Living & Farming at Lane in 1924-25 - Harold Haskell
In 1924-1925, as a child of six or seven years old, the Rev. Harold Haskell lived on the land that became Lane's main campus. He was interviewed by Dierdre Reynolds in 1976 for a class project.
The site of the farm where Harold Haskell lived in 1924-1925 and which he talks about in this interview became the Gonyea home and is currently the site of Oak Hill School. Wilfred Gonyea donated the land on which the college is situated to the Lane Community College District.
The interview has been edited and excerpts are printed below. Contact the college archivist for access to the interview transcript.
The Haskell Farm
I lived here about 1924-25. I went to school down in Goshen for part of the year. It was either first or second grade but I think second. ... We lived right there on the hill south of the campus, approximately where the house and buildings are of the Gonyea's [present day Oak Hill School]. Our house and buildings were in the same general area that Gonyeas are now. We had an orchard including apple trees and garden space....
My dad owned the property. His name was George Haskell. ... I think there were 80 acres in there. Bloomberg Road was the old road that came here under the railroad. We had to go down the lane and go under the underpass then go north to Springfield or south to Goshen. ... We used to come up across a little bridge where the creek is and then we came up across where either the telephone or power line is now. The old fence row along the lane is still there. It was wood. I know Dad grubbed blackberry vines all up the hill to our place. The road was graveled up to our place. We could get in all winter.
Trees, Crops, Wild Strawberries & Flowers
I can recall hiking back into where the college and some of the buildings are now situated, There was some timber on it. ... Some, big pine trees and fir trees in there. The growth down along the creek is much like it is now with oak and so on....
And then I remember that year we lived here Dad would hitch up the team and we would drive down the road to Bloomberg, then go up Bloomberg quite a ways back up the hill to the woods. There was heavy timber back in there. We cut up about ten cords of wood that winter, when it wasn't too rainy. We sold part of it or we had some sort of arrangement with the man who owned it.
There were a few good sized trees around, a few back on the property, up the hill. Not right around where the buildings were except one or two. Quite a few scrub oak and blackberries grew up along the fence row and took it over. My dad had to grub out the fence row. He liked to keep stock out there to keep the pasture down. They would eat the young blackberry shoots. There was lots of underbrush, more so than now.
He planted some grain, I think, besides hay. Seemed like there was some thrashing there. Apples, pears. Yes, my mother did lots of canning. There could have been oats or barley. A thrashing machine came on the place once. It was pulled by a tractor; a belt ran by pulley to the tractor -- either a gasoline or kerosene-operated tractor.
I know we went over those hills and picked wild strawberries. ... We found those lady slippers and those little kinda pink beautiful flowers, buttercups, nice and mossy areas. Then [we] would get out into the open areas and find wild strawberries. I don't know if they were canned - we ate mostly. We would pick and pick and pick and just get enough for a good taste for everybody.
Digger squirrels I know were in the area. If you killed a digger squirrel and brought its tail into the Lane County Courthouse, you could get a bounty of 5 cents per digger tail. ... We did have pheasants. Dad shot pheasants right there practically in the yard. Dad talked about seeing ducks or geese down along the river or along the lowlands, but I don't remember. I do know we have seen deer, of course, digger squirrels. I have heard Dad talk about bobcats; [I] don't ever remember any cougars. Then, of course, raccoons. I never remember anything about bears. I think I've heard coyotes. Seems like one night when we were out in the car one may have run across the road.
Shopping in Springfield
Goodness I can remember getting some things at the store -- probably in Springfield. I hardly ever remember going into Eugene. ... We did all of our trading in Springfield, I'm sure of that. ... Springfield was the closest. To get to Eugene you had to go on down around Judkins Point. Dad had a model-T Ford. I'm sure Dad went in because that is where we had to turn in the tails of the squirrels, at the courthouse. I don't ever remember going in to Eugene. We crossed into Springfield about where the bridge is now. I think you can see some of the old pilings or the old piers, for a bridge not too far from the present bridge.
Flooding along the Willamette River
There was a bridge to Springfield. There is a big rock if you go from LCC down by the gas stations and over the overpass, as you come down to Wildish there was a big rock out there in the middle of the river that we used to gauge the amount of water going down -- how high the river was according to how high it was on the rock. I remember one flood where the railroad trestle there going into Springfield. The area of bottom land before you turned and crossed the bridge was all flooded the year we were here. It had washed some houses or stores from upstream somewhere and they were lodged up against the railroad trestle. That was one of the lower places and it was almost always flooded. The waters rushing undermined the road and after the water receded a car or truck tried to drive over and the asphalt caved in and the car was almost out of sight. It was down there around that trestle.
Evening Activities & Entertainment
I remember that we would get the lamps lighted at night -- we had one or two that had the reflector behind the lamp. It seems like Dad probably took the newspaper and did some reading, and we looked at books or stories or drew pictures or something. Then the special times listening to radio. Dad would have friends in and we would listen to stories they would tell about the old days. Dad had handled horses a lot, and they would get started telling stores about teams and horses. He would get a hold of a wind broken horse, and I never knew what anything like that was, but I can remember Dad talking and just sit around and listen.I suppose we did some of our own things too. We would get together and play get up in some sapling trees - cottonwoods or willows - and climb until they were bent over and we would get out of them. We never went to shows. [We] made our own entertainment. [We] probably went to bed fairly early. In winter time we got up when it was still dark.
Mother's Cooking and Baking
Mom almost always made oatmeal mush, sometimes pancakes, something special if we had french toast. She baked her own bread. I can remember her setting the yeast and kneading the dough, then baking it. As I recall the churn - it was glass with the paddles, Mom would skim the cream and keep the cream and would put it in. The first one may not have been glass but it was same kind -- you turned the handle and it had paddles.