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Supporting the Upper Floor Housing Wave With the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant

January 24, 2023

The Kern Building in Downtown Klamath Falls was one of the properties supported by a 2017 Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant. The grant supported the installation of elevators in two buildings serving 20 upper floor residential units.

One of the hottest topics in the Main Street world these days is Upper Floor Redevelopment, particularly in the context of housing. Our downtowns are widely regarded as the place to start to begin addressing the nationwide housing crunch. Recent studies from Main Street America and University of Oregon Institute for Policy and Research Engagement reveal that there is a significant amount of upper floor space that is already constructed and with the right vision, capable partners, and a viable capital stack, could be redeveloped into upper floor housing.

While the available space seems to be plentiful, the devil is always in the detail. Many of these spaces simply aren’t laid out properly for residential use, or don’t have appropriate plumbing, electrical or mechanical systems to support residential occupancy. On top of that, structural and life safety requirements are likely to add significant costs to the redevelopment of historic buildings, many of which were built before modern structural and life safety regulations were contemplated.

All those factors create additional cost, which leads to the perception of financial risk in the absence of market comparators that can validate expected income. Many of our communities don’t yet have reliable residential comparators, which creates a chicken vs. egg scenario: property owners won’t invest in residential development because they don’t know how much the market will produce in income. But until there are some residential units in the market, we can’t reliably evaluate what that income might be. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be a dead end. Through the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant (OMSRG), many of our communities have been able to infuse some capital into these projects to help overcome the financial risk factor. And in most cases these projects create a boon for the developer and the community in which they are located.

Klamath Falls has received two Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grants (2017 and 2019) to support upper floor residential development in three downtown buildings. These projects, like several others around the state, serve as examples to other property owners and developers that residential development can be viable in downtown markets that are far from saturated.

In 2017, the OMSRG helped to fund the installation of two elevators that were required in two buildings to create a total of 20 residential units across the two properties. This was also a unique example of a high-density residential project where property owners agreed to rates slightly lower than market in exchange for a long-term, guaranteed-occupancy arrangement. This type of project can be a creative way provide student or workforce housing.

And in 2019, another OMSRG supported upper floor residential development to create four modern downtown living spaces with high-grade finishes and appliances, allowing the property owners to charge slightly higher than what they believed was “market rate”.  These apartments, ranging from approximately 800-1,100 square feet, were under contract before they were ready to occupy and have  been continuously occupied since opening in summer, 2020.

The”Subway” apartments in the Lamb-Swanson building in Downtown Klamath Falls feature high-grade appliances and finishes, and range between 800-1,100 square feet.

The OMSRG was essential in making these early residential projects pencil, and perhaps even more important in helping to create confidence in the viability of the market. As a result of these projects and the continuing need for downtown housing, several more residential units have been added in Downtown Klamath Falls through private investment, some supported with local public funding. And like most of our communities, it doesn’t look like the wave of residential development will subside any time soon. If you have a potential upper floor redevelopment project waiting in the wings, consider the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant as an opportunity to help push it past the finish line!

Submitted by Darin Rutledge, former Executive Director, Klamath Falls Downtown Association

Oregon WPA Era Properties Added to National Register

December 22, 2022

With some funding from the Oregon Cultural Trust, Oregon Parks & Recreation Department sponsored the “Oregon New Deal Resources from the PWA or WPA, 1933-1943” Multiple Property Document (MPD) to identify and provide background on resources related to the New Deal era in Oregon. This document provides an overview of the history of the New Deal in Oregon and establishes a framework for identifying and listing New Deal era resources in the National Register of Historic Places. In April 2022, the National Park Service accepted this document in the National Register.

Over the decade between 1933 and 1943, the New Deal altered Oregon’s landscape through a series of federal public works programs that aimed to provide employment to large numbers of unemployed workers and resulted in transformation of the infrastructure of the state. This MPD specifically documents the impact of the Public Works Administration (PWA), the Works Progress Administration (WPA), and other public work relief projects on the people of the state through a survey of extant resources in the state of Oregon that were produced during the decade-long New Deal.

This thematic document provides resources and guidance for individuals interested in listing properties in the National Register. Intended to be used as a tool, this document outlines requirements for 9 different property types that range from government buildings, schools, and libraries to scenic drives, lodges and cabins, bridges, and even fish hatcheries.

Many of the listed properties celebrated their listings with press releases and newsletter publications detailing more about the stories of their sites. One such site finds its home in an Oregon State Park! The State Library of Oregon building is owned by the State of Oregon at the State Capitol State Park in Salem. A brief history of this building was compiled by Sadie Verville, Communications & Policy Analyst for the State Library’s newsletter Connections. The State Library serves as a federal repository library and a facility that houses much “Oregoniana”, a term coined by the library to describe their collections related to the heritage of Oregon. A spot on the National Register is a more than fitting designation for this house of heritage, to be sure.

Being Impactful with the Main Street Impacts Report

November 23, 2022

With over one hundred towns and cities in the Oregon Main Street Network it is no surprise that the Main Street America™ Four-Points Approach is having measurable impacts in Oregon’s downtowns. For the last year Oregon Heritage has been working on quantifying this strategy’s influence on communities throughout the state. In September of 2022, the anxiously awaited Impact of Oregon’s Main Streets report was released to help tell this story.

A mostly beige cover of a report titled Impact of Oregon's Main Streets with a row of orange, teal, and dark blue graphically rendered buildings across the bottom.

The impact report highlights the many ways local Main Streets are preserving, sustaining, and enhancing their downtown communities under the leadership of Oregon Main Street. Some of the key findings in the report include:

• Oregon Main Street strengthens community connection and culture. The network recognizes each community’s history, works to preserve local character, and creates inviting gathering places for social interaction.

• Oregon Main Street bolsters the economy. Between 2011 and 2021, the Oregon Main Street network helped generate $266 million in additional sales revenue throughout the state. As a result of this increased spending, 2,400 jobs were supported in or by Main Street businesses.

• Oregon Main Street helps generate tax revenue. Between 2011 and 2021, the State of Oregon invested $1.8 million in Oregon Main Street administration and generated $3.5 million in additional state tax revenues as a result of the on-the-ground work of Oregon’s Main Streets.

This impact report is a helpful tool for downtown revitalization organizations to be able to see the value of their stories and efforts reflected with an academic precision. Despite its academic approach the report is digestible, enjoyable, and accessible for even the most tangential audience. This approachability along with its mind-blowing statistics caused downtown leaders to quickly and creatively go to work sharing this report. Organizations were able to share it with their respective organizational staff, boards, and membership. The report made it to the desks of city commissioners and other city partners. It landed on social media streams and was shared by proud downtown associations whose impacts were directly measured in the report.

“We see the difference our Main Streets are having in building stronger and more resilient communities,” said Sheri Stuart, state coordinator, Oregon Main Street. “This report helps us quantify that impact as well as tell the story of the amazing work local government, volunteers, and staff are having in creating vibrant and vital community centers based on local history and culture.”

Ultimately, the leaders in these communities are now able to visualize and leverage what they’ve known all along: investing in Main Street is definitely worth the effort.

Archaeology at the Willamette Heritage Center and Willamette University

October 4, 2022

Willamette University—in collaboration with the City of Salem, the Willamette Heritage Center, and the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde—received funds from the State Historic Preservation Office to examine two mission school sites in Salem to better understand the interaction between Native American and early Euro-American Mission settlers from 1841-1844. Beginning in Summer 2021, the 12-month project engaged faculty and undergraduate students at Willamette University, volunteers from the Oregon Archaeological Society, and staff from the City of Salem, Willamette Heritage Center, and the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde. 

The students conducted ground penetrating radar and GIS spatial analysis at the Willamette Heritage Center as well as portions of the Willamette University campus. The students along with OAS volunteers participated in the first phase of excavation of the area believed to be the location of the mission school’s parsonage building that lies in the northwest corner of the Willamette Heritage Center property. The excavation revealed debris from the woolen mill fire in 1895 and foundations of various structures as well as historical and pre-European Native American material culture. A second excavation phase is being planned for spring 2023 to more fully delineate the foundation features. The public can access information about this project via the City of Salem’s website, as well as through ongoing exhibitions at the Willamette Heritage Center.

The Story of John Jehuennes Baker (1785-1868) and Elizabeth Derryberry (1791-1872)

August 9, 2022

Oregon Pioneers of 1853 from Tennessee

Contributed by Charlotte Lehan, President, Pleasant View Cemetery Association

John and Elizabeth Baker are buried in unmarked graves at Pleasant View Cemetery, located in Clackamas County between Wilsonville and Sherwood. In 2020, some of the Baker descendants decided to honor them with an upright granite headstone to acknowledge them, and their children, whose names will be listed on the back of the stone. This led to two years of research across several states. The family is still finalizing the artwork for the monument, but here is their story.


Although John Baker was born in Maryland and Elizabeth Derryberry was born in Kentucky, they both lived most of their lives in Tennessee, naming several of their eight children after places in Tennessee. By the time of the 1850 census they had all relocated to Missouri, probably in anticipation of immigration to Oregon. John and Elizabeth Baker, at the ages of 68 and 62, began the journey west in April of 1853, less than 30 days after the marriage of their youngest son,  16-year-old Terry, to his 17-year-old bride, Barthenia Burton.

We don’t know the size of the wagon train, but the Baker Party, with at least 26 individuals, was a big part of it. John and Elizabeth traveled with seven of their adult children. Only eldest daughter, Mary Polly, who was married with three children of her own, remained in Missouri. Of the seven adult children who came West, five were married. Collectively they had 12 children, the youngest just a few weeks old and the oldest not yet ten. Two of the women were pregnant and another gave birth within a month of leaving.  It is likely that the family had other relatives, in-laws, and hired hands traveling with them as well, so their party was probably one of the larger ones in the train. Even with a dozen infants and young children, all the members of the Baker Party survived the nearly 2200-mile journey.

Pleasant View Cemetery has only one other resident who was born before 1800, John and Elizabeth Baker were in the upper age range of folks making the grueling crossing. The Baker families took land claims in the vicinity of the cemetery, including the land holding the cemetery itself, which was officially donated to the community in 1866, but had likely been in use as a cemetery even before the arrival of the Bakers. One of the earliest recorded burials was 3-year-old Mary Baker who had just recently crossed the trail.

The Baker graves are in the open area in the center of the historic cemetery. All six of these obelisks are other Bakers, three are children and three are grandchildren.

All seven of John and Elizabeth’s children who crossed the plains are buried at Pleasant View Cemetery. Only Mary Polly is not with them, and despite assistance from researchers in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Texas, we have not yet found her. The Bakers had eight children, 48 known grandchildren, and 193 known great grandchildren, many of them also buried at Pleasant View, including Terry and Barthenia, the teenagers who married just before leaving on the trail, whose marriage lasted nearly 50 years until Barthenia’s death at age seventy-five.

The cemetery in mid-summer, dressed in Queen Anne’s Lace. The large obelisk in the back is the eldest son, Endymian.

Why John and Elizabeth’s graves are unmarked when nearly all their children have quite significant monuments will likely remain a mystery. When their new monument is installed there will be a dedication to recognize this important patriarch and matriarch in Oregon Trail history.  

MentorCorps: Why Serve?

July 27, 2022

MentorCorps is a mentorship program serving heritage organizations across the state. Mentors walk alongside a heritage organization for a year to help them with specific goals. Currently, 20 mentors with various expertise and careers in different sectors of heritage work, volunteer their time to help meet the needs of Oregon’s heritage community. Recently we sat down with several of the mentors to learn why they chose to give of their time and expertise.

Sarah Cantor is the Director of the Holy Names Heritage Center and Archives in Marylhurst, Oregon. When asked about her experiences and why she mentors, here is what she had to say:

I really value the opportunity to provide assistance and to share the knowledge that I have and that I have been given. I have had a lot of help along the way and I know what it is like to work at a place with limited resources. I want to help other institutions deal with some of that overwhelm and find ways to modernize and be sustainable.

A mentor works with a mentee on a card catalog.
Mentor helping with a card catalog.

Kathleen Sligar is the Director and Curator at the Oregon Military Museum. She has expertise in collections care, museum management, and large collection moves! She shared this about her reasons for volunteering:

I’m a native Oregonian and I came from a rural poor area of the state. To me, going to college and becoming apt at a particular field, especially a historical one, it was important to give back to my state and my heritage… So when this came up, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. It gave me a chance to give back to Oregon. Free information for people to use, developed by professionals!

Kathleen wishes she could give even more and mentioned that she appreciates that the program has connected her with heritage professionals in other disciplines that she wouldn’t normally interact with.

Michael Panhorst is a retired museum professional. Michael has expertise in board development, nonprofit management, museums, and strategic planning. He serves because:

It’s a great opportunity to give back to the history/museum community. I’m now retired and have benefited from similar things over the years.

Theresa Rea is a reference archivist with the State Archives. This past year was her first year as a Mentor. Theresa has expertise in all things archives, collections care, disaster planning, outreach and advocacy. She chose to serve because:

It is really gratifying to help people and I like to be involved in the community. I’s cool to check out what other people are doing.

Mentors stands in front of a room teaching .
Mentor conducting a training.

Katie Henry, Oregon Heritage Commission Coordinator, oversaw the MentorCorps program for 6 years. In that time, she also used her expertise in collections management, board development, and museum administration to serve as a mentor. She said:

Having been in that position of being a one staff member at a heritage organization feeling like the weight of the world was on my shoulders regarding collection-based decisions, it’s important to me that other people in that position have a place to go as a sounding board. Even if it’s just someone supporting your plan of action. Not feeling alone in this field is really important and MentorCorps provides that network and support.

Mentor teaching object labeling to two individuals.
Labeling workshop at the Bush House.

Mentors choose to volunteer for many different reasons, professional development, getting to know others in the heritage community, a chance to give back, or a chance to stay in the game after they have retired. No matter what their reason is, these mentors make a difference in our state. Their commitment is greatly appreciated!

If you are interested in serving as a mentor, learn more on our website!

Excellence on Main: Celebrating Success!

July 6, 2022

We at Oregon Heritage firmly believe in the importance of celebrating success – big and small, personal achievement or community-wide endeavors, significant milestones or completion of a project well-done. One of the ways we acknowledge communities is through our Excellence on Main annual awards which honor the people, projects, and activities that are outstanding achievements across Oregon in enhancing the sense of place of our historic downtowns and traditional commercial districts. Check out 2021 winners here.

The Excellence on Main award recipients are selected by a jury of downtown revitalization peers who review nominations to evaluate how the nomination meets the criteria described under each of the nomination categories. We recently checked in with one of reviewers, Timothy Bishop, Economic Development Director with the City of La Grande, to get his perspective on the awards as he has served on the committee every year since the awards were initiated in 2010.

Sheri: Why do you enjoy being on the panel?

Timothy: Every year I’m excited to open the nominations packet and see the amazing and transformative work that is happening in downtowns across the state of Oregon and how local Main Street programs are constantly rising to the challenge of making their communities a better place. 

Sheri: What is your perspective on why these types of awards are important?

Timothy: I think these Awards are an important opportunity to celebrate the often hard-won successes of our local Main Street partners, by showcasing the best downtown revitalization activities in a way that both recognizes the success of each individual project or program, and inspires other communities facing similar challenges. 

Photo credit: Astoria Downtown Historic District Association

Sheri: Do you see any trends happening with our awards over the years you have served on the panel?

Timothy: Over the last decade I have been amazed by how local Main Street programs have engaged community partners to address truly complex and complicated challenges in their community.  In particular, the response to the COVID 19 pandemic saw an immediate response from local Main Street programs to help local businesses adapt and find new innovative ways to succeed and, in many cases, grow their businesses during a period of intense uncertainty.  In many cases the Local Main Street program was leading the way forward in their communities, reminding members of their communities how important small businesses were to the health of the local economy and helping municipal leaders understand what businesses really needed, and creating “out of the box” solutions to help them succeed.

Sheri: Do you have a favorite award category?

Timothy: The big transformative physical projects like streetscapes and large adaptive reuse projects are always exciting. But, my favorite nominations are the volunteer nominations.  While it’s nice to recognize big projects, it’s exciting to learn about the individual volunteers who are the driving force for positive change in their communities and the incredible amount of work and leadership that they contribute to help make their downtowns, better and more vibrant places.   It’s easy to see the impact of big bricks and mortar projects, but behind all of those projects there is usually a local champion who’s work often goes unseen.  Hearing those stories and recognizing those volunteers is always a highlight of serving on this panel.

We thank Timothy and all our panelists for their contributions to the success of these awards! Nominations are currently open for the 2022 Excellence on Main Awards. Applicants are the local main street organization in communities participating in the Main Street Track of the Oregon Main Street Network. Application information can be found here.

Photo credit: Beaverton Downtown Association

“Little” Joe Monahan

June 10, 2022

In honor of Pride Month in June, a member of the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries researched and shared the following story.

On the furthest reaches of the Eastern Oregon border, at the entrance of Idaho’s Owyhee country, sits a small, unassuming cemetery. The Rockville Cemetery is less than an acre in size, protected by a barbed-wire fence, and home to just twenty-six people laid to rest. Most of the gravemarkers have long since been worn away by all the elements imaginable in the harsh Eastern Oregon climate; for this reason, caretakers of this site have installed a single monument recognizing all who are interred at Rockville. One of the people identified on the memorial is “Little” Joe Monahan.

Monahan was born around 1850, though his early years are murky and speculative. He journeyed west, likely from New York, and settled in the Silver City area of Idaho, trying his hand at mining. It turns out Monahan had a knack for mining and made a small fortune, equivalent to around $85,000 today. Though, his luck ran out when he trusted his money with a crook of a supervisor and lost everything.

Joe decided to give up on mining and try his hand in a different industry, settling on the Succor Creek and starting a cattle ranch with just one head of cattle and a few chickens. He eventually grew his business to be sustainable enough to survive, though he lived a very meager life, living in nothing more than a dugout shelter in the earth. 

Joe was known for keeping to himself, working hard, and never complaining. One resident was quoted as saying, “He had fought his way through with many of us … suffered hardship and hunger in early days and never whimpered … the cowboys treated him with the greatest respect, and he was always welcome to eat and sleep at their camps.” Though he tried his best to keep to himself, he was well known for his shooting skills, accomplished horsemanship, and being a tough-as-nails cattle driver.

In the last days of 1904, Monahan came down with something akin to pneumonia. Trying his best to fight off the sickness, he finally gave in to seeking help from his neighbors. Sadly, the pneumonia overcame him, and Joe passed away.

None of Joe’s life is particularly remarkable for the life of a pioneer. It wasn’t until his body was being prepared for burial that it was discovered Joe was born female, making his life quite exceptional. Joe successfully lived his life as a man for at least the entire time he lived in Oregon and Idaho. Though described as a mere five foot tall, wearing men’s clothes much too big, having small hands and no facial hair, he was never questioned by anyone in his community about his sex. He was recorded in three censuses as male. He voted in every election and participated in his civil duties as a juror several times.

When news of Joe’s sex swept across the community, the story was quickly picked up and was sensationalized all across the country for a short period. Reports of his upbringing and early life grew into gossip with very little factual evidence; I can only imagine how the modest “Little” Joe Monahan would have felt about his life being so public.

We’ll never know precisely why Joe Monahan lived his life as a man. His decision could have been for financial security or better opportunities not offered to women at the time. Though I think the researcher Peter Boag said it best when he stated, “Perhaps the frontier lured these transgender people. They, too, bought into the promise of freedom and opportunity. Maybe they believed they could remake themselves in this new, undeveloped place. In many cases, these cross-dressers and transgender individuals lived and even thrived in the new territory.”

Joe was laid to rest in the community he thrived in, at Rockville Cemetery with his friends and neighbors. As one Rockville resident, Jess Strode, said, “She (sic) lies just about in the center of the cemetery. The best you can say is that “Little” Joe lies among her (sic) neighbors along the crick.”

So, 118 years after his death, this pride month, let’s all honor and celebrate “Little” Joe Monahan for living his life years ahead of his time with the most authenticity and freedom he knew possible.

Citations

Wikipedia Contributors. “Little Joe Monahan.” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Joe_Monahan. Accessed 28 March 2022.

Ashworth, Suzanna. “Find a Grave Memorial 75787251.” Find A Grave, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/75787251/joe-monahan. Accessed 28 March 2022.

Friedman, Ralph. Tracking Down Oregon. Caxton Press, 1978. Google Books. Gleick, James. Chaos: Making a New Science. Penguin, 1987. (link)

Sudermann, Hannelore. “A Re-Dress of the West.” Washington State Magazine, https://magazine.wsu.edu/2015/01/30/a-re-dress-of-the-west/. Accessed 28 March 2022.

Death Betrayed Her: For Eighteen Years Joe Monahan, A Woman, Masqueraded As A Man. (Jan. 16 1904). The Corvallis Times, pg. 1. (Link to article)

Boag, Peter. Re-Dressing America’s Frontier Past. University of California Press, 2011.

Compliance Connections

May 13, 2022

By Jessica Gabriel, Review and Compliance Coordinator for the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office

At its surface, the regulatory side of historic preservation gets a bad rap. Words like compliance and mitigation have a way of clouding what is actually a pretty amazing opportunity. When we’re dealing with state and federal preservation laws, it is easy to lose sight of the get-to-do as we focus on the have-to-do. Yes, most state and federal agencies with properties over 50 years old will eventually have to consult with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). Yes, they’ll have to stop, look, and listen before making decisions that impact potentially historic properties and yes, they may even have to mitigate for those impacts. There’s no way around it, we have to do the have-to-do!

But there’s room for more. In my role as a compliance specialist, I propose we give the get-the-do more credit.  Because it is definitely due.  Yes, agencies have to consult, but in the process, they get to learn more about the pieces of Oregon history for which they are ultimately stewards.  Yes, agencies have to reach out to the public, but they get to have the opportunity to connect with local communities and stakeholders.  Yes, sometimes agencies have to complete mitigation, but they also get to tell a story.  They get to be a part of that story; of Oregon’s story.

You would be hard-pressed to find an aspect of Oregon’s story that historic preservation compliance hasn’t touched and one of the ways I focus on the get-to-do of my job is to appreciate the ways compliance is connected to our everyday. For example, like many folks my age, I grew up knowing that “Goonies never say die” and fell in love with Astoria, years before getting to live there for a few years myself.  As recently as 2021, SHPO consulted on a project involving Astoria’s iconic Riverwalk that’s featured in the opening credits of The Goonies. A small story for Oregon, but one that’s beloved nationally for its connection to movie nostalgia. Our records show a total of 369 compliance cases in Astoria and while the outcome of these projects may not have ultimately been physical preservation in every case, the history of these properties has had the opportunity to be told via the compliance process.

March is Women’s History Month.  Compliance connection? SHPO has a review case for Portland Women’s Forum State Park. The Portland Women’s Forum began in 1946 to address issues concerning civic, state, national, and international affairs and ultimately became a driving force for the preservation of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (for which we have at least 45 associated cases by the way). We get to celebrate the role women have had not just in the preservation of Oregon’s natural and historical resources, but in civic engagement as well.   

The upcoming 2022 World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field. Compliance connection? While the historic Hayward Field was not preserved, the University of Oregon and SHPO worked together to find creative ways of conveying the history of the old field to a new generation of athletes and spectators alike. That story can now be told on an international scale as this is the first time the championships have ever been held in the United States. We get to share that story with the world! 

We currently have record of about 42,496 cases in our files. Each one of these started as a have-to-do. But they also represent the opportunity for a connection uncovered, a history shared, and the chance to turn a regulatory process into a get-to-do

Preserving Central Oregon’s agricultural history at a homestead house

March 29, 2022

Written by: Julie Brown, communication and community relations manager, Bend Park and Recreation District

I admit that historical preservation expertise isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about a park and recreation agency. But a recent collaboration with our historical society may start to change that in Central Oregon.

Hollinshead Park is a former working ranch donated by Dean and Lily Hollinshead to Bend Park and Recreation District (BPRD) in 1984. Much of the park is open fields in place of the original Hollinshead orchard. The renovated Hollinshead Barn hosts 150+ events annually including workshops, classes, conferences, and weddings attended by more than 15,000 people in 2019. The park is also home to the Hollinshead-Matson Share Croppers House, now an informal museum.

The Hollinshead-Matson Historic House has been maintained for nearly three decades through a relationship between Sharron Rosengarth, one of the five Matson children, and her late-husband Tony Rosengarth, and the park district.

In late 2019, BPRD was awarded an Oregon Heritage Grant to work alongside Deschutes County Historical Society to preserve and care for historical items in the Hollinshead Home, and develop interpretative panels to tell the agricultural and family history of the property. The project was completed in 2021 and is a great example of a park and recreation project leveraging grant funds and partner expertise.

The Hollinshead-Matson House project seized an opportunity that would have been soon lost if not acted upon. The personal connection of Sharron Rosengarth who was born in the home and tells her family story directly about the house and its contents, combined with BPRD’s commitment to honoring the historical use of the property and the Deschutes County Historical Society’s expertise to interpret the story was a powerful trifecta.

The project:

  • Preserved an early 20th century homestead family historic house and accompanying archival collection.
  • Allowed BPRD and Deschutes County Historical Society to pool resources in order to meet our shared goals of preservation, heritage education and long-term care of the Hollinshead-Matson Historic House collection and exhibits.
  • Set up a post-pandemic volunteer-led public tour approach to teaching agricultural history in a highly visible and highly visited public space.

Kelly Cannon-Miller, Executive Director, Deschutes County Historical Society, provided project oversight on behalf of DCHS. During her thirteen years at DCHS, she has worked closely with Sharron and Tony Rosengarth on several projects, including oral history gathering. Her relationship to the Rosengarth family aided in the emotional transition of management of the historic house from the family to BPRD.

“This project really represents the massive demographic and economic shifts in Bend’s population over the past thirty years, on two different levels,” said Kelly Cannon-Miller. “On the one hand is the shift from agriculture as a part of the local economy to subdivisions and population explosion. On the other hand, it’s the change from a small town where everyone knew who Dean and Lily Hollinshead were and Sharron can have her home phone number on the sign out front to call for tours, to a small city where two thirds of the population is new and disconnected from the town’s past.”

“But in the rough edges between Old Bend and New Bend, there is a shared love of our parks—by bringing forward the shared history within these spaces, we can honor the past while connecting its newest residents to it,” she added.