Fort Rock Things to Do

  • Fort Rock Pioneer Family Plot
    Fort Rock Pioneer Family Plot
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  • Wooden Pioneer Tombstone in Fort Rock
    Wooden Pioneer Tombstone in Fort Rock
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  • Pioneer Tombstone in Fort Rock
    Pioneer Tombstone in Fort Rock
    by atufft

Best Rated Things to Do in Fort Rock

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    Visit the Ghost Town Musem

    by atufft Updated Sep 29, 2008

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    The museum at Fort Rock is well worth the visit. Inside is a small but significant collection of extremely rare artifacts produced by native Americans thousands of years ago, and found recently within the caves of eastern Oregon. Some of these artifacts are thousands of years old, and so represent some of the earliest remains of human habitation in the Americas. Most notable is a pair of reed slippers, and fragments of basketry comparable in quality to the fine weave patterns found among the Pacific coast tribes. The museum has a large and valuable collection of flint arrowheads. There are also a number of pioneer artifacts too valuable to be kept with the pioneer village buildings. The museum is not always open, but it does have regular hours. I spent an hour or so talking with Don and Beverly Franks, two descendents of the pioneers. Don is now in his 80's and provides excellent background to the lifestyle of the pioneers. In my conversation, Don noted that Global Warming appears to be a reality in this region. At the time of his childhood, the area was somewhat wetter and more ariable, but with each decade the region has become drier and hotter during the summer. He and Beverly retired and live in the town of Fort Rock. Among the images shown here are farm implements used by the pioneers.

    Museum Human Artifacts Museum and Picnic Facilities at Fort Rock Fort Rock Pioneer Farm Implements Fort Rock Pioneer Farm Implements Overview of Pioneer Village from the West
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    Visit Fort Rock Mountain: Background Info

    by atufft Updated Sep 28, 2008

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    Fort Rock is protected as part of an Oregon state park. Follow the signs in the town of Fort Rock to the parking lot. At the parking lot is a series of diagrams that inform about the volcanic origins and lifespan of the rock strata as it was experienced by the first inhabitants of North America. The parking lot is on the east side of Fort Rock, near the pioneer cemetary.

    Rock Fort View From Parking Lot Fort Rock Diagram 1 Fort Rock Diagram 2 Fort Rock Diagram 3 Fort Rock on the West Side
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    Pioneer Village Buildings: Area 1

    by atufft Written Sep 29, 2008

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    The Museum serves as entrance to the enclosed village of salvaged pioneer buildings. From the museum, the guide sheet starts on the east, or left side, and works clockwise. The Stratton House (1912) is the original structure built by Fred Stratton, a carpenter by trade. This building was donated by one of two sons, Frank Stratton, a founding member of the Fort Rock Homestead Society. Frank died in 1994, and the building, which had served variously as a Post Office and storage shed, was moved across the street to it's present location in 2000. Next, is an early 1900's cabin moved from Bend, Oregon, which closely resembles the original Land Office that was located in the Conneley Hills, between Silver Lake and Fort Rock. Settlers registered their homesteads here. In this series of images also, is Dr. Thom's Office, which was located in Silver Lake. Dr. Thom came in 1905 soon after finishing medical training in Minnesota, and stayed until he moved to Bend, Oregon in 1924. In this building, now moved to the museum, Dr. Thom delivered over 100 babies and saved "countless lives" during the 1917 flu epidemic.

    Dr. Thom's Office Interior Widmer Log Cabin (Land Office replica) Land Office Interior Dr. Thom's Office Exterior Dr. Thom's Office Interior 2
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    Pioneer Village Buildings: Area 2

    by atufft Written Sep 29, 2008

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    The Menkenmaier and Penrose families moved from the lush Williamette Valley in 1909. George Menkenmaier built this log cabin in 1910 and married Hazel Penrose in 1914. Dr. Thom delivered their two children, Beatrice and George. Years later, Hazel met University of Oregon anthopologist, Luther Cressman, who discovered the Fort Rock sandals in Cow Cave. The Blacksmith Shop is a replica of the type used at the time, but the siding came from the Peyerl Homestead built in the early 1900's. In addition to shoeing horses and creating hinges and tools, the shop transitioned into a repair shop for the first cars and trucks that came to Fort Rock.

    Blacksmith Shop Menkenmaier Cabin Menkenmaier Cabin Menkenmaier Cabin Fort Rock in Area of Menkenmaier Cabin
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    Pioneer Village Buildings: Area 3

    by atufft Written Sep 29, 2008

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    Worship within Fort Rock was tradionally done in homes, but conflict between the Protestants and Catholics resulted in the construction of St. Rose of Lima Church, the only dedicated church building in the pioneer village. The building was constructed in 1918. Continuing toward the right, one finds the two story Boedigheimer cabin, built in 1912. Note the built in shelves in the kitchen. Next to the cabin, the museum maintains a vegetable garden that is similar to the type kept during pioneer days.

    St. Rose of Lima Church St. Rose of Lima Church Boedigheimer Cabin and Garden Boedigheimer Cabin Boedigheimer Cabin
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    Pioneer Village Buildings: Area 4

    by atufft Written Sep 29, 2008

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    In 1912, Britt and Glenn Webster, and their 6 year old son, Carl, moved to Fort Rock and built this cabin. The Websters were successful livestock ranchers and lived their whole lives in Fort Rock Valley. Carl became a skilled trapper, sending coyote hides to New York. When Carl died in 1985, his will specified that the cabin be donated to the museum. A wedding photo of the Websters is in this cabin.

    Webster Cabin Webster Cabin Webster Cabin Webster Wedding Photos Webster Cabin
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    Fort Rock Pioneer Cemetary: Pioneer Tombstones

    by atufft Updated Sep 29, 2008

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    Near the Fort Rock peak parking lot there is an interesting small barren desert cemetary with an interesting mixture of pioneer and recent tombstones. These are images of grave markers from the earlier period in Fort Rock.

    Fort Rock Pioneer Family Plot Wooden Pioneer Tombstone in Fort Rock Pioneer Tombstone in Fort Rock Wooden Tombstone with Flowers in Fort Rock Pioneer Tombstone in Fort Rock
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    Pioneer Village Buildings: Area 5

    by atufft Written Sep 29, 2008

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    The Belletable House is perhaps the finest home in the Fort Rock Village, having been built by a relatively wealthy French immigrant family in 1914. Alex Belletable donated the land for the St. Rose of Lima Church. His efforts to plant rye in the high desert failed, and in 1922, the family moved away from the valley.

    Belletable House Belletable House Belletable House Belletable House Belletable House
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    Pioneer Village Buildings: Area 6

    by atufft Written Sep 29, 2008

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    The Sunset School, built in 1912, was constructed from two homestead buildings placed end to end. By 1929, declining population forced a reorganization and move, and by 1936 the Fort Rock District was consolidated into the Cougar Valley School District. There's a nice view of the Fort Rock from the porch of Sunset School.

    Fort Rock Sunset School Fort Rock Sunset School Fort Rock Sunset School Fort Rock Sunset School Fort Rock as seen from Sunset School
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    Climb Fort Rock: Part 1

    by atufft Written Sep 29, 2008

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    The crown shape of the Fort Rock is heavily eroded on the southern side, where the water and wind erosion was greatest. From the southeast corner, where the parking lot is located, there are various foot trails that lead into the center of the crown and up the rock slopes. I hiked in a counter-clockwise direction along the inside edge of the rocky crown at first, shooting images of the eastern ridge.

    Fort Rock Fort Rock Fort Rock Fort Rock Fort Rock
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    Climb Fort Rock: Part 2

    by atufft Written Sep 29, 2008

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    After reaching the inside overhang, where the water erosion is very appear, providing some shelter for indigenous inhabitants centuries ago, I could view back to the town of Fort Rock. I continued to climb over the ridge itself, to see the valley north of Fort Rock. The circular hay fields reflect the irrigation system that pumps water from a center deep water well.

    Fort Rock Fort Rock Fort Rock Fort Rock Fort Rock
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    Climb Fort Rock: Part 5

    by atufft Written Sep 30, 2008

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    During my descent, I shot pictures of the unique desert vegetation that lives in this harsh environment. In rock pockets out of reach, birds nest on the mountain. I also climbed past the overhang on the southwest side of the mountain for a view of the valley below.

    Fort Rock, Oregon Fort Rock Vegetation Fort Rock, Oregon Fort Rock, Oregon Fort Rock, Oregon
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    Climb Fort Rock: Part 3

    by atufft Written Sep 30, 2008

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    I had to take some care in climbing the vertical reaches of the highest part of Fort Rock. The heavily eroded and colorful lichen encrused rock is sometimes sharp, sometimes slippery, and not trustworthy its stability. Strong gusty winds greet the climber at the peak. At the top is a US geological survey marker showing the height of the tallest part of Fort Rock.

    US Geological Survey Marker at Fort Rock Fort Rock Fort Rock Lichen Fort Rock Fort Rock
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    Fort Rock Pioneer Cemetary: Recent Tombstones

    by atufft Written Sep 29, 2008

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    The barren existence of the residents of modern Fort Rock shows itself in the simple burial plots in this cemetary.

    Fort Rock Cemetary Fort Rock Tombstone Fort Rock Tombstone Fort Rock Tombstone Fort Rock Tombstone
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    Climb Fort Rock: Part 4

    by atufft Written Sep 30, 2008

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    After reaching the peak, I was able to shoot several pictures that captured the crown shape of this marvelous geological wonder.

    Fort Rock, Oregon Fort Rock, Oregon Fort Rock, Oregon Fort Rock, Oregon Fort Rock, Oregon
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