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Description
In the center of Jordan Valley stands a pelota fronton, or “ball court,” which was built by the area's Basque settlers in 1915 for playing pelota, a game similar to American handball.
Driven by economic hardship and political oppression, thousands of Basques left their homeland in the Pyrenees in the late 1800s and settled in the western United States. Some became masons, fishermen or miners, but most became range shepherds.
The Basques, independent people believed to be the oldest surviving race in Europe, lived a nomadic life herding flocks. They traveled across western ranges in search of better pastures, accepting sheep instead of wages. A few Basque shepherds still roam the area, but most gradually assimilated into the country's urban culture.
Jordan Crater, which erupted just 2,500 years ago, is one of the youngest volcanoes in the continental United States. Antelope Reservoir, 10 miles southwest of town, offers trout fishing and boating.
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Current Location: Jordan Valley, Oregon