Population in 2014: 175
Median resident age 57.6
Median household income$35,223
Median house value in Jordan Valley is $95,490
Jordan Valley is located in Southeast Oregon. In contrast to the rough volcanic lands of the High Oregon desert and snowcapped mountains that surround Jordan Valley, the City of Jordan Valley lies in a wide lush valley along Jordan Creek in the heart of Owyhee country. A place settled by miners and cattlemen in the early 1860's is now dotted with cattle ranches. Located in the Southeast corner of Oregon, in Malheur County, the community of Jordan Valley has an average altitude of 4,389 feet and the main product is beef, with grain, hay and sheep taking a lesser importance. It is a small City of approximately 450 people, which includes local ranchers and families. Game is plentiful, with antelope, deer, pheasant, geese, quail, duck, chukars and sage grouse offering a variety of hunting opportunities for the sportsman. Tourist facilities include motels, trailer courts, restaurants, service stations, automotive garage, and hardware store. Accommodations at Rome are available some 30 miles south of Jordan Valley, near the Owyhee River. The local Schools, Post Office, Health Clinic, City Hall, Sheriff's Office, Oregon Dept. of Transportation, Emergency Medical Services, businesses and other organizations comprise part of our Little City.
History of Jordan Valley
In 1863, a party of prospectors with about 60 horses and mules arrived at a stream seen theretofore by few, if any white men. Here was a most favorable camping place, and so it was agreed to go no further. Before unpacking his mule, one man scooped up some loose gravel, panned it, and obtained about 100 colors. In ten minutes, every man was digging and panning, and in one hour, all had good exhibits. Within 12 days, the laws of the district were made and adopted, claims located, and the creek was named Jordan after Michael Jordan, one member of the party. A few years later, Jordan was scalped by the Indians on the banks of this same stream.
1863--- Silas Skinner and two partners began work on a road from Ruby City to points west.
1864--- Found John Baxter settled in a stone cabin on Jordan Creek, near where the Loveland barn now stands. Traffic to and
from the mines increased by leaps and bounds. A few more shacks were built, and the settlement was called Stringtown.
1865--- During the summer, the first saddle train from Chico, California to Ruby City, Idaho, passed through Jordan Valley.
1865--- Inskip was settled in a fortified rock house on the Ruby Ranch, near present Danner. Here he kept a station and sold hay, grain, tobacco, liquor and meals.
1865--- Camp Lyons was established to preserve the peace on the line of emigration to and from Idaho. It was located on Cow Creek, on the road to Caldwell.
1866--- J.B. Charbonneau, Sacagawea's son (of Lewis & Clark Expedition) died near the Owyhee River and was buried at the Inskip Ranch, now called the Ruby Ranch.
1867 to 1878--- Indian Skirmishes by roving bands of Indians killed people, stole horses, supplies, etc. For some time prior to 1878, the Bannocks had been raiding the settlements and in June of 1878, they became actively hostile and urged the Paiutes to join them in driving out the whites so as to regain their lost territories, rights and privileges. When the Indians decided to go on the warpath, a friendly Piute Indian, alerted the settlers who immediately organized a group of volunteers under the leadership of O.H. Purdy. The volunteers left the O'Keefe place and went up South Mountain Creek to intercept the Bannocks. They met on a hill southeast of the McKenzie place. The volunteers finding themselves overwhelmed by an estimated 450 Indians, decided to retreat. The Indians pursued the whites to iron Mine Creek where an old scout succeeded in killing the Indian leader, Buffalo Horn and his horse. The Indians surprised and disorganized by the loss of their chief, went back toward the Owyhee. In a few days, three companies of soldiers from Camp Pendleton caught up with them and returned them to their reservation.
NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE -
JEAN BAPTISTE CHARBONNEAU, SACAGAWEA'S SON, BURIAL SITE
PART OF OREGON'S HISTORY:
Jean Baptiste Charbonneau was born in 1805 at Fort Mandan in North Dakota. His parents were Toussaint Charbonneau, a French-Canadian interpreter, and Sacagawea, a Lemhi Shoshone. His birth was attended by Meriwether Lewis while the Corps of Discovery, the group led by Captains Lewis & Clark, were attempting to find an all-water route across the North American Continent.
Mere weeks after his birth, the boy nicknamed "Pomp" began traveling with his mother as the expedition journeyed from North Dakota to the Pacific Ocean. Throughout their travels, the young mother and her son symbolized to the Native Americans they encountered that the group was on a peaceful mission, and literally kept the Corp of Discovery out of harm’s way.
During the expedition, Jean Baptiste became much adored by Captain Clark, who wanted to "raise him as his own." This was accepted by Sacagawea and Toussaint, who later put "Pomp" in Clark's care after Sacagawea's death in 1812. He was officially adopted by Clark about August of 1813.
In St. Louis, Missouri, William Clark educated Jean Baptiste. Because of Jean Baptist's formal education and frontier accomplishments, Prince Paul Wilhelm of Wurttemberg took him back to Europe as his companion. While living abroad for six years, Jean Baptiste traveled extensively, even Africa. He returned to the United States in 1829, and could not resist the frontier. He again returned to the West, working as a guide, trapper, gold miner, magistrate, and mountain man.
At the age of 61, he set out from California to Montana- the scene of the latest gold strike. While crossing the icy waters of the Owyhee River, he contracted pneumonia and died at the Inskip State Station on May 16, 1866, near today's Danner, Oregon. This was not the end of this great American mountain man.
His grave was rediscovered in the 1960's, dedicated August 6, 1971, and recognized as a Registered National Historic Place on March 14, 1973.
A rededication ceremony of Jean Baptiste Charbonneau's grave site occurred on June 24, 2000.
On May 16, 2005, the date of "Pomp's" death, a Wreath-laying Ceremony was planned by the Idaho Chapter, Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, Idaho State Historical Society, and the residents of Jordan Valley were to meet at his grave site in Danner, Oregon, to honor the 200th birthday of the youngest member of the Lewis and Clark Expeditions. It was held instead at the Jordan Valley School Old gym because of inclement weather. The Ceremony started at 1:30 p.m. with guest speakers and area school students in attendance.
BASQUE HERITAGE: THE FRONTONE
BASQUE HANDBALL COURT/OUTER WALL AND KIOSK
The First Spanish Basques in Jordan Valley were Jose Navarro and Antonio Azcuenaga who came to Jordan Valley in 1889 and Augustin Azcuenaga in 1890. Pedro Arritola, Luis Yturraspe, and Cipriano Anacabe came a little later and soon there was a thriving Basque colony. Some of them became successful sheep men, and others were skilled stonemasons, miners, hotelkeepers and merchants.Basque immigrants began building the ball court or Pelota Frontone in the spring of 1915. It is built of native stone, hand hewn by Basque masons who learned their trade in Spain. Here, for years, they played Pelota (ball), a game similar to American handball. The Frontone, a large, tall, and unique building stands in the center of Jordan Valley. It was restored in 1997 with a Basque Fall Festival. The Frontoia was used for the first time since 1935 with Pelota, Pala, Weightlifting, Basque Dancers and Basque Music.
Native Americans fished, hunted, and camped along the Owyhee River in Leslie Gulch 5,000 years before Europeans came to the area. in 1882, a cattle rancher, Hiram E. Leslie, when working in what was then known as Dugout Gulch, was struck by lightning; thus, the area was renamed Leslie Gulch. The original Leslie Gulch canyon road long served as a wagon and mail route between Rockville and Watson. Today, the town of Watson lies at the bottom of the Owyhee Reservoir.
SOME HELPFUL HINTS:
It is a minimum of 25 miles of dirt roads from Slocum Creek Campground to a Highway (U.S. 95).
The closest available services are located in Jordan Valley, OR (43 miles, and Homedale, ID (40 miles).
DRIVE SLOWLY AND ENJOY!
Rapidly changing weather can affect road and driving conditions, and flash flooding and winter conditions can prevent access. There may be variable and changing road surface conditions - high clearance vehicles are recommended. Larger recreation vehicles are not recommended.
A WEALTH OF SPECIAL VALUES!!
Unique Geology -
The most striking features for Leslie Gulch are the diverse and often stark, towering and colorful geologic formations. The Leslie Gulch Tuff (consolidated volcanic ash), which makes up the bulk of these formations, is a rhyolite ash that erupted from the Mahogany Mountain caldera in a series of violent explosions about 15.5 million years ago.
In 1965, seventeen California bighorn sheep were reintroduced into Leslie Gulch. The herd has expanded to over 200 animals. Mule deer and Rocky Mountain elk are also found in the area. Bird watchers can spot Chukar, numerous song birds, raptors, California quail, northern flickers, and white-throated swifts. Coyotes, bobcats, bats and many reptiles, including rattlesnakes, also live in Leslie Gulch
Rare Plants -
The talus slopes and unique soils of the Leslie Gulch ash-flow tuff support a number of globally rare plant species. Two annual species are found only in Leslie Gulch drainage (Packard's blazing star and Etter's groundsel). Grimy ivesia, sterile milvetch, and Owyhee clover are rare perennials found at a few isolated sites in the canyon. A stand of Ponderosa pine still survives in a Leslie Gulch tributary.