I recently opened the door to my writing cave, packed a weekend bag, and went on an adventure with my favorite auntie and four cousins.
We met at a location in a central area for us all, which meant I had a five hour drive to reach the destination.
On my way there, and on my way home, I drove along a highway that rolls through several old towns.
Grass Valley was among them. I have a contemporary series, Grass Valley Cowboys , set in the area, but the abandoned old buildings there capture my eye every time I drive past them.
Although it is assumed members of the Lewis and Clark party were among the first to see Sherman County where Grass Valley is located.
Tall grass waved in the breezes, providing a wonderful cover for deer and made hunting them a challenging. Despite the hordes of Oregon Trail travelers who came West, none stayed in the area for more than a few days of rest.
Then Samuel Barlow marked the Barlow Trail across the Cascade Mountains. Oregon Legislature authorized the road in 1845, and by September 1846, the road provided an alternate route to the transporting wagons via raft down the Columbia River. Barlow Road started at The Dalles and headed south to Tygh Valley. It wasn't long until a shortcut was made from Tygh Valley that entered in Grass Valley canyon. The trail went through the canyon to where tall rye grass grew and the town of Grass Valley would eventually grow.
Grass Valley's settlement didn't happen overnight. A few stock ranches were established first, then settlers began to arrive in Sherman County. They plowed the rich grass that sustained cattle to make way for wheat fields.
The town was officially established in 1878 when Dr. Charles R. Rollins, a New Hampshire physician, settled in the area. He built a two-story hotel that included a clinic, and named the town after the rye grass that grew in the alkali soil.
Although the population has dwindled, I still find a wealth of inspiration in this town, taken from the tall waving grasses that once covered the area.
♪ ♫ ♪ You're invited to the Ball! ♪ ♫ ♪
Please join me and twelve of my friends for four hours of fun on Facebook at the 3rd annual Petticoat Ball!
It takes place this Thursday, April 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Pacific Time). Oodles of prizes, games, giveaways and opportunities to connect with authors will make for a lively event!
Hope to see you there!
USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield writes character-driven romances with relatable heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”
Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, this hopeless romantic is out to make it happen one story at a time. When she isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.
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