Observation post: Interpretative sign installed by SCHS

August 2015 Posted in Arts, Culture & History
Molly Murphy, project chair; Norm English, SCHS president; Jack Hande, volunteer aerial observer and Larry Kassell, sign designer, share the recently completed observation post interpretative sign, located at the Silverton Country Historical Society Museum on Water Street. Photo by Fred A. Parkinson

Molly Murphy, project chair; Norm English, SCHS president; Jack Hande, volunteer aerial observer and Larry Kassell, sign designer, share the recently completed observation post interpretative sign, located at the Silverton Country Historical Society Museum on Water Street. Photo by Fred A. Parkinson

By Fred A. Parkinson

The Silverton Country Historical Society members recently installed new signage for the aerial observation post located in the front yard of the historical society museum, 428 S Water St.

A small group of members were on hand on Friday, July 17 to remove the old weather-beaten unit from its support stand and install the new, updated and more detailed sign.

Designed by local graphic artist Larry Kassell, with content provided by the historical society, the new sign is 7-feet wide in a shape reminiscent of a World War II aircraft wing, complete with matching white star logos on each end, as found on American aircraft of the period.

Inmates at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution in Pendleton fabricated the sign.

The center portion contains a subtle white cloud background upon which information about the observation post appears, including reminisces of Jack Hande, an historical society member who manned the post as a teenager during the war.

Also depicted are items used by volunteer aerial observers including flash cards to help identify enemy aircraft, an Aerial Warning Service armband, and a form containing detailed instructions on how to report an aerial sighting.

Of particular note is a short poem entitled “Hurrah for F-9-3,” written by two female observers about their experiences as they held duty in the observation post. The poem appeared along with several other poems on the front page of the local paper.

Easily seen from the street, a smaller sign stating “Silverton’s WWII Observation Post” rises up behind the main sign.

A vast network of aerial observation posts staffed by citizen volunteers was set up along the entire West Coast during World War II to react to a potential enemy air attack.

Silverton had five or six such posts in the local vicinity. The observation post on display at the museum was originally situated on the Skaife property in the Victor Point area and ultimately came into the procession of the Ralph Schmidt family, who donated the structure to the museum in 2008. It was rehabilitated by historical society members and then moved to its present site, where it was dedicated in November 2009.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.