June 28-30, 2011 – Mt. Angel and Linn County, OR

It started raining Monday night and continued to rain off and on all morning Tuesday.  We drove 4 miles north to the town of Mt. Angel.  We had a great Bavarian lunch at the Glockenspiel Restaurant. 

After lunch we went outside to watch the Glockenspiel performance.  At 1 pm the doors opened and the performance started.  The full-size hand carved wooden figures tell the history of Mt. Angel accompanied by music to match the theme of the figure.

It started with a Kalapuya brave, whose people lived in this area and climbed the butte east of town to pray to the Great Spirit.  Next were Robert and Katrina Zollner, German Catholic settlers who homesteaded 220 acres in this area in 1867.

Mathias Butsch, the “father of Mt. Angel” and one of the early leaders of the community came next.  He brought the Benedictine Monks to Mt. Angel.  Next was Prior Adelhelm Odermatt who came from Switzerland and established the Benedictine Monastery in 1882.  He suggested the name, Mt. Angel for the community – an anglicized version of “Engelberg”, his Swiss home.

Sister Bernadine Wachter followed next.  She arrived in 1882 from the Convent of Maria Rickenback in Switzerland and was the first Prioress of the Benedictine Convent and the new school in Mt. Angel.  Following Sister Bernadine was Papa Oom-Pah who is the mascot for the huge Oktoberfest held here every fall.

For the finale two Bavarian children play on a garden swing and sing Edelweiss.

They do this 4 times every day at 11, 1, 4 and 7 – it was fun to watch.

We drove to Mount Angel Abbey, a community of Benedictine monks founded in 1882 by the Abbey of Engelberg in central Switzerland.  The main work of the monks is the daily round of liturgical prayer and the education of men for the Catholic priesthood in the on-grounds seminary.

All of the buildings at the Abbey burnt down in a fire in 1929 except one small building at the back of the property.  The grounds were beautifully landscaped and the views were great.  On a clear day you can see Mt. Hood – but unfortunately it was too cloudy today!

Wednesday was another cool, cloudy, rainy day so we decided to stay in and relax.  Cody has had a red, itchy belly and chest for a couple of weeks so we took him to a vet down the street from the RV Park.  The vet thinks he has an allergy to something.  After talking about it we think it may be from the dead crabs he picked up on some of our beach walks as that is about the time he started itching.  The vet prescribed Prednisone to relieve the itch and clear up his skin.

Thursday was cloudy, cool and a little rainy again – what happened to our sunshine?  Cody’s itchy belly is getting a lot better so the Prednisone is working - yeah! 

We drove to Albany and took the Linn County Covered Bridge tour.  The tour covers about 30 miles and goes to 5 covered bridges.  Most of the bridges were built in the 1930’s and all but one is painted white.  The lifespan of a wooden bridge is about 10 years; however, by covering the bridge it could last 80 years or more. 

The Hoffman Bridge was built in 1936 and instead of the usual open sides it has gothic windows.

The Shimanek Bridge is the newest bridge (built in 1966) and the only one in Linn County that is painted red.

The Larwood Bridge was built in 1939 and has open sides.

Next to the Larwood Bridge was the remains of a waterwheel that once provided electricity to the local area.  We had lunch in a small park here. 

Two other bridges we saw were exactly like the Larwood Bridge so we are not putting those pictures in.  There are three more covered bridges in Linn County but we decided they were too far away and we had driven enough today.

On the way back to Silverton we stopped at the Stayton/Jordan Bridge.  The original Jordan Bridge was moved from the Thomas Creek near the town of Jordan to a park in the town of Stayton.  In 1994 the bridge caught fire when Christmas lights ignited the roof.  Local citizens constructed a new bridge in 1997-98.

All of the bridges we saw except the Stayton/Jordan Bridge are still being used and we drove through all of them.  It was a beautiful drive with lots of small farms – fruits, vegetables, Christmas trees and landscape plants.


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