The biggest little
town in Oregon!
Located roughly 40 miles northeast of Medford, Butte
Falls is the county's smallest town with a population of
approximately 400. This quaint community offers a quiet
escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, complete
with its own waterfall.
At one time, much
of Oregon looked the way Butte Falls does today.
The vast forests of Oregon did not attract much
attention until around 1890 through 1900’s. There
were trees as far as the eye could see. Oregon had
one half of all the standing timber in the entire
History is like
the roots which nourish the tree. Although we
cannot see them, we know that they are there. And
without the roots there would be no tree. The
history of Butte Falls, and how it got its start,
is important to who we are today. The only clue to
what a person can do is by what men have done
before him. The history of our town, as it exists
today, came into existence over the last century.
Oregon forests were considered “more trouble
than they were worth.” So many trees made the land
too expensive to clear. But, by the
turn-of-the-century, the forests of Michigan and
Wisconsin were extensively logged. Some of the
mills in the Mid-West moved into the Southern
forests. Others moved out West.
before the mills came, the owners started buying
up timberlands in areas like Butte Falls. Soon,
mills sprung up throughout Oregon and the Pacific
Northwest. Lumbering became Oregon’s main
industry. Dr. Jeff LaLande gives us the following
account of how Butte Falls got its start as a
No town actually
existed in Big Butte Country until after 1900. In
the early 1900’s, Michigan-based lumbermen began
cutting pine timber on the flats above Big Butte
Creek. The mill led to the founding of the nearby
By 1910, the Pacific and
Eastern Railroad reached Butte Falls from Medford.
We were no longer isolated from our neighbors.
For the next half century, the town’s destiny
would be linked to the railroad. The fate of the
various lumber companies depended on the railway.
During the 1920’s, the Wisconsin-based Owen-Oregon
Lumber Company extended the line east of Butte
Falls. The railroad logged the pine flats all the
way to Mt. McLoughlin. The main line carried logs
daily to a new mill on the outskirts of Medford.
During the Great Depression, the bankrupted
Owen-Oregon firm turned its assets over to its
Chicago-based creditors, who formed Medford
Corporation in 1932. The new company struggled
through the hard times of the Depression, as did
the town residents. In 1936, the economy of Butte
Falls got a slight boost when the Forest Service
built a new ranger station on the southeast edge
World War II brought renewed
prosperity to the Pacific Northwest’s timber
industry. Recent years have seen much controversy
over logging in the Northwest. The region’s lumber
industry has also experienced major changes in
technology. Butte Falls has had to adapt to these
doesn't just dream in a big way, it does things in a big
way. There are two museums, a historical society, a
library, a school district, an economic development
committee and has been working on an economic package
that will include a water bottling plant. And, one day,
the community has plans for a rail line to once again be
opened. Butte Falls is an incorporated community with a
mayor and town council.
To find Butte Falls, turn right off Hwy 62, 4½ miles
north of Eagle Point ... it is a scenic drive up the
Butte Falls Highway approximately 25 miles to the town.
Elevation is 2,600 ft.
The town of Butte Falls is known for its fresh air,
water, sunshine and health, has two restaurants, a gas
station and a general store. Gather up you picnic
supplies and take a break in the Ernest W. Smith
Memorial Park, or nearby at Willow Lake, a high Cascade
lake offering breathtaking views of Mt. McLoughlin, wild
geese, eagles, osprey, swallows, loon and deer. Camp in
the pines near the lake with RV spaces and group Camping
and cabins available.
Visit website at:www.shadycoveupperrogue.org
Be sure to pick up the Butte Falls Discovery Loop Tour
at the Butte Falls Ranger Station, also maps/area
For Specific Hours & Fees to any
Butte Fall Place or Event above, please contact their number
or link provided.
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