Summer Fall 2015


selected articles from the Summer / Fall 2015 Newsletter

Summer Donations

by Patrick Harris
As we began the planning for our new Heritage and Research center one question kept coming to the discussion. How many artifacts are still out there? If this summer is any indication the answer is plenty.
Elwin Keil, Gary Zimmerman, Larry Wolfer, Ed and Eileen Bisanz, Drs. David and Pat Wagner, Mary Beebe Crofts, Lela Wanner, Louise Hankenson, Anthony Cobb, Bob Ericson, Lavonne Bush, Eric Yost and Jennell Haulbrook, Nicholas Jackson, Cynthia Day——-all of these people have made contributions to the Aurora Colony Historical Society collection since May of 2015.
From January to May we received other significant gifts from Brady and Diane Kocher Downs, Bob and Donna Setterberg, Anne Watson/Chloe Hardmon, Charlotte Hiller, Pacific County Historical Society and Museum, Leroy and Loyleen Elam, Patricia Rolison, and Marc and Cathy Trueb.
Additionally, we have made some acquisitions from the Oregon Historical Society photography collection, Blaine Schmeer and Steve Savio that add essential pieces to our story.
Artist Sylvia Dion, descendant of the Will and Forstner clans among others and daughter of Mary Beebe Crofts, presented the museum with a beautiful painting of a farming scene taken from one of the museum photographs.
Alli Dittmar, our Assistant Curator and Collections Manager, has professionally catalogued every item into the collection and also she has been very persistent in retrieving all of the necessary paperwork that provides complete legal title to ACHS.
The best selected items from these donations will be part of our “Gifts to the Colony” exhibit at the end of this year running November 3rd to December 31st, 2015.

A New Vision Fulfilled

by Cheryl Burks
This story is about a man who had a vision about how to improve ACHS perception in the community of Aurora, utilize one of our under used properties and, hopefully raise some funds for the operation of the organization. He paced over the properties for many days and saw what needed to be done, clean it up and add some color, then invite the community in for a look. The man is Guy “Spud” Sperb, a board member of ACHS and a resident of the city of Aurora. The under used property is the area behind the Giesy Store and adjacent to the Mills property where the Octagon Building sits.
He enlisted a few volunteers to prune and clean up the planting which had overgrown, added hanging baskets to the Octagon Building, purchased attractive fencing, contracted with 2 vendors to provide brats and beer, helped haul in and set up tents and tables, and hired musicians to perform Friday afternoon and evening and on Saturday of the Aurora Colony Day celebration. The cleaned up area around the Octagon Building became a park-like setting. And, to make it family-friendly, he arranged for ACHS to sell root beer floats to the children (and adults, too) who were looking for a comfortable place to relax with the kids.
To add to the festivities, an earlier children’s art camp had been held at the Christ Lutheran Church and the finished art needed a place to be exhibited. This was accomplished by hanging the art work in the large canopy on the grounds. Many friends were made within the art community and the community at large. At 8PM, after the Art Show closed at the church, a crowd from there came for a brat and a beer and to chat. Then, at 9PM, the winery closed and another crowd came for a time to continue the evening with friends to chat.
We are most appreciative of Spud’s vision and the hard work he put in to make the Family-friendly Beer Garden a successful reality!
Many thanks, Spud.

43rd Annual Quilt Show, “Aurora - New Beginnings”

Our 2015 quilt show theme “Aurora: New Beginnings” featuring Log Cabin quilts was chosen as a way to begin our celebration of the 160th anniversary of Dr. William Keil’s crossing of the Oregon Trail to a new beginning in the West. Keil’s advance scouts had erected log cabins at Willapa Bay representing their first sense of security in what one of them referred to as “a genuine state of wilderness.” Once Dr. Keil found his own site at Aurora Mills in 1856 the first Colonists to arrive there also initially constructed log structures. It should not surprise us that some of the skilled quilters who were members of the Aurora Colony would choose the Log Cabin quilt pattern as one of the popular themes for their own quilts. We are pleased to show some of these during this show and to illustrate them with stories. It is an important part of our mission as a historical society to bring the story behind the artifact to life.
As we contemplated this theme we also realized that it was a way to encourage quilters to consider the many new beginnings that they have made in their own lives.
Quilters, like any other artist or writer, use their chosen expression for commentary on their own lives in relationship to others. It is always a fascinating experience gathering the stories behind the quilts.
During the 10-day show, over 80 quilts were shared with visitors and represented a variety of styles ranging from antique to vintage to contemporary.
The Old Aurora Colony Quilters were on hand stitching on the next log cabin quilt and showing off their quilting skills, and talking to visitors about quilting.
This group meets on Tuesday’s at the museum and would love to have you join them. Sheri Woods of Corvallis, who bought her ticket when she came to the show, won the beautiful hand-quilted raffle quilt, made from the winning blocks of last years contest and quilted by the group.
The Steinbach Log Cabin was the gathering place to enjoy refreshments and shop for some bargains in our quilt show “Colony Story”. Everything for sale in the store was generously donated to the museum and sorted, packaged and labeled by volunteers with all proceeds benefiting ACHS. If you have things to donate for next year or would like to be involved in the organization of the store items please contact the museum.
Next year’s quilt show theme “Home at Last: An Aurora Sampler” will continue the 160th anniversary celebration of the founding of Aurora and the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Aurora Colony Museum.