Directions to Find

Alexander Lindsay’s Ranches

near LaGrande, Oregon

(The letter below was provided by Loren Nebeker)

Addendum to the above... by Lionel Nebeker

Alexander Lindsay actually had three ranches in Union County. 

  1. 1. The family’s main ranch was located about five miles west of LaGrande on Graves Creek and is no longer easily accessible, having been fenced off by the current owners of the property.   This is where the family lived most of the time after their arrival in America in 1903, and where the Lindsay children built a very nice two-story home while Alex was away for two years serving an LDS mission in the British Isles--1904-06.  To reach this location, the Lindsays took the Morgan Lake Road out of the valley at the SW corner of town.  Once on top of the rolling hills, and near the south side of Morgan Lake, the road forks with the left fork continued westerly for about four miles to their homesite.  This road has been blocked off for years and is no longer maintained, or even available.  To reach the property today, it is better to head west on the I-84 freeway out of LaGrande to Hilgard, a distance of about six miles, and then take the Starkey exit.  From this exit, follow the Grand Ronde River for about two miles around the point of a hill.  Then take a gravel road that forks to the left and goes up an incline to reach the top of that hill.  This road is extremely rocky and difficult to navigate without a truck and excellent tires.  The road angles to the SE for about 1.5 miles and then turns due south for another two miles.  There is a fork in the road at this point.  The old school house can be seen in this fork where the younger Lindsay children attended their elementary grades.  Both forks are closed to further traffic.  The left fork however, if it could be taken, turns abruptly to the east and used to go about one mile to the Lindsay ranch on Graves Creek.  The old house built by the family has since collapsed and is merely a pile of boards on the ground, as are the other out-buildings.  It was at this location that the Lindsays operated a large dairy and hauled their butter and cheese to Perry and LaGrande to sell.

  1. 2. Additionally, Alex owned a “cabin” on timbered property, about nine miles almost due south of LaGrande on Rock Creek.  (This is the ranch that Dave Bean seems to be describing in the above letter.)  This location had a rustic mountain cabin and a sawmill on it.  The Lindsay family used it for gathering winter wood and also for cutting lumber.  From the Lindsay Ranch (#1 above) the family could reach this mountain cabin fairly easily by just following up either Graves Creek, or Rock Creek, both of which were close to their ranch home.  Uncle Alf (Alfred Owen Lindsay) and also Uncle Ed (John Edwin Lindsay) two of Alex’s sons lived in this cabin from time to time after returning home from service in World War I.  This location has also been blocked off, but if it were accessible it would only be by 4-wheel drive vehicles from either the Glass Hill Road (heading south out of LaGrande on 12th Street; or by going south on the I-84 freeway to Ladd Canyon.  Shortly after entering the canyon, there is an exit from the freeway for the “Ladd Canyon Road”.  Take that exit and then wind around for about 13 miles through the timbered hills.  Regardless of the entry point, the property is again blocked off and one must trespass in order to reach the location.  You would also have to have a good map and know exactly where you were going.  My father took us there in about 1960 and there were other cabins in the vicinity too.  So without knowing which one you were looking for it would be almost impossible to find the right spot.  Surely by now this cabin too has probably collapsed.

  1. 3. The third ranch owned by Alexander Lindsay was his Valley Ranch, which was located  immediately to the north of, and adjacent to, the LaGrande Livestock Yards, about three miles SE of LaGrande; and due south of Island City.  The old house was still standing there recently and may be still, although it is no longer inhabited.  It was set back off of the road to the west and separated from the Stockyards only by a row of poplar trees. 

Lionel Nebeker