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
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 timber community.
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 town.
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 of town.
World War II
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 changes.
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, 41/2 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.
Be sure to
pick up the Butte Falls Discovery Loop Tour at
the Butte Falls Ranger Station,For
Info & Maps Call: 541-865-2700 or
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