Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Kinzua teen rules over tiny town

Like Gulliver in the fictional land of Lilliput, Otis Cody towered over a tiny town built in the community of Kinzua. By July of 1971, 19-year-old Cody had been building the miniature logging town for seven years, and his model community covered a good share of the hillside behind his family’s home.

The town of Codyville included tiny logging equipment, homes and even paved roads. Log decks and stacks of tiny finished lumber dotted the hillside. And when Cody was not hammering and sawing to add to the town, he was managing the weeds — though he left a few to serve as trees. “It gives me something to do,” Cody said.

Deer from the forest around Kinzua often wandered through the town at night, leaving only tracks. Human vandals, however, once raided Codyville under the cover of darkness and caused damage that took weeks to repair.

The adults in Kinzua, including Cody’s parents, loved to show off the miniature town to visitors. Ray Cody worked as a truck driver for Kinzua Corp., while his wife worked on a manufacturing line in the mill, along with the wives of several other Kinzua employees.
Otis Cody looms over his miniature logging town in July of 1971 (East Oregonian file photo)
“We’re proud of the town Cody has built,” said Allen Nistad, Kinzua’s general manager.

The town of Kinzua was owned by Kinzua Corp., which operated a lumber mill south of Fossil in Wheeler County. Kinzua was founded in 1927 to house the mill workers and included its own post office and a Union Pacific rail line to ship lumber to Condon. Once the timber supply started to decline and operating costs increased, the mill was shut down and operations moved to Heppner in 1978. Kinzua Corp. removed all the buildings of the town, including Codyville, and allowed the area to return to a natural state. The only thing remaining of the original site is Kinzua Hills Golf Club, a member-owned six-hole golf course 11 miles east of Fossil.

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