Guardian Angel Catholic Church

Guardian Angel Catholic Church in Oran 02-03-2013I mentioned yesterday in the Tour de Oran that photos of the Guardian Angel Catholic Church in Oran would be coming. Well, here they are. The first photo shows a white house on the left that Readers Madeline DeJournett and Samantha K identified as the priest’s house. Ms. K answered my question about why the house was so large: the sisters of the church lived there when the church still had sisters.

The outside is impressive

Guardian Angel Catholic Church in Oran 02-03-2013

The brickwork and detail on the outside of the church, with a cornerstone that displays MCMXVI – 1916 for the Roman Numeral challenged – is beautiful. I don’t see how a small town like Oran could have supported such an impressive building. What’s interesting is that Oran, unlike so many other small towns, has actually picked up a few residents between the 2000 and 2010 censuses.

As of the census of 2000, there were 1,264 people, 507 households, and 353 families in the Oran. By the 2010 census, the numbers had increased to 1,294 people, 518 households, and 360 families. That’s not a lot, but it reverses what I would have thought would be the trend.

Inside is breathtaking

Guardian Angel Catholic Church in Oran 02-03-2013Just by the luck of the draw, I happened on to the Catholic churches in Oran, New Hamburg and Kelso on our wanderings. All were impressive, but this was by far and away the most impressive and most tastefully done.

The other thing that surprised me was that none of the churches were locked. That is refreshing.

Organ pipes

Guardian Angel Catholic Church in Oran 02-03-2013

I’ve seen lots of church organ pipes. I’ve never seen any decorated like these. I couldn’t find much of the history of the church on the Internet, so I’m counting on you to share your memories of the place. If I had wanted to, I could have spent all day photographing the details of the place, but I felt a little uncomfortable wandering around without telling anyone what I was doing.

Photo gallery of Oran’s Guardian Angel Catholic Church

This is a far cry from the Old McKendree Chapel between Cape and Jackson. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the image to move through the gallery.


Tour de Oran

Oran grain elevators 02-03-2013_1778I was really intending on checking out Chaffee, but I was tempted by a sign pointing to Oran. I don’t think I’ve been there in 40+ years, if ever. The first thing we saw when Mother and I went around a curve into town was the imposing Guardian Angel Catholic Church. It’s even more impressive inside than outside. I’m saving it for another day.

The second largest building to catch my eye was the grain elevator at the edge of town. I thought it might be abandoned, but I heard a faint noise and discovered a vent fan blowing and mildewed corn spilled on the ground. At least part of it much be active.

Iron Mountain Railroad depot

Oran Chamber of Commerce - Train depot 02-03-2013I identified this building as a train depot before I saw the sign and even without railroad tracks running next to it.

Jim Razor: born 1869; Died 1969

Oran Chamber of Commerce - Train depot 02-03-2013If the signs are to be believed, it was once the Iron Mountain Railroad depot and is currently being used by the Chamber of Commerce. It doesn’t look like it gets too much activity: a tombstone for Jim Razor, born May 10 (?), 1869, Died May 10 (?), 1969, must be a leftover from the town’s 1969 Centennial celebration.

Red building

Oran building 02-03-2013I don’t know if this building has any significance. It was behind and near the Chamber of Commerce depot building. I just liked the way the afternoon sun brought out the red.

Oran City Hall

Oran City Hall 02-03-2013

My first guess was this building was the Oran Library, but that turned out to be next door. This is the Oran City Hall. The use of local stone makes it striking. It has the feel of a WPA project, but I didn’t notice any markers to indicate that (not that I looked too hard. It was turning chilly when the shadows started drawing long).

Oran photo gallery

Here are more shots of the buildings mentioned above. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the image to move through the gallery. Wait until I get around to running the church photos. I don’t know how a place as small as Oran could support such a magnificent building.


Mother and the Belly Up Bar

Bro Mark sent a cryptic email to the family last night: “Gran can now check another box off her list.” He wouldn’t give me a hint, said she’d have to tell me.

I called Mother, but got a busy signal all morning; after that, the phone went to the answering machine. I figured she must be out skydiving or water skiing on the Mississippi.

She finally called me back to tell me about her excursion last night. She and several of her friends ended up at the Belly Up Bar and Grill in Oran. I can just about picture what that kind of establishment looked like. I usually didn’t frequent places like that until after the shootin’ and cuttin’ was over.

(For the record, that’s the Elk’s Club in Cairo, not the Belly Up Bar and Grill.)

 When does the dancin’ start?

When she walked in, she noticed a couple of pool tables. “When do they start dancing on the tables?,” she asked.

“After about two beers,” she was told.

She met lots of friendly and interesting people, including a guy who was drinking a pink-colored beer. She got up enough nerve to ask him what it was. “Beer and tomato juice,” he answered. “I always drink it that way.”

(Note: that’s not the Belly Up Bar and Grill, either. It was taken at D’Ladiums in Cape.

Want to go for a ride?

When they got ready to leave, Mother paused to admire a motorcycle in the parking lot. She told the owner that she didn’t realize they were so big when they blasted past her on the highway.

After chatting a bit, the guy said, “Want to go for a ride?”

“I haven’t been on one since I’m a teenager, but, sure.”

They went blasting around Oran. (It doesn’t take long to lap Oran.) She said she was surprised that it was very comfortable: it was like riding in the back seat of a car.

She’s polling her friends to see if any of them snapped a picture of her before she roared off.

(Nope, not the Belly Up Bar and Grill: motorcycle racing at Arena Park.)

This is a poor substitute

I’ve sent a note to the neighbors telling them not to worry if they look out the window and see this. She’s just reliving her glory days at the Oran Belly Up Bar and Grill.

(You guessed it. This isn’t the Belly Up Bar and Grill. It’s Mother celebrating her 2004 Birthday Season. She turned 90 in 2011.)

Other Mother exploits

Mother says she can’t go to the store these days without someone coming up to her to ask her if she’s the one in the blog. Here are some of her past exploits in case you’ve missed them.