Where the past is always present

The discovery of gold first brought prospectors to the region in 1862. Being just off the original stage road from The Dalles to Canyon City, locations on the present day ranch quickly proved to have their own payloads – Spanish Gulch, Mule Gulch, and the hills towards Rock Creek – and were steadily mined by the mid-1860s. The main mining partnership even constructed a five-mile ditch to bring fresh water to their operation in Spanish Gulch.

Camp Watson: 1864-1869

Along with increasing settlement and exploration came confrontations with local Native Americans. The Snake Indians, led by Chief Paulina, were notorious for marauding supply trains, burning ranch houses, and murdering unsuspecting travelers. Military camps were established to provide protection along the Stage Road. One such camp, Camp Watson, is within the Antone Ranch property and was named after Lt. Stephen Watson of the 1st Oregon Cavalry (left). Watson died in an effort to capture an Indian camp southwest of Antone on May 18, 1864.
By the late 1860s, farming and ranching had taken their place alongside the mining efforts. At this time the local population was considerable—some records suggesting as many as 10,000 in the local region, making it larger than Portland.

1880 – 1940: Rise and Decline

Towards the end of the century mining was largely replaced by farming and livestock. In the early 1890s a Portuguese settler named Antone Francisco settled on the land and the name ‘Antone’ was adopted by the town as a result of his influence. By that time it was home to a stage stop, general store, post office, blacksmith shop, school, and the old cemetery still standing today at Spanish Gulch.

The early 1900s saw the construction of sawmills as lumber demand for homes, barns, and schools increased. Lumbering and ranching continued for decades as the town went through economic decline.

1950s: Ranch Revitalization

After World War II, one family began buying up the small ranches surrounding the town of Antone. By 1974, they had accumulated some 35,000 acres—nearly what it is today—with the old town site of Antone at its center and Rock Creek flowing on through.
Today, Antone Ranch continues as a modern working ranch, but one that hasn’t forgotten its past. Many of the landmarks and buildings erected through time still exist today. One can explore the depths of original hillside mineshafts; sleep in a bunkhouse that once served as the post office; or wander up the stairs of the Square House at Spanish Gulch that was built in 1881. The past is always present at Antone Ranch.