Mecca, Oregon - Oregon Trunk R.R. (S.P.&S.)
Mecca flat, approximately 100 miles up from the mouth of the Deschutes River, is a favorite fishing spot that I have visited for many years. Early on, I know that there was an abandoned railroad here – the access road to the area runs along the old grade and even crosses a large earthen viaduct, and an old tunnel is clearly visible. Most of the Deschutes Canyon has abandoned right of way, since at one time there were two railroads operation on opposite sides of the river, which were later consolidated into one shared track, with the duplicate track being abandoned. But there seemed to be something more at Mecca than just a railroad. Walking along the streamside you’ll notice concrete blocks and rusting pipes sticking up out of the weeds. The yard of one of the few houses in the canyon has 4” diameter pipes sunk into the ground. A circular concrete pier, also in the yard, marks an old well. I can see that something else once existed here. As I talk with fishing buddies the tell me that a railroad construction camp existed in the area when the line was being built.
Over time I find that not only was there a camp, but a small farming community of about 20 with a trading post once existed here. There are the concrete abutments of the first bridge across the river, the original wagon road that brought construction supplies to the camp and served the bridge, a wye for turning locomotives, and even the foundation of the old water tower for the railroad’s steam locomotives. An interesting old place that was one of the inspirations for the work on this site.
Copyright 2004 Garrett J. Keeton.
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