This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 25, 2011 12:41 PM. The previous post in this blog was Peeve o' the Week. The next post in this blog is Pray tomorrow takes me higher. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cottage Grove

We had our annual summer business in Blujean yesterday, and when we tried to get a hotel room, there wasn't one to be found anywhere in town. There was a big track meet on, and every place was booked. And so we wound up staying in Cottage Grove, about a half-hour south. What a nice little town it is, and what a great stay.

Our lodging was at the Best Western right off the freeway, which was recently redone and is actually a nice little hotel. For dinner, we headed into town and ate at a legitimate restaurant and lounge called Stacy's. The beer was cold, the fried oysters were hot, and the tab was shockingly cheap. The free breakfast at the hotel was what you would expect, but a nice version of it.

Hardly 12 hours after hitting town, we were back in our car and headed north to our day's labor in Jocktown. But we'd gladly spend a day or two in Cottage Grove, any time. Apparently there are some nice covered bridges to be seen down that way, and who knows what else?

Watch out for the cops on the stretch of I-5 between Eugene and Cottage Grove. They were ticketing for speeding, both in the evening and in the morning. The speed limit through there is 65.

Comments (20)

Did you happen to notice the train mural? Buster Keaton shot some of "The General" (1926) outside Cottage Grove. The narrow gauge railroad was the draw; the single take of the Union general's great error in judgment that left the engine in the creek is supposed to have been shot there. Other OR locations: Eugene, the McKenzie and Row Rivers.

Ahh, my old hometown, the good ol' grove. The covered bridges are a nice visual, and the old train tracks got paved over to make a very nice walking/biking trail that goes for miles. You can pick it up in the middle of town just off of Main St. Or go back in July for the Bohemia Mining Days celebration. Glad you enjoyed your stay, but that's all I ever want to do there anymore, stay for a day or two and wave goodbye again.

Back in the sixties there was a pretty upscale resort destination in Cottage Grove, but the name escapes me now. Maybe someone can help me remember.

Anyway, when I was a kid I used to accompany my dad on business trips to Medford when I was out of school during the summer. We stopped to stay at the aforementioned and ran into one of my mom's gal friends. "What are you doing here?" I asked her. She seemed a little jittery and out of sorts.

Come to find out years later that she was there alright, but with someone other than her husband.

Not only "the General" with Keaton, but other railroad themed films were shot there.
"Emperor of the North", in 1973, with Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnone and a bunch of other names (? Keith Carradine (?) comes to mind.

Up until a few (10 - 12) years ago there was a nice short line steam powered tourist train operation there as well. It seemed to have a good draw of customers, but issues developed regarding steal loco boiler inspections, insurance, and the reluctance of the local short line which had acquired the old SP b ranch line west of town to allow continued steam operation without a lot more insurance.

Also used to be a really nice high end model railroad hobby shop on the esat side of I-5 in the town.

Cottage Grove, as you noted, is a nice small town.

Just to touch on the hotel chain aspect, I stayed in the Walla Walla Best Western last week. It was suprisingly pleasant, very clean and quiet. No frills for sure, but it had everything I needed for business and rest. I appreciated the full breakfast, simple yet substantial enough to get me through a morning full of meetings. Nice to hear you enjoyed Cottage Grove area. I'll check it out sometime.

The Village Green.

"Come to find out years later that she was there alright, but with someone other than her husband."

No offense but did you ever learn if it was your dad?

Village Green... that's right.

Ha ha... no it wasn't my dad. And no offsense taken.

Yep the Village Green.

It was something back in it's day.

It's stil there though. My family stayed there one night a few years ago.
It was interesting walking around checking out the remnents of a once fabulous place. Much of the old lounge decor, once Vegas like, was still visible.

I lived there in 1965-66. My wealthy granparents would come to town and stay there..

Outside I seem to remember luxurious gounds with carpet like lawns and even some small chipping golf course holes.

The town was great as a kid. We used to slide down Mt. David with carboard on the grass in summer and sled in winter. There was some big snow those years. I remember treking through the snow with it up to top of my boots.

A big flood one of those years took out the swinging pedestian bridge over the rive. I remember walking out on it a bit when the water was just starting to hit it.

My dad got transfered and we moved to Grants Pass. It was even better there.

Going back to both next week when my brother gets here from Texas.

Ah memories.

Now back to bashing local politicians!!!!

Axe and Fiddle - for the music.


Nonny, don't forget about Stand By Me!

I'm not familiar with anything westward other than the Chambers railroad, which wasn't more than a spur, but the excursion train over the Oregon Pacific & Eastern ended about 25 years ago. The OP&E ran east to Culp Creek and was never part of the SP.

There's a very nice 15-mile bicycle path from town east into the hills past Dorena reservoir - an old rail line converted, so it's an easy grade. And none of those pesky automobiles.

A notable Cottage Grove resident:


Andrew -

Thanks for the correction

The Village Green was great. Built by the Woodard family with proceeds from their extensive lumber busines. They also owned the railroad that took you out to the old mining district. Woodard's had a beautiful estate south of town. I went to the Estate sale about 17 years ago when Mrs. Woodard passed away. Fabulous house and grounds. Beautiful antiques also. As a kid I always looked forward to the vintage car show they had each year at the Village green. Top of the line automobiles. Great memories...

My grandfather was the or one of the engineers driving the The General that summer in '26. Have a group of photos from the filming - for me the problem is who are all the people in the photos? He identifies Keaton who is pretty conspicuously Keaton, but doesn't id anyone else.

Cottage Grove in early fall is sublime.Nice to drive up the Umpqua from the coast and take lunch there and stay the night.

Where exactly did the climactic plunge occur? How long did the engine remain in the river? One Keaton biographer wrote that it was still there in the '50s.

Did your grandfather relate any details about the scene, such as how it was able to be done perfectly in a single take?


Watch out for the cops on the stretch of I-5 between Eugene and Cottage Grove. They were ticketing for speeding, both in the evening and in the morning.

They must be on notice. I heard Cliff Harris tore up that stretch of I-5 recently.

My grandfather said very little about the film, only that he'd worked with Keaton. He died in 1973 at the age of 93/4. Whey I came into the photos after an Aunt had died I recognized my grandfather and Keaton. My interest sparked anew.

I believe that the engine was done for scrap metal during the Second World War.
I have several pictures of the aftermath of the smash up and of the cast and film people (locals, too) coming up from the Row River after the scene and a couple pics of the engine in the water.

From the Cottage Grove Historical Society I purchaed a self-published book comprised of all local newspaper reports on the filming. Addtionally, the Multnomah County Library as a very nice coffee table book published not too many years ago of many of the film locales as they appeared in the film and how they look now.

There is also a beautifly restored CD version of The General at the library.
The film is famous for a reason and so much has been published on the subject, including two works of fiction.

One of the most interesting of the pics features the beautiful film lead of the film standing arm and arm with a very nice looking (yet rather uncomfortable) black couple.
My great-grandfather had been part of the Oregon Klan revival in the 20s and so I'm surprised that grampa took the pic and then preserved it unremarked in the family album.

As someone who's lived outside Cottage Grove since 1979, I can add: The climatic parade scene in Animal House was filmed in downtown Cottage Grove. Mike Thoele's history of the Bohemia lumber company, "Bohemia", although out of print, is a wonderful history of the town and surrounds. The "Stub" Stewart state park outside of ImPortantLand is named after the CEO of Bohemia lumber, and the LaSelles Stewart Center at OSU was endowed by the Bohemia timber fortune. Not only is the old OP&E right-of-way now a rails to trails gem, but if you keep going east from the terminus in Culp Creek, the Sharps Creek, Bryce Creek and Laying Creek drainages are beautiful and have lots of nice trails and a few nice forest service campgrounds and Bohemia Saddle is a wonderful remnant of the crest of the Old Cascades, with lots of gold mining activity, past and present.

Clicky Web Analytics