Cross Hollows is the location of one of Central Oregon’s earliest settlements, and for many years was an important stage stop on The Dalles-Canyon City road. Located where two creek basins converged to form an X, abundant water supply made Cross Hollows the logical rest stop on an otherwise arid high desert plain. There were several buildings and a blacksmith shop here, the remains of which exist only as piles of rotting boards now. Two smaller buildings still stand, and enormous poplars attest to the age of the settlement. Change came around 1900 as the area on the flat just above the hollows became the planned railroad town of Shaniko, the terminus of the Columbia Southern Railroad. Shaniko emerged as a wild West boomtown around the wool industry, and the importance of Cross Hollows as an enterprise diminished. The buildings and area undoubtedly continued to be used, as Shaniko grew at such a pace that stories tell of people camping on the outskirts of town, since there were not enough buildings to house the influx of people. However, the boom did not last long. A new railroad up the Deschutes canyon, and yet another wave of industrial and economic change, came to Central Oregon in 1911 and Shaniko’s importance diminished. People moved away and most of the buildings burned. Today, Shaniko is a popular ghost town where people still live and history hunters visit. Many of its buildings have survived and are preserved but most people don’t know the story of Shaniko’s close neighbor, the original settlement in the area, that lies just down the hill at Cross Hollows.
Copyright 2004, 2005, 2006 - Garrett J. Keeton.
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