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Best Oregontrail podcasts we could find (updated April 2020)
Best Oregontrail podcasts we could find
Updated April 2020
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A daily (5-day-a-week) podcast feed of true Oregon stories -- of heroes and rascals, of shipwrecks and lost gold. Stories of shanghaied sailors and Skid Road bordellos and pirates and robbers and unsolved mysteries. An exploding whale, a couple shockingly scary cults, a 19th-century serial killer, several very naughty ladies, a handful of solid-brass con artists and some of the dumbest bad guys in the history of the universe. From the archives of the Offbeat Oregon History syndicated newspap ...
 
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Many people today don't realize that in the 1950s, pinball had a bad reputation as a gambler's game and was as illegal as one-armed bandits. In Portland, shady underworld characters supplied Oregonians with plenty of both. (Clackamas and Multnomah counties; 1950s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1307d-pinball-wars-elkins-vs-tea…
 
There were plenty of heartburn pills sold in Oregon drugstores when, a few months into the World War II, the Oregon National Guard got called up to go fight in Europe, leaving the state wide open and defenseless.... But in Tillamook, a man named Stewart P. Arnold had an idea for a way to do something about that. (Tillamook County; 1942) (For text a…
 
The captain's desperate haste to get out to sea, combined with a terrible decision to cross the bar on the ebb, resulted in disaster — and the ship's stranded armaments resulted in a name for the town of Cannon Beach. (Columbia River Bar, Clatsop County; 1846) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1508a.shark-shipwreck-part2.html)…
 
As sailors melted away to take advantage of the opportunities in the new Oregon country, their captain sweated bullets; they could not be replaced. But his haste to get back out to sea while he still could set the stage for disaster. (Columbia River, Clatsop County; 1846) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1507d.shark-shipwreck-pa…
 
It was about 4 a.m. on August 12, 1962, and United Air Lines Flight 861, a red-eye flight from Chicago to Portland, had just landed. The 81 passengers were unbuckling their seatbelts and peering out the windows of their big four-engine Douglas DC-8 into the pastoral darkness outside. One or two lights twinkled here and there, and the shadowy hulk o…
 
When the steamboat Gazelle reached the dock, the man in charge of its steam boilers leaped ashore and ran like a man being chased by demons. A few seconds later, the Gazelle exploded, killing 20 people. (Canemah, Clackamas County; 1854) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1307c-boiler-explosions-in-willamette-steamboats.html)…
 
So, was it true? Was young Joseph Drake a cold-blooded killer — ready and willing, with no particularly strong motive, to murder his alleged lover’s ex-husband after filling the ears of three witnesses with the details of his plan and letting one of them witness it directly? And after having done this, did he calmly go home, climb into bed, and car…
 
When the packed community center caught fire, Lucinda Schroder ran back inside and blocked the door open with her body, enabling dozens who otherwise would have been pinned and crushed against the closed door to escape. (Silver Lake, Lake County; 1894) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/o1107b-schroder-hero-of-silver-lake-fire-die…
 
As the Cold War spun up, federal government guarantees sent thousands of Geiger Counter-packing prospectors in Army surplus Jeeps scrambling across Oregon's Outback, hoping to make their fortunes mining “A-metal.” ('Outback' counties of Eastern Oregon; 1950s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1507c.uranium-mining-gold-rush-348.ht…
 
In his spooky nightmare, first mate of the German barque Mimi saw seaweed covering all but three shipmates; the next day, all but three drowned in one of Oregon's worst-ever salvage disasters. (Nehalem Bay, Tillamook County; 1913) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/o1107c-mariners-dream-eerily-predicted-shipmates-deaths.html)…
 
As his countrymen and colleagues succumbed to the enthusiasm and propaganda for joining the conflict, only Senator Lane and a handful of other lawmakers kept their wits. But Lane paid dearly for his commitment to sanity. (Washington, D.C.; 1917) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1307b-harry-lane-war-hero.html)…
 
In 1950, Oregon poet and folklore historian Verne Bright, while researching a book project on American frontier folklore, found a rich trove of Davy Crockett almanacs, full of tales about Davy in the Beaver State. Bright, a frequent contributor to the Oregon Historical Quarterly, promptly prepared a selection of some of the juiciest morsels for pub…
 
Windjammer still holds a world speed record for sailing ships, but by the time of her demise, had been losing money for years; the age of steam had made her obsolete. So when she sailed onto the rocks, many people smelled a rat. (Neahkahnie Mountain, Tillamook County; 1913) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/o1107a-glenesslin-wrec…
 
Young Henry Miller, rejected by his illustrious father, turned to a life of crime, but he turned out not to be very good at it. For his part, the ever-classy Joaquin took to claiming Harry was not really his son. (Lane County; 1891) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1507b.black-sheep-of-joaquin-miller-family.347.html)…
 
Abraham Coryell Edmunds, throughout his several careers in Oregon and California, was almost like a cartoon — a larger-than-life loser in the vein of Wile E. Coyote, with a little Carrie Nation mixed in along with a whole lot of Don Quixote. Nor were his “own-goals” minor affairs. A.C. Edmunds was almost singlehandedly responsible for the demise of…
 
After homesteading some of the West's best cattle country, the family could have been wealthy squires like TV's Cartwright family; instead, they gave it all up for a series of outlaw enterprises that left some broke and others dead. (Enterprise, Wallowa County; 1890s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1307a-mccarty-gang-bonanza-g…
 
A few days before Christmas in 1947, a young ex-Navy flier, looking to kill a little time before dinner, invited a friend to come out for a quick spin around a nearby golf course in his new helicopter.An hour later, the two young men were both dead in the burning wreckage of the helicopter, and the future course of journalism in Portland had been f…
 
A Ford Trimotor crashed on takeoff in Eugene, and a twin-engined Boeing crashed into the west hills of Portland, within 11 months of each other. Miraculously, there were survivors in both events. (Lane County, Multnomah County; 1933) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1712e.1933-a-bad-year-for-plane-crashes-476.html)…
 
Not since before the Civil War had so many mariners drowned in a shipwreck on the Columbia River bar; as hurricane-driven breakers tore the big ship to pieces, all the would-be rescuers could do was watch in horror. (Columbia River Bar, Clatsop County; 1936) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1507a.shipwreck-iowa-worst-of-1900s-34…
 
The Willamette River was running high and wild on the morning of Feb. 5, 1890, as Alden and Arthur Graham set out from Oregon City in their sternwheel riverboat for the daily run to Portland. They arrived in Portland in what must have been record time, dodging logs and small floating buildings along the way, and promptly canceled the return trip. I…
 
According to legend, the Triskett Gang underestimated the citizens of Sailors' Diggins, which became a fatal error when they went on a shooting spree downtown. But the $75,000 they stole has never been recovered. (Waldo, Josephine County; 1852) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/o1106d-gold-field-bandits-loot-has-never-been-found.…
 
The legendary Portland “boarding master” sparked an international incident when he figured out how to shake the ship captains down, foiling their plan to stiff their sailors for the journey's wages. (Portland, Multnomah County; 1890s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1301a-larry-sullivans-shanghaiing-syndicate.html)…
 
A prizefighter with a great head for business, friends in high places and absolutely no conscience, Larry Sullivan organized Portland's shanghaiiers into a cartel — causing international notoriety for Portland. (Part 1 of 2) (Portland, Multnomah County; 1890s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1212e-larry-sullivan-shanghaiing-leg…
 
Within a few years of its debut in 1947, the V-tail Beechcraft Bonanza had a sinister and not-entirely-undeserved nickname: The “fork-tail doctor killer,” a reference to the fact that physicians were frequent buyers of the planes. But on Oct. 28, 1947, a brand-new red-and-white one became a “fork-tail Oregon Governor, Secretary of State, and Senate…
 
The engines that went into these old-school boats were slow, heavy, primitive, and built in one of several factories in San Francisco. In fact, until the mid-1930s San Francisco Bay was the Detroit of the marine-engine industry; the Union Gas Engine Company, est. 1885, was one of the very first manufacturers of gasoline engines of any kind in the U…
 
After finding a battered lifeboat washed up on shore from a fatal shipwreck, Joel Munson made it his life's mission to use it to start a life-saving service. Today, his creation soldiers on, as part of the U.S. Coast Guard. (Columbia River Bar, Clatsop County; 1865) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/o1106c-joel-munson-founded-lif…
 
Even today, after 135 years, the lawless era of vigilantes and rustlers and six-gun justice meted out by “Judge Lynch” is evoked by the words on an old Klamath Falls tombstone: “Murdered by Masked Assassins, June 24, 1882.” (Klamath Falls, Klamath County; 1882) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1609d.calavan-laws-feud-masked-assa…
 
The pilot got so caught up in trying to figure out what was wrong with the landing gear, the plane ran out of fuel — while the flight crew bit their tongues for fear of being insubordinate. A new crew management system was the response. (Portland, Multnomah County; 1978) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1712d.united-flight-173-a…
 
On any list of Oregon “firsts,” there’s one name that almost never pops up: Dr. Adaline M. Weed .... Which is understandable, because although Dr. Weed was the first female physician in the Oregon Territory, she was not a “regular” doctor – she was a hydropathist, a practitioner of “water cure." Maybe that's why, today, when asked who the Oregon Te…
 
Olympic gold medalist and OSU legend Robin Reed might have been the best wrestler of all time; throughout his 20-plus-year career he was never once pinned. But his plan for the "Delake Rod and Gun Club" was more than he could pull off. (Lincoln City, Lincoln County; 1938) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/o1106b-robin-reed-delake…
 
He couldn't claim all the credit for it, although he sometimes tried; and his attitude toward Native Americans was unfortunate. But those who love Crater Lake, in large part, have William Gladstone Steel to thank for it. (Crater Lake, Klamath County; 1902) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1609cT.crater-lake-will-steel-409.html)…
 
The old Portland shanghai scene's 'original gangster' was a mysterious character. Did he really inherit a huge fortune? If not, where did the money come from? Stagecoach robbery? Piracy on the high seas? Anything was possible with Jim Turk. (Portland, Multnomah County; 1877) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1212c-jim-turk-the-sh…
 
West Coast Airlines Flight 956 was a brand-new DC-9; the airline literally bought it on Monday and crashed it on Saturday. It hit a mountain while flying calmly along, 5,000 feet too low. But, no one has been able to figure out why. (Welches, Multnomah County; 1966) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1712c.oregons-worst-plane-cras…
 
Especially in the late 1800s, the Oregon frontier was no stranger to acts of judicial lynching – where the local legal system was corrupted to provide cover for murder. What’s more unusual, though, was an 1852 event that amounted to judicial cattle rustling. The cattle that the Benton County courts rustled belonged to a woman named Letitia Carson, …
 
Charles Henry “Iron Pants” Martin was probably the most scurrilous and unlovable character in Oregon political history. As an Army officer during the Boxer Rebellion he looted Chinese palaces; as Oregon governor during the 1930s he expressed support for fascism; and, worst of all, as an Army general after the First World War he was in charge of “br…
 
As the fishery collapsed, canneries on the upper river near Cascade Locks and gillnet fishermen on the lower river near Astoria blamed one another; both were right, but the biggest culprit was Grand Coulee Dam. (Columbia River, early 1900s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1609b.fish-wheels-and-gillnetters-408.html)…
 
Like the hero of an 1800s “cautionary tale,” 17-year-old Joseph Swards stepped off the ship, fell in with bad company, got caught up in a robbery that went horribly wrong — and in the end was lucky he wasn't hanged. (Portland, Multnomah County; 1879) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1212b-young-adventurers-visit-to-portland-ende…
 
The gregarious young entrepreneur usually cleared $2,500 – that’s the equivalent of $57,000 in modern currency – on each county fair. His profit margin hovered around 92 percent. How did he do it? By selling cheap cigars — wrapped in an expensive story. (Portland, Multnomah County; 1870s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1912a.a…
 
In the past 75 years, there have been only four lethal commercial-airliner crashes. By an odd statistical fluke, two of those happened to planes flying out of the airport in Klamath Falls. (Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport, Klamath County; 1967 and 1979) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1712b.klamath-falls-plane-crash-capito…
 
Bride of Christ cult sought perfect righeousness, Christ-like simplicity and total humility. In practice, though, it spawned nothing but misery and madness, and a legal precedent for “honor killings.” (Waldport, Lincoln County; 1904) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/o1106a-bride-of-christ-holy-rollers-in-corvallis-ending.html)…
 
Preacher Edmund Creffield's Bride of Christ Church broke up families, sanctioned adultery and inspired deadly violence in the early 20th Century. Ironically, its practitioners' goal was perfect holiness and godliness. (Corvallis, Benton County; 1903) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/o1105e-bride-of-christ-holy-rollers-in-corvall…
 
The century-long quest to make the Columbia River Bar reasonably safe got off to a rough start in 1853, when the ship bringing construction materials for its first lighthouse became one of its early victims. (Columbia River Bar, Clatsop County; 1850s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1608d.taming-the-bar.405.html)…
 
Lessons learned in the crash ended up saving countless lives in subsequent at-sea ditchings, but those lessons came at a price: Four people died, including the co-pilot who had saved everyone's life. (Mid-Pacific Ocean; 1955) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1712a.pan-am-845-ditching-off-coos-bay-472.html)…
 
The history of Portland mayors in the 20th century largely comes down to the story of the struggle of progressive reformers against various forms of corruption and vice. Put that way, it sounds like a clean morality play: good vs. evil. But it’s a bit more complicated than that. (Portland, Multnomah County; 1952-1982) (For text and pictures, see ht…
 
The massive dirigibles were housed in the largest clear-span wood buildings in the world, near Tillamook; one burned in 1992, while the other houses the Tillamook Air Museum today. (Tillamook County; 1941-1945) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/o1105d-blimp-squadron-first-defense-against-submarines-balloon-bombs.html)…
 
Crook County citizens finally decided they'd had enough of the secretive lynchings and killings; they banded together and defeated the gang of masked riders without a single shot being fired. (Prineville, Crook County; 1882) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1212a-prineville-vigilantes-defeated-without-a-shot.html)…
 
In Crook County, the early 1880s were like something out of a Louis L'Amour novel: Masked riders galloping around by night, dispensing what they saw as justice. It all started with the lynching of an innocent man. (Part 1 of 2) (Prineville, Crook County; 1882) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1211d-lynching-kicked-off-vigilante-…
 
Jack Graham had planned for the airliner to explode over the Wyoming mountains; but the plane got out late, and the bomb went off a few minutes after takeoff — while he sat with his wife and son in an airport cafe. (PDX, Multnomah County; 1955) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1711d.united-629-dynamited-on-flight-to-pdx-471.html…
 
When Dr. James Chapman was elected mayor of Portland in 1882, it was his third non-consecutive stint as P-town’s top executive. His previous two mayoralties had been relatively unremarkable. This one, his third and final stint, would be different. Things started out reasonably well, although a careful newspaper reader at the time might have detecte…
 
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