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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Mitchell in Wheeler County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)
 

Fossils on the Frontier

 
 
Fossils on the Frontier Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, September 9, 2010
1. Fossils on the Frontier Marker
Inscription.  Northern Paiute Indians and a few mountain men were the only residents of the John Day Country before 1860. Cavalry troops passed through the John Day River drainage looking for the best route from the Columbia River to Fort Boise. One company, under the command of Captain John M. Drake, explored along Bridge Creek in 1861. Near this spot, the troopers found the first fossilized bones and leaf-prints to come from the John Day Valley.

(Map of The Dalles—Canyon City Military Road—1873)

The Dalles-Canyon City Military Road was built in 1864, linking the Canyon City gold camps with settlements along the Columbia River. Thomas Condon, Congregational minister in The Dalles and an avid naturalist, recognized the value of Captain Drake’s fossil discovery. Condon joined a military patrol to this region in 1865 and came face-to-face with the fossil treasures that were to be his life work. Dr. Condon became the first State Geologist in 1872 and Professor of Geology at the University of Oregon in 1876.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ExplorationPaleontology. A significant historical year for this entry is 1860.
 
Location.
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44° 39.239′ N, 120° 15.096′ W. Marker is near Mitchell, Oregon, in Wheeler County. Marker can be reached from Bear Creek Road, 0.4 miles west of Bridge Creek - Burnt Ranch Road. Marker is located in the Painted Hills Unit of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument at the end of the road to the picnic area; the above directions are to the intersection of Bear Creek Road and the picnic area road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Mitchell OR 97750, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Look Below the Surface (here, next to this marker); A Matter of Survival (approx. 0.8 miles away); Deciphering the Forest (approx. 0.8 miles away); Pieces of the Puzzle (approx. 0.8 miles away); Painted Hills Overlook (approx. 0.8 miles away); Painted by the Past (approx. 0.8 miles away); Who was John Day? (approx. 0.8 miles away); H.H. Wheeler (approx. 9.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mitchell.
 
Map of the 1873 The Dalles - Canyon City Military Road image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, September 9, 2010
2. Map of the 1873 The Dalles - Canyon City Military Road
Close-up of map on marker
Entrance to Painted Hills Unit image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, September 9, 2010
3. Entrance to Painted Hills Unit
John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
Carroll Rim image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, September 9, 2010
4. Carroll Rim
View from Bear Creek Road near the park entrance
Painted Hills image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, September 9, 2010
5. Painted Hills
View to the south from Bear Creek Road
Painted Cove image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, September 9, 2010
6. Painted Cove
Trailhead to Painted Cove Nature Trail
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on February 11, 2014, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 509 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on February 11, 2014, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.
 
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Apr. 24, 2024