presented their views during a public meeting last Thursday at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.
Also in attendance at the meeting were representatives of several federal and state agencies, Jefferson County, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, and others.
The meeting was a first step in the process to relicense the dams with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The Pelton project has been operating under its initial license since the late 1950s. The current project license expires on Dec. 31, 1999.
Re-establishing the fish runs will likely be the single biggest issue in the relicensing process, the officials said.
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