We were following the
The barn was his as was most of the land around there. He had donated the land for the Chimney Rock Visitor center a mile and a half up the road. Gordon had an interesting life to tell. He owned the land around Chimney Rock and the State wanted to build their visitor center right by the rock spire that had been a landmark way point for the early pioneers on the Oregon Trail. But Gordon told them they “would be going to the bank for a long time” if they wanted that piece of land. He didn’t want the center so close to such an important piece of early pioneer history.
He said he had retired 4 times as he never was able to put any “money in a sock”, so he kept on doing something new. He built houses out of straw, use to run wagon trains around the area to give tourists an idea what it was like for the pioneers, and he even served chuck wagon meals. Now he just has some cattle on his land. In the winter he enjoys duck hunting and each year will shoot just one deer "for the meat". His “hired hand” Patty (his wife), he said he had with him for 58 years. Gordon was 78.
He told us how he likes to help out those in need. For awhile he was hiring newly released prisoners from the state penitentiary. "The first guy was in for drugs and his mind was all messed up. He robbed me blind.” One guy had been in prison for dousing a man with gasoline and trying to set him on fire. “Only his matches were wet and he couldn’t finish the job.” Another was a Mexican fellow who was in for selling drugs. “He was a good worker, for awhile. All of them though were only interested in the paycheck.”
Later at the Chimney Rock visitor center we saw a bronze plaque outside mentioning the land was donated by Gordon and Patty Howard, so he was after all, the real deal.
The barn by the way was not built in 1910 as it shows under the roof on the end of the building. It was a recreation of such a barn and Gordon had built it only 20 some years ago.
This is linked to Tricia's Bluff Area Daily Barn Charm