The little settlement at the north end of the passage was a
welcome sight to many a weary traveler. Both the Canyon and the
flat at the north end were sometimes littered with abandoned
The first recorded passage of wagons through the Umpqua Canyon
was in 1843, when Stephen Meek, a brother of the noted mountain
man, Joseph Meek, guided the Lansford W. Wastings party of
emigrants from the Willamette Valley to California. Another
small group of wagons came north from California in the same
year, passing through the canyon on their way to the Willamette
Meek followed the old trail used by the Hudson's
Bay Company fur brigades. This route had also been used by the
detachment of the Wilkes' US Exploring Expedition, commanded by
Lt. George F. Emmons en route from Oregon to California in 1841.
In 1846 the canyon route was used by the wagon train led over
the "Southern Route," the Scott-Applegate Trail. This party, led
by Cpt. Levi Scott, consisted of about 150 persons and 42
wagons. Their stock was so exhausted from desert travel that
they suffered greatly in coming down the canyon. The oxen were
so weak that much of the party's equipment was abandoned. The
family of Rev. J. A. Cornwall was in the 1846 immigration;
unable to proceed further, Cornwall stopped on a small stream
which enters Calapooia Creek near present day Oakland. Here he
built a crude cabin, and the family wintered there, obtaining a
few supplies from the Hudson's Bay Company post, Fort Umpqua.
The Cornwall dwelling gave the creek its present name, Cabin
Creek. A relief party from the settlements in the Willamette
helped some of the hapless members of the 1846 train to reach
the Willamette Valley just as winter closed in.
Joseph Knott and Joel Perkins operated a ferry across the South
Umpqua calling the settlement Kenyonville. Knott built the first
store, a small log cabin with a dirt floor. His stock consisted
of the staple merchandise available, overalls and tobacco--and
whiskey. Later on he sold his store to Jackson Reynolds and
Joseph Roberts. Roberts had taken a Donation Land Claim of 160
acres north of the settlement. The two partners later sold the
store to Jesse Roberts, brother of Joseph. It was Jesse who, in
1856, built the Roberts Hotel and the grist mill. In 1858 he
platted the town site and named it Canyonville. Jesse Roberts
died at the age of 47 and is buried along side his wife, Mary
Jane, in the old Canyonville Cemetery on the hill overlooking
the town he founded.
When gold-bearing quartz was found
nearby, a rush began, and in 1852, Congress appropriated
$120,000 to build a military road from California to Oregon. The
road through the canyon, however, was not completed until 1858.
It was built under the supervision of General Joseph "Fighting
Joe" Hooker of Civil War fame.
The Hooker Survey
became the overland road used by freighters and the
California-Oregon Stage Company, organized in 1860, and by other
north-south bound travelers until 1920. This became the main
road to California until the arrival of the railroad.
The strikes brought an influx of miners and settlers to Southern
Oregon, anxious to share in the gold bonanza. By 1852 pack
trains were making regular trips from Scottsburg at the head of
tidewater on the Lower Umpqua to the mines in Southern Oregon.
Canyonville became an important way station. Rough Canyon
Passage made rest stops mandatory. Supplying miners, packers,
and early immigrants became good business.
early days Canyonville was known as North Canyonville. The post
office was established July 6, 1852, with John T. Boyle first
postmaster of this early pioneer office. The name was originally
applied in contradistinction to South Canyonville, a community
located a few miles to the south. The latter never obtained a
post office, and eventually the two communities merged.
Canyonville post office is located on Canyon Creek about a mile
from its junction with South Umpqua River, and about six miles
east of Riddle. Thomas Wilson served as first postmaster of this
office which is still in operation. (Oregon Post Offices
1842-1982, pp. 21, 72)
Canyon Creek is erroneously
supposed by many to be Cow Creek although it does traverse that
stream through a wide valley east of Glendale. The pass at the
head of Canyon Creek is 2,015 feet in elevation. Canyonville has
an elevation of 747 feet. Those who have visited this part of
the state will realize that Canyon Creek and Canyonville are
The canyon was known in pioneer
days as Umpqua Canyon. The railroad finally selected ascended
Cow Creek from Riddle and joined the old stage road not far from
Glendale. The stage route for many years continued up Canyon
Creek and today travelers over I-5 may see where there have been
earlier routes through the canyon. The total descent from the
pass at the head of Canyon Creek to Canyonville is nearly 1,300
feet, most of which occurs in the south part of the canyon.
Difficulties have continued here in modern times, for on January
16, 1974 nine men working in a Pacific Northwest Bell Company
relay station about a mile south of Canyonville were killed when
a massive earth slide swept away the building.
1992, the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians opened the
Cow Creek Bingo Hall. Today, Seven Feathers is a full
Nevada-style casino with over 1,000 Slot machines, 21 Table
Games, live Poker, Keno and Bingo. A 2003 addition, the
non-smoking casino area has 3 table games and over 100 slots.
Seven Feathers features 50,000 square feet of gaming space in
Southern Oregon's largest facility of its kind. More than 1
million guests visit Seven Feathers Hotel & Casino Resort
Seven Feathers Hotel amenities include
146 deluxe guestrooms, indoor heated pool, two spas, sauna,
fitness center and locker rooms. Other hotel features include
full concierge service, continental breakfast, complimentary
morning newspaper, and free access to fitness and recreation
facilities, cable television, Pay-per-View movies, in-room hair
dryer, coffee service, and complimentary valet parking as well
as turn down and room service. Other services include adjoining
rooms, rollaway beds and cribs, at no charge. Shop the Gift
Gallery while visiting.
Seven Feathers also offers
a 22,000 sq. foot convention center with the capability of eight
smaller rooms to cater any size event from business meeting to
Posh elegance of the Camas
Room, the family dining in the Cow Creek Restaurant is second to
none or enjoy soup, sandwich and your favorite ice cream in
Scoops Ice Cream Parlor. Whatever your decision is concerning
dining, we are sure you will be satisfied. Relax in the Cabaret
Lounge or try our Stix Sports Bar with eleven televisions,
several beers on tap and a fantastic menu to help watching your
favorite sporting even more memorable.
Feathers is known for bringing great entertainment to the area
from country, oldies, rock & roll, specialty concerts and comedy
shows. Also sporting events such as boxing, rodeo, bodybuilding
and pool tournaments. Check the events page for current and
If you'e a snow-bird, spend the
night in our beautiful RV park or if you are just here for a
brief visit, try our day-use lot.
Museum is located Just West of I-5, Exit 98, Fifth St. This
museum offers a glimpse to the area's historical past. See our
Canyonville has much more to
offer so visit this historic town soon.
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