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Pioneers View Goose Lake as Incredible Oasis

The writer Melvin R. Adams notes that Goose Lake, Calif., south of Lakeview, Ore., was a welcome sight for pioneers arriving on the Applegate Trail.

Adams’ book titled “Netting the Sun” says the lake would have seemed like an incredible oasis from Fandango Pass, reached after struggling up the east side of the Warner Mountains. 

Adams writes, “It is said that some celebrated and danced, giving the Fandango Pass its name.”  Others say a wagon train was caught in a freezing storm at the pass and the men outside the wagons had to dance to keep warm.  The Fandango is a lively Spanish dance.

Adams quotes one pioneer who gazed down at Goose Lake from the pass in 1849, P.F. Castleman, as expressing his wonder in these words, “We could see Goose Lake which was several miles distant.  It was now near sunset and there were a great many trains encamped near the margin of this valley and as the peaceful smoke seemed to rise and hover over the valley which was covered with cattle and horses I thought it was the grandest scene I had ever seen.” 

The lake is dry this year from drought and irrigation.

 

Source: Adams, Melvin R. Netting the Sun, A Personal Geography of the Oregon Desert. Putnam, Wash.: Washington State University Press, 2001. 78. Print.

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.