PRAIRIE CITY — Strawberry Mountain, logging trains, gold mining history and an old-fashioned “main street” are just a few of the attractive attributes both locals and visitors will find in the Prairie City area.

These features are on display in two spectacular murals welcoming travelers to town from either direction on Highway 26. Both were created by former Prairie City resident and longtime Prairie City School art teacher Toni Morgensen.

The mural at the east side of town is on the wall of the Historic Hotel Prairie, at the corner of Main and Front streets. Painted by Morgensen in 2002, it announces “Welcome to Historic Prairie City.” Its centerpiece is a mighty logging train emerging from a backdrop of majestic Strawberry Mountain. At one time, the Sumpter Valley Railway was in full steam, operating from Baker City to Prairie City until 1933.

Prairie City’s depot is a historical landmark and now home to the DeWitt Museum in Depot Park. It’s just a few blocks south at the corner of Main and Bridge streets, and worthy of a quick side trip.

At each corner of the mural are four smaller works depicting other slices of Prairie City history such as gold panning and Camp Logan, which was a onetime Civil War post a few miles to the south.

Across town, the second mural is on the public works building. This painting, created by Morgensen in 2001, is an illustration of the Front Street business district — a view that is nearly exactly what folks will see right before them. It also proclaims a hearty “welcome” to visitors. Farther down the wall are children and other folks peering out of painted windows.

These impressive murals are hard to miss — and why would you want to? So, the next time you’re in Prairie City or just venturing through, stop off for a few minutes for a closer look and a quick history lesson — Prairie City-style.

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