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The small town of Joseph Oregon, population 1200, is captured on a crystal clear morning in June.
The east side of the town's neighborhoods are shown, as well as the the Wallowa Mountains that frame the town. Early settlers engaged in cattle, sheep, fruit and timber operations, later moving onto mercantile, banking and lodging. Platted in 1882, Joseph Oregon was the areas first town, even before there was a county designated 'Wallowa.' When outside interests in the form of a Mercantile and Mining Company came to make their stake in the town they were turned away by local businesses. That didn't stop them, they simply moved north six miles, creating the town of Enterprise, which later took the county seat.
This area was home to the Wallowa Band of the Nimi'ipuu (translated to mean 'we the people' or 'real people') or Nez Perce as the whites call them, even though no record exists of them piercing their noses. They called the Joseph area 'Hah-um-sah-pah', meaning 'big rocks lying scattered around.' 'Wallowa,' another Nimi'ipuu name, translates to 'Fish Trap' or 'Land of Winding Waters' depending on who you ask. This was their home for hundreds if not thousands of years, used primarily as a hunting, fishing and root and berry gathering area during the summer. Had it not been for the kindness of the Nez Perce in 1805, Lewis & Clark's Expedition of Discovery might never have never made it. Chief Joseph, the town's namesake, was a honorable, peaceful man, by all accounts a friend of the settlers until forced from the land by a treaty he never signed. His Grave (right) sits in a place he called home at the foot of Wallowa Lake.
From the left, over the road is Bonneville Mtn, next is the large Chief Joseph Mtn, then the very snowy Hurricane Divide, followed by Twin Peaks, Sawtooth Peak, a peak that sits forward as close as Chief Joseph Mountain named Hurricane Point and the last major mountain, the one with a cloud on the right is Ruby Peak.