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Freight team hauling merchandise for Lynch & Roberts, 1910. The street is the present Deschutes Avenue and the building in the center was occupied by Robertson Jewelry, in 1970.

100 years ago

Feb. 26, 1920 — To Ask Realty Men Pledge Against Sale to Japs

In line with their purpose to insure themselves against an invasion of Japanese to colonize Central Oregon potato lands, the next move of the Deschutes County Farm Bureau is expected to result in the passage of resolutions against any of its members selling out to Japanese or Japanese interests.

This agreement, as planned, will bind the farmers under any and all circumstances.

It is also planned, according to G. E. Stadig, a leader in the activity of the Bureau, to have a similar set of provisions signed by all real estate men doing business in this county.

Japs Refused Chance to See Potato Land

Redmond real estate dealers yesterday refused to show Central Oregon potato land to two Japanese. The man who wished to buy or lease land said he came from Hood River, and was accompanied by a Japanese attorney from Seattle.

According to the attorney, his client wished about 80 acres of irrigated land to be bought or leased for a term of years. He wanted unimproved land to be cleared and used to grow potatoes.

A Bend realty firm had shown them lands but they were not satisfied, the attorney said. From here they went to Prineville where they said they would try further to have the country shown them.

75 years ago

March 1, 1945 — Ed Mickel, Home From Germany After Five Months, Tells of 13 Days In Foxhold, Describes Rigors of Combat

New York to Aachen, Germany, and back again in five months. That is the story of Ed Mickel, who arrived home Monday, February 19, to spend a convalescent furlough with his wife, the former Margaret Sleasman.

Mickel left the states in September of 1944 after being in army training since March 17 of the same year. There were 246 men in the company which sailed and landed in Scotland, but the group was split up in England where they went into various outfits as replacements for front-line combat.

Mickel’s company, which was in the 18th infantry of the first army, landed in France, and then journeyed 500 miles into Belgium via GI trucks. There were eight vehicles and 25 men in each. From Belgium it took the company three hours to reach their destination in Germany, which was about eight miles northeast of Aachen.

Many of the French cities had whole section which were all or partially destroyed. This was particularly noticeable at Conn, where the whole south section of the city has been flattened by bombardment.

“On the road out of Paris,” Mickel explained, “we saw vehicles of all kinds which had been destroyed and abandoned. There were lots of refugees along the road going back to Paris.”

From some of the French people the Americans obtained eggs, nuts and other delicacies which were a real treat after the C and K rations of the army. Soldiers are allowed one canteen of water a day.

On October 19, 1944, Mickel’s company relieved another company on the front lines, and the Redmond soldier had his first experience in actual combat.

“All your work is done at night,” he said. “In the daytime you never budge out of your foxhole. At night when it’s pitch dark, you lay barbed wire and do any moving around you have to do, falling into fox holes and shell holes and barbed wire.”

Mickel went on to say that outside of a few snipers doing a little shooting all combat is carried on by heavy artillery.

“I never saw a fixed bayonet or hand-to-hand combat all the time I was over there,” he said.

The purpose of this particular installation was to hold the line, because after the recent big push into Germany , they were stymied waiting for supplies for nearly two months.

Casualties in this outfit were heavy. There were about six men left to a squad where they originally were 18. Replacements were few and far between.

“I was lucky,” Mickel said. “I got in with one of the men who had been through it all before. They teach you a lot of things. Those men can tell just by the sound of a shell where it is going to hit.”

Mickel was knocked out by the concussion but never hit. There were cases where men were knocked 30 feet by concussion. A good many were struck with shrapnel. Mickel said he had seen a shell explode right in a foxhole with two men and neither would be hurt, or, on the other hand, two men would be lying flat some distance from the explosion and be killed by the flying metal. Most men in a combat area such as this seem to have a fatalistic viewpoint, due, perhaps, to just such illustrations as this.

The hardships they undergo and the sights they see tend to make many boys old men.

50 years ago

March 4, 1970 — Roberts describes store’s beginnings 60 years ago (part 1)

Marking the conclusion of an era, 60 years under essentially the same ownership, Roberts’ Inc. closed its doors Feb. 27 and the department store has been taken over by the purchaser, Quisenberry’s.

It was back in 1910 that two young men decided to cast their lot in Redmond. One of them, M.A. Lynch, died some years ago, but the other, J.R. Roberts, recalls with graphic clearness those early days in the town’s business life.

J.R., who observed his 88th birthday Feb. 3, is at Bachelor Butte Carevilla in Bend recuperating from a hip fracture. He’s able to walk a bit now and occasionally comes home for a few days .

Roberts, in whose honor Redmond’s municipal airport was named, is known locally and nationally for his work in development of aviation, but that is another story.

Why did two young men leave good jobs and come to a small town with a population of about 150 people, a town which did not yet have a railroad?

Lynch, originally from Virginia, was a registered pharmacist and Roberts worked in Portland for Lang & Company, wholesale grocers. They became acquainted with another young man, Guy Dobson, in a boarding house on Yamhill Street, where all of them lived.

“Guy heard about a house on Couch Street,” J.R. recalls, “so we rented it, bought furniture and hired a woman to be our housekeeper. She was a jewel, too.

“Guy heard about Central Oregon from J.P. O’Brien, president of OWRR&N. His girl and O’Brien’s daughter were friends, you see.

“Guy told O’Brien he wanted to go to Washington to start a bank. ‘Don’t go there,’ O’Brien said. ‘I’m going to build a railroad to Central Oregon and that’s the place to open your bank.’”

Lynch and Roberts told Dobson that if he decided the prospects for a bank were good, he should investigate the possibility of a store, too.

“Guy went by train to Shaniko, where he ranted a saddle horse and rode 90 miles to Bend,” J.R. recounts. “He talked to everybody and decided Redmond was the place, that it was bound to be the hub of Central Oregon. Guy did open a bank here, of course.

“When he returned, we were enthusiastic. I couldn’t get away, but told Lynch that if he could make the trip, I’d pay half his expenses. It took him 10 days--travel was different then, you see.

“M.A. talked to a man named Iverson, who had a little store, the building being owned by C.P. Nelson of Walla Walla. Iverson was soured on Central Oregon, but he claimed he had the inside track on the building. Lynch didn’t think so.”

Lynch was enthusiastic and J.R. decided to go to Walla Walla to see if the building could be bought. “I rented a team and wagon and drove to Nelson’s house.He said he could sell the property for $1675 and I talked him into taking $675 down and a mortgage for the rest. Between us we had just $2200, which was $1100 a piece we had obtained from the sale of lots we owned. Payment of the $675 left us $1525 to start our enterprise.”

The building was located where the Quisenberry store now stands and Frank McCaffery owned the corner building on Sixth and Evergreen, Roberts says.

J.R. couldn’t leave his job at the time, but Lynch came to Redmond in the fall of 1909 and opened a drug store, also selling groceries. Soon he wrote to J.R. that there was a big demand for work shoes and asked him to get a supply that would retail for $2.50 per pair. J.R. managed to open an account with Fithian Barker.

Next Lynch wrote that there were many calls for such items as overalls, women’s stockings, calico and gingham. J.R. went to Fleishner-Meyer and was told that the firm didn’t set young men up in business. Finally he was given $300 credit , with the bill to be paid in 60 days with 2% discount. “We were able to discount that purchase and every other one,” Roberts states.

25 years ago

March 1, 1995 — Teenager gets feel for politics in action

Brandon Wilcox didn’t expect to need a suit and tie quite so soon. Maybe for his junior high graduation.

But this eighth-grade Obsidian Junior High student found himself in need of some dress up clothes on Presidents Day when he traveled to Salem to work as Speaker of the House Bev Clarno’s first honorary page.

Although he thought he was overdressed when he left Central Oregon, Wilcox found he “fit right in” at the capitol.

Those who serve as pages are offered the opportunity for a glimpse of the Legislature in action in return for performing certain duties.

Wilcox’s grandmother saw an ad seeking pages for Rep. Dennis Luke. She encouraged her grandson to apply, which he did. After discovering his was not in Luke’s district, he was handed off to Clarno’s office. A short phone call later, he was in.

Wilcox had been to the Capitol one other time — as a fourth grader on a field trip. But during his two hour visit, he “didn’t see that much,” Wilcox said.

This time, in addition to spending the entire day, he actually became a part of the place. “It was neat that way, to be working there,” he said.

The morning was taken up with at our of the Capitol. The afternoon was given over to delivering messages. In between he manned the door for a session of the full House of Representatives, “typed some things,” met Gov. John Kitzhaber and U.S. Sen. Bob Packwood, sat in on an education subcommittee meeting and in general was “given a lot of responsibility,” Wilcox reported.

Meeting Kitzhaber and Packwood were highlights of his trip along with delivering messages .

Making his way around the Capitol made Wilcox feel like he was a part of it all.

“It felt like I was not just a spectator or visiting,” he said. “It felt cool.”

What surprised him most was the informality with which the state’s affairs are conducted.

“What they wear is formal, but they can get up to get a drink of water or meet their friends. It’s nice,” Wilcox said.

Nice enough, in fact, that he would like to go back, something Clarno encouraged him to do.

Wilcox had a little prior experience in the workings of government as he serves as a representative from his advisee class. And he plans to learn more this summer. He will participate in a tour of historical places in Washington, D.C., with other students form Bill Schulte’s History class.

While Wilcox hadn’t given much thought to being a politician before his visit, he is now considering such a course although he recognizes there’s a number of steps between page and senator.

“It’s not only the really special people who are there,” he said. “It doesn’t feel so far out of reach now.”

Flashback articles are continued on redmondspokesman.com.

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