Towns of Umatilla County, Oregon

Alkali   |  Centerville   |  Echo City  |  Foster Station  |  Heppner   |  Milton  |  Moorehouse  |  Pendleton  |  Pilot Rock  |  Umatilla City  |  Weston

Pilot Rock

     The little town of Pilot Rock lies at the base of the Blue Mountains, on Birch creek, sixteen miles from Pendleton. Its name is derived from a large bluff of basaltic rock bearing the same title, which serves as a land mark and guide for miles. The town was laid out in 1876 by A. J. Sturtevant, and two years later witnessed some ex-citing scenes during the Indian war then raging. It stands in the midst of' a fine agricultural and grazing country, and is surrounded by good farms and stock ranges. Large tracts of desirable government land are still inviting settlers, and the invitation is being rapidly accepted. Mr. Sturtevant is postmaster and the pioneer businessman of the town. Pilot Rock contains two general stores, a drug store, saloon, livery stable, two blacksmith shops, and a population of half a hundred. Daily stages pass between Heppner and Pendleton, carrying mail to the office here.

Echo City

     This is the name of a new town growing up on the line of the O. R. & N. Co. eighteen miles towards Pendleton from Umatilla. It is on the bank of Umatilla River, opposite the old Indian agency which was established in 1851 and destroyed by Indians in 1855. This point was formerly known as Brassfield's Ferry, on the old emigrant road. A fine Howe truss bridge has been built across the river at this place by the county. The town was laid out in the spring of 1881, and a store, saloon, blacksmith shop, and feed stable were at once constructed. Later the same year a hotel and a fine schoolhouse were built. J. H. Koontz, of Umatilla, is proprietor of the town, and has this summer erected a large warehouse. Echo City now contains two general stores, a drug store, a hotel, two saloons, a livery stable, two blacksmith shops, a boot and shoe shop, school house, warehouse, post office, railroad station, and a population of fifty or sixty people. It is surrounded by many fine farms, and has tributary to it a large extent of excellent agricultural land, the greater portion of which is but just being developed. The future of Echo City as a business town and a forwarding and receiving point for freight is bright.

Foster Station

     An old landmark on the road from Umatilla to the mountains is the Twelve Mile House, so named from its distance from the river. It was a favorite stopping place in the days when freight teams and pack animals lined the road. At this point the old Dalles trail used to cross the river. J. H. Kunzie, of the firm of J. R. Foster & Co., Umatilla City, laid out a town here last spring and named it Foster Station. It is on the line of the O. R. & N. Co.'s Baker City branch. He has also built a store and warehouse. A line of railroad has been surveyed from this point to Prospect Hill, seven and one-half miles north, by the Prospect Hill R. R. Co. The road is intended to convey to this place the vast quantities of grain now being raised on Prospect Farm and other large ranches in that comparatively new country.


This is the name of a town laid out as a terminus of the Prospect Hill railroad. It is to be the shipping point for products of Prospect Farm and this whole region when it is brought under cultivation. These upland plains, lying back from the Columbia about fifteen miles, have always been considered valueless by reason of the small quantity of rain. A number of gentlemen entertaining a different opinion on this point organized the Prospect Hill Co. in 1879, took up and fenced 4,160 acres of land, and began cultivating it in 1880. The large crop harvested in 1881 settled the question of fertility of soil, and demonstrated that thousands of acres formerly considered valueless for agriculture are exceedingly fine grain land. The members of this company are J. R. Foster, C. H. Lewis, T. A. Davis, H. W. Corbett, and J. H. Kunzie. The superintendent is T. L. Moorehouse, after whom the town and post office are named. A residence, boarding house, stables, tool house, blacksmith shop, granaries and storehouse are now here, and upon completion of the road quite a town will no doubt spring up.


     The thriving town of Heppner is situated on north fork of Willow creek about forty miles from the Columbia, and sixty by the stage road south west of Pendleton. It lies in the midst of the most extensive sheep and stock country in Eastern Oregon, and is supported chiefly by that industry, though considerable agricultural land is tributary to it. But little land has been placed under cultivation, yet there are thousands of acres of fine tillable. soil within a radius of a few miles. Heppner aspires to be the seat of justice of a new county to embrace the south west portion of Umatilla, and perhaps a part of Wasco. Should such be created this place is the only one now suitable for a county seat. Ere the two years elapse that will intervene before a division can be secured, the development of this region will probably have so far progressed as to make such a step advisable if not necessary. Coal of a good quality has been discovered in the mountains sixteen miles south, and is being used for fuel. A branch road from the O. R. & N. Co's. line to tap this region and the coal deposits is one of the probabilities of the future.

     Heppner, named in honor of Henry Heppner, its first merchant, sprang up in 1875, and in the fall of that year contained two stores, Heppner & Maddock and Morrow & Herren; a drug store, Dr. A. J. Shobe; blacksmith shop, Chase & Stewart; two hotels, A. J. Breeding and L. W. Gilmore; saloon, school house, Good Templars lodge, and several residences. Steady advancement has been made since that time. Money is plentiful, and the people make good use of it. Business buildings and residences are of a better class than one would expect to and in so new a place. A flouring mill was built in 1876, by William Beagle, making an important addition to the town, which in 1877 had acquired a population of 100. In 1879 Denny & Hewison put the mills in good running order. and have since owned and operated them. Heppner now contains four general stores, two drug stores, a saddlery store, two variety stores, two hotels, four saloons, two livery stables, an agricultural implement warehouse, two black-smith shops, one millinery store, one hardware store, a brewery, a flouring mill, school house, Baptist church, Heppner Lodge, A. F. & A. M., a brick yard, a number of good residences, and a population of about 400. A newspaper is soon to be established.


     This is a new point on Columbia River, near the western line of the county. It is a station on the O. R. & N. Co's, road, and is becoming one of importance as a ship-ping and supply point for the Willow creek and Heppner country. It sprang up in 1881, and that fall had thirty houses, including a hotel, restaurant, blacksmith shop, two livery and feed stables, and three stores; considerable addition has since been made to its business, and the population now numbers about 100.

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