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Wallowa County, Oregon
In time, in response to the demands of a growing community, the little hamlet added to its population and business enterprises, and soon it became necessary to lay out a town. John Rinehart had purchased the Laughlin property, and so in the early 80's, he plated the town of Lostine.
In August, 1893, the town received its first serious blow - fire destroyed nearly the whole business section. The flames destroyed the livery stables of L.V. Luttrell, and before the citizens could check the fire, the east side of Main Stree for an entire block was in ashes - the livery barn, the residences of James Masterson and John Parkyn, the butcher shop and two blacksmith shops. For a small town, this loss was a heavy one, and the more so as none of it was covered by insurance.
The Lostine Flouring Mill Company was organized in 1895, by local businessmen and farmers and a fine, fifty barrel mill was established. This building wa also destroyed by fire in 1897. But the need of a mill was so urgent that local investors erected a new mill in 1998, that was powered by the Wallowa River.
The Joseph & Elgin Stage Line, the only one in the valley, passed through Lostine, businesses were established and flourished - general stores, a drug store, hotel, butcher shop, tinshop, livery barn, millinery, blacksmith shop, boarding house, mill, planing mill, and a sawmill. At this early time, there were no saloons in the village. Lostine was incorporated in 1903.
The Lostine River was once called the South Fork of the Wallowa. Nez Perce for it was Ta-cab-tab-meh, the mouth of the river See-me-ne-cam, and the forks, See-me-ne-cam-mit. Old Joseph's main summer camp was here and he died in this vicinity. During the Bannock War Scare in 1878, a stockade was built by the settlers about three miles below Lostine.
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