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Since You Asked: Colestin or Colestine?

I can't stand it anymore. ... I've got to find out which is correct. The road is Colestine. The valley is Colestin. Or maybe it's vice versa. Either way it's about to drive me and my wife nuts trying to find out which it is. Can you help?

— John G., Ashland

Far as we can tell, it's the road that's Colestine. And it's historically and nomenclaturally challenged.

According to our favorite book EVER, "Oregon Geographic Names" by our heroes Lewis A. McArthur and Lewis L. McArthur, Colestin was the name of a post office and station on the Pacific Siskiyou Line three miles south of the Siskiyou Summit, just about a mile inside Oregon.

The McArthurs say it was named for Byron Cole, who came to Oregon in 1851 and with his brother, Rufus, took a donation land claim on the border and built a stagecoach station. Byron Cole sold his stake in 1859 and purchased a couple hundred acres of land to the north and built a hotel expecting the rail line to be completed through there. A post office was built with the name White Point. When the rail line came through in 1887, the post office and a new rail station were both named Colestin by 1892. The post office closed in 1943 and the rail station closed "many years ago" but there were still several buildings standing the last time the McArthurs checked (in 1983).

The McArthurs go on to say that "In recent years, the forms Colestein and Colestine have both been used, but these are incorrect."

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. The volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.