Mitchell Monument - Lake County, OR
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member NW_history_buff
N 42° 25.910 W 120° 51.607
10T E 676020 N 4699942
Quick Description: The Mitchell Monument is one of the most important WWII sites on the U.S. Mainland and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2003 because of its historical value.
Location: Oregon, United States
Date Posted: 12/2/2017 6:10:34 PM
Waymark Code: WMX64H
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member ištván
Views: 0

Long Description:

This site marks the location of the ONLY KNOWN CIVILIAN CASUALTIES OF THE WORLD WAR II WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL US.

The following text taken from the Discover Klamath website:

On May 5, 1945, Reverend Archie Mitchell took his pregnant wife and five Sunday school children, from the Christian and Missionary Alliance church where he was a minister, on a picnic and fishing trip. The group found a logging road they followed until a blockage hindered their progress. They stopped next to Leonard Creek, ten miles east of Bly, Oregon, near Gearhart Mountain. While unloading the vehicle, the Reverend heard one of the children say "Look what I found!" His wife, Elise, and the children ran to see what had been found. Moments later, there was an explosion. Mrs. Mitchell and all five children were killed instantly.

Between November 1944 and April 1945, Japan launched more than ten thousand balloon bombs, also known as 'Fugo' - experimental weapons intended to kill and cause fires and were in retaliation of US bombing raids on Japanese soil. The balloons, each carrying an anti-personnel bomb and two incendiary bombs, took about seventy hours to cross the Pacific Ocean. Three hundred sixty-one of the balloons have been found in twenty-six states between Canada and Mexico.

A front-page story in the May 7, 1945, Klamath Falls Herald and News provided no information, as was normal governmental protocol for news during this time in history.

The Mitchell Monument site was originally owned by Weyerhaeuser Lumber Company. The company built the monument in 1950 to commemorate the only place on the American continent where death resulted from enemy action during World War II. Weyerhaeuser donated the monument along with the land surrounding it to the Fremont National Forest in 1998.

DESCRIPTION OF MONUMENT: The Mitchell Monument was constructed by the former Weyerhaeuser Lumber Company in Bly, OR and dedicated to those individuals killed by the balloon bomb in 1950. It was later included in the US National Register of Historic Places in 2003. The monument is constructed of lava rock and stands a little over 6'0 tall and in an obelisk-like shape.

There is a bronze plaque on the front of the monument that contains the following verbiage:

WEYERHAEUSER COMPANY
EASTERN OREGON REGION

IN MEMORY OF:

ELSIE MITCHELL AGE 26
DICK PATZKE AGE 14
JAY GIFFORD AGE 13
EDWARD ENGEN AGE 13
JOAN PATZKE AGE 13
SHERMAN SHOEMAKER AGE 11

WHO DIED HERE
MAY 5, 1945

BY
JAPANESE BOMB EXPLOSION

ONLY PLACE ON THE
AMERICAN CONTINENT
WHERE DEATH RESULTED
FROM ENEMY ACTION
DURING WW II

There is another plaque imbedded in a rock directly behind the Mitchell Monument titled 'Mitchell Monument Shrapnel Tree' and commemorates the explosion of the Japanese balloon bomb and is evidenced by the damage done to a nearby Ponderosa pine from shrapnel exploding from the bomb.

The following text is taken from the plaque dedicating this tragic and historic event:

MITCHELL MONUMENT
SHRAPNEL TREE
Pinus ponderosa

When a Japanese balloon bomb exploded at
this site, Elsie Mitchell and her Sunday school
class of five children, out on an early spring
fishing outing, were killed. They were the only
World War II casualties to occur on the North
American continent as a result of enemy
action. Standing as a silent witness to the
tragedy, this Ponderosa pine still shows signs
of shrapnel damage from the explosion and
from efforts to remove the shrapnel fragments.

OREGON HERITAGE TREE

Plaque funded by a grant from the Oregon Dept. of Forestry
and USDA Forest Service

Clicking the following link will take you to the Oregon Heritage Tree website which explains the significance of this tree and of other trees in Oregon which have historical importance and need to be preserved:

Oregon Heritage Tree website

Finally, the Mitchell Monument as well as the Shrapnel Tree are surrounded by a metal chain-link fence creating a square-shaped perimeter. There is ample parking around the monument as well as day-use barbeque pits and a public restroom.

DIRECTIONS TO THE MONUMENT(text taken from Discover Klamath website): The Mitchell Monument is located about 65 miles North-East of Klamath Falls. The recreation area is typically open from mid-May through the end of October. The site offers fishing, hiking, and wildlife viewing opportunities in addition to being an historic landmark.

As you are leaving Klamath Falls, take Highway 140 East (also known as the Klamath Falls-Lakeview Highway) for approximately 50 miles, to the Bly Ranger District Office. From the office, proceed 1 1/2 miles east on Highway 140, turn left on County Road 1259. Take County Road 1259 for 1/2 mile, then turn right on Forest Road 34. Follow Forest Road 34 for approximately 8 miles. The day use area entrance sign is located on the right.

BONUS WAYMARK: There is a Oregon Historical Marker 'Beaver Board' located at a rest stop to the right as you enter Bly, OR, and showcases a visual representation of the Japanese Balloon Bomb that killed Elsie Mitchell and five other children. Please click on the link below to visit this waymark as well:

Bly 'Beaver Board' Waymark

Admission Fee: Free (seasonal access only)

Opening Days/Times:
Open seasonally, 7 days a week during daylight hours.


Related Website: Not listed

Supplementary Related Website: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Posting a picture(s) of the location would be nice although not required.
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