Posts Tagged ‘museum’

SPRING ROAD TRIP

April 17, 2012

Learning something new seems to change my perspective almost faster than I can grasp.  With the desire to see some sunshine after a very wet and gloomy spring, we headed to the Rogue River Valley to spend a few days. Not a new area for us, we were living in the Central Point , Gold Hill vicinity in the early 1960s and occasional visitors since.

This time was different-I knew more. Last year, while we visited we made a wrong turn following another car or two, and ended up on a narrow dead end road were several other people were parked to watch the activity as a heavy duty machine breached  the Gold Ray Dam. We didn’t stay for the finish but made our way back to the highway.

Until that day, I’d heard a few mentions of the dam in the news but it wasn’t a big situation or event in the Willamette Valley.

During the most recent visit, besides hiking along the river and general sight seeing, we visited the Gold Hill Museum. We were able tp wander and linger on our own, the displays were all explained and well presented.  A really wonderful museum maintained by people who love their town and its history.

I found the story of the God Ray Dam. That it had been conceived to deliver electricity to the gold mines but also provided light and energy to Ashland, Medford, Gold Hill, Grants Pass, Jacksonville and all the places between. A major achievement for the whole Rogue River Valley.  It had long been replaced and out of use so the decision for removal pleased many valley residents and friends of the river, coming about through a long effort. It wasn’t the most thrilling discovery I found in the museum but it certainly increased my understanding of the little discussed benefits of all the old gold mines. 

As we left Gold Hill with new material for research, we drove by both Rock Point Cemeteries and the Del Rio Winery.  That is a place where I’ll go back.  I am reading Knights of the Whip, Stagecoach Days In Oregon by Gary and Gloria Meier so I know the winery is where the Rock Point Hotel and Stage Stop was a big attraction at one time.  The Rock Point Hotel was also known as a social center for the area with dances and other special events. 

 

A FRESH APPROACH

September 20, 2011

A different kind of research last week, having an unexpected conversation with an involved person, or even a group of people.  I do enjoy the reading about the way a place grows and developes, but it’s more fun when I’m talking to someone about the place where they live. 

I made the trip to southern Oregon again but this time I visited the Phoenix museum and talked with the three volunteers sho were there.  I came away with pictures and stories.  I especially liked one of a man who shared special memories of his grandfather.   Then there was a story of a couple who left the east coast, visited the major cities and historic sites as  they crossed the country to Oregon with a wagon and oxen more than twenty years after the automobile was invented.  I admit, I wonder how the people caught in the traffic of New York City reacted to that scene.  Or maybe the early trucks coming over the Siskiyou. 

The next day I visited with a long time resident of Talent and added more stories from there.    From the beginning, Talent was a town focused on agriculture rather than business.  Interesting to see pictures and samples of early inventions designed to make farming easier and more profitable.     And to develop better crops. 

A short visit to Ashland to add some details about an old race track, a stop in Medford for suggestions of more contacts and I headed back to Eugene and home with a head full of information and pages of notes to work with. 

I know I’ll find gaps in the stories, things I misunderstood and questions I didn’t ask but this is still the most enjoyable way to do research.  Hearing the stories from the people involved helps me see the picture I’ll try to paint with my words.