Banton Rest Area Eastbound I-84 Oregon
Life is too short
One thing we have tried to maintain on the truck is enjoying life along the way. It is as simple as looking to see not looking to pass. This rest stop is a prime example of the hidden beauty and treasures you will experience along the way.
Banton rest area was named after William N. Banton. There are several theories roaming as to how this well house came to be. One theory is that William Banton constructed this well house for the area ranches and maintained its operation until his retirement in 1940. But that is not the most common or agreed upon theory. Most likely it is as follows according to the historians:
The water-powered tool shop and well house was built in 1911 and operated by William N. Banton, a prominent Union County rancher whose holdings once encompassed the safe haven of the rest area and the land the well house currently sets upon.
The area was settled by he and his parents, Edwin and Mary Banton, pioneers from Missouri.
William used the water-driven tool shop to fashion tools & implements needed for operating his livestock ranch. He spent his working life raising livestock and improving his land until he retired in 1940. His life spanned from 1866-1945. The waterwheel was kept inside the cabin during the harshest months of the winter.
A Little Bio of William Banton
Snippets of this bio was taken from and credited to Union County Biographieshttp://www.usgennet.org/usa/or/county/union1/bantonunion.htm
William Nelson Banton was born to Edwin D. and Mary J. Banton of Missouri on January 22, 1866 in Union County, Oregon, the only child of Edwin and Mary. In 1860, Edwin and Mary made the trek to Oregon from Missouri, to settle their homestead. They set to work at once to carve out a home for themselves and aid in the development of the resources in Union County, Oregon. Edwin was one of its leading citizens until his passing in 1893. Mary continued to live and work the old homestead of two hundred and forty acres, near William’s homestead, nine miles south of La Grande, Oregon until her passing. It was on that old homestead where William received his education and worked on the farm with his parents.
William married Sarah McCauley of Grande Ronde Valley, daughter of John and Martha McCauley, on December 23, 1889, and went on to have five children. William was affiliated with the Modern Woodmen of America, at La Grande. He was active and interested in all politics, ever laboring for those men to administer the affairs of government who are above reproach and endowed with capabilities adequate to the duties imposed, while in educational matters he was a promoter of upstanding good schools and sought for first-class teachers. The district of his home place constantly placed him in the director’s chair for twelve years, and his wisdom and enterprise in this capacity have been of untold benefit to the schools and of the education for the following generations. William was a man of integrity and staunch principles and maintained a high dignity in his career, being dominated by wisdom and principles, and is to this day, one of the highly respected and most substantial citizens of Union Country in its history.
William spent his adult life serving his family and community, working his livestock and improving his land. I could not locate anything more on his passing other than the date of October 5, 1945 at the age of 79 found on Find a Grave. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/65642906
So, as you travel these roads especially in your own area you call home, stop to read the historical markers, check out the unique landmarks, learn a little more about the history surrounding you that made our country and nation what it is today from those who sacrificed the most for our future development. Strive to work as hard as our pioneers in creating your own legacy for the benefit of your family and community and not to be a celebrity.
**All photos were taken from this rest area. Try hiking up the mountain behind the rest area to arrive at the scenic view of the Columbia River where you will see the island John Day was buried. Now that history lesson is for another time.