MALHUER

NAME: Malhuer
COUNTY: Malhuer
ROADS: 2WD
GRID: 6
CLIMATE: Mild winter and summer.
BEST TIME TO VISIT:
Anytime.
COMMENTS: Near the Idaho border.
REMAINS: Many remnants, cemetery.
There is some debate over how the town received its name. It seems most likely the town was named after the Malheur River even though it is close but not on the river. The accepted version is from the journal of a Hudson Bay trapper who wrote: “Tuesday, Feb.14, 1826, we encamped on River Au Malheur.” Malhuer means misfortune. The much smaller neighboring town of Willow Creek is on the stream of the same name and it was in this stream gold was discovered in 1863. The gravels of Willow Creek had plenty of gold but water for sluicing was irregular much of the time. A major undertaking to bring water to the diggings was begun in 1863 in the form of what then was called the El Dorado Ditch. When the channel was carrying water to El Dorado and Malheur City, it was 134 miles long, five feet wide at the bottom and seven feet wide at the top. It proved to be a boon to Malheur City and its mining operations. In 1887, placer mining showed signs of becoming unproductive and soon the famed ditch was of no further use to miners. In 1911, efforts were made to convert the ditch to irrigation purposes but failed. As the ditch dried up, so did Malheur City. In 1957, a grass fire devastated what was left of the town. SUBMITTED BY: Henry Chenowith

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