County: Dennison County
ABOUT TOWN: Located near the upper Wishcana River, Pello is the northern most community within Surprise Valley. It is surrounded by the Chase Mountains. It is located about 30 miles northwest of the town Surprise Valley on the small and rugged Surprise Valley - Pello Highway. The town of Pello is one of only two towns located in Surprise Valley that are part of Dennison County. There is no way to reach Pello by car without driving through Chane County, as there are no roads connecting it to the rest of the county. The mountains are too steep for any roads to bypass them and connect the towns with the rest of the county.
Pello is a small and isolated community on the foothills of the Surprise Valley. Located at the base of Mt. Chifton, Pello is in complete shade during evenings. The climate is mild, but very wet, often with bone cold and snowy winters. The Surprise Valley - Pello Highway is often covered by mudslides, downed trees, or is blocked by other debris during the winter, completely cutting the town off from the outside world. Because of this risk, some citizens move away during the winter, which can reduce the towns population to as low as just over 150 people. High school students in Pello are bused to Surprise Valley and have online services if they are not able to make it to class. Elementary school students have a small school in town built in the historic old town hall. All police services come from Surprise Valley's Dennison County Sheriff's Office. There is a small volunteer fire department in town with one pump unit and one medical unit.
Pello is home to the Pello Mine that closed in 1911. A small gauge rail line was built to Pello from Surprise Valley to connect it to the main line in 1870, but all was lost during a major mudslide in 1888. This resulted in a huge down turn for the town economy. Today Pello is serviced by a small general store, a hardware shop, and one building that is vacant for rentals by the community and used as a meeting hall. There is a gas pump in town at the volunteer fire department, and to use the pump, citizens need to call someone, or make prior arrangements. Usually on Saturdays the station opens from noon to 3pm to give citizens gas for the following week.
Much of Pello's historic mine still stand today surrounding the town.
LOCATION: Located near the upper Wishcana River, Pello is the northern most community within Surprise Valley. It is surrounded by the Chase Mountains. It is located about 30 miles northwest of the town Surprise Valley on the small and rugged Surprise Valley - Pello Highway. The town of Pello is one of only two towns located in Surprise Valley that are part of Dennison County.
HISTORY: There was a small scale gold rush that took place in Pello in 1840. This resulted in people flocking to the area the Pello Mine being formed in 1841. It was named after Walter P. Pello, a strong Englishman who moved to the nation for a better future. The mine operated every year with good profit. In 1854, the town was incorporated and named after the mine that expanded along the hillsides around the town. After the gold was cleaned out, mining turned to coal and rock. A small gauge rail line was built in 1870 to connect the mine to Surprise Valley and the main line. Before the rail line, all the material was hauled by donkey and wagons to the Wishcana River and sailed downstream. In 1888, a bad winter struck the town and destroyed the rail line. The big wigs of the rail line decided not to rebuild the line claiming they could get better profits from other lines. This left the citizens of Pello distraught. Once again they were cut off from the rest of the world. Attempts were made by the citizens to build their own line from their own pockets, but they built less then 700 feet before quitting. A rough dirt trail connected Pello to Surprise Valley, and it was left that until 1900 when the county government decided to expand the trail into a road for wagons and motor cars.
the Pello Mine that closed in 1911. This resulted in a huge down turn for the town economy, and many of the towns businesses boarded up. The main streets buildings were torn down to bring wood and other supplies over to the growing town of Surprise Valley. For a period, Pello had only 22 citizens living in the town. It was not until 1917 did a entrepreneur by the name of Conell Edwards open up a tourist attraction in the town. He purchased the Pello Mines and opened it for outsiders to experience. At the time there were no safety concerns for aging buildings and people were allowed to explore it at their own risk. This helped the town thrive for a few years until a building collapsed and killed a tourist. The tourist operation closed in 1920. The town had it's ups and downs but remained firmly in place the following years. The mine continued to get older, as did the town, but the citizens had a strong pride to bear through it all. Today the town is lived in by mostly people wanting to live a quiet and peaceful life away from it all. Most of the buildings are still from the original miners that came to the town in the 1800s.
ATTRACTIONS: Hiking, hunting, and fishing are some main attractions for the area. There is a small camp ground about 2 miles south of Pello. A ranger station is located near Surprise Valley. The Pello Mine is located at the town, and is highly frowned upon by the government to explore, because it is dangerous. People still explore them all the time though. Nearly every building in town is from the 1800's including the main street and the historic Christ Church of Pello built in 1871.
(Hidden within the Chase Mountains is Pello.)
(One of the buildings from the Pello Mines.)
(In the evening, Pello is in complete shade from Mt. Chifton.)
(According to the record books, it rained 93 days in a row in 1992 in Pello.)
(There are no street lights on Pello's roads. The school and volunteer fire station do have lights though around the buildings.)
(The Pello Mine being reclaimed by nature.)
(The majority of Pello's business is on 2nd Street. There are only five registered streets in the town. )
(The Pello Mine sits decaying on the mountainside next to the town. It is dangerous to explore and frowned on by local government, but nothing it blocking people from checking it out.)
(The Pello Mine is constantly being worn down by the elements.)