The tiny farming and ranching community of Dorris, California, prides itself on having a very tall flagpole. Over the years, it has sometimes been the tallest flagpole in the Western United States. Whether it still holds that record is not very important. It is still a very impressive salute to our flag and worth noting as one passes through this very small village. This is a remote part of the country and there is very little here for the urban consumer except magnificent nature.
This area was home to Native Americans for thousands of years before the arrival of the first Anglo-Europeans. Almost certainly the very first such were fur trappers in the 1820s, but their passage through the area was poorly recorded. The first settler of record was Presley Alexander Dorris. Born in Tennessee, he arrived in 1862 and established the D Ranch two miles east of today's townsite. Mr. Dorris had good relations with the local Modoc Indian tribe and frequently helped negotiate with them during the conflicts of 1869-1873. Following the arrival of the railroad, Dorris was incorporated in 1908. In the 2000 census there were 866 people living in Dorris.
The surrounding area is referred to as Butte Valley and it is advertised as being part of the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway. Tourists drive through pretty regularly, but few stop in town. Hunting in the area is a major draw in season and birding is as well. There are several major wildlife refuges in the vicinity as well as the Butte Valley National Grasslands.
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