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Sometimes it's difficult to look at a site and imagine it as anything other than what it is today. There is something unsettling about the idea that things are not constant, that what we think we know today, what we are so sure of this very moment, may be different tomorrow. Yet that very fact is what makes Big Valley so alluring. The term “if you don't like the weather—wait five minutes” seems to have originated in Big Valley . One moment the valley is warm with cumulous clouds casting shadows that dance upon the hillsides and the next moment those same clouds are whipping the wind around your legs and pelting the landscape with seed snow. The valley has changed many times throughout the on to learn a little about some of the changes that have occurred and take a journey through Adin's history.

“Aidenville” was established in 1871 when a post office was authorized. The town was named after Adin McDowell, one of the first settlers who came to the area in 1869. By the summer of 1872, Aidenville consisted of two stores, two saloons, two blacksmith shops, a hotel and a carpenter's shop. In 1876 the name was shortened to Adin and a year later the town had become the largest one in the county. It was growing faster than any other, and buildings that were built in 1871 were being replaced with newer more substantial buildings. The town expanded to have two hotels and a new schoolhouse with two classrooms that cost the citizens $5000 to construct.

By 1878 there were three hotels: Frank's, The Adin, and the Modoc. In 1879 the Adin Millinery Store opened as did the Brewery of Jones and Bowfinger, Alexander Buckhart's Boot and Shoemaking Shop, the Adin planing mill, and A.E. Bending's Hair Dressing and Shampooing Parlor. The town has changed many times since 1879.

In 1918 the Adin High School resided where the Adin Community Center sits now. The high school was used for 40 years—until 1958 when students were sent to Bieber for high school. The Community Hall was built in the early 1970s.

What is now the Adin Fire Hall was once a bustling flour mill. Can you imagine the flour mill setting upon that very spot? It's hard to believe that anything resided there besides the fire hall.

Across the street from Adin Supply was the Valley Transmission Shop. The shop closed just this year and moved to Klamath Falls , Oregon . Several generations ago this area consisted of a Chevron station and the Adin Post Office. In 1941 the post office moved from its location next to Adin Supply across the street next to the Chevron station. The Post Office moved to its current location, adjacent to the Forest Service, just last year.

The bridge that crosses Ash Creek near Adin Supply was once called the Old A-Frame Bridge . It was built in the early 1900s and was replaced in 1929 with the bridge we use today. Of course this bridge has been refurbished a time or two since then.

On the corner of Canal and Main Street is what used to be Chase's Market. The market closed in the mid 90's. The upstairs of the market used to be a Masonic Hall. Next to the market was Blaske's vacant store, City Hotel, Ira Cannon's large rooming house, O.P. Smelcer's Confectionery and a large dance hall. In 1931 the entire area, from the creek to Chase's Market, burned down, taking with it the Smelcer residence located behind these buildings on Ash Street .

On the north side of Ash Creek was a lumber mill. You can still see the concrete walls that were part of the mill and the small white building that was the business office.

The Big Valley area has flooded many times in history. Ash Creek has provided a swimming spot for many young children over the years, but it has also been the source of concern when the waters rise. In the Spring of 1942-43, the mill pond washed out and the logs backed up against the bridge causing wide spread flooding.

The Adin Church has been a landmark in this small town for 116 years. Built in 1888 the church has been the site of many weddings and funerals and is still a gathering place each Sunday.

Times of growth and times of decline: creameries, hotels, saloons, flour mills, lumber mills, shoemakers, town doctors and mortuaries. Change in history is ever-present, and it must be for us to grow and progress.

Kathleen Norris said, “None of us knows what the next change is going to be, what unexpected opportunity is just around the corner, waiting a few months or a few years to change all the tenor of our lives.”

Certainly many lives have shaped and changed the history of Adin since 1869. Maybe that is what makes the town such a warm and comfortable place to live and visit. It's hard to believe that someday people may write about the current inhabitants of this town. Maybe they will find the remnants of our society and guess about who we were and what we believed.

It's hard to imagine that some day we, too, will be gathered into the folds of history.


Photo Album

Adin Church

Town of Adin

Bridge over Ash Creek

Big Valley High School

Chase's Market

Old Flour Mill

Town Flooding






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Adin Supply, P.O. Box 241, Adin, California 96006
(530) 299-3249
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