George McUne and the Pioneer Village
Thursday August 11, 2005
By Maryann Mason
Welcome to As It Was: Tales from the State of Jefferson
Perhaps no one loved history more than George McUne [MUH-kyoon] of Jacksonville, Oregon. He was a collector of antiques and historic buildings. He built replica horse- drawn vehicles and in l961 turned his hobbies into a five-acre tourist attraction.
For over twenty years, McUne's Pioneer Village, located along the main road into Jacksonville, was an adventure into the past with twenty buildings filled with historic relics. Within the village stockade, visitors watched western fights and "black snake whip" demonstrations. They took pony rides and boarded a stagecoach pulled by McUne's faithful mules, Fibber and Mollie. He made repairs using a forge in his blacksmith shop where he also hand rolled wagon tires.
Authentic buildings brought from nearby locations included the Yreka Dogtown Saloon, still sporting bullet holes in the front door, a jail, a moon-shiner's cabin, and a little red schoolhouse that served Valley Falls students in southeast Oregon from 1880-1919.
When George died in 1979, the passion for his historical treasures died with him. His collection of 8,000 items was sold in 1985, leaving an empty lot that would later become the Pioneer Village Retirement Community.
Today's episode of As It Was was written by Maryann Mason, the program engineer is Raymond Scully. I'm Shirley Patton. As It was is a co-production of JPR and the Southern Oregon Historical Society. To Share stories or learn more about the series visit asitwas - dot- org
"From the Desk of Marjorie O'Harra," Medford Mail Tribune, July 1, 1966; Merrill, Karen."Pioneer Village Prepares for Sale," Medford Mail Tribune, October 9, l985; Ziegler, Maude. "Overland Stage Atmosphere Settling Over Jacksonville Again," Medford Mail Tribune, August 20, l961.