Baker City herald. (Baker City, Or.) 1990-current, October 15, 2020, Page 20, Image 20

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Thursday, October 15, 2020
GO! magazine — A&E in Northeast Oregon
history of
celebrated at virtual gala
JOSEPH — The Maxville Heri-
tage Interpretive Center in Joseph
will present a virtual gala and live
performance, “We Came by Boxcar,”
Saturday, Oct. 24.
The event will take the audi-
ence on “a journey through timber
culture and heritage,” according to
the press release, that explores “the
untold stories of one of Oregon’s
Black and multicultural logging
In its heyday, between 1924 and
1933, Maxville, about 13 miles
north of Wallowa, was the largest
town in Wallowa County. Unlike
most timber towns in the Pacific
Northwest, it was home to Afri-
can American loggers and white
loggers who worked side by side
felling timber.
In the early 1920s, the loggers
and their families came to Maxville
from the South and the Midwest in
search of work. The Bowman-Hicks
Lumber Company, which owned
the town at that time, brought the
Black workers and their families
to Maxville even though Oregon’s
exclusion laws prohibited “free
Negroes” from moving to the state
to live and work.
Economic conditions, especially
the Great Depression and conse-
quent downturn in the lumber
market, led to Maxville’s decline. In
1933 the Bowman-Hicks Lumber
Company closed its operations,
and Maxville eventually became a
ghost town.
Decades later, the children and
grandchildren of the original log-
ging families began researching the
history of the town and uncover-
ing the stories of their ancestors.
This effort led to the founding of
the Maxville Heritage Interpretive
To find out more about the center
and the virtual event, go to www. or the center’s
Facebook page.
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Loggers pose for a photo near Maxville in Wallowa County (circa 1920-1933).
The Maxville Heritage Interpretive Center in Joseph seeks to uncover and
preserve the stories behind photos such as this.
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