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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow ANSWER MAN: Where was the community of Etna situated?

ANSWER MAN: Where was the community of Etna situated?

Etna was located in what is today the north portion of Meacham. Today, storage shops for the Oregon Department of Transportation are located in what once was Etna, according to Walt Sullivan of Summerville, who grew up in the Meacham area.

The equipment shops ODOT has there are in an old school building and a bus barn for that school. The Meacham/Etna school closed decades ago, but we do not know when. A photo taken of the school about 1910 appears in the 1996 book, “Meacham, A Wide Spot on the Oregon Trail,” by Betty Booth Stewart. 

Etna officially came into existence in 1900. That year a man referred to as Mr. Koppitte in Stewart’s book had land he owned parceled into about four dozen lots and named it after his daughter, Etna. A map of the subdivided land was submitted to the Umatilla County Courthouse on Nov. 26, 1900.

The name Etna later fell into disuse. People then began to refer to the area as Meacham, essentially expanding Meacham’s range. The area south of Etna had been known as Meacham since March 26, 1890, according to Stewart’s book. 

Did downtown La Grande shutdown during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918-19?

Yes.

The La Grande City Council, then known as a commission, ordered that all businesses be closed to prevent the spread of the Spanish flu. The closure order took effect in late December 1918 and remained in effect for about a week. The closure also applied to churches, according to January 1919 editions of the Observer.

The ban for most businesses was lifted Jan. 4, 1919. The ban for “amusement places,” theaters and churches, remained in place, however. It also applied to public funerals, Sunday school and public and private dances. 

The businesses that were allowed to reopen on Jan, 4, 1919, were allowed to do so only under strict guidelines. One rule prohibited individuals in stores from congregating in groups of more than two, according to a story in the Jan. 4, 1919, edition of the Observer.

The Spanish flu epidemic of 1918-19 killed between 30 million and 50 million people worldwide and 675,000 in the United States. The flu appeared in Oregon in the fall of 1918 and remained through the winter, possibly into the spring of 1919, according to information from the United States Department of Health and Human Services website, www.flu.gov.

 
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