Mitchell, Oregon: Henry the Bear

Henry weighed 800 pounds and lived in a comfortable cage next to Mitchell's only gas station.

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Henry The Bear

Henry the Bear is still in his cage in Mitchell Oregon. It says on the cage sign that he was raised on a bear farm in Iowa, contrary to the "boys home" story from Kiefer's submission. Hmmm.

[TGB, 08/31/2008]
Henry the Bear. Henry the Bear

Henry is still in Mitchell and has NOT been re-located anywhere. Re a post made 11/18/2002"... I honestly wonder what Erik was smoking when he wrote!

Henry the Bear in Mitchell Oregon was captured as a young cub by a boys' home in Oregon as a tool to calm. He was declawed and raised among other exotic animals. When the boys' home went out of business, they couldn't find a zoo that wanted Henry, and were going to put him down. Hugh Reed took Henry in, built him one of the best homes a tame bear could ever ask for, and treats him as one of his own kids. He is now 700 pounds, healthy as an ox and as sweet as a kitten. He adores Hugh and vice versa.

As far as the "trailer for a store"...again false. The Wheeler County Trading Post is a huge two story cenntennial building that was built in 1888. It has the original hardwood floors. It was the HUB of the community for 30 years during the loggin boom and was also the assay office for the gold and nickel boom. During that time, Mitchell boasted 5 houses of ill-repute, two of which are still standing.

Mitchell is a step-back-in-time town. Listed on many sites as a Ghost Town...it isn't. There are 130 of us who call this hamlet home. A community who are parents to every kid in town and "family" to each other.

[Kiefer, 01/12/2008]
Henry the Bear

Henry the Bear is no longer living at the gas station in Mitchell. His owner found that the bear was being teased at night by passersby and transients and began to act edgy towards visitors. In an effort to keep Henry friendly, he moved the bear out to his home. It's a sad thing that visits with this wonderful bear had to be stopped due to a few heartless people who thought it would be "funny" to tease him.

[Sussie Due, 06/01/2007]
Henry the Bear - Vague Recollections

In 2001, I stopped late in the evening to use the payphone in Mitchell. As we departed, our headlights lit up a bear in a cage in the dark, right next to the phone that I had just used! What a suprise.

After reading about the other daylight encounters with Henry, I truly wish I had been there a few hours earlier. I often tell my story of encountering a bear in the dead of the Oregon night, but thanks to Roadside America I can finally fill in the details.

[Isaac Memmen, 01/10/2007]
Feeding Henry the Bear. Henry the Bear

My husband and I met Henry and Hugh last year at the beginning of a motorcycle trip. We made a point of stopping to see Henry at the end of this year's trip. As we were loading up to go, I walked across the street (we stay in the Oregon Hotel, not grand, but full of character) to say goodbye to Henry. Hugh pulled up for the morning feeding, and Henry would have wagged his tail if he had one.

Hugh and I chatted while he went through his routine, Henry stood at the door and huffed and whined like a pup waiting to get a treat. Hugh told Henry to get up on his house, where he deposited a generous breakfast of chow and carrots. He kept a bucket of apples aside and began slicing them and feeding them to Henry, one piece at a time. I don't think I've ever seen an animal enjoy eating anything as much as Henry enjoyed his apples.

Hugh invited us in to the cage to get a better photo, then asked if I wanted to feed Henry a slice of apple. I recognized my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and held the apple out to Henry, gingerly. His manner was so gentle and sweet, that when Hugh suggested I give it to him out of my mouth, I found myself doing the trick with no resistance.

Henry's nose was soft, warm and moist and his breath was probably sweeter than mine that morning. I cherish that moment of being allowed to trick a bear into kissing me, although his tongue never touched me. He had one thing on his mind...apple.

Henry is a well loved, well cared for creature. His coat is thick and glossy, his cage is immaculate, and he is truly bonded to Hugh. I thank Hugh for sharing his pet with us, and for giving me a wonderful memory.

[Wendy White, 09/25/2006]

Henry the Bear

Directions:
Take US 26 to Mitchell, then turn south onto Main St. Henry is in a cage on the north side of Main, at the Little Pine Truck Stop, which is the town's only gas station.
Hours:
No longer at the gas station.

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