Heroes and rascals, shipwrecks and lost gold: Strange but true stories and secrets of Oregon's wild past | Offbeat Oregon History Click in the very top of this header to go back to the main menu page. Yaquina Bay was home to the best-tasting oysters anywhere, and naturally they soon provoked a battle: The Yaquina Bay Oyster War. The ever-elusive D.B. Cooper peeks into the page from behind his signature shades. The story of his skyjacking exploit starts with episode 237, from June 2, 2013. The voice of Goofy -- as well as many other grand old cartoons -- was animation pioneer and performer Vance 'Pinto' Colvig, a Jacksonville native and an OSU grad. The one and only Buster Keaton in 'The General' -- one of several legendary films made here in Oregon. Local aero-daredevil Silas Christofferson flew this rickety airplane off the roof of a downtown hotel in 1912! This is the roof of the Franz Bread Rest Hut at Pixieland, the Oregon Coast's ill-starred answer to Disneyland, which opened in 1969 and went out of biz in 1974. The Rest Hut consisted of a giant fiberglass loaf of bread sticking out of the top of this giant fiberglass hollow log, the whole thing towering over a log-flume roller coaster ride. It's probably the most campily awesome example of the proud display of crass commercialism that was Pixieland. (Column No. 52 - Dec. 6, 2009)
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Heroes and rascals, shipwrecks and lost gold

Welcome to Offbeat Oregon History, a public-history resource for the state we love. This is our hub page. From here, you can directly access ...

Enjoy! And if you have any comments on stories, suggestions for column topics or other feedback — or if you're coming by the OSU campus and have time for a cup of coffee with a fellow history dork — drop me a note at finn@offbeatoregon.com any time!

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320

January 4, 2015

Express clerk's silence foiled train robbery

The masked outlaw planned the job out carefully, and thought he was ready for anything. But he met his match in the cool-handed express man, and had to leave almost empty-handed.
#

•1901
•Saginaw

321

January 11, 2015

Dynamite used to be a regular part of Oregon life

Just a few dozen years ago, nearly anyone in Oregon could easily get all the high explosives he or she might want — if not by buying it, then by mixing a few common ingredients together with some old sawdust.
#

•Statewide

322

January 18, 2015

How to rob trains with dynamite: Tips from the pros

Award-winning criminal mastermind/ motivational speaker Blackie DuQuesne shares a few key insights for aspiring train robbers on how to avoid “n00b mistakes” on a railroad heist.
#

•Statewide

323

January 25, 2015

Oregon crooks have always enjoyed their dynamite

Extortionists, jailbreakers, safecrackers, jealous lovers and even truant students have, throughout the early years of Oregon history, found high explosives a powerful aid to their nefarious schemes.
#

•Statewide

324

February 1, 2015

When the rebel flag flew over Oregon soil

Smithfield rebels' gesture of defiance on the main stagecoach route caused shock and outrage, but nobody was outraged enough to risk being shot over it; so the flag waved there until federal troops arrived and confiscated it.
#

•Franklin (near Elmira)
•1862

325

February 8, 2015

Cow Creek Canyon robbers weren’t afraid to blow stuff up

The “Baritone Bandit” led a small group of desperados with a large cache of dynamite, and they got away with a good bit of loot. But one of the passengers saw behind the bandit's mask ...
#

•South Douglas County
•1895

326

February 15, 2015

Bold bandits robbed express train three miles from Roseburg

The job got off to a bad start when the fireman escaped and sprinted for the nearby town. The main suspect in the robbery quickly left town, and a few months later was killed in a holdup in Washington.
#

•Roseburg
•1897

327

February 22, 2015

Lafe Pence's crazy plan: Move mountains down, fill up lake

He might have accomplished it, too, but he lost friends when he tried to claim water rights to Bull Run, and when his primary investors went bankrupt, he was forced to give up and leave town.
#

•Portland
•1905-07

328

March 1, 2015

Shipwrecked sailors drifted from Oregon to Puget Sound

While the captain of the Emily G. Reed was sadly reporting the loss of 11 brave mariners, four of the missing were adrift, desperately bailing water out of a damaged and leaky lifeboat. Destination: Puget Sound.
#

•Tillamook Head
•1908

329

March 8, 2015

Gold-dredge scheme failed — luckily for Tarzan fans

Had Edgar Rice Burroughs and his brothers been successful with their Snake River gold dredge, Ed likely would never have had the time or inspiration to start writing “John Carter of Mars,” “At the Earth's Core” and “Tarzan” books.
#

•Snake River
•1903

330

March 15, 2015

Coast Guard “Sand Pounders” kept Oregon Coast secure

They never did see any action against the Japanese spies and commando teams they expected. But the fact that they were on the job may have had something to do with the fact that none ever tried to come ashore.
#

•Oregon Coast
•1942-1945

331

March 22, 2015

Civil War plotters hoped to get West Coast to secede

Dreamed up by supporters of the old south, the plan envisioned the “Pacific Republic” as a slave state — to be stocked with slaves via a sort of bait-and-switch human-trafficking swindle.
#

•Salem, Sacramento
•1860

332

March 29, 2015

Legendary “authoress” started with poetry, dime novels

Frances Fuller Victor became the founding mother of all Oregon history, and one of its most important writers of all time. By the time she arrived in the Beaver State, she was already a well-known writer.
#

•Portland
•1865

333

April 4, 2015

Pioneering historian earned recognition, but little money

The “Mother of Oregon History” fell on hard times in the late 1870s. She never quit, but after she took a job writing for Hubert Howe Bancroft, he took credit for the books she wrote.
#

•Portland
•1867-1902

334

April 12, 2015

French sailors miraculously saved from death on bar

As they hung in the riggings of the sailing ship Etoile du Matin waiting for death, they felt their ship start to break apart — but the piece that broke off first was the keel, enabling the ship to float upriver to safety.
#

•Columbia River Bar
•1849

335

April 19, 2015

Famous “Doolittle Raid” had roots in Pendleton air base

Oregon played a vital role in America's answer to Pearl Harbor — the daring daylight airstrike on Tokyo and other Japanese cities that provided a much-needed morale boost during the dark days of 1942.
#

•Pendleton, Japan, China
•1942

336

April 26, 2015

The Oregonians who flew with the Doolittle raid

This article is still under its 60-day embargo. Click here to find it on the Web site of a member newspaper or other publication.
#

•Various
•1943-2000

337

May 3, 2015

Oregon’s Doolittle raiders made history in startling ways

This article is still under its 60-day embargo. Click here to find it on the Web site of a member newspaper or other publication.
#

•Various
•1943-2008

338

May 10, 2015

Storm-tossed ships shared a double date with destiny

This article is still under its 60-day embargo. Click here to find it on the Web site of a member newspaper or other publication.
#

•Columbia River Bar
•1852

339

May 17, 2015

Mount Angel Abbey owes grandeur to colorful Swiss monk

This article is still under its 60-day embargo. Click here to find it on the Web site of a member newspaper or other publication.
#

•Mt. Angel
•Engelberg, Switzerland

340

May 24, 2015

Oregon’s highest, smallest city once had its jail stolen

This article is still under its 60-day embargo. Click here to find it on the Web site of a member newspaper or other publication.
#

•Greenhorn
•Canyon City

341

May 31, 2015

FBI’s “Most Wanted” gangster was busted in Beaverton

This article is still under its 60-day embargo. Click here to find it on the Web site of a member newspaper or other publication.
#

•Beaverton
•Alcatraz Island

342

June 7, 2015

The small-town police chief who was executed for murder

This article is still under its 60-day embargo. Click here to find it on the Web site of a member newspaper or other publication.
#

•LOCATION
•YEAR

343

June 14, 2015

“Ship of Romance and Death” came to a dramatic end

This article is still under its 60-day embargo. Click here to find it on the Web site of a member newspaper or other publication.
#

•LOCATION
•YEAR

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