Traveling Union County’s back roads

By John Gottberg Anderson • For the Bulletin Published Apr 6, 2014 at 12:11AM
Barb Gonzalez / For The Bulletin Sculptor David Manuel, 74, works on a sculpture he calls "Let Freedom Ring." "I try to tell a story in every piece I do," said Manuel, whose bronzes are prized by collectors around the world -- fetching prices that approach $50,000 for a single work.
Barb Gonzalez / For The Bulletin The spring house at Hot Lake Springs channels and cools geothermal water pouring from the earth at 208 degrees. More than 2.5 million gallons are released each day, filling a constantly steaming eight-acre lake with mineral-rich water once used to treat resident patients.
Barb Gonzalez / For The Bulletin The bronze face of a Native American woman emerges from a cast in the Manuel family foundry at Hot Lake Springs. Sculptor David Manuel and his family moved here from Joseph, where they had a prominent bronze foundry, gallery and historical museum.
Barb Gonzalez / ForThe Bulletin A larger-than-life sculpture of Oregon Trail immigrants, by artist David Manuel, welcomes visitors to Hot Lake Springs. Manuel and his family purchased the abandoned former health resort in 2003, invested more than $10 million and turned it into a tourist destination.
Barb Gonzalez / For The Bulletin A 19th-century buggy occupies a Hot Lake Springs gallery at the foot of The History Center. On two upper floors are world-class collections of Native American artifacts, mainly from the Nez Perce tribe, and military regalia from the Civil War through Vietnam.
Barb Gonzalez / For The Bulletin The turreted Bohnenkamp House, built in 1907, is one of many distinctive Victorian homes in La Grande neighborhoods west and south of downtown. This house is considered the finest of its period, with its gabled roof and fine brickwork.
Barb Gonzalez / For The Bulletin Badgley Hall is the principal science classroom building at Eastern Oregon University, whose 4,000-plus students make this a cultural center in La Grande. The city of 13,000, established in 1865, is the population hub and county seat of Union County.
Barb Gonzalez / For The Bulletin The community of Cove nestles on the forested lower slopes of the Wallowa Range east of La Grande. Mount Fanny, at 7,132 feet, rises above the village, known for a pair of church retreats and the historic Henderschott House, built in 1877 in neo-gothic style.
Barb Gonzalez / For The Bulletin Rosie, an English sheepdog, greets new arrivals in the lobby of the Historic Union Hotel. Built in 1921, the hotel -- which has a fine-dining restaurant and 15 individually appointed guest rooms -- is a landmark of the Main Street National Historic District in the town of Union.
Barb Gonzalez / For The Bulletin A soda fountain, old-fashioned but authentic in design, is a new addition to the Union Drug Co. in the town of Union. Established on a trade route in 1862, during Civil War times, historic Union was named in patriotic sympathy with the North.
Barb Gonzalez / For The Bulletin The Union Victorian Cemetery, which dates from 1862, is known for its prominent monuments. Among those honored on its headstones are town founder Conrad Miller, early-20th-century cowgirl Ollie Osborn and Willamette University benefactor A.E. Eaton.
Barb Gonzalez / For The Bulletin The Medical Springs swimming pool, 9 feet deep at its far end, was a popular place for water play between World War I and World War II. The location of the adjoining hot springs was established in 1868 by Dunham Wright, whose great-granddaughter remains a caretaker.