Lake Creek General Store - Lake Creek, OR
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member thebeav69
N 42° 25.269 W 122° 37.375
10T E 531022 N 4696606
Quick Description: This historical general store and former post office is located in the unincorporated community of Lake Creek, OR.
Location: Oregon, United States
Date Posted: 9/12/2014 9:51:59 PM
Waymark Code: WMMFF6
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 0

Long Description:
Visitors to Lake Creek will definitely need to stop here at the Lake Creek General Store. This building has a rich past and was established around 1904. This store began as a post office in the late 1800s before being rebuilt as the General Store and was totally refurbished inside and out in 2009. There's a wonderful writeup on the history of this store from the store's website and reads:

The origins of the Lake Creek General Store are lost and probably never will be rediscovered, but from its humble origin as a post office where the owner may have begun the store by stocking small items such as tobacco for sale, it kept pace with the people who lived on both forks of Little Butte Creek, becoming the Heart of the Community.

How long the store has been in existence is a puzzle still unsolved. Should the site be considered as a national historic spot, it might be like a person trying to collect social security without a birth certificate. No one doubts that the store is there, but when it was built – or even first started selling goods, cannot be established with absolute accuracy.

Postal records from the archives in Washington, D.C show that a Joseph Delk was appointed postmaster for Lake Creek on April 25, 1888. The Jackson County archives do not show that this Mr. Delk owned any property in the Lake Creek area but they show he paid a toll tax. The only one remembered by the old timers still alive is a John Grieve who later moved to Prospect to operate the hotel, store, and postal complex there. Some of the old timers believe that Grieve operated a store, but here again, the county archives do not show that Grieve ever owned any land in the Lake creek area at the time that he was postmaster between 1890 and 1894.

But in 1898, we come to records which verify what old timers Victor Gardener of Lake Creek, and Flora Edler Frey of Campbell of Eagle Point, do remember. In 1898 a Henry H. Conley became postmaster. He served evidently, until his death. His widow, Sarah, must have remarried fairly soon for on March 31, 1900, Sarah Wright was appointed post-mistress. Mrs. Campbell recalls that Mrs. Wright had the postal services in her home in 1901. She does not recall that there was a store in this home, but others feel that somethings, particularly chewing tobacco, were sold by Mrs. Wright.

George Daley of Eagle Point is positive that the present store building was constructed and in operation by 1904. Mrs. Campbell concurs that this was probably the case. The tax and deed records do not show that Mrs. Hessler owned the property on which the store is located until Sept. 2, 1907, when she acquired the land by deed from the Oregon and California Railroad Company. Again, some of the senior citizens supplying information say that it was common to build on O&C land without owning it, so in all probability the store was constructed sometime between 1901 and 1904.

The records in the Jacksonville Museum claim the store was built in about 1906 to replace on built in the 1880's. Past store owners have also concurred that this claims are accurate and that the first store was destroyed by fire.

Another strange fact is brought to light in the tax records. The present store property was taxed for $50 worth of improvements in 1907; in 1908 if it was taxed on $200 of improvements. This might indicate construction in 1908 were not for the fact that taxes were levied for only $100 worth of improvements in 1909. The local archivist felt that this might indicate construction of some kind in 1908 and then the demolition of some older structures in 1909.

From this point on, documentation of the operation of the store and its place in the community becomes much clearer.

Mr. A.H. Thompson, his wife, and his crippled brother, Fred, came from the Yankee Creek area, and their tenure at the store lasted 13 years, from 1908 to 1921. It seems that Mrs. Thompson, although not well, did a great deal of the farm work, while the two brothers minded the store and post office.

Walt and Edythe Antle and their daughter, Jane, acquired the store in 1921. Mrs. Antle was appointed postmistress and undoubtedly also helped in the store. But the Antles’ had other interests, perhaps even more important than running a store. They were musicians who loved to play for country dances. So they had George Frey, a local carpenter, build an eight-sided dance hall directly across the road from the store.

The Wyants came in 1925 and stayed until 1947. Lewis Wyant, a native of Molalla, Oregon was having health problems, so he figured the store would provide his wife with a way to support the family after he died. The transaction of ownership involved $1,000 cash plus an old Star car. Wyant also gave equity in a residence which still stands in Ashland, to make a total of $2,500 for the store, 40 acres of land, the dance hall, and the dwelling standing next to the store.

During the 20's and 30's going to the store was a fascinating thing for youngsters who did not get to Medford often. Little children were drawn as if by a magnet to the glass show case filled with all manner of candies, many selling for a penny each. This too was the place were pencils, crayolas, and those fat writing tablets could be purchased.

Postage regulations were a mite different too. Letters went for two cents. There was no rural delivery. The post office, located in the back corner of the store, was one place that was off limits.

At one time, part of the store was curtained off to provide living quarters for the pretty young teacher of the Lake creek School, Miss Beth Farlow.

At the store, once in a blue moon, a fight might liven things up. Changes came in the summer of 1941, the dance hall burned. The Community Hall which replaced it served as the location for parties.

By 1947, Lewis Wyant’s long dreaded failure in health became a reality after he suffered a stroke. Bert and Hallie Dodenhoff took over the store in January of 1947. The Dogenhoffs installed refrigeration so they could sell ice cream and cold drinks. The store doubled its profits from the previous year. Another of Bert’s improvements, a roof, new floor and steps at both ends of the porch did make it possible for one handsome rancher in moments of exuberance to ride his horse lickety split across the porch.

Alfred and Agnes Nelson bought the store and a quarter acre of ground from Dodenhoffs the last part of 1949. Bert threw in the apple tree that Alfred wanted for good measure.

The Nelsons sold the store to Mr. and Mrs. Rollie Davis around the end of 1955. This family operated it until about 1960.

Mr. and Mrs. U.S. Atkinson operated the store from 1960 to 1967. They sold to a Philip Dunkel and Al Humpert. It was during this time that the Lake creek Post Office dropped form service.

The partners sold the business to a Mr. Webb from the Los Angeles area. Mr. Webb in the addition to involvement in the movie production business, was a dealer in antiques. The store was acquired by Ben and Betty Humphrey in October of 1976.

A person familiar with the store in the 1920's would find that it looks very similar.


Type of store: Independent

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