NAME: Mitchell
COUNTY: Wheeler
CLIMATE: Dry - some snow in winter and fairly hot in summer.
COMMENTS: 50 miles east of Prineville on US 26.
REMAINS: Quite a lot of the town is much the same, and several buildings in use are old.

Soon after gold was discovered at Canyon City, it became necessary to establish a mail route to the Dalles on the Columbia River. The flood of gold from Canyon City was being shipped to Portland by way of Sherar’s Bridge and over the Barlow Road or to The Dalles by the mail route. Because of Indian attacks along the latter route, the U.S. Government improved the trail to allow for easier movement of soldiers to base camps along the way. It was then referred to as The Dalles-Canyon City Military Road. The town of Mitchell, named after J. H. Mitchell, a former U.S. Senator from Oregon, was a stopping place along the road. By the summer of 1884, the town was flourishing and even had a hotel. That the town was located at the bottom of a narrow canyon was an invitation to disaster. During that year, numerous heavy thunderstorms in the nearby mountains finally produced a nine-foot wall of water that inundated the town and swept away most of its buildings. In 1904 another and even worse flood hit the town with a thirty-foot wall of water. Most recent was a disastrous flood in 1960, but Mitchell still lives providing supplies for ranches and gas for the traveler between Willamette Valley and Eastern Oregon and Idaho. SUBMITTED BY: Henry Chenowith

Parts of the old wagon road from Canyon City to the Columbia River (near The Dallas) are visible along the John Day River, 15 miles north of Mitchell. The original road followed Bridge Creek north from Mitchell, past the Painted Hills National Monument (end of pavement) to the junction with the John Day River. The road then followed the John Day northwest. In places you can still see the "cut" where the old wagon road had been. Mitchell is an interesting town with friendly people - and lots of history.This area is definitely an interesting place to visit. (Town, painted Hills, old roads, scenery.) Submitted by :Bob Poet Hi, thought I'd provide you with an interesting update from a recent trip of mine through the town of Mitchell, Oregon. I stopped by there twice on my way to and from John Day in May of 2010. First off, I should mention that the town has popped back up with a number of buildings and residents (approx 170 as of the 2000 census). There is a small mechanic, general store and diner off the main road. But the main reason to stop by (aside from some good burgers at the Little Pine Truck Stop) is a chance to see Henry the Black Bear. Henry is something of a mascot of the town and it is nearly impossible to stop there without being directed to his home across the road by one of the remaining residents. He's usually found sleeping in his log-roofed pen and will occasionally come out to greet visitors. Owner Hugh Reed adopted Henry to save him from Euthanasia and now he even has a page dedicated to him on Mitchell is definitely worth stopping at if you're ever driving hwy 26.  ~Marina DeLucco