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 years...read on to
learn a little about some of the changes that have occurred
and take a journey through Adin's history.
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
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