The City Beneath with Guest Shanna Hatfield

E Oregon Wheat fieldsA steady diet of exciting adventures stories growing up and a childhood spent on a farm in the west created my life-long interest in history. It seemed natural to dive into writing sweet historical western romances, especially since I love researching all the details that bring the characters and stories to life.

When the idea for my Pendleton Petticoats series began bubbling in my head, I decided it Pendleton, Oregon, at the beginning of the 20th century, would provide the ideal setting.


Pendleton Petticoats block

Many people know Pendleton as the home of the world-famous Pendleton Round-Up and the Pendleton Woolen Mills. It billed itself as the “queen of a golden empire – golden wheat,” producing one percent of the nation’s wheat crop at the turn of the century.

As I began digging into the town’s past, I discovered, much to my surprise, Pendleton was a happening place to be in the early 1900s.

On any given day during that time, a person walking down the street could spy ladies and gentlemen attired in the latest fashions, as well as Chinese immigrants, Indians from the nearby reservation with colorful woolen blankets, miners, sheepherders, ranchers, and farmers.

women walking

Modern and progressive for its time, Pendleton offered a unique blend of Wild West and culture. Wild rowdies and plenty of crime established its rugged reputation. The 32 saloons and 18 bordellos open at that time also played a key factor in the seedier enterprises in town.

Pendleton boasted an opera house and theater, a teashop, a French restaurant, and a wide variety of businesses in the early years of the new century. The town had an enviable railway facility with trains running east and west daily.

Telephones as well as running water and sewer lines were available for those who could afford the services. It was the second city in the state to have paved streets and according to historic records; residents of Umatilla County had a rare passion for the newly introduced automobile.

There was one part of town, though, that “decent” women didn’t visit and discussed in whispers – The Underground, Pendleton’s city beneath the city.

Mystery and intrigue surrounded the tunnels of The Underground. What began as a way for businesses to deliver their goods from the depot, soon turned into a booming mini-city of saloons, card rooms, working girls, Chinese laundries and opium dens. According to local tales, the working girls used the tunnels to enter respectable businesses and do their shopping around town. Reportedly, a tunnel even ran to the doctor’s office for them to pay their visits undetected.

While the town didn’t lack for colorful characters, those portrayed in my Pendleton Petticoats series are purely fictional.

The women in Pendleton Petticoats come from all walks of life but find commonality in drawing strength from their courage and persevering in chasing their dreams. One woman longs to better her future, one to escape her past, one wants to find a place to call home, and one seeks hope.

Aundy, Caterina, Ilsa, and Marnie challenge the roles typically assigned to women of this era.  These strong, brave, woman are ones I so admire, even when (or perhaps especially because) one of them becomes intimately familiar with the city beneath the city.

Thank you for hosting me today. I’m so grateful for this wonderful opportunity to connect with your readers and share a little about a fun western town!


Shanna is giving away a copy of Aundy to the winner of the drawing! The winner can choose a paperback or Kindle copy.

Aundy Cover

Aundy Blurb:

Desperate to better her situation, Aundy Thorsen agrees to leave behind her life in Chicago to fulfill a farmer’s request for a mail-order bride in Pendleton, Oregon. When a tragic accident leaves her a widow soon after becoming a wife, Aundy takes on the challenge of learning how to manage a farm, even if it means her stubborn determination to succeed upsets a few of the neighbors.

Born and raised at Nash’s Folly, the family ranch, Garrett Nash loves life in the bustling community of Pendleton as the 20th century approaches. When his neighbor passes away and leaves behind a plucky widow, Garrett takes on the role of her protector and guardian. His admiration for her tenacious spirit soon turns to something more. He just needs to convince the strong-willed woman to give love another chance.


Shanna Hatfield verticalA hopeless romantic with a bit of sarcasm thrown in for good measure, Shanna Hatfield is a best-selling author of clean romantic fiction written with a healthy dose of humor. In addition to blogging and eating too much chocolate, she is completely smitten with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.

Shanna creates character-driven romances with realistic heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”

She is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, and Romance Writers of America.


Find Shanna’s books at:

Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Apple


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38 thoughts on “The City Beneath with Guest Shanna Hatfield”

  1. When I first read “Aundy”, I was shocked to find out about the Underground in Pendleton. It was fascinating and horrifying at the same time. Thank you for doing so much research on it.

  2. Wow! There was a whole other life underground. I learn so much about the West in this blog. History here is so much more intersting.

  3. Thanks Faith, Ashley, and Lor! Pendleton’s Underground is a fascinating part of the city’s past. If you ever find yourself in Pendleton, make sure you take the Underground tour. It’s an exciting stroll through history!

  4. I love your post, Shanna! I am eager to meet the women in Pendleton Petticoats and read their stories!

  5. Hi Shanna! Welcome back to P&P! We’re thrilled to have you visit again. I didn’t know Pendleton, Oregon was a big wheat producer. Very interesting. But it was your talk of the underground city beneath that captured my imagination. I can’t imagine. But I think every city has its own mysteries.

    Wishing lots of luck with your fascinating series!

  6. Very interesting reading about Pendelton, Oregon. Who knew that it was a wheat growing place in the olden days…I think of Kansas when I think of growing wheat. Thanks for the info.

  7. I am always looking for new authors to read. Your book sounds very interesting.
    I have been to Pendleton-beautiful rural scenery in that part of Oregon.

    • Hi Joye! That’s awesome you’ve been to Pendleton. It is a beautiful rural area in Oregon – so different from the western half of the state. Thanks for stopping by today!

  8. Can’t wait to read about those gals in Pendleton Petticoats…..sounds fantastic!!!!!! Thank you Shanna, I love your post!

  9. Shanna, I live in Oregon, although it’s closer to the coast! I drive through Pendleton quite often, however, since my little granddaughter lives in Utah and that’s how we get to her! So, I’ve been to that city many times! I will be looking for this book! I love reading books that are set in an area or town where I am familiar with them!

    • Hi Valri! That’s so awesome you’re from Oregon and drive through Pendleton. If you haven’t yet, stop sometime and do the Underground Tour. Thanks for taking a look at the books! All my books are set in either Oregon and Washington.

  10. Interesting post, Shanna. It is a bit unusual to think of this time period in the West. The 20th century has arrived, but the Western Frontier still has a hold on the area. It makes for some interesting characters and possibilities for stories. The challenges are still there for women who want to establish themselves and be independent. This sounds like it will be an interesting and informative series.

  11. Wow! I always admired Pendleton shirts and thought they only came from a company named Pendleton. I had no clue that there was an entire town where the company existed. It’s also interesting that they had a city beneath the city. Thank you for the great post!

    I would love to win a print copy of Aundy. Thank you for the chance!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

    • Hi Cindy! If you ever find yourself in Pendleton, you can tour the Underground as well as the Pendleton Woolen Mills! It’s a great tour where you see how the wool goes from it’s natural state into the colorful Pendleton blankets. Their clothing is amazing! Thanks for stopping by the blog today!

  12. I hope I’m not too late to enter. This sounds like a great read. I haven’t read any of your books but will have to change that. I would like to win a print copy of this book.

    Thank you,

  13. This one looks good! I look forward to reading it while my house is being taken over by a seven-year-old cowgirl in training. I just got back from a vacation where I took my daughter exploring in wasco and sherman counties as we searched for real-live cowgirls. We even met one who let my daughter ride her rodeo horse and taught us how to rope (a bail of hay).

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