Harney County and a Race to Havana

Harney County and a Race to Havana



The Ship Oregon, probably before 1898. Library of Congress Photo

Harney County, Oregon, is land locked. We had no idea that there we’d find relics from a ship connected with the Panama Canal story!

I inquired about a chest from the ship Oregon. Yes, it’s from the ship that raced from San Francisco to Cuba, around the horn, after the Maine blew up on Havana harbor, thus demonstrating the military need for a canal through Central America.

How did this chest, and its lead used for sounding depth, arrive in Harney County for display in the museum there? Why not a maritime museum on the west coast?

During the First World War, the Oregon was dismantled so her metal could be used in a new ship. Some salvaged objects were given as rewards for selling bonds to support our military services. Harney County won a reward–and these objects which are now in the museum.

So in central Oregon, I find a story that ties in with the construction of the Panama Canal and my own family history in both Cuba and Panama.

Been Here? Done That? Tell Me About It!