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Mitchell Monument

Forest Service Road 348, Bly, Oregon 97622 USA

  • Independent
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“WWII monument”

On May 5, 1945, Reverend Archie Mitchell of the Bly Christian & Missionary Alliance Church took his expectant wife and 5 Sunday school children on fishing trip and picnic. Finding the main road blocked by equipment, he pulled off to a spot where the creek was accessible. As he got the food from the car he heard one of the children say "Look what I found!". As his wife and the children ran to see what was found, there was an explosion. The 5 children and Mrs. Mitchell were killed instantly. What the children had found was the remains of balloon bomb. Thousands of these balloons were launched from Honshu, Japan during a 5 month period that ended in April 1945. The hydrogen-filled paper balloons were 33 feet in diameter and carried 5 bombs - 4 incendiaries and one antipersonnel high explosive. The balloons included mechanisms for controlling altitude so it could be carried by the jet stream from Japan to North America in 3 days. More than 350 balloons were documented as having reached the continent but except for these deaths near Gearhart Mountain, they caused little damage. Archie Mitchell remarried and became a missionary to Vietnam. In May of 1962 he was abducted by Viet Cong and was never seen again. The area surrounding the Mitchell Monument was donated to the Fremont National Forest by the Weyerhaeuser Corporation in 1998. Accomodations: * 6 day use picnic sites * Picnic tables and fire grills * Drinking water not available * Garbage..."Pack it in, Pack it out" * Firewood not provided * Accessible outhouse Attractions: * Historic Site - The only place on the American continent where death resulted from enemy action during World War II * Wilderness trails 4 miles north east * Birdwatching * Wildlife viewing * Fishing-Cold Water * Hiking * Horseback Riding * Wildflowers Considerations: * Please pack out your garbage. * Please bring your own firewood. * Reservations are not taken. * Please bring your own drinking water.

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Reviewed by
Travel Oregon

  • Expert
  • 5,384 Reviews
  • 2,198 Helpful
June 17, 2015

Accomodations:
* 6 day use picnic sites
* Picnic tables and fire grills
* Drinking water not available
* Garbage..."Pack it in, Pack it out"
* Firewood not provided
* Accessible outhouse

Attractions:

* Historic Site - The only place on the American continent where death resulted from enemy action during World War II
* Wilderness trails 4 miles north east
* Birdwatching
* Wildlife viewing
* Fishing-Cold Water
* Hiking
* Horseback Riding
* Wildflowers

Considerations:

* Please pack out your garbage.
* Please bring your own firewood.
* Reservations are not taken.
* Please bring your own drinking water.
History:
On May 5, 1945, Reverend Archie Mitchell of the Bly Christian & Missionary Alliance Church took his expectant wife and 5 Sunday school children on fishing trip and picnic. Finding the main road blocked by equipment, he pulled off to a spot where the creek was accessible. As he got the food from the car he heard one of the children say "Look what I found!". As his wife and the children ran to see what was found, there was an explosion. The 5 children and Mrs. Mitchell were killed instantly.

What the children had found was the remains of balloon bomb. Thousands of these balloons were launched from Honshu, Japan during a 5 month period that ended in April 1945. The hydrogen-filled paper balloons were 33 feet in diameter and carried 5 bombs - 4 incendiaries and one antipersonnel high explosive. The balloons included mechanisms for controlling altitude so it could be carried by the jet stream from Japan to North America in 3 days. More than 350 balloons were documented as having reached the continent but except for these deaths near Gearhart Mountain, they caused little damage.

Archie Mitchell remarried and became a missionary to Vietnam. In May of 1962 he was abducted by Viet Cong and was never seen again.

The area surrounding the Mitchell Monument was donated to the Fremont National Forest by the Weyerhaeuser Corporation in 1998.

For more historical information about this event, contact the Bly Ranger District.

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Reviewed by
Amy

  • 36 Reviews
  • 8 Helpful
January 31, 2015
Rated 4.0

Its a strange place to want to go enjoy the day, yet I would always take people here if we are hiking or visiting the area to tell them the story.

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Mitchell Monument

Forest Service Road 348
Bly, Oregon
97622 USA

Hours not available

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Good for picnicking.

  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
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Bly, Oregon

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