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Roseburg: Heritage All-Star Community

February 22, 2013

By Brian Davis

Roseburg values its history. At I-5 exit 124 motorists see the usual brown heritage attraction sign; what is unusual is that it says “National Register Historic Districts”. Roseburg boasts three National Register districts that celebrate distinctly different aspects of Roseburg’s past.

Mill-Pine could be thought of as the workingman’s district. It runs along the railroad and provided housing for workers. Houses are simple and generally utilitarian but reflect the American dream of home ownership even if at a modest scale.

Laurelwood on the other hand, presents eclectic styles, from Colonial to Mediterranean, and huge bungalows to cozy cottages. Homes overlook the South Umpqua River or surround the neighborhood park. Mature landscaping complements the gracious homes tucked back in a private enclave.

Roseburg House and Blast Photo

(Left) House in the Laurelwood Historic District; (Right) View of a building damaged in The Blast in 1959.

Downtown represents Roseburg’s claim to national press coverage – the site of the Roseburg Blast. On a hot August night in 1959 a delivery truck loaded with dynamite parked downtown. A small fire broke out nearby resulting in the destruction of much of our original downtown.

Heritage All-Star Community status demonstrates that Roseburg values its history and its citizens. It reminds us of our amazing partners who celebrate what makes Roseburg special. It is the Downtown Roseburg Association working as an Oregon Main Street city and celebrating past times during Graffiti Week events, or the Visitor and Convention Bureau creating a self-guided smart phone tour of The Blast. The program also reminds us that we can do more to celebrate and recognize our unique city and its past.

Perhaps Roseburg will look to its future to preserve its past by engaging students in local history or developing an oral history program to interview long-time residents or those who recall events and activities from our past. The Heritage All-Star designation is a true honor for Roseburg and demonstrates the community’s commitment to preserving our proud history.

Brian Davis is the Roseburg Community Development Director.

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