Young's Stage Stop

By Steve Lent, Museum Historian

Louis A. Young had hopes of establishing a community to serve the many homesteaders coming to the Mud Springs Valley north of Madras. Louis was born in Iowa about 1871. He married Mary Ellen Dodson in Oregon City, Oregon in 1897. Mary was born on November 17, 1872. A few years after their marriage they came to Central Oregon and Louis worked on a sheep ranch. They had traveled to the Bakeoven vicinity by wagon on The Dalles to Canyon City Wagon Road. They returned to Oregon City for a while but the lure of free land in Central Oregon drew them back to the region.

In 1901 they moved to the Mud Springs Valley north of Madras and homesteaded. He patented his homestead claim on February 6, 1908. Several members of the Young and Dodson families also moved to the region to homestead including Louis’s mother and Mary Ellen’s mother. Louis built a store at his homestead site. When they traveled over the Cascade Mountains by wagon to settle he brought merchandise with him to stock the store. The store was a successful operation as many homesteaders came to the region. A post office was established at their store on April 24, 1906.

In 1907 Louis bought forty acres of land at Sagebrush Springs just east of Gateway. He believed that the railroad would pass by the site and become a profitable location. He built a new house and store at the springs. A stage stop was established at his place and traffic traveling from Cow Canyon to Madras stopped for rest and refreshments. The business prospered for a few years but the railroad did not pass by Sagebrush Springs and went through Gateway and Mud Springs Valley to Madras. The Young's post office was discontinued on March 13, 1912.

The Young's sold their operation after the railroad arrived and moved back to their original homestead in Mud Springs Valley. They farmed and expanded their operations but several years of drought and the Great Depression resulted in many of the family leaving for better opportunities. Louis died in a Madras hotel in October 1947. Mary died in 1950. Their dreams of a rising community had eluded them.