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Union Pacific Homestead Branch

Union Pacific
Homestead Branch

Homestead, Oregon was originally settled in around 1898. The town got its name because it had been built on the homestead of a family named Pierce. Agricultural development and the Iron Dyke copper mine attracted the interest of the Union Pacific, and in 1910 the company completed a rail line from Ontario into the town.

The mine failed in 1928, after which the railroad cut the line back to Robinette. Lumber milled at a sawmill at Halfway, OR, and loaded onto railcars at Robinette supported the line until the late 1950's, when a series of dams built on the Snake River forced the final abandonment of the line. Several substantial tunnels and many miles of grade remain today, though much of the line has been inundated by the reservoirs.