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This mill was in operation during the decade preceding World War I.
The passenger trains from Baker stopped at the Austin House (Austin Station) for lunch which Ma Austin served at her board house.
Linda ran the general store, hotel and boarding house.
At one time Austin boasted a population of approximately 500 people.
Oregon Lumber Company built logging tracks down the Middle Fork and had branches up the draws and creeks to supply logs to the new mill.
The lumber was then shipped on the Sumpter Valley Railroad to Baker. At this time off-highway logging trucks began hauling logs in to the mill.
Today Bates along with its saw mill, its railroad and all of the people who once lived there now only exist as memories and faces in old photos of the former residents.
The main line of Eccles narrow gauge railroad followed the Middle Fork of the John Day River from Bates, eventually going as afar as Camp Creek.The means were served family style in ample proportions.Austin was quite a town in its day, with several saloons, stores and even a jail.The Oregon Lumber Company built a large while hotel at the side of the track close to the mill.There was a dance hall near the hotel, (later a truck barn was built on the sight of the dance hall, after it had burned down), where many dances were attended by all.