Crane Oregon 97732
once a thriving little city with five restaurants, four hotels,
two general merchandise stores, a
dance hall, a newspaper, a bank and a movie theater was never
rebuilt to its former glory after a series of devastating
fires, the last in 1938.
town was at its peak during the time it served as the railhead
for the Union Pacific Railroad. The railroad arrived in
1916 to much fanfare from Harney County citizens. The Burns
Times Herald reported, “Chief Construction Engineer
Young brought the first train in with two coaches and several
flat cars filled with excursionists from Ontario, Vale,
Juntura, Riverside and other points. As soon as he had disposed
of the excursion people, he invited the Harney County people
to ride with him, and the train was soon filled. It was
necessary to make two trips to and from the scene of the
big steam shovel in Crane Creek Gap, to accommodate all.”
railroad was destined for Burns to serve a new sawmill there,
and in 1924, the line was completed into Burns. The businesses
might have survived to serve the eastern half of the county
had the town not be plagued by fires.
the arrival of the railroad, Crane became a thriving business
center and permanent buildings
started going up. One
of the first stores sold groceries and dry goods, and was owned
by a Mr. Lee. Later the Hotel Denman was moved in from nearby
Harriman. A large store called the Vale Trading Company was
established by Mr. Dunlop, of Vale and sold groceries, dry
goods and machinery – its slogan was “Everything
school was built on Crane Creek, and Alice Smith began teaching
on October 28, 1901.
In 1910, Archie McGowan established
one of the first and oldest Ford dealerships in Oregon and
sold four Model T’s.
also had a store in a brick building that was later turned
into the Rivoli theatre, and movies became a part of the
town’s entertainment. There was also the Hudspeth
store and the Crane State Bank. Crane once had three garages,
a warehouse, a lumber yard, livery stables, a butcher shop,
restaurants and a shoe repair shop operated by Fred Terhufen,
who also sold shoes.
August 1916, P. J. Gallagher and George E. Carter, established
a newspaper, the Crane American. Gallagher soon left to
pursue a career as a lawyer and Carter continued to publish
the newspaper until 1935. He sold the business and it was
moved to Burns in 1936 where it ceased publication after
a short time.
state highway department began building a gravel road Oregon
Highway 78, into Burns in 1917, and its completion in about
1920 greatly improved travel conditions for those in the
southern end of the county.
in the area around Malheur Lake moved their families to Crane
during the summer months while they did the haying
and then moved them back to the Lawen area each winter to feed
their cattle and send their children to school. When the railroad
came in 1916, Crane citizens saw that they would need an elementary
school. With the addition of the lower grades, more people
began to make Crane their permanent residence.
tiny community today is the home for Crane Union High School
and Crane Elementary School. The high school is a boarding
school for the children of ranch families who inhabit the
vast rural regions of the county. Some students are living
over one hundred miles from home.
families live there, the post office and a service station
/ tavern, and farm supply
are the only businesses. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a community
chapel serve the community’s spiritual needs. In the
heyday of Harney County’s growth, the town was an important,
bustling center of trade. A post office was established in
1895 with Henry C. Turner as the first postmaster. Discontinued
in 1903, the office was reopened in 1911, and continues to
serve at the present time.