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FIRST - Person to Run the Green and Colorado Rivers Alone
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member NW_history_buff
N 43° 10.473 W 124° 11.910
10T E 402588 N 4780895
Quick Description: A memorial located in Sturdivant Park is dedicated to a local boatman who conquered many rivers alone on the West Coast.
Location: Oregon, United States
Date Posted: 7/22/2018 7:33:33 PM
Waymark Code: WMYTF4
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Zork V
Views: 3

Long Description:
A citizen memorial located in Sturdivant Park is comprised of a small boulder with a bronze plaque that reads:


MAY 10, 1909 - MAY 18, 1946

In November, 1937, Buzz Holmstrom, a service station attendant from Coquille, became the first person to run the Green and Colorado Rivers alone. His eleven-hundred-mile solo journey in a handmade wooden boat brought him national acclaim. After running the last rapid of the Colorado, he wrote in his journal:

I had thought once past there my reward will begin, but now everything ahead seems kind of empty and I find I have already had my reward in the doing of the thing; the stars and cliffs and canyons, the roar of the rapids, the uncertainty and worry, the relief when through each one, the real respect and friendship of the rivermen I met and others.

Some people have said that I conquered the Colorado River. I don't say so. It has never been conquered and never will. I think, anyone who it allows to go through its canyons and see its wonders should feel thankful and privileged.

Holmstrom died on the Grand Ronde River in northeast Oregon in 1946 and is buried in Coquille.

This memorial plaque is very difficult to interpret. Fortunately, I was able to transcribe the illegible words from which includes a journal written by Buzz and which parts from it are etched on the plaque.

Wikipedia also contains a decent biography for Holmstrom and writes that he was the "first person (in the world) to float all the way from Green River, Wyoming to Boulder Dam solo."

Holmstrom grew up in Coquille and he is interred at the Coquille Masonic Cemetery.

Sadly, Holmstrom's body was discovered with a gunshot wound to the head on May 18, 1946. The motivation for the apparent suicide is unknown but many believe he was murdered. The circumstances surrounding his death remain a mystery to this day.

FIRST - Classification Variable: Person or Group

More Information - Web URL: [Web Link]

Date of FIRST: Not listed

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