This rich landscape is the traditional homelands of the Sitka, Takelma, Modoc, Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Cow Creek Umpqua, and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians. These peoples’ histories span thousands of years. This HistoriCorps project shares a more recent history – the Mathews Guard Station was constructed just under a century ago. Our partner was kind enough to share the brief slice of history this site occupies:
“This site is a 1930s Forest Service guard station. The CCC built many such structures as part of a larger effort to provide gainful employment to young men during the Great Depression. Guard stations also provided the Forest Service with outposts from which they could manage forest lands, especially for fighting wildfires. Now largely obsolete, many of these buildings have been abandoned. The Medford BLM endeavors to preserve Mathews Guard Station as one of the few remaining CCC-era structures on the district.
“The guard station is an approximately 16 x 33′ foot, front-gabled rustic cabin on a 2.5 acre parcel of BLM land adjacent a meadow on Button Creek. It is in Elk Creek Valley, where scattered farms and ranches take advantage of grassy, well-watered meadows along Elk Creek before it empties into the Rogue River. The goal of the project is to replace the leaking roof and assess other immediate repair needs as time and materials allow.”
Especially these days, preserving the history of forest and wildfire management seems a particularly important task. We’re humbled and excited to return to Mathews Guard Station. We hope you will join us in 2022!