South jetty made of blasted blue schist rock.
It was late summer when I strolled alone on the boardwalks of Bandon, Oregon. Sun and wind swept over the town with their familiar caress. Idyllic. But Bandon has a fiery history.
A brick monument stands in "old town," keeping Bandon's disasters alive in the minds of its inhabitants and inquisitive visitors.
I was just such a visitor. At once alerted to this dark past, I wondered if a mystery hovered nearby. The local museum provided the information I sought.
In Bandon, circa 1890, there existed a massive rock near the site of the old Coquille Indian village of Nasomah. Sacred to the natives, it was called in the Miluk tongue, “qwLai” or “Grandmother Rock.” Made of dense blue schist, the rock was perfect for building the needed south jetty, shown above. The city fathers decided to blow it apart, but faced the wrath of an Indian curse that the city of Bandon would burn three times.
The first fire occurred in 1914. The second struck on the morning of September 26, 1936 from an out of control forest fire. Bandon's entire business district was cremated in an hour, eleven people died, and the property loss was huge, leaving only 16 of the 500 buildings.
Was the curse a prophecy?
Was it a coincidence?
After decades, the truth still lies buried in the charred remains now decomposed or scattered by ocean breezes and raging storms.
The question remains: Is Bandon doomed to a third fire?
A child, known as "the little blue girl," disappeared five centuries ago, but refuses to leave her castle.
Where's the mystery? Any guesses?
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