Julia and her husband, Oliver (Oll in the diary), and son Willie moved to north Lincoln County in 1899. On May 8th, 1908, they started a post office in the back of their store, and Julia became its first postmaster (or postmistress, as she writes). She named the town Rose Lodge after the fifty varieties of roses, sent to her from her father in California, that formed a bower over their post office gate.
Her diary lets us take a peek at what life was like for a North Lincoln County pioneer. The Dodsons started out in a dirt floor, one-bedroom house, with no glass, only fabric covering the windows. To make ends meet, they had to farm, hunt, fish, pick hops and other crops in the valley, and they ran the Rose Lodge Store and post office. In the enlarged diary entry from January 1908, she mentions her roses blooming, for which she would name the town.
Below, toward the bottom of this entry from May, 1908, she writes that she was appointed “Post-Mistress” of the Rose Lodge office:
Below is a postcard showing Julia and Oliver, their store/post office, and the rose bower that the town was named for:
Below is the history of Rose Lodge for the Pioneer History of North Lincoln County, Volume 1, by Earl Nelson in 1951.
The Dodson’s opened a store and Post Office (below) in Taft around 1911 and thus ended Julia’s reign as postmaster of Rose Lodge.
This diary is an important piece of history that really speaks for itself. There were very few North Lincoln County pioneers who kept diaries, which makes hers even more important. Thanks to Julia Dodson, we get to learn first-hand about what it was like to live on the rainy Oregon coast before electricity and other modern conveniences.