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Santa at Silverton’s Tree Lighting 2023. Jim Kinghorn

The inside story: Santa tells all

By Melissa Wagoner What if you could ask Santa Claus one question – what would it be? And what do you think he’d say? An Our Town reporter recently got that chance, sitting down with the man from up north to ask – who really is the man behind the myth? OT: What is your favorite cookie? SC: “Chocolate chip just out […]

Torch crowdfunding campaign succeeds

A Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign – initiated Aug. 1 by historian, Gus Frederick, and a group referring to themselves as the “Silverton Freethinkers” – has succeeded in raising over $2,500 to fund the digitization of The Torch of Reason, a weekly newspaper published by the Liberal Oregon University from 1896 to 1903. “It was a prominent voice during the ‘Golden Age […]

Official portrait of the Liberal University of Oregon faculty, a “freethinking” group founded in Silverton, photographed circa 1900. Silverton Country Historical Society

Torch of Reason – Preserving Silverton’s history using modern technology

By Melissa Wagoner Did you know Silverton was once home to the first secular university west of the Mississippi? Created in the 1890s by a group of “freethinking” Silvertonians – including Homer Davenport’s cousin, Pearl Geer, and his sister, Alice – the Liberal University of Oregon (LUO) aimed to “impartially cover and stimulate the higher culture and motives of life.” […]

One of the exhibit panels for an Oregon Historical Society presentation on state legislative milestones. The exhibit will be available for viewing at the Brown House in Stayton July 23 and 29. Oregon Historical Society

Landmark legislation – Exhibit comes to Stayton historic house

By James Day The Brown House in Stayton will be one of just 12 sites to host an Oregon Historical Society exhibit on lawmaking milestones of the state Legislature. The Brown House will be open for exhibit touring on July 23 and 29.  A special open house to show the exhibit will be held on Sunday, July 23 from 1 […]

Colegio Cesar Chaves 50th anniversary celebration set

PODER, Oregon’s Latino Leadership Network, is sponsoring a Colegio Cesar Chavez 50th Anniversary Celebration on Aug. 26 at Father Bernard Youth & Retreat Center in Mount Angel. The free event is from 12-5 p.m. and is open to the public.  The Colegio, established in 1972,  was the first accredited, independent, four-year Chicano/Latino college in United States history. It closed in […]

Patricia Uffelman of Portland, who accompanied the Dutch guests, received a photo of Mt. Angel men who served in WWII. She recognized two of her uncles in the picture.. Submitted Photo

Dutch guests attend Mt. Angel’s Memorial Day

Mt. Angel welcomed some special guests for its annual Memorial Day remembrance at Calvary Cemetery and the American Legion Hall. Jo Kikken and sister-in-law Thecia Kikken came to Mt. Angel from the Margraten, Netherlands, where the Kikken family has adopted the grave of Army Lt. Charles F. Wagner, a Mt. Angel resident and B-17 pilot who died on mission over […]

No time like present – Preserving the past by making it digital

By Melissa Wagoner When it comes to preserving mementos of the past, especially printed photos, slides and VHS tapes, Kerry Drum has one suggestion – don’t wait! Initially a wedding videographer under the company heading, I.M. Strong Video Creations, Drum began dabbling in small gauge film and VHS tape conversion in 2016, when her grandmother turned 100. “I thought, I […]

‘Look Who’s Coming’ – Davenport cartoon makes its way to Silverton

By Melissa Wagoner When Homer Davenport expert, Gus Frederick, learned that the original of one of Davenport’s most famous cartoons was for sale by a private seller out of South Carolina he immediately made an offer. The deal took several months but eventually “Look Who’s Coming” made its way to Silverton. “It showed a barren tree, filled up with a multitude of different […]

Moving on – Benedictine Sisters to leave monastery site

By Stephen Floyd After 134 years, the Benedictine Sisters of Mount Angel will be leaving the Queen of Angels Monastery, with plans to repurpose part of the facility as transitional housing for families in need. Membership within the monastic community has been in decline, as elsewhere in the U.S., with the number of religious sisters nationally dropping from 161,000 in […]

Building turns 100, ‘new’ cartoon displayed

At the Silverton Country Historical Society’s annual meeting vice president Fred Parkinson will present a talk about historic Silverton architecture, specifically a building that recently turned 100 years old. Now serving as the local branch of Citizens Bank, 217 E. Main St. started out in 1923 as the new building for Coolidge & McClaine Bank.  Additionally, the meeting will showcase […]

History tidbits: How much do you know about Mount Angel and Silverton?

By Melissa Wagoner A stroll through Mount Angel or Silverton can feel like a walk through the past – if you know where to look.  Kennedy High, the Mount Angel Abbey, Coolidge McClaine Park, even Silver Creek – all of these landmarks are rooted in the past, their stories are sometimes obscured but not forgotten by the men and women […]

Gone, but not forgotten – Old Oak Tree emblem refurbished

By Melissa Wagoner There is no symbol in Silverton’s history more iconic than that of the “Old Oak Tree,” a meeting place initially for the Native tribes of the Molalla and Santiam area and eventually for the white homesteaders who settled here. “The old oak, as everybody called it, was a stately giant, and the early settlers of Silverton looked […]

Wright’s vision – Plan integrates Gordon House indoor/outdoor experience

By James Day When famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright was working on his Usonian house design, one of the goals was to integrate as much as possible the outdoor spaces and the home’s interior. The Gordon House, the lone Wright-designed home in Oregon, has received nearly $30,000 in grant funds to help upgrade the landscape in an effort to fulfill […]

End of an era: Silverton’s oldest newspaper closes after 142 years

By Stephen Floyd When The Silverton Appeal was established in 1880, the city was barely older than the paper’s founder, 25-year-old Henry Guild. The Appeal outlasted numerous competitors during its early decades and survived two world wars, the Great Depression, the rise and fall of the Soviet Union, and the advent of the internet. But Silverton’s first and longest-running newspaper […]

Bobbie Day – Silverton celebrates its far-ranging dog

By James Day Silverton’s favorite collie/shepherd mix, Bobbie the Wonder Dog, who traveled on his own more than 2,500 miles to rejoin his family in the 1920s, has been on the move again. And cloned. Silverton residents and his fans from out of town who were used to reading Bobbie’s story on the Water Street mural and then finding the […]

Relief effort – Silverton pastor returns from Ukraine mission

By James Day Silverton pastor Kurt Barnes is back from a week-long Ukrainian relief effort in Poland. He returned tired, inspired and eager to continue to help. Poland has become ground zero for refugees from the conflict in Ukraine, and Barnes, a 39-year-old Silverton native, spent March 14-21 in Poland working with churches and relief agencies to tackle what has […]

Back home – Unearthed photograph returns to Portland, thanks to volunteers

By Fred A. Parkinson Sometimes, things just work out. Through a serendipitous chain of events, a long-forgotten artifact has found its way back to its original neighborhood.  As a member of the Silverton Country Historical Society with an avid interest Silverton’s architectural history, I was asked to compile the story of the former Silverton Flower Shop building at 311 N. […]