Bowman Hicks Lumber company and most other big Wallowa County lumber companies of that era had out-of-state owners, headquartered mostly in Missouri or Utah. Hence, while their logging and mill operations paid lots of wages locally, the companies’ profits usually flowed out of Oregon to those other states.
A state highway department sign on the road into Wallowa points the way to Maxville. An internet search on Google Earth will display aerial photos of the Maxville location. But the town is long gone.
Prospective visitors need permission to enter this private property, now owned by Forest Capital.
The Oregon Exclusion Act endured as state law until November 1926:
“No free Negro, or Mulatto, not residing in this state at the time of the adoption of this constitution, shall come, reside, or be within this state, or hold any real estate, or make any contracts, or maintain any suit therein; an the Legislative Assembly shall provide by penal laws, for the removal, by public officers, of all such Negroes, and Mulattos, and for their effectual exclusion from the state, and for the punishment of persons who shall bring them into the state, or employ, or harbor them.” (Oregon Constituition, Section 35 of article I.)
Bowman-Hicks Lumber apparently brought black workers and their families into Maxville as early as 1923 – which would have been in violation of the Exclusion Act.
© 2013 Oregon Public Broadcasting.