Sunday, December 31, 2006

Clyde List Editorial

Our esteemed affiliate, The Oregon Historical Society, has been experiencing financial difficulties over the past few years. Politicians are debating the importance of the organization. As though history were a phenomenon that can be called off at will. In Exodus 32:9-14, even God trembles before history. He almost decides to erase His chosen people from the face of the Earth, and then realizes that with no one to worship Him-- He Himself will be erased. We historians do not claim to know the mind of God, but we do know that it is not unusual for mortals, immortals, saints and sinners, governors and peons alike-- to follow in the footsteps of that historian mentioned in the Book of Isaiah:
"Take a harp, go about the city, o forgotten harlot. Make sweet melody, sing many songs, that you may be remembered."
    Isaiah 23:16

Friday, December 29, 2006

Dear Blog-Meister...

Here is an "unknown" picture that you might be interested in posting on the Sherwood Historical Society blog site. This picture was found in my grandmother Mrs. Roy "Jennie" Harrington's belongings. I do not recognize the individuals in the photo, but believe that it may have been taken in Middleton, possibly at the Middleton Baptist Church. If you would like to post it and see if anyone can help identify these individuals, I would appreciate it.
--Anne (Harrington) Watson

Friday, December 08, 2006

Amazing Find at Smock House

photo of original from Smock House newspaper.
1896 was a bad year for Sherwood. The brickyard went bust and people were insulating their walls with newspaper instead of wallpaper. As a result, the top floor of Smock House has the news of 1896 pasted all over its southern exposure. Past President June Reynolds was making a close inspection of these newspapers when this poem jumped out and bit her on the nose. The poem was interesting to look at as well as to read. It was hand lettered in a political cartoon. She hasn't been able to decipher the artist/poet's name yet, but it's not half bad! (I wonder if anyone would describe Portland's polluted, concreted and creosoted riverfront this way today!)

Softly Flows the Blue Willamette
Copyright 2006 by Sherwood Historical Society

Softly flows the blue Willamette
Hazy hills slope gently down
Where the heaving sighing waters,
Lap the ash trunks gray and brown.

Slender wind-swung weeping willows
On the river's low banks grow...
Ev'n the lightest summer breezes
Gently sway them to and fro

Fragile, bent and broken rushes
Lean far out and kiss the tide!
Neath the green pads of the lily,
Silver mirrors flash and hide

Lo, a scarlet sun is sinking
In a gleaming, golden west
And the blinking stars lie mirrored
On the blue Willamette's breast.

Hear Clyde List's Rendition of this Song!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Brick Kiln Redux

Here is what our blog discussion uncovered about

According to Ronald Sherk's 1936 History of Sherwood: "In 1890, four Portland business-men: Dr. Edgar Poppleton, E.T. Johnson, J.H. Smith, and Robert Alexander decided to place a brick yard in Smockville. Matt Fitch was sent here by the Kennedy Co. of Chicago, manufacturers of press brick machinery. He set up the plant and turned out one kiln of brick. Then he turned the brick yard over to the owners." The business was called The Portland Pressed Brick Company

DETAIL 1: We decided the man on the far left must be Matt Fitch. According to fellow bloggers: "Matthew M. Fitch and his wife Nettie are found in the 1910 Census living in the West Cedar District on Middleton Road. His occupation is listed as a farmer. Their children are listed as Ray and Ivy. His wife Nettie was the daughter of J.C. Smock. He built the house that they call the Morback House today, starting in 1890. He built it for J.C. Smock who sold it to Robert Alexander. Matt was an engineer who liked to draw designs and build. Washington County marriage records compiled by The Genealogical Forum of Portland, Oregon state: M.M. Fitch & Nettie M. Smock, both of Washington County, married 11 June 1890 at the house of J.C. Smock. Witnesses: F.A. Olds & Rosa B. Smock. Minister: H.C. Plummer. Smockville, Washington County." (The Smock residence mentioned here was a large building located across the railroad tracks from Old Town. It burned down in the 1930's. "West Cedar Creek District" was our political designation before Sherwood was incorporated.)

DETAIL 2 & 3: Judging merely from the way he's placed in the photo, the man on the left is assumed to be Robert Alexander. He was from Sherwood, Michigan (See Nov. 5, 2005 Posting) and suggested the name "Sherwood" for our town. The middle figure is a good candidate for David Alexander, who makes a colorful appearance in the 1897 town minutes. (After the brick yard closes, he donates brickbats to the Town, but charges a hefty fee to transport the brick!) The fellow on the far right remains a mystery.

DETAIL 4: The man on the far right just has to be Dr. Poppleton. The other two would be Johnson and Smith. According to a blogger: "Edgar Poppleton is listed in the 1880 Census in Lafayette, Yamhill County, Oregon. He was living with his wife Nancy and his five daughters, Adalaid, Minta, Illda, Augusta and Nellie. Edgar's occupation is listed as M.D. His age is listed as 48 on the 1880 census, so he would appear about 58 years if he was included in the photo taken circa 1890."

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Christmas Card

Piano Player at Morback House     December 2, 2006
No matter what you do at Morback House, history is watching.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Sherwood Chorale at Morback House

Following the annual Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting, the ghosts at Morback House were entertained by The Sherwood Renaissance Singers, AKA The Sherwood Christmas Chorale. Naturally the Historical Society's Sacred Cow (far left) wandered in, thinking it was the "Christmas Corral."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"See you after the parade!"

This lady is the Sherwood Historical Society's newest member. If you're from Sherwood, you remember her as City Recorder. She worked in Morback House when it was City Hall, before it was our Museum. She knows a lot of stuff about the building nobody else knows. She remembers why some electric plug-ins are painted orange and not others. She remembers when some kids planted marijuana plants all around the building when it was still City Hall and no one caught on for weeks and weeks. But right now she's helping the Society decorate for Christmas at Morback House. The Annual Christmas Parade is this coming Saturday and we don't want to be caught unprepared.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

History Workshop attracts Old Families

It was an interesting group of people who descended on Morback House Saturday, November 17. We learned a lot about the beaver dam AKA onion flats AKA Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge territory. The Weckert and Galbraith families were especially well represented. A Sherwood High student from June Reynolds' history class ran the computer.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Rail Road Street 100 Years Ago

Welcome to Sherwood Oregon USA: The way we were at the Turn of the Century. There is a fire-plug at the lower right corner which means the year is later than 1898 (because that was when the water tower was built to prevent a disaster like the Great Fire of 1895). The sidewalk is made of wood, meaning we are earlier than 1913. You would have to visit some fairly remote part of the world to photograph a scene as rugged as this today. But wait.

DETAIL 1: Notice the two gents in front of the McConnell and Hall store. We assume they are the proprietors McConnell and Hall. They seem quite pleased with themselves and their surroundings. The Post Office is there. In the window on the right there is a bill advertising a 4th of July celebration. The Sherwin Williams logo is prominant. You can go to any store by that name today and learn more. The only anecdote about paint in Sherwood is the house that was painted blue in "Bluetown," mentioned elsewhere on this blog (October 2005).
DETAIL 2: Oh oh! Here are some teenagers in front of the Meat Market (Note the well-fed dog). They have probably drifted over from the train depot across the street just to get in on the photograph. Every railroad town had its "depot loafers." Get ready for some rough language. I wonder what they're laughing about.

DETAIL 3: At the far end of Railroad Street, Joe Morback is posing in front of his general merchandise store. And his bank. And his "Farm Produce A Specialty" depot. He wasn't just a successful businessman. J.E.Morback served as Mayor longer than any mayor anywhere in Oregon. He ran a tight ship. But wait! What's that going on at the corner of Railroad and Main just below the bank sign!?

DETAIL 4: The wagon meister appears to be busy keeping his small son's (or daughter's) attention off the couple on the corner. Or perhaps he's focused on not running over a pedestrian (note the leg sticking out). The picture is a bit too blurry to show the crop being hauled. Too oblong to be onions. Could be corn or potatoes.

DETAIL 5: Looks like hanky-panky, but no amount of photo analysis has been able to prove just what's going on here.

To purchase your own copy of the Master Photograph, contact the Oregon Historical Society.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

How Long Ago Was That!?

SMOCK HOUSE in transit to HERITAGE CENTER--November 1, 2003

Lilly Morgan, Lilly Morgan, do you recall how we and Emmert International picked up this god-awful wreck of an historical asset and toted it down the street that cold November morning of November 1, 2003! Do you recall the "Why-On-Earth!?" we and the neighbors kept asking ourselves? Most of us weren't the least bit sure it was even the building Ronald Sherk's History of Sherwood identified as Sherwood's oldest house.

But it was! Thanks to hundreds of volunteer hours and Sherwood City Hall's patience, Smock House is one of Old Sherwood Town's prettiest landmarks today. Even as we speak, a back porch is being added by Don Livingston of Teller Construction and he's not charging us a cent! Jim Wiedeman, Fisher Roofing, and Chavez Lumber are providing valuable support.

Livingston's porch-work is part of a tradition among Sherwood contractors that is older than this blog! If this blog hasn't given some of you the attention you deserve, please forgive!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sherwood High at Champoeg

Get ready to be interviewed by these folks soon. Sherwood Historical Society President June Reynolds and two of her Sherwood High School students are shown here taking a break from the seminar they attended at Champoeg Park today. The purpose of the class was to learn how to do better interviewing of historically interesting people.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sherwood Meets Tualatin

Future banjo picker gets a lesson on strumming.
Saturday, the Folks paid a visit to the town with the antebellum house along the Boone family road that crosses the prehistoric river that crosses the most pristine example of the J Harlen Bretz scablands in Oregon. We mean Tualatin of course. Our two historical societies have always hit it off and Saturday was no exception. It was their harvest day, and we had to leave our Sherwood Oregon USA Onion Festival behind... but not before performing a skit to explain the history of onion farming in the Sherwood-Tualatin area, and gorging down some of the best food served all year in Sherwood town.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Nameless Photos Collection: Who Was She?

The costume seems a bit overdone. Was she an actress? We haven't a clue. The feathered hat pin suggests a Sherwood Forest theme. A Gilbert and Sullivan-style play (actually by DeKoven and Smith) was big in 1890s. It was called "Robin Hood," and it's hit song was "Oh Promise Me."

Friday, October 13, 2006

Another Nameless Sherwoodian

The initials "M.W.M." are penciled on back. Could he have been a Morback? We don't know. Computer enhanced details may give a clue.

The timepiece (above right) is more than functional, and the lapel pin (at right) seems to have a design in it. These artifacts must be in somebody's collection. Any ideas out there?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

On the Porch at Morback House

Sherwood Historians Sharing Scary Stories for Upcoming Ghost Tour.

Some members of the Historical Society believe in ghosts, others don't. "Frankly, I've never met a ghost." Clyde List remarked, "But I would like kids to know that creepy feeling I got when I was a Third Grader exploring the back alleys of Sherwood Old Town for the first time. With all those old buildings around me, I felt like an actor in Raiders of the Lost Ark! I discovered how interesting this town really is!"

Monday, October 02, 2006

Trail Days 2006

What could a bank robber, three Quaker girls, a coonskin hat, and a few sticks of dynamite have to do with the history of Sherwood?

The crowds just kept getting bigger during our fourth annual walking tour, also known as Heritage Trail Days. By Sunday afternoon there were between 15 and 20 visitors exploring our core area. This included a couple from Germany and another from England (from Nottingham, no less!). The Sherwood Gazette reports that "...tourism will likely grow in the Washington and Yamhill County areas." To which we might add: "...along with the world's curiosity about our typical little 19th Century railroad town."
See Gallery for more pictures.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Trail Days Report



"It is sobering to realize how one little story can keep someone living on in a descendant's memory. Once that story is forgotten, the person vanishes as if he never existed." --Charles Simic, The New York Review, October 5,2006
These are but two of the many mystery photographs the Sherwood Historical Society has received. They are of people who may or may not have lived here at one time. We just don't know. What were their names? What did they know that we might benefit from today? We will probably never know.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The City Still Loves Us!

Sherwood Historical Society President June Reynolds receives a box of historical items from Sherwood Mayor Keith Mays. Most of the artifacts once belonged to Woodmen of the World, which provided vital support to its members in the days before Social Security and Medicare.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

In the Heart of Sherwood: Garth Hite Farm

Speaking of bucolic farm scenery, this photograph of Garth Hite appeared in the Sunday Oregonian April 1, 1950. It was probably taken from Pacific Highway. You'd be plowing up G.I.Joe's parking lot if you tried to farm that spot today. Garth was band-leader Don and Woody Hite's dad. (The caption reads: "Old-Timer G. E. Hite, born 70 years ago in Washington County, is long time farmer near Six Corners. Atop tractor, he eyes oat field he's sewing.")

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Aebischer Farm Revisited

Here's a more recent (1980) view of the Aebischer Family Farm atop Chehalem Mountain. The view is looking toward Mount Hood. Lilly Morgan says she used to go skinny dippin' in that pond at the top of the picture.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The FOLKS Return!

We played and sang our hearts out at the Oregon-Idaho Border where the famous Jimmie Stewart movie, Bend in the River, was made. We also jammed at the annual Dufur Threshing Bee. On our way to Dufur we stopped in at the county seat of Baker County to research any possible connection with Sherwood's most famous historical figure, Delmar Baker (1892-1975). No such luck, but what a museum Baker City has!
Most Haunting Memory of the Trip was found at Maryhill Museum. According to the caption: "This portrait of Tsar Nicholas II, the last ruler of Imperial Russia... hung in the Russian Embassy in Belgrade, Serbia (later Yugoslavia). During a riot which occurred near the time of the outbreak of World War I, the embassy was looted, the painting was slashed and the Russian ambassador was killed." The slashmarks across the Czar's face provide a pretty startling accent to such a tranquil place as Maryhill!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

When's the Next Wine Tour Leaving?

July 27 work on the Pine Street crossing.
There's been a lot of talk lately about running an excursion train from Sherwood South into the Willamette Valley. The train would have to cross Rex Hill to get there. Lots of luck! "Rex" is said to be a play on the word "wrecks." As in "train wrecks." For example, according to the Sherwood News-Sheet, April 10, 1912, a steam train once "...reached a point where the grade is considerably of a downward pitch, and where the bank is in the neighborhood of forty feet high, owing to which fact the engineer had slowed down, when suddenly they struck something that raised the engine into the air, almost turning it on its side. Several Sherwood citizens were on the train at the time... and they testify that when their coach reached this mark the jar was anything but pleasant." After some investigation, "a small boy" was found to be the cause of the mishap. In spite of it's shakey reputation, Sherwood's train is regarded as one of the most historically significant railroads in Oregon. It was done the Oregon Way!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

New Old Photographs

Family photographs of the Dan Aebischer farm reveal a bucolic side of life you can still glimpse during Sunday afternoon drives throughout the Sherwood mailing district. The Aebischer farm was located atop Chehalem Mountain.

Second Visit from Edogawa

25 youth from the City of Edogawa Japan spent a morning at The Sherwood Heritage Center today. This is the second year in a row that the Center has hosted visitors from that distant clime. Their tasks were pretty exotic. They washed some clothes, baked an apple pie and made some butter. After that they relaxed and helped The Folks sing songs about the Oregon Trail.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Music on the Green

Sherwood Historical Society volunteers serving the folks down at Olsen Park. The harmony gets better year by year.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Indoor-Outdoor History Camp

Today it was a trip to Dale's Barber Shop in Old Town Sherwood followed by an archeological dig on Chehalem Mountain
Lilly said she never saw a bunch of kids work this hard. They played hard too...
A traditional round of Red Rover at Veterans Park.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

History School Project

"Don't forget to put the iron back on the stove and grab one that's still hot." says the instructor. With their eleven year old imaginations, these kids have no difficulty experiencing how tough it was to keep house in 1900. (Believe it or not, these guys are having fun!)


"Monday was wash day. Tuesday was ironing day.

"In those days, an iron was an iron! It was a six or seven pound wedge of metal that would retain its heat for only a few minutes. A man's shirt generally required two irons. Several irons would be heating while one was working. Some folks could not afford irons with handles. They would use the same handle for each iron, or they would protect their hand with a thick potholder.

"Irons were heated on a wood fire stove. You had to keep a blazing hot fire going in the stove, even in summer, in order to get the ironing done. Such stoves generate soot. The irons became dirty as they were heating on the stove. They had to be cleaned frequently and if the soot was too thick, they had to be sanded and scraped. If you got the soot on the clean white shirt you were ironing, the shirt would have to be washed all over again."

--from Robert Caro's The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power Page 510

Blog Archive

Things for Sale at the Museum

A Place in Time by June Reynolds

History Book $30
Christmas Chair by June Reynolds

Reynolds Fiction $12
Heritage Trail Guide by Clyde List
Trail Guide $5
The Folks CD
The Folks $7
Sherwood Centennial Cook Book
Cook Book $7.50
Renaissance Singers CD
Renaissance Singers $15
Melody Guy CD

Melody Guy

The Sherwood Heritage Center is a project of the Sherwood Historical Society