The Lost Villages of Lost Creek Lake

The Lost Villages of Lost Creek Lake

Memories with Frank and Maude

Dennis Ellingson

This is the continuing interview conducted by Wallace Ohrt with the Ditsworth couple. They had been the owners of the strawberry patch along old Laurelhurst Road. Frank grew up in the Laurelhurst area in the early days.


Clothes and Shoes: These days we think nothing of replacing our clothes and more along the line of wanting something new to wear. In those days, it was much more about function.

Wallace asks, “When your shoes wore out and that sort of thing? What did you do?”

Frank answers, “Shoes?” Well, if they didn’t have any in the store that you could trade a few spuds for or a sack of wheat or something . . . why you went barefooted.”

Maude jumps in and adds, “Well, they made moccasins out of deerskins.”

Wallace comments, “I imagine there were quite a few people that wore homemade clothing and so forth.”

Frank answers, “Well, by golly, I wore buckskin clothes myself. And when you got buckskin clothes on there was generally someone around who could tan buckskin pretty good, and this man Manning he learned it from the Indians. He was an expert at it. And they (the buckskins) were good clothes in dry, cold weather. But, when it rained they the pants would get down about that much too long and when got dry they was up here. (Frank uses his hands here to indicated how the material would sag and then shrink) They didn’t work very good when it rained. But there was one good thing about them, by golly, you didn’t catch a’fire and burn up. It wouldn’t burn.”

Horses, wagons, automobiles and getting around: While autos were prevalent in the city, Wallace describes them as a bit of an oddity or far and few between in the early Laurelhurst days. Horses, wagons and walking were much more common on the Laurelhurst road than we might have imagined.

Frank responds, “Not much before 1920 (motorized vehicles).

Maude adds, “But you know the roads out to the country kind of prohibited the cars from traveling.”

Frank continues, “You didn’t travel in the wintertime on the roads much ‘cause the mud was knee deep to a horse.”

The Laurelhurst road, while not paved was covered in shale rock so traveling was more permissible. The old Crater Lake Highway was paved and so it was often times the preferred way.

For us, what has been intriguing is find bits and pieces of these old roads. As the water level drops in the lake each summer more of old Crater Lake Hwy is exposed. You can carefully walk sections of this. You can walk a section of it along what is called the Holy Water Section. Be watchful because there are remnants of the old life along this way. Off Lewis Road to the North, by late summer you can walk over a mile of this highway, here and there. There are hazards so you must be careful. The Laurelhurst Road is not so easy to find but there are sections starting across the river from McGregor Park. Then there are sections here and there around Stewart State Park. And there are lots of other old roads as well. Access roads, old drive ways and who knows for sure what these were all used for. But they are intriguing and must for walking. Let your imagination run as you walk and imagine a life now long gone by.