HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

A marker for a time long, long ago

Written April 3rd, 2022 by Hasso Hering

This is the junction of Gilkey and Goar roads in rural Linn County.

On a Sunday drive through the countryside of Linn County, Kathy and I came across this historical marker behind the railroad track about three miles west of Scio, where Gilkey and Goar roads meet.

Here’s a closer look so you can read it:

Gilkey Station. I  had never heard of it. So I’m glad “Gilkey Family and Friends” put up the marker. Judging from the weathering, this must have happened some time ago.

The rails running past the marker are those of the Mill City branch line that runs for 36 miles between the lumber industries of the Santiam Canyon and Lebanon. The line is part of the Albany & Eastern Railroad, which connects with the Union Pacific in Albany.

As far as I could see, nothing is left of Gilkey Station. But it must have been quite a community of families back in the day.

In the pages of the Albany Democrat and then the Democrat-Herald, Gilkey Station appears dozens of times during the early part of the last century, sometimes as a dateline, as in this dispatch in 1925:

“GILKEY STATION, March 9 — (Special) A sewing club has been organized here with Loiia and Hazel Zysset, Marion Gilkey, Mildred Robinson and Lucille Sommers as members.”

Down a few paragraphs in this roundup of Gilkey Station doings, we read:

“Mr. and Mrs. S.R. Holt and son Melvin, Louis Stone, Mr. and Mrs. J.F. Sommer and son Noel, and S.F. Zysset drove to Suver recently to see the famous Harding grass grown by J.A. Stambough. W.A. Gilkey and R.H. Struckmeier inspected the grass last Monday.”

Watching grass grow was not the only excitement, though.

On May 10, 1923, the Albany Daily Democrat had this headline: “Albany Man Hurt When Hit by Truck at Gilkey Station.”

It seems that Curtis Oldenburg had been working with a Southern Pacific bridge crew near Gilkey Station. He was fixing his car “when a truck came past and ran into him, hurting his hip and causing other bruises.”

A doctor from Scio was called to attend to him, and he was taken home.

Gilkey Station has not appeared in the headlines for a long time. I’m grateful to the people who put up that marker. It prompts the passerby to try to imagine what life was like, on the farms of the Willamette Valley, a century ago. (hh)

From Gilkey Station, the Albany & Eastern track curves away to the south.





4 responses to “A marker for a time long, long ago”

  1. Patricia Eich says:

    Hasso,
    I really enjoyed the notes from the Albany Democrat, circa 1925. My mom grew up in Kalvesta, a VERY small town in western Kansas. After my family moved to Oregon In 1955, she still subscribed, by mail, to a town newspaper from Kansas for many years. It was local news, farm reports, and then social news from the community about who visited who, funerals, engagements, marriages and births. Felt very friendly and personal, like you were talking to your neighbor over the back fence. My mom has been gone for a little over two years now and this brought back sweet memories.

  2. Will Crawford says:

    Hasso, Really enjoy your comments on this part of our world. Thanks
    Will Crawford

  3. David Fitchett says:

    Gilkey Station reminds me of Gilkey Bridge and of Gordon Gilkey. He graduated from Albany Union H. S. and was the first fine arts student at U. of O. He petitioned FDR to begin the Monuments Men of WWIIi. Was an esteemed professor at OSU and benefactor of Portland Art Museum.
    Long live our outlying communities! David F

  4. GregB says:

    My eye zeroed in on the RR ties. They are looking pretty old and rough. It will be a major expense in the future to replace them. Or, maybe the line will just be abandoned?

 

 
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