GOOD BEAR RANCH
The Landscape has its own soul. Although our lives and history play out within the landscape it does not belong to us, we belong to it.
My family arrived in Baker Valley in the 1950’s. My father, Oscar H. Coen and mother, Virginia B. Coen came here following a dark time in our nation’s history, WWII. Dad served as a fighter pilot during WWII. He earned the title of flying “ACE” on numerous combat missions, narrowly escaping capture after being downed in German occupied France. His Tale can be read in “Oscar-His Story” written by his sister Mildred Coen Robeck.
My mother, a war widow and Nursery School teacher married dad in the early 50’s. Her family was from Toronto Canada. Being a city girl she was challenged by, but very happy to be moving to the “country”, here near Baker City. At that time Baker was a County of mostly ranchers, loggers, farmers and a handful of miners. The big events of the year were the summer 4-H livestock and horse shows, the Haines rodeo and the school carnival in the fall. I longed to luck out and win a cake at the cake walk. The rodeo and 4H shows are still held annually. Check the Chamber of Commerce for dates and details.
My folks settled at the property now called Good Bear Ranch around 1961, raising cattle, irrigating fields and mending fences. We lived in a small white house that was made from putting together two existing pioneer homes that originally stood at each of the two century old orchards on the property. Some of these apple trees still stand and bear apples to this day. If you walk to the larger orchard in the meadow to the NW of the house, look for bear claw marks on the trees. Bears love apples. You might also find remnants of pioneer life such as clumps of rhubarb and pheasant eye narcissus.
My folks retired and, in 1979, built the log home that stands today. I inherited the home in 2005 and remodeled the house to update finish materials, add five more bedrooms and two more baths. I deliberately maintained the original log structure and character of the home.