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Date: 02/26/21 03:29
A Small Depot, How It Came Be And The Tale Of The Strassel Flip!
Author: LoggerHogger

I was recently contacted by a woman on the internet who has seen my posting of photos and the history behind them over the years.  She explained that she was the great grand daughter of Mary Strassel and thus was a member of the Strassel family from near Buxton, Oregon. She wondered if I had any photos of the railroad that ran through their family farm.  Well, as it turns out I do and here is what I learned after I sent her this photo. 

In 1904, the year before the Portland Railway & Navigation Co. was formed, rails were already being laid West out of Hillsboro, Oregon.  In early 1906, as the railway construction was proceeding just west of Buxton, they encountered the farm of Mary Strassel.  The PR&N survey crews really wanted to lay their track through Mary's farm and soon negotiations ensued with her to try and acquire a right-of-way for the tracks.  Both sides were imaginative in their offers and finally a deal was struck.  Mary would deed the right-of-way through her farm in exchange for a formal black silk dress that she had long been wanting.  Both sides were happy with the arrangement and soon Mary had her fancy silk dress, and the tracks were then laid through Mary's farm at a spot on the PR&N that would, for all time to come, be known as Strassel.

Over the years after the PR&N was completed over to Tillamook on the Oregon Coast, Strassel would become a post office for a period of time and would soon have it's own little flag-stop depot that we see here.  Even after the post office eventually closed, mail was still delivered to the Strassel depot an Mary Strassel would see to it that her surrounding neighbors all received their mail.

The Strassel family continued to grow with more children coming along over the years and those children could often be seen down at the little Strassel depot waiting for the next train to arrive or even to just watch it pass by. 

In this photo we see a milk can in the depot platform.  This is because Mary Strassel had a few cows that she milked daily and traded off the extra milk for goods at the Buxton store just down the tracks.  The PR&N and later the Southern Pacific crews would pick up and deliver the milk can that Mary would set out each day at the little Strassel depot.

In time, the Southern Pacific (the successor to the PR&N) built the short spur next to the Strassel depot that we see here.  This is so helper locomotives from Cochran could be run down to Strassel to wait for westbound trains to help them back up the grade back to Cochran.  While most helper locomotives were put on at Buxton, to the East of Strassel, some trains were not heavy enough to require helpers until they reached Strassel.  This created what the crews called "The Strassel Flip".  This was considered a milk run (remember Mary's can of milk?) and was favored by the steam crews since it was a shorter helper assignment rather than going all the way down to Buxton and back.

The tracks still go through the Strassel farm, though today the tracks are owned by the Port Of Tillamook Bay.  The farm is still in the Strassel family.  And what ever became of Mary's formal black silk dress that she traded the right-of-way through the farm for, you ask?  Well, Mary chose to be buried in that dress.  It appears that she was proud of the deal she had made with the railroad right up to the end of her life.

Now you know the big story behind this very little depot.

Martin



Edited 11 time(s). Last edit at 02/26/21 07:09 by LoggerHogger.




Date: 02/26/21 04:04
Re: A Small Depot, How It Came Be And The Tale Of The Strassel Fl
Author: KimHeusel

What a great story and piece of history. Thanks for sharing.

Kim Heusel



Date: 02/26/21 05:19
Re: A Small Depot, How It Came Be And The Tale Of The Strassel Fl
Author: refarkas

An "A+" posting.
Bob



Date: 02/26/21 05:20
Re: A Small Depot, How It Came Be And The Tale Of The Strassel Fl
Author: elueck

Wonderful story!   Little pieces of our history that would be lost if some one does not tell them or get them out there.  Thanks, Martin.



Date: 02/26/21 06:17
Re: A Small Depot, How It Came Be And The Tale Of The Strassel Fl
Author: jcaestecker

Martin, I think that this my favorite posting of yours ever.  It is both interesting and charming.  Thank you!

-John



Date: 02/26/21 07:01
Re: A Small Depot, How It Came Be And The Tale Of The Strassel Fl
Author: cjvrr

Awesome story!   The right of way for a dress.  I wonder which side came out the better in that deal?



Date: 02/26/21 07:11
Re: A Small Depot, How It Came Be And The Tale Of The Strassel Fl
Author: mkancle

That's a great story, Martin! Thank you for sharing it. Things were so different back then.....



Date: 02/26/21 07:12
Re: A Small Depot, How It Came Be And The Tale Of The Strassel Fl
Author: MacBeau

Delightful image and even better tale.
—Mac



Date: 02/26/21 08:01
Re: A Small Depot, How It Came Be And The Tale Of The Strassel Fl
Author: WestinAshahr

An outstanding 'Now you know the rest of the story' tale!  Good work!



Date: 02/26/21 09:56
Re: A Small Depot, How It Came Be And The Tale Of The Strassel Fl
Author: tomstp

Almost a like a fairy tale.  Thanks.



Date: 02/26/21 10:12
Re: A Small Depot, How It Came Be And The Tale Of The Strassel Fl
Author: patd3985

jcaestecker Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Martin, I think that this my favorite posting of
> yours ever.  It is both interesting and
> charming.  Thank you!
>
> -John

Here! Here!..Well Done, Martin!



Date: 02/26/21 12:26
Re: A Small Depot, How It Came Be And The Tale Of The Strassel Fl
Author: SeaboardMan

Wow!  What a neat story.  Thank you.
john



Date: 02/26/21 13:11
Re: A Small Depot, How It Came Be And The Tale Of The Strassel Fl
Author: DKay

One of your best Martin.Amazing story.
Regards,DK



Date: 02/26/21 14:02
Re: A Small Depot, How It Came Be And The Tale Of The Strassel Fl
Author: nycman

Thanks for that, Martin.  I needed that today.



Date: 02/26/21 14:15
Re: A Small Depot, How It Came Be And The Tale Of The Strassel Fl
Author: LoggerHogger

Hang in there Jim.

Martin



Date: 02/26/21 14:45
Re: A Small Depot, How It Came Be And The Tale Of The Strassel Fl
Author: rails_etc

cjvrr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Awesome story!   The right of way for a dress. 
> I wonder which side came out the better in that
> deal?

Oh for sure Mary did. The railroad may have had a practical need for the line to go right through that spot, and they certainly used it for years, but it appears Mary got an emotional value out of that dress that no amount of money could ever hope to match.



Date: 02/26/21 16:04
Re: A Small Depot, How It Came Be And The Tale Of The Strassel Fl
Author: MP4093

Mary and Martin both did well. Mary got more than a dress, she got a depot in her name with personalized service and the pride of knowing she had made a deal that benefited her family and community. Martin took her story and combined with his own knowledge and talent produced this wonderfully written and interesting story. Thank you Martin.



Date: 02/26/21 18:20
Re: A Small Depot, How It Came Be And The Tale Of The Strassel Fl
Author: grandroad

LoggerHogger, outstanding post. Thank you!

Paul Brennecke
Golden, CO



Date: 02/26/21 19:55
Re: A Small Depot, How It Came Be And The Tale Of The Strassel Fl
Author: steamfan759

Martin -  That is a great story and enjoyable reading.  I am sure the relative was very pleased with the information that you provided.  Maybe the family has a spot plate that they could share with you!!

Ron



Date: 02/26/21 21:01
Re: A Small Depot, How It Came Be And The Tale Of The Strassel Fl
Author: RuleG

A very enjoyable and interesting story.  Thanks, Martin, for sharing.



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