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Zane Grey's cabin added to historic places registry

Zane Grey's one-room cabin on the Rogue River, where in the words of the famous novelist, "it flows through a lonely valley set down amid the lofty green mountain slopes," has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The historic cabin is located at Winkle Bar, one of the most unique sites along the Wild and Scenic Rogue River.

In 1925, Grey launched an expedition down the Rogue River from Grants Pass to Gold Beach with nine other adventurers in seven wooden boats. Of the places Grey encountered on the trip, Winkle Bar proved to be the most influential. In 1926, he purchased the mining claim there and had this now-famous cabin built. In "Tales of Freshwater Fishing," Grey described his new acquisition:

"The rushing river at this point makes a deep bend round a long oval bar, with rocky banks and high level terraces above, and both wooded and open land. Here it flows through a lonely valley set down amid the lofty green mountain slopes. A government forest trail winds out some 20 miles to the nearest settlement. Far indeed it is across the dark Oregon peaks to railroad or automobile road!"

It was here, and along other portions of the Rogue River, that Grey was inspired to write such books as "Rogue River Feud," "Shooting the Rogue" and "Tales of Freshwater Fishing." Grey's prose drew visitors by the thousands, and helped make the Rogue River a premier destination for world-class steelhead fishing, recreation and wildlife viewing.

Grey achieved great sales in the early 20th century for Western novels such as "Riders of the Purple Sage" after floating the Rogue River's rapids and falling in love with its steelhead trout.

After Grey's death in 1939, the cabin was acquired by the Haas family of San Francisco, owners of Levi Strauss. The family built new homes on the property but maintained the old cabin and welcomed visitors.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which announced the registry placement Thursday, bought the cabin in 2008 to help preserve it. The shake roof, windows and log walls have been repaired with attention to period details.

Visitors can see the remains of a wooden boat that's thought to be one of the vessels from Grey's first journey down the river in 1925. An interpretive display describes how Grey's writing helped bring attention to the Rogue's wild and scenic values.

"I think he really loved the scenery and the fact that it was very similar to what California looked like 50 years before," the author's great-grandson, Eric Grey, told The Associated Press in a 2008 email. "He remarked on several occasions that he was upset that all the rivers in California were dying and all the fish were gone, but Oregon was still essentially intact."

In this 2005 photo, a lower Rogue River rafter takes a break in front of a cabin used by Zane Grey near Grants Pass. Grey's cabin has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. AP file photo by Timothy Bullard / Grants Pass Daily Courier