PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Zane Grey’s one-room cabin on Oregon’s Rogue River, where in the words of the famous novelist “it flows through a lonely valley set down amid the lofty green mountain slopes,” has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Grey achieved great sales in the early 20th century for Western novels such as “Riders of the Purple Sage.” After floating the Rogue River’s rapids and falling in love with its steelhead trout, Grey bought a mining claim in 1926 at Winkle Bar, where he built the cabin that became his wilderness retreat.
“A government forest trail winds out some twenty miles to the nearest settlement. Far indeed it is across the dark Oregon peaks to railroad or automobile road!” he wrote in the 1928 book “Tales of Freshwater Fishing.”
After Grey’s death in 1939, the cabin was acquired by the Haas family of San Francisco, owners of Levi Strauss. The family built new homes on the property but maintained the old cabin and welcomed visitors.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which announced the registry placement Thursday, bought the cabin in 2008 to help preserve it. The shake roof, windows and log walls have been repaired with attention to period details.
Visitors can see the remains of a wooden boat that’s thought to be one of the vessels from Grey’s first journey down the river in 1925. An interpretive display describes how Grey’s writing helped bring attention to the Rogue’s wild and scenic values.
“I think he really loved the scenery and the fact that it was very similar to what California looked like 50 years before,” the author’s great-grandson, Eric Grey, told The Associated Press in a 2008 email. “He remarked on several occasions that he was upset that all the rivers in California were dying and all the fish were gone, but Oregon was still essentially intact.”