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Saying Thanks

November 24, 2015

This note from Dave Perry of the Gillespie Cemetery Veterans Project seemed appropriate to share in this period between Veterans Day and Thanksgiving:


Gillespie Cemetery

Four years ago, the Gillespie Cemetery board realized there were multiple Veteran graves in the cemetery. The cemetery has Veterans that served in the Oregon Territorial Militia, the Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korean War and Vietnam.

We have Board members who are interested in history and genealogy who helped immensely identifying burials with military service.  A review of obituaries, Find A Grave records, credible family historical records and other resources enabled the Cemetery to identify burials with military service.

We initially began to mark those graves with flags that had military or identification of their service on the grave stone.  Each year research revealed additional Veterans that were honored.

Two years ago a compilation of Veterans was made, put in picture frames and placed on a red, white & blue wooden easel, draped with celebratory bunting. The compilation included the Veterans’ name, branch of service and conflict in which they served if appropriate.  Last year we added ‘Special Honoree’s’ which identified a ‘Rosie the Riveter’ and a person that built ‘Liberty Ships’ at the Kaiser Shipyard in Vancouver, Washington during WWII.  The easel is placed under a tree near the Cemetery parking lot during Memorial Day weekend and removed when the flags are picked up from the graves. The flags are saved and used again the following year and the compilation is updated as burials are added. We initially used flags with 24” staff but located on line ‘cemetery flags’ with a 30” staff to keep the flags from touching the ground.

The project has been very successful and resulted many positive comments. Additional information regarding burials in the cemetery has been received from visitors and families which added to cemetery records.–Dave Perry

The Gillespie Veterans Cemetery Project found a way to show thanks to both veterans and their helpers from the past.  What projects, places do you want to show thanks for this year? The Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (RARE) program which provides executive directors to our smaller Main Street communities; the Oregon Historic Theater Assessment and soon to be fifty-year old National Historic Preservation Act among many more top our list!

Share #oregonheritage

October 27, 2015


Oregon Heritage asks that you use the tag #oregonheritage when sharing Oregon’s history and culture on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The tag will help link the efforts and activities of all of Oregon’s historians, preservationists, curators, archivists and heritage fans. It will also maximize the social media efforts of organizations and practitioners that use the tag and help introduce their work to new audiences across disciplines and interests. For fans of heritage, searching for #oregonheritage will open up the entire universe of heritage activities, artifacts, sites and collections in the state. If enough organizations use the tag the general public will follow. So;

  • sharing a photo of a historic building on instagram? Tag it #oregonheritage
  • sharing an update about a cultural event in your community? tag it #oregonheritage
  • sharing artifacts from your collection on facebook? Tag it #oregonheritage

Use the tag and help create a network celebrating the many forms of Oregon’s history and culture.

Some examples:

Historic cemeteries

Japanese Cemetery In Portland #oregonheritage #oregonculture #volunteersrock

A photo posted by Kuri Gill (@kurigill) on

The historic pipe organ at the Egyptian Theater

I walked inside a pipe organ last week.

A video posted by Mike Gushard (@mighty_thylacine) on

A salmon bake:

Salmon Bake! #OregonHeritage

A photo posted by @kimxfitz on


Museum artifacts like the former governor’s saddle:

Detail, Gov McKay's #saddle at the #BentonCountyMuseum #thisisculture #oregonhistory #oregonheritage #folkart #oregon

A photo posted by Chris D'Arcy (@chris_darcy) on

Tweets about museum collections

News and updates about Oregon’s heritage

Deschutes Historical Museum using #oregonheritage

Deschutes Historical Museum using #oregonheritage

A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by the character #, for instance #oregonheritage. When used on social media sites it creates a link that goes to all public instances of that tag on the website.

Reporting from Reedsport

October 23, 2015
The crowd at the 2015 Main Street Conference Award Ceremony at Old St. Peter's Landmark

The crowd at the 2015 Main Street Conference Award Ceremony at Old St. Peter’s Landmark

Last week a few of us from Reedsport attended the 2015 Oregon Main Street Conference in The Dalles, and what a time we had!  The conference was filled with people representing cities from across the state, and everyone came with one question in mind: “How do I make my community better?” As you might imagine, the atmosphere was electric, crackling with optimism and creativity about how to reinvent, rethink, restore, and revive every aspect of our respective towns. Here are some notes I took:

  • Paint can make a big difference, and it doesn’t cost a lot of money.
  • 15 to 25 feet wide is plenty for a storefront
  • Businesses can find creative ways to collaborate with each other, like the hair salon that gives customers coupons for the restaurant next door.
  • In Independence, OR, citizens wanted a fence for their dog park, so they raised $1500 and put one up themselves.
  • Everybody has been to Reedsport, but almost everybody struggles to remember something about it. Time for a 50-foot concrete salmon statue?

In my free time I had the good fortune to find books by two early Oregon authors at Klindt’s Bookstore, the oldest bookstore in Oregon (established 1870.) Speaking of old books, did you know that Oregon had libraries before it had statehood? Early pioneers were incredibly literate, and many carried their personal libraries with them on the Oregon Trail. Oregon City opened the first public library in 1846, and Oregonians have been reading ever since. So if you want to celebrate a true Oregon tradition  with true pioneer pride, make sure you swing by the Reedsport Public Library’s open house to celebrate its completed renovation this Friday from 4 to 6pm, refreshments and tours included. You can thank our forefathers for starting us off right. – Adapted from the Reedsport Main Street Blog, written by Katie Lockhard, Program Coordinator


October 14, 2015
Nyssa Train Depot

Nyssa Train Depot

Oregonians often flock to forests of tall Douglas Fir trees, the towering peak of Mt. Hood, or the romanticized western landscape of the High Desert. However, there is a bounty of equally intriguing architecture that dots the famous landscape of Oregon.
The Oregon Heritage summer staff team had the opportunity to travel many miles over the past few months to study, document, and mostly importantly…to enjoy some of the buildings in the state.

A Mystery in Florence

A Mystery in Florence

In Nyssa, the team found an old train station which is perhaps one of the best representations of the Streamline Moderne style that there is in Oregon. The Conser House in Jefferson, resembling a colonial home on the East Coast, intrigued the summer staff with its one-of-a-kind floorplan. On the coast in Florence, the team is still scratching their heads about an early 20th Century house turned gas station, or maybe the other way around; it’s a mystery.
The team has documented over 300 buildings this summer and each of them is unique in their own way. Buildings tell the stories of the places they are in and the people that built them. Sometimes you have to look closely, but when you do, you will certainly find something that peaks your interest. There is still time to explore in this last month of summer. Whether you go to Gilliam County or downtown Salem, there are buildings waiting for you to fall in love with them. Go find them. — by D. Paden Vargo, 2015 Summer Staff at Oregon Heritage

Plan for emergencies now so your collections don’t go up in smoke.

August 28, 2015
Wildfire in Oregon - Image Courtesy of BLM and Wikimedia

Wildfire in Oregon – Image Courtesy of BLM and Wikimedia

The Northwest is on fire. Governor Kate Brown recently called the National Guard to assist an army of firefighters from all around the world. Many of the wildfires are creeping dangerously near towns and cities. Hopefully we will get a little relief this weekend with heavy rains but those of who care for Oregon’s heritage and collections shouldn’t just hope for the best. It is important to think ahead.

Think quick: a disaster is looming, what is the most important item in your collection to get to safety? Ok, how would you do it? Comment to let us know.

Never underestimate the importance of disaster planning. Take a moment in the next few days to create a basic plan for what to do if your museum, collection or historic place is threatened. The Pocket Response Emergency Plan is a good first step in this process and only takes minutes to complete. Once you have a PrEP phone tree, buy supplies and start considering a more comprehensive disaster plan or at least figure out your collection priorities.

Obviously staff and family are the most important thing to secure but what important piece of Oregon’s history would you save next? Think about it now so you can focus on getting it to safety if a fire, flood or other disaster draws near.

For more information and guidance on diaster preparedness and collections go to:

Trees of Knowledge

August 21, 2015
From Stumptown to Treetown by David-Paul Hedburg

From Stumptown to Treetown by David-Paul Hedburg

We like to think our Oregon Heritage Fellowship plants the seeds of great thinkers in Oregon history. One of our 2015 Heritage Fellows spent time researching planters of downtown Portland’s lush environs.

Portland State graduate student David-Paul Hedberg used the $2000 Oregon Heritage Fellowship to do research on indigenous environmental activist Wilson Charley. After winning the scholarship the environmental historian used his knowledge of nature and history to write From Stumptown to Tree Town: A field guide for interpreting Portland’s history through its heritage trees. The guide, written for Portland Parks and Recreation, is a ten stop walking tour of downtown Portland’s landmark plants. From the massive Copper Beech outside PSU’s main library to the garden plants of former estate’s, Hedburg uses each tree to give readers a glimpse of Portland’s founding families, growth as a city and natural environment. The guide is a free download and perfect for anyone looking to take a stroll and learn more about the city.

If you know a similarly talented student of Oregon’s Heritage let them know about the 2016 Oregon Heritage Fellowship.

Check out Portland Parks and Recreation’s website to download From Stumptown to Tree Town and learn more about the city’s Heritage Tree program.

Summer Staff in Ontario

August 3, 2015
Paden Vargo and Savanah Herrell - Oregon Heritage's 2015 Summer Staff

Paden Vargo and Savanah Herrell – Oregon Heritage’s 2015 Summer Staff

In Mid-July, two Oregon Heritage Summer Staff traveled to Ontario, Oregon. They set up a field office in the local coffee shop and spent a week supporting Revitalize Ontario! the local downtown revitalization organization. Each summer Oregon Heritage recruits Historic Preservation students to go around the state supporting the efforts of Oregon Main Street communities. When these staff members go to a community, they typically aim to provide basic information to the community about their buildings and offer support to the local business owners.

The main task of the Summer Staff in Ontario was surveying historic buildings in the downtown area. What this means is staff members walk Ontario’s downtown streets looking at buildings, photographing them and assessing their historic integrity. Additionally, they met with local community members to understand which buildings they thought were important. They also met with business owners to help them make small changes to improve their storefronts. The trip to Ontario was meant to give community members a leg-up when planning their revitalization.
Staff members drank great coffee and got to know wonderful community members. They are currently writing a report that will make its way back to Ontario with recommendations for the future. This assistance is available to communities participating in the Oregon Main Street Program.

For more information on the Main Street Program go to:

Oregon Street in Downtown Ontario

Oregon Street in Downtown Ontario

By Savannah Herrell, 2015 Summer Staff at Oregon Heritage.

It’s a party and you’re invited!

July 24, 2015

The National Historic Preservation Act turns 50 in 2016 and to celebrate, we want to recognize Oregon’s historic buildings!

Oregon has over 2,000 individual properties – buildings, sites, even trails, bridges and statues – listed in the National Register. The National Register, which is maintained by the National Park Service under the authority of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, is the nation’s official list of places deemed worthy of preservation for their importance to American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture.

Does your building have an important birthday in 2016 too? The Oregon State Historic Preservation Office is inviting property owners whose buildings will be 100 years old, 150 years old, or even 50 years old to consider nominating their property for listing in the National Register in 2016. It takes about a year to list a property after a nomination is submitted to this office. For a property owner, the advantages of listing a building in the National Register include eligibility for tax credit programs, greater eligibility for grants, and leniency in application of the building code.

Get in on the celebration! Contact Tracy Zeller (, (503) 986-0690) at the State Historic Preservation Office to find out whether your property may be eligible for listing in the National Register and for more details.

The W. S. Gilbert House in Milwaukee will turn 100 years old in 2016. This house is eligible for listing in the National Register for its association with Reverend Gilbert, who served as a military chaplain in the Philippines, Mexico and France, for which he was decorated with the Croix de Guerre. The house is also important as an excellent example of the Arts and Crafts style, designed by renowned architect Ellis F. Lawrence.

The W. S. Gilbert House in Milwaukee will turn 100 years old in 2016. This house is eligible for listing in the National Register for its association with Reverend Gilbert, who served as a military chaplain in the Philippines, Mexico and France, for which he was decorated with the Croix de Guerre. The house is also important as an excellent example of the Arts and Crafts style, designed by renowned architect Ellis F. Lawrence.

Organizing the Soul of a City

July 7, 2015
Monuments in Mosier Cemetery

Tombstones in Mosier’s historic cemetery

The City of Mosier’s two historic cemeteries are beloved by the community and serve as vital public gathering spaces where residents form strong connections to Mosier history and to their community. For almost a century the cemetery management was a labor of love performed exclusively by volunteers. But in 2013 the City stepped up to plate to take over this enormous responsibility and found itself struggling to maintain a record keeping system comprised of three notebooks stuffed with conflicting maps and information and a large shoebox full of documents and scraps of very old notes.

In 2014 the City of Mosier applied for and received a Historic Cemetery Grant from the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries, which provided the financial assistance that the City needed to undertake the massive project of getting all of these old records organized and uploaded onto an online software system.

With the help of a nationally renowned consultant, Sally Donovan and Associates, the City of Mosier City Staff and a core group of volunteers developed a management and record keeping system that now allows City Staff to efficiently manage these two active cemeteries. This system also preserves all cemetery historic documents, photos, and records and makes them publicly accessible via the internet through the online software system.

From November 2014 through February 2015, the volunteers and city staff logged over 20 hours each person working to record the State Road cemetery data. But in February there were still many records left to be entered. The City Manager recruited three more interested volunteers and held a half day workshop on February 26th to train these new volunteers. The three new volunteers logged 30 hours total to complete the entire State Road Data entry on March 27th, 2015.

This project engaged and empowered Mosier Citizens to work together with the City to preserve the history of our community and our cemeteries. City Staff also gained the knowledge, organization, and skills needed to manage our two active historic cemeteries with confidence, professionalism, and empathy.

For visitor access to the Mosier Pioneer Cemetery and the Mosier State Road Cemetery information, go to: and log in with the name Mosier Cemeteries and the password welcome.

-Adapted from text by Kathy Fitzpatrick, Mosier City Manager.

Mitigate the quake!

June 15, 2015
Before - Bad news in a quake!

Before – Bad news in a quake!

As of March 30th, 2014 the Southern Oregon Historical Society (SOHS) finished a yearlong project to protect their shelved artifacts against the ever present threat of a major earthquake. SOHS was first alerted to this danger after a 2010 Conservation Assessment Report recommendation. In 2013, SOHS applied for and won a matching $18,760 Heritage Grant from the Oregon Heritage Commission for this disaster mitigation proposal.

Unable to locate any suitable stabilization system for metal shelving, SOHS staff developed its own system using shelf unit bracing, shelving edge barriers and custom-made heavy-duty bungee restraints. This system provided adequate protection while still allowing easy access to the artifacts. Additionally, artifacts previously placed unboxed on shelves were also inventoried and archivally packed. The safeguards were installed by a small group of staff and volunteers with a minimal amount of carpentry and metal-working skills required.

Being the first artifact stabilization project in the state, the SOHS is proud that its successful plan will serve as a model for other cultural and heritage organizations. – Keoni Diacamos, Southern Oregon Historical Society

After - much better

After – much better


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