What/where is "School Canyon"?

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adamschneider
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What/where is "School Canyon"?

Post by adamschneider » June 9th, 2021, 12:52 pm

Last week, I hiked a loop on the Little Badger and School Canyon Trails, in the eastern foothills of Mt. Hood. (I started at the School Canyon Trailhead and made it a loop by bushwhacking down to Little Badger Creek almost immediately.) But something is bugging me: why is it called the "School Canyon Trail"? There's nothing on any of the old topo maps with that name. Is School Canyon another name for Little Badger Creek's valley, or is there another unnamed canyon that once had that label but was omitted by the USGS?

Here's the 1962 topo map, with the current School Canyon Trail overlaid on top; note that it used to be called the Ball Point Trail. I also labeled the valley that I think is the most likely candidate for School Canyon; it starts on the east side of Ball Point and empties into Tygh Creek's valley 6 or 7 miles downstream. Maybe there was once a school in the lower part of that valley, or near its mouth? (It's also possible School Canyon referred to one of the tiny side canyons on the south side of the trail, but that seems less likely; why would there be a school up there?)

School Canyon.jpg

Anyone have any clues? This seems like something Tom Kloster might know about...

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mattisnotfrench
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Re: What/where is "School Canyon"?

Post by mattisnotfrench » June 9th, 2021, 1:31 pm

Looking at this map from the historic overlay on CalTopo, it seems like there was a school down canyon of Ball Point. I'm guessing that's where the name comes from.
School Canyon.jpg
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lordgares
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Re: What/where is "School Canyon"?

Post by lordgares » June 9th, 2021, 1:46 pm

why would there be a school up there?
I tend to get bored and look at historic USGS maps, you would be surprised how many old schoolhouses are located out there. Most of them don't exist anymore.

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bobcat
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Re: What/where is "School Canyon"?

Post by bobcat » June 9th, 2021, 6:26 pm

Yes, there was a school down in the canyon. A few of those trails on the east side of the Badger Creek Wilderness are named after features that were much lower down because the trails ran up from the lower valleys before the roads were built. Douglas Cabin, Post Camp, and School Canyon are three I can think of.

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adamschneider
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Re: What/where is "School Canyon"?

Post by adamschneider » June 10th, 2021, 7:19 am

bobcat wrote:
June 9th, 2021, 6:26 pm
Yes, there was a school down in the canyon.
Which canyon, the one I marked?

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Re: What/where is "School Canyon"?

Post by adamschneider » June 10th, 2021, 7:20 am

mattisnotfrench wrote:
June 9th, 2021, 1:31 pm
Looking at this map from the historic overlay on CalTopo, it seems like there was a school down canyon of Ball Point. I'm guessing that's where the name comes from.
That school looks like it's in Tygh Creek's canyon.

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bobcat
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Re: What/where is "School Canyon"?

Post by bobcat » June 10th, 2021, 11:07 am

I seem to remember that in her book Hiking Mount Hood National Forest (2002), Marcia Sinclair told the story of the naming of the School Canyon Trail. I don't have my own copy, though, so you'll have to get one out from the library if you're interested. She was a FS ranger so had access to old paper records; lots of information in that book you can't find online.

Edit: You can disregard the above information. My memory serves me ill. I remembered I probably had an old photocopy of her writeup on the trail, and I dug it out. This is Sinclair's pronouncement on the name: "Who knows why this place is called School Canyon? Perhaps there was a school here years ago." She goes on to encourage visitors to stop at the one-room schoolhouse in nearby Friend and waxes nostalgically on the quaint properties of old schoolhouses.

The trail itself is extolled vividly in Ken and Ruth Love's A Guide to the Trails of Badger Creek (2nd ed., 1979), but they too have no elucidations on the name.

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bobcat
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Re: What/where is "School Canyon"?

Post by bobcat » June 11th, 2021, 10:09 am

Also as per the "canyon" itself. Shadybrook School was in the Tygh Creek valley, and I'm just speculating but the upper Tygh Creek canyon may well have been called School Canyon by locals; it's at least near the trail. Canyons don't have to be named after their creeks/rivers (e.g. Hell's Canyon, Grand Canyon, etc.).

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