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Adel, Ore. Named after Sweetheart or a Sweet Cow

Oregon Route 140 heads into the Oregon High Desert east of Klamath Falls, passing by some colorfully named communities, including Dairy and nearby Bonanza and farther east Bly, Adel and nearby Plush.  The highway reaches 4,547 feet elevation at Adel and climbs to 6,060 feet over the remaining 38 miles to the Nevada state line.

Some say an area rancher named the Adel post office in 1896 after a former sweetheart.  Another version says it was named after a local cow named Leda, with the spelling L-E-D-A reversed.  The authoritative book titled Oregon Geographic Names comments, “Since the spelling was reversed, one can only assume the compliment was back-handed.”

The Lake County Historical Society placed a sign in 1989 on the Adel country store and café.  It reads, “Constructed in 1897 by A.J. Monroe as a general store and maintained as such by various owners including James and Marie Dyke and Nolan and Lois Griener, 1954-1978.  It served for many years as the local post office and a saddlery.”  It also has a gas station and RV space.

The Travel Oregon agency recommends a store visit “if you want to rub elbows with the cowboys right off the range.”

Sources: McArthur, Lewis A., and Lewis L. McArthur. Oregon Geographic Names. 4th ed. Portland, Ore.: Oregon Historical Society, 1974. 4. Print;  "Adel Cafe Saloon & Store." Travel Oregon.com. Travel Oregon, 2016. Web. 20 Apr. 2016. http://traveloregon.com/see-do/eat-drink/restaurants/american/adel-cafe-saloon-store/ ;  "Oregon State #140 Highway Guide." MileByMile - Plan a Road Trip in North America. Mile By Mile Media of British Columbia, Canada., 2016. Web. 20 Apr. 2016. .

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.