Rumor has it that Hattie Beach Haymond (1845-1891), although supposedly resting in peace in the Rock Point Pioneer Cemetery, was discovered circling among the vines of Del Rio in a black dress. She was surprised sitting on the porch of the current Del Rio Vineyards tasting room in that same black dress.
The tasting room was originally the Rock Point Hotel, Tavern, and Stage, built in 1864. Apparently Hattie, who once lived in the house next door, thought 46 was too young to die. The entire area is part of the “mystical corridor” that includes the Oregon Vortex, after all. My thanks to Lynn Leissler, Editor-in-Chief of Southern Oregon Magazine for the information published in the Fall 2017 issue.
Hattie Beach was the daughter-in-law of John B. White, who built the Rock Point House in 1859. She married her neighbor, Benjamin Haymond, who was one of the principal citizens of Jackson County, both in as County Commissioner and as Postmaster of Rock Point for over 33 years. . Ben and Hattie did not have children, although his second marriage produced four.
Lane and I crossed the river and walked through the splendor of fall on Route 234 to Gold Hill (flaming orange and gold) and beyond to Rock Point, the ghost town between Gold Hill and Rogue River. But first, we stopped to eat, according to our usual MO. This time it was delicious Mexican food at 4th Avenue Sports Bar and Mexican Grill in Gold Hill. I really enjoyed my football-sized platter of grated beef chimichanga, beef tacos and all the trimmings, with enough leftovers for two meals. Our table offered a view of the train tracks and the humble city beyond. Gold Hill was founded in 1895 but takes its name from a nearby hill that was the site of a gold discovery in 1860.
Before heading to Del Rio, we decided to cross the rails to visit the library, where I discovered my own little nugget, my novel, Stone Revival, sitting on a shelf in the “new” section. There he was waiting for someone to bring it home to read it by a warm fireplace. On the way to Del Rio.
Rock Point is now primarily Del Rio Vineyards and is supported by business partners Lee Traynham and Rob and Jolee Wallace. Formerly a pear producer, Del Rio, which translates to “from the river” in Spanish, is southern Oregon’s largest vineyard at 460 acres, almost as large as any Gold Hill. The vineyard produces 13 grape varieties and sells grapes to other facilities across the country.
We ordered glasses of red – merlot for me, syrah for Lane – and stepped outside to one of the cozy tables next to the old building. A certain charm emerges when you snuggle up in a historic building like the Rock Point Hotel. I am grateful that the Wallaces appreciate the value of restoring and maintaining such a treasure.
We didn’t get a glimpse of Hattie, but we did see a photo of her. Hattie was endowed with yards of long black hair. It looked like she had crimped it along its entire length for the photo, a laborious task. Ah, vanity. He knows little restraint then and now. She seems to be holding a withered flower. His deeply set, haunting (sorry, not sorry) eyes gaze directly at the camera capture.
Visitors told people who worked there, “Do you know this place is haunted? I never know what to think when I hear ghost stories and strange sightings. I believe in metaphysics and know that there is a spiritual realm. And, to quote Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than is dreamed of in your philosophy.
So take the beautiful drive (Hwy 234, if possible) to Hattie’s, I mean, Del Rio Vineyards. They are open every day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Stroll through the Rock Point Pioneer Cemetery next door. Hattie Beach Haymond is always a neighbor there, when she stays there.
Peggy Dover is a freelance writer / author. Contact her at [email protected].