This is the entrance to the old bank and is all that remains of Malhuer City which a grass fire destroyed in 1957. The name Malhuer means misfortune which eventually for my grandparents became true.
My grandparents were very poor but resourceful. My grandfather worked at the Mormon Basin placer mine as well as the ranch. The family raised cattle, a large garden and chickens. They sold the extra eggs to a local grocery store and butchered chickens each year. The children attended a small one room school where the only source of heat in the winter was an old potbellied wood stove. The children either walked or rode a horse to school every day. The teacher stayed with one of the local families during the school year.
These buildings are all that are left of the Mormon Basin mine.
The men used to stay in this building which was the bunk house. As a child my father would take us to visit. The mine was still in minimal operation at that time and he knew many of the people who worked there. The two memories that stand out are the cook who made a delicious steak meal for the work crew and the bunk house. At some point in time an amazing artist worked there. He painted huge cartoon character murals on the walls of many of the rooms. I can remember staring at those paintings, especially Popeye, Olive Oyl and Brutus and wishing those were on my walls. Years later when it was closed up we went back and someone had cut the paintings out of the walls and all that was left was huge gaping holes. I remembered being so disappointed that they were no longer there. I often wonder if my father loved it there because somehow he felt just a little closer to his father who he had no memory of.
In July, the summer of 1928 my grandfather was working outside around the ranch. As is common in that part of Oregon there are many thunder storms. He was carrying a roll of wire on his shoulder when a bolt of lightening struck him killing him instantly. My grandmother, who was pregnant with her 9th child had taken the horse and wagon to a neighbors home when this happened. I was told by her that one of the children came to get her. She said that she could still remember vividly the smell of burning flesh and the sound of his insides sloshing when she cradled his head in her lap. Can you even imagine the horror of this? She apparently went into shock and ended up in the hospital where she had the baby a few months later. She named the new baby Michael after his dad.
The family worked together to keep the property and several years later my grandmother married another Hungarian immigrant only to lose him to cancer one year later. She had her tenth child on the day he was buried.