Stella and I were recently in Enterprise, Oregon visiting Stella's mom and some of her family. One of the things we wanted to do was visit Flora, a "town" about 40 miles North of Enterprise and about ten miles from the Washington border. My brother, Roger, joined with us for that little expedition to explore the area where my Grandma Jessie Shumate (Botts) grew up with her parents and seven siblings. The last time we were there was when my family went there in 1964 to visit my Uncle George, who was still living in the old family home. The town wasn't much then, and is even less now. In fact, after the post office shut down in 1966, the town became un-incorporated. It is officially a ghost town now. Anyway, the purpose of our expedition was to see what was left of the town, see if we could find where the Botts homestead was, and check out the cemetery for grave sites of ancestors.
On the way to Flora, there was a beautiful viewpoint of Joseph Canyon. I would guess the canyon is 2000 feet deep and was the winter home of Chief Joseph. He would go down into the canyon every winter, where it was warmer. He couldn't figure out why the homesteaders would stay up on the plateau in the winter, where it was so cold. The homesteaders, in turn, couldn't figure out where the Indians went every winter. This photo in no way shows the grandeur of the canyon. I dislike the word "awesome," so I will say that it was awe-inspiring.
The first thing that Roger, Stella, & I did was to visit the cemetery. The Flora Cemetery is overgrown with all sorts of vegetation, and is very small, about the size of a football field. It was established in 1891 when a frontiersman donated a corner of his homestead for the cemetery.
These are the headstones of my great-grandfather and great- grandmother. It was quite a reverent feeling to be at the graves of so many of my ancestors. To think of what they went through was very humbling. It was a good feeling to know that their temple work has been done and that I will one day have the opportunity to personally thank them for their lives.
After the cemetery, we went on the hunt for Uncle George's place. We went down some little dirt roads that seemed to go nowhere. Actually, we were in the middle of nowhere, which explains roads going nowhere. The old homestead was not where we thought it was, but I'm guessing it collapsed some time ago. However, we did find the Lost Prairie School (pictured above). It was built in 1910 and opened with a total of six students! The building off to the left is the wood shed. We found many similar one-room school buildings out in the middle of obscure fields. Most, like this one, had metal roofs on them and are now being used as storage buildings by the owners of their property.
We then went back to Flora to "take in the sights." Here are a few of them.
It was quite a unique experience to go to a place which remains pretty much the same as when my ancestors lived there. It helped me to appreciate their lives just a little bit more and the legacy they left. I hated to leave there, but at least I have the knowledge that if I travel there again, the town will pretty much be the same.