Originally ran in the Aug. 12, 1971 edition of the Illinois Valley News
Travelling from Illinois Valley to the dedication of the Golden Historical Marker, Saturday, August 7, were Mr. and Mrs. Donley Barnes and Ruth Pfefferle, and Mrs. Pauline Shier and Mrs. Helen Hicks of the Kerbyville Museum.
Donley Barnes, President of the Josephine County Historical Society, was master of ceremonies. The invocation was given by the Ref. F.W. Hopkins after which Scout Patrol #75, under the leadership of Patrol Master J. Dellsite of Wolf Creek presented the colors and led the Pledge of Allegiance. The address was given by State Representative Sidney Bazett who gave many facts of the history of the almost forgotten little town of Golden.
He said the town was rightly named because much gold was taken o of the area and the country is still rich rich in gold. At the height of the mining activity about 150 people lived in town. Now all that is left is the church, which is in need of much repair, the school house, and one or two other buildings.
The town was unique in the fact that there were no saloons, but three different denominations held church services there. One day the miners heard of a richer gold strike elsewhere, so all of them left. When they returned some time later, they found that a contractor had hired 500 Chinese to work the claims for a pittance. The contractor was persuaded to take his Chinese laborers and leave town. Then the miners resumed their work on the claims. The church has not been used since 1904. In closing his remarks, Representative Bazett said, “We must perpetuate what was good, and look for the beautiful.
It was said that there was a belfry built on the church, but no bell had ever been installed, but Ethel Loliar, Wolf Creek who taught school in Golden in 1915-16 said the school house bell had been put in the church belfry a long time ago and she knew it was still there because she rang it just two weeks ago. Mrs. Lollar’s maiden name is McAllister. She is the eldest daughter of Lon McAlister and her mother was Iva Young of Kerby.
Boyd Wyatt, Grants Pass Chairman of the Josephine County Historical Society Sites Committee named those on the committee: Mr. and Mrs. Jack Boling, Mr. and Mrs. Phayo Pfefferle, and Mr. and Mrs. John Shaw. All, except one were present at the dedication. Boyd said that the county owns the site where the marker stands and the present owners of the town of Golden, Mr. and Mrs. Cornwell, have donated a strip of land adjoining the County’s plot. The County plans to make a mini park at the marker site, with picnic facilities and a trail down to Coyote Creek, so visitors can pan for gold. At present there is a sheer cliff which drops down for nearly 30 feet about 12 or 15 feet back of the marker. The County also now owns the school house.
I talked with as many people as possible before they dispersed, among whom were Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Johnson, Glendale. They told me that his father. Gus Johnson, helped to build the church. The house where Gus lived is gone but the maple trees he planted are still growing. Sylvia Lehman Hull started to the Golden school about 1904 and, as she lived several miles up Coyote Creek, had a long walk. Her grandfather, Jerome Smith, was killed in 1900 in a cave-in near the area of the marker. State Senator Debbs Potts was also a student at the Golden school, which goes to show that getting an education in a small school was really no handicap.
George Abdill and his son and daughter from Roseburg were present. Abdill is curator of the Douglas County Museum.
The marker tells the story that Lincoln Savage, the superintendent of Josephine County Schools, rode a bicycle from Wolf Creek and back, when it was necessary to visit the Golden school. Pauline Shier is a niece of Lincoln Savage. Pauline also gave me this information: Mrs. Louis Stidham, Grants Pass, is the granddaughter of Stephen Jewell, who dedicated the church at Golden and was the pastor.
Claude and Romaine Wright, Holland Loop Road, who recently moved to the Valley from Arizona, had as visitors their grandson Steven Wright and his wife Ellen. Presently visiting them are friends from Arizona, Mr. and Mrs. Jenks. They parked their trailer beside the Wright’s and I thought I was seeing double, because the trailers are just alike. They have visited the Caves and the Museum, but Mrs. Jenks said she especially enjoyed attending the Bridgeview Church, which is the first Protestant church built in Illinois Valley.
Randall and Jenny Palmer had as their dinner guests Mr. and Mrs. Roland Carr of Encino, Cal. Several years ago they bought property on the river here and hope some day to make Cave Junction their retirement home. They are bird watchers and say that Illinois Valley is a bird watcher’s paradise.
Recent visitors of Max and Esther Strain, owners of Forest Lodge, were her sister Evelyn Brown of Mission Hills, Cal. and her three children, Nita, Cindy and Robert. Nita is staying for several weeks and working in the café to earn spending money when she flies to Hawaii later this fall. Nita’s aunt and sister of Esther Strain, Georgia Johnson of San Diego, is taking Nita on the Hawaiian vacation.