Monday, October 18, 2010

New Experience in the Ambiance of the Past

I recently attended an eight course Italian dinner with a different wine served with each course in an ice house built in the late 1890's. The room was about 12' x 16' with walls of two feet thick rock. Huge beams over low doorways gave the feel of a building to be reckoned with.

Sitting in the room for three hours through this meal, feeling the confines of the room, the solidness of the walls, and the squeak of the floorboards, I could see this building being used to keep a cattle thief or bank robber on hold until the circuit judge came to town. Or a drunk thrown in the building overnight to sober up.

The town of Diamond, Oregon at its peak had fifty residents. It was a hub in the area for cattle ranches and shepherds to get supplies and catch up on the news. To this day they have five residents and the Diamond Hotel where we had the eight course meal.

The history in this thinly populated area of Oregon is ripe for many stories. And as usual they are spinning in my head. One of the tales is how a certain meadow was the favorite summer vacation spot for prostitutes. They would set up shop in the meadow for the sheepherders and cowboys in the area because they were too busy to get to town. I'm using this scenario for a short story I'm working on.

When you learn or see a part of history does it start your minding wandering? Have you visited somewhere and started wondering about he people who once lived there?

*The stone room off to the side of the top photo is the ice house.

Paty Jager


  1. Paty, how funny that the prostitutes set up shop in a meadow. Maybe that was their vacation. LOL Nice post. I've always wanted to visit Oregon.

    Yes, historic sites--or anyplace really--often sparks ideas.

  2. Hmm...I used to live in Oregon and my husband is a native, but I've never heard of Diamond. From the way you describe the history, I assume it's somewhere in eastern Oregon.....which is whole other civilization from the more urban western part of that state.

  3. Caroline, it was the prostitutes' "vacation" when they traveled to meadows and camped during the summer months. They actually did this to 1)bring their trade to those who couldn't get to town and 2) it made them "new and fresh" when they returned to town.

  4. Anna,

    Yes, Diamond, OR is on the eastern side, the side which still harbors the pioneer spirit. Growing up on the eastern side and living here, it's a great place for me to find stories.

  5. Great post. Like you, historic places always start my mind wandering about the people who lived there and possible story lines.

  6. Great post, and what an experience your dinner must have been.

  7. Paty--LOVE the prostitute story! I can picture the beautiful meadow in my head with scantily clad women and grinning cowboys walking around, lol!

  8. It is so cool to find glimpes into the past. When visited the Birdcage in Tombstone I was amazed how small it was, and how open the bethrols were. I can't imagine.

    One day I hope to get to the NW and see more of the wild west. Fun post!

  9. Hi Lauri,

    Yes, it was a fun and interesting evening.

    Marin, When I discovered the story it struck me the same way.

    Thanks Autumn.

  10. Paty,

    Great post! Brings back many memories for me, since I grew up in California. We used to take vacations wandering around the less traveled areas and finding little gems like that. Good story fodder.

  11. Ilona,

    Thanks. Anytime I learn something about the past or visit a place with lots of history, ideas start bubbling like the fizz in soda.

  12. What a great post, Paty. The meadow thing really cracked me up. I so get my mind going when I'm in a historical place. Right now I'm vacationing near old Koloatown, on the island of Kauai. Looks like something from the old West. Oh yes I've got an idea going.

    A few night ago I attended a candlelit tour of a historic
    1840's house in Maui. Great stuff.

    Thanks for the cool info, and good luck with this fantastic new blogspot.

  13. Tanya, It sounds like you are gathering in good info for a couple of books!


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