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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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When first reported, it looked like a simple murder-suicide. But it quickly became clear that it was something far more sinister — and the motives of the killer were uglier and more sordid than anyone had thought possible. (Brownsville, Linn County; 1860s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1708d.sidney-barbara-smith-murders-458.h…
 
What looked like a rotting-away hunk of scrap steel was a rare artifact of Portland's World War II shipbuilding industry — but the discovery was made just a few days too late. (Sauvie Island, Columbia and Multnomah County; 1940s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1207e-rusty-lifeboat-turned-out-to-be-relic-of-second-world-war.htm…
 
By far the most embarrassing jailbreak in state history happened when a murderer simply walked out the back door of a Motel 6 during an unsupervised “date” with a woman officials thought was his fiancee. (Salem, Marion County; 1974) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1207c-carl-cletus-bowles-jailbreak-during-conjugal-visit.html)…
 
This is an episode in our weekly series titled 'Primary Source Tuesday.' Each Tuesday we have a reading from a particularly interesting historical item. Sometimes it's a historical tidbit that wasn't quite beefy enough to make a full column out of; other times, an especially interesting old newspaper article; frequently it's a short story from one …
 
Jovial and gregarious, Adelhelm Odermatt locked his sights on a vision of a hilltop monastery — and then deployed himself like a jovial, glad-handing, never-sleeping bombshell to make it happen. It was a near thing, but he pulled it off. (Mt. Angel, Marion County; 1880s, 1890s, 1900s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1505c.adelh…
 
All through the summer of 1973, there was one song on the radio everywhere that you just couldn’t get away from: Jim Croce’s smash hit, “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.”Come to think of it, it’s been very difficult to get away from that song ever since Croce wrote it. You probably are humming it to yourself right now: “Bad, bad Leroy Brown, baddest man in th…
 
Of all the prisoners who tried to escape from Oregon's state prison, the "yeggs" were most successful — if “successful” is the right word. Their schemes for leaving the jailhouse behind included a tunneling scheme right out of “Shawshank.” (Salem, Marion County; 1890s, 1900s, 1910s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1207d-safecra…
 
Searching for a fabulous source of gold formerly belonging to a friend who'd mysteriously disappeared, miners stumbled across Crater Lake. They never found the gold, though; could it be that it's still out there somewhere? (Crater Lake, Klamath County; 1850s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1207b-crater-lake-discovered-by-legen…
 
This is an episode in our weekly series titled 'Primary Source Tuesday.' Each Tuesday we have a reading from a particularly interesting historical item. Sometimes it's a historical tidbit that wasn't quite beefy enough to make a full column out of; other times, an especially interesting old newspaper article; frequently it's a short story from one …
 
Charles “Black Bart” Bolton's neighbors in San Francisco thought his money came from ownership in gold mines. It turned out it came from furtive excursions northward to rob stagecoaches in Oregon and northern California. (Siskiyou Pass, Jackson County; 1870s, 1880s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1401d.black-bart-gentleman-sta…
 
The Mindora and the Merrithew had docked next to each other in San Francisco, arrived within a few days of each other, wrecked within a few hours of each other, and washed up on the beach within a few miles of each other. (Columbia River Bar, Clatsop County; 1850s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1505b.mindora-merrithew-double-…
 
James Lappeus came to Portland from the gold fields of California, where he was a gambler, saloonkeeper and general mining-town rowdy. His career as a cop was dogged by rumors he'd offered to spring a murderer for a $1,000 bribe. (Portland, Multnomah County; 1850s, 1860s, 1870s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1207a-james-lappe…
 
Until Highway 101 was built in the 1930s, the beach was Arch Cape’s only road to the outside world — a fact that was Exhibit A in Governor Oswald West’s plan to save the beaches. (Arch Cape, Clatsop County; 1910s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/H1011e-tiny-scary-hug-point-road-likely-saved-oregon-public-beaches.html)…
 
This is an episode in our weekly series titled 'Primary Source Tuesday.' Each Tuesday we have a reading from a particularly interesting historical item. Sometimes it's a historical tidbit that wasn't quite beefy enough to make a full column out of; other times, an especially interesting old newspaper article; frequently it's a short story from one …
 
But did Lischen M. Miller create the story of Muriel Trevenard, the mysterious young woman who came to Newport in the 1870s and vanished ... or did she merely write down a story that locals whispered to each other on stormy nights? (Newport, Lincoln County; 1890s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1709a.muriel-trevenard-evan-macc…
 
State regulators didn't care, so neither did some dairy farmers, who left dead cows to rot among their dairy herds and brought milk to market in the same cans they used to slop the hogs; Portland led the nation in baby deaths as a result. (Portland, Multnomah County; 1900s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1208b-bad-milk-was-kil…
 
Legendary Crown Point Vista House looks out over the Columbia River and was the highlight of the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway — built when roadbuilding was as much an art as a science. (Corbett, Multnomah County; 1910s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/H1012b-crown-point-vista-house-marble-rest-area.html)…
 
This is an episode in our weekly series titled 'Primary Source Tuesday.' Each Tuesday we have a reading from a particularly interesting historical item. Sometimes it's a historical tidbit that wasn't quite beefy enough to make a full column out of; other times, an especially interesting old newspaper article; frequently it's a short story from one …
 
Don't be fooled: Fern Hobbs was a secretary in the “Secretary of Defense” sense of the word. A practicing attorney, she was the highest-paid woman in public service. Copperfield's city fathers thought they could charm her ... they were wrong. (Copperfield, Baker County; 1910s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1708a.copperfield-a…
 
Elvis himself is rumored to have played at The Cottonwoods, a jumpin' joint near Lebanon, where thousands danced to the music of many of the 20th Century's greatest musicians. Today, it's a vacant lot — piled high with memories. (Between Lebanon and Albany, Linn County; 1930s, 1940s, 1950s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1208a…
 
The movie was 'The General,' starring Buster Keaton; in the scene, a real locomotive is crashed through a real burning bridge into the river, at a cost (in 2010 dollars) of more than half a million dollars (Near Cottage Grove, Lane County; 1920s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/H1002b_TheGeneral.html)…
 
This is an episode in our weekly series titled 'Primary Source Tuesday.' Each Tuesday we have a reading from a particularly interesting historical item. Sometimes it's a historical tidbit that wasn't quite beefy enough to make a full column out of; other times, an especially interesting old newspaper article; frequently it's a short story from one …
 
Stranded for the winter on Sauvie Island, the members of Nathaniel Wyeth's trading post struggled to get enough to eat. But for some of them, the greater problem was finding something to drink. (Sauvie Island, Multnomah and Columbia County; 1830s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1707d.townsend-lizard-liquor-453.html)…
 
He’d spent thousands of hours re-creating history’s most mysterious aircraft. Something had gone wrong, and he was about to crash it. When he did, somebody would die. Who that would be was up to him. (Cottage Grove, Lane County; 2000s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1207sp-heroic-final-flight-of-jim-wright-howard-hughes-racer-…
 
The nationally notorious “Oregon Style” of newspapering involved vicious personal attacks and a take-no-prisoners style of cutting invective; but it was ink being spilled, not blood. That is, until one day in downtown Roseburg, when a hot-tempered ex-Rebel newspaper editor named Bud Thompson decided to escalate things a bit ... (Roseburg, Douglas C…
 
This is an episode in our weekly series titled 'Primary Source Tuesday.' Each Tuesday we have a reading from a particularly interesting historical item. Sometimes it's a historical tidbit that wasn't quite beefy enough to make a full column out of; other times, an especially interesting old newspaper article; frequently it's a short story from one …
 
Original owners of the falls tried for years to log it, but the steamship and railroad moguls were making a lot of money on excursion trips, so they blocked the scheme, preserving the falls for today's park. (Columbia River Gorge, Multnomah County; 1890s, 1900s, 1910s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1707e.fight-for-multnomah-f…
 
SOMETIME IN 1915, a 40-year-old Black woman named Frankie Baker stepped off the train at Portland’s Union Station. She had come to stay; Oregon would be her home for the rest of her life.At that time, Portland had a a reputation as a good place to hide out when you were on the lam. It was far off the beaten path; but the town had all the cultural p…
 
Massive 16-ton chunk of iron was found by a neighboring property owner, who dragged it half a mile in an attempt to steal it; today it's in the American Museum of Natural History in New York. (West Linn, Clackamas County; 1900s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/H1001c_WillamMeteor.htm)…
 
This is an episode in our weekly series titled 'Primary Source Tuesday.' Each Tuesday we have a reading from a particularly interesting historical item. Sometimes it's a historical tidbit that wasn't quite beefy enough to make a full column out of; other times, an especially interesting old newspaper article; frequently it's a short story from one …
 
Twenty years ago, PT-658 was a weatherbeaten hulk, rotting away at a pier in San Francisco Bay. Today, it's a priceless piece of American history that you'll occasionally see on the waters of Portland Harbor. (Portland, Multnomah County; 1990s, 2000s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1401c.pt-658-worlds-only-working-pt-boat.html…
 
Two of them had movies made about their wartime exploits — “30 Seconds over Tokyo” and “The Great Escape”; a third, captured and imprisoned in the raid, returned to Japan after the war as a Christian missionary. (Pendleton, Umatilla County; 1942) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1505a.part3-doolittles-pendleton-raiders-337.html)…
 
Robert S. Clever, Everett “Brick” Holstrom, Henry “Hank” Potter and Robert G. Emmens were four Oregon aviators who did the Beaver State proud in what seemed like a suicide mission over enemy territory. (Pendleton, Umatilla County; 1942) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1504d.part2-doolittles-pendleton-raiders-336.html)…
 
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, Umatilla County; 1942) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1504c.part1-doolittles-pendleton-raiders.335.html)…
 
This is an episode in our weekly series titled 'Primary Source Tuesday.' Each Tuesday we have a reading from a particularly interesting historical item. Sometimes it's a historical tidbit that wasn't quite beefy enough to make a full column out of; other times, an especially interesting old newspaper article; frequently it's a short story from one …
 
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, Clatsop County; 1840s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1504b.etoile-matin-miracle-shi…
 
Marooned in a frozen winter wasteland after a hostile tribe attacked and killed everyone else, she kept herself and her two children alive through the winter and then led them home to safety. (Snake River wilderness; 1810s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1707c.marie-dorion-oregons-revenant-part3-452.html)…
 
Charged with blazing a trail to the West Coast, the voyageurs in the party decided to paddle down a strange river, hoping for an easy ride to the sea. Only the charity of local Native American tribes saved them all from starvation. (Snake River, Columbia River; 1810s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1707b.marie-dorion-astorian-…
 
As the Native American bride of a French-Canadian interpreter, she joined the Astorian Party on its overland voyage to Oregon to set up a trading post on the Columbia River. Did she know what they were getting into? (Snake River, Columbia River; 1810s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1707a.marie-dorion-part1-450.html)…
 
This is an episode in our weekly series titled 'Primary Source Tuesday.' Each Tuesday we have a reading from a particularly interesting historical item. Sometimes it's a historical tidbit that wasn't quite beefy enough to make a full column out of; other times, an especially interesting old newspaper article; frequently it's a short story from one …
 
The fix was in -- all the legislators who needed to be bribed had been paid off -- so John Mitchell felt comfortable 'fessing up to his plans to double-cross Jonathan Bourne and his "Friends of Silver." But Bourne had a plan to turn that around ... (Salem, Marion County; 1890s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1906d.hold-up-sess…
 
As a filming location, Oregon really started to come into its own in the 1980s, and many locals can point to key cultural touchstones that played out right in their home towns. (Statewide; late 20th century) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1403e.part3.iconic-movies-shot-in-oregon.html)…
 
By the early 1960s, word started getting out in Hollywood about Oregon's virtues as a place to shoot on location. Productions made here during these eventful years follow changes in popular culture in an almost spooky way. (Statewide; mid-20th Century) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1403d.part2.iconic-movies-shot-in-oregon.htm…
 
As a place to go shoot pictures on location, Oregon has become pretty popular in the last few dozen years. But the Beaver State's contribution to early cinema, though more sparse, was surprisingly influential. (Statewide; 20th Century) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/1403c.iconic-movies-shot-in-oregon-part1.html)…
 
This is an episode in our weekly series titled 'Primary Source Tuesday.' Each Tuesday we have a reading from a particularly interesting historical item. Sometimes it's a historical tidbit that wasn't quite beefy enough to make a full column out of; other times, an especially interesting old newspaper article; frequently it's a short story from one …
 
Although she's most remembered for being the mistress of a famous man, journalist and rodeo performer Mona Bell Hill was, on her own, one of the most interesting people ever to live in Oregon — and, to the government, one of the most vexing. (Bonneville, Multnomah County; 1910s, 1920s, 1930s) (For text and pictures, see http://offbeatoregon.com/170…
 
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