Guido Deiro

Guido hunting near Mount Jefferson
Guido hunting near Mount Jefferson, Oregon. The summit is 10,495 feet above sea level.

Guido's career as a vaudeville headliner was incredibly stressful, and he looked forward to his vacations during the summer months when the vaudeville circuit slowed down or closed for the season. Guido developed an intense affinity with the American Northwest and the forests and mountains of Northern California, Oregon and Washington. Beginning in 1911 and continuing through the early 1920s, he vacationed at Breitenbush Hot Springs in the Cascade Range of Northern Oregon every other year.

On the way to his bi-annual vacations at Breitenbush Hot Springs, Guido travelled in his private rented rail car. His car was attached to a regular locomotive until it arrived at Salem, Oregon, after which Guido rode as a passenger on the narrow-gauge logging train (or sometimes pack horses) which headed up into the mountains. At first Guido stayed in a rustic cabin; later he had a more luxurious cottage built for him and his wives.

Guido the hunter
Guido the hunter

The first residents of the region, the Native Americans, visited the springs to hunt, fish, pick huckleberries, and bathe for healing and ritual purification. The first Europeans to visit the springs were Hudson Bay fur trappers out of Fort Vancouver, probably in the 1840s.

The springs were named after a one-armed hunter: John Breitenbush. In 1873 one explorer, John Minto, led an expedition up the North Santiam Canyon in search of a pass through the Cascades to eastern Oregon. Minto recorded in his journal: "We penetrated up the valley through about seventeen miles of narrow gorge ... to where Breightenbush makes in from the north; found John Breightenbush - a one-armed hunter and nothing else - there ahead of us, and named the beautiful affluent for him."

In the 1910s and early 1920s the little logging and hunting camp of Breitenbush Hot Springs only had a few dozen people associated with it mainly engaged in housing the loggers, and outfitting sportsmen and women hunters, fishing and taking the waters.

Guido visited the springs to relax, breathe the cool fresh air, and bathe in the springs reputed for healing powers. Later in life Guido developed bursitis or arthritis in his shoulders, and the hot springs provided relief.

Guido the fisherman
Guido the fisherman

Guido loved the wilderness, and here in the Breitenbush Hot Springs area, he found the solace he often craved during his demanding work schedule. Here in the snow-capped mountains and dark coniferous forests and crystal-clear streams he hunted and fished and admired the natural beauty of nature.

Guido even composed music in the woods: most notably his two popular marches recorded on the Columbia label titled The Breitenbush and Western Stars.

In 1927, Merle Bruckman purchased Breitenbush and built a lodge and other buildings for a wilderness health spa. Perhaps Guido liked the logging camp atmosphere better, because he stopped coming to Breitenbush by the time the health spa was built.

Guido the Entertainer
Guido the Entertainer with residents of the Breitenbush Hot Springs region.

Guido Deiro was quite a celebrity in the Breitenbush Hot Springs region, and whenever he arrived for his vacations the locals from miles around would come to his camp expecting some free entertainment. Guido was very obliging with his talents, and sometimes performed at the campfire far into the night.

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