The Souvenir of Western Women/Grant County, the Place for Homeseekers

The Souvenir of Western Women  (1905) 
Grant County, the Place for Homeseekers by Mary Osborn Douthit

Grant County, the Place for Homeseekers

GRANT, though one of the interior counties and not yet penetrated by railroads, offers inviting inducements to the homeseeker, since in its varied resources it "is one of the richest sections of Oregon. Notwithstanding its high altitude, the climate could hardly be surpassed. Extremes of heat and cold are of short duration, and blizzards never prevail. The mountain air is clear and healthful. The pall of smoke that beclouds other sections during the summer months is unknown here. While an abundance of snow falls in the mountains, which insures a goodly supply of water for mining and irrigating purposes, in the valleys it is light, and hillsides adjacent are bare most of the winter. Through numerous springs and streams the whole country is supplied with cold mountain water. Delightful resorts for health and pleasure abound in mountain retreats and at the various mineral springs—soda and hot sulphur.

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Roads, good most of the year, make traveling throughout the county a delight, and the varying scenery a continual charm. One of its chief scenic wonders is the Balmoral Hills, around which like stripes of ribbon run most delicate grays and drabs or deepest reds and bronzes. These hills are situated near the sequestered little valley, Hamilton, itself a fair picture with its cultivated fields and pleasant country homes. In mineral richness Grant County ranks among the first in the state. From coal bed to gold deposit, both placer and quartz, there seem* no limit to its stored wealth, which the enterprising citizens are Gradually rescuing. Its vast area in good grass on mountain and plain affords sustenance to innumerable herds. The equable climate makes stock raising a comparatively safe industry. This same fine climate is also conducive to fruit growing, and Grant County's luscious fruits are not unknown. Notwithstanding the only means of transportation is by way of the "Prairie Schooner"—in other words, the slow and expensive freight wagon— Grant County's apples have found their way to the markets of the outside world. Tn this favored spot the worm pest is unknown, and the rosy-cheeked apples are unblemished by its devastations.

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Garden produce, too, grows to perfection in Grant County's rich, black, sandy loam. Cereals are grown in some localities. and good roller flouring mills are in operation.

Grant County enjoys the advantage over most sections of Eastern Oregon in its limitless forests. Though mostly of pine, tamarack, mountain ash and small mahogany abound. The streams are skirted with willow and cottonwood, and juniper is plentiful on the low hills. Woods for fuel and fencing purposes are accessible to every part of the county.

Extensive coal fields have been found, and are being developed. Quarries of excellent building stone are numerous, and brick clay is also abundant.

The settlement of Grant County began with the discovery of gold in 1862, at the place where Canyon City is now situated. These rich placer mines attracted a great number of people to this locality, and, as is ever the case in gold excitements, many enterprising people flocked here. That this county from the beginning has been peopled by a strong, energetic, enlightened class is evidenced by good homes, commodious school buildings, and suitable church edifices, as well as orderly citizenship. Forty-three district schools and three high schools are maintained. Many of the fraternal societies have organizations in here, and they are well supported.

There are in the county fifteen towns, six of which are incorporated. A telephone system connects these with the outside world. Two solid banks in Canyon City take care of the monetary circulation of the county.

Sawmills are in active operation working up Grant County's splendid trees into high grade lumber. There are also planing mills and sash and door factories. The long deferred railroad, it is believed, will soon be constructed into the heart of this county; then the homeseekers from less favored parts will pour in. Once there they will seek no farther. Many acres of public domain are yet open to settlement, and the price of cultivated land is not exorbitant. Within the boundaries of this most favored County of Grant are all things necessary to health, happiness and comfort.

M. O. D.