Posts Tagged ‘Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum’

I had to see it with my own eyes! So will you!

Friday, January 19th, 2024

I wish the young artist who drew my picture had signed it!

Yesterday I finally managed to visit the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum to see their current exhibit, “The Heart of the Museum Part II:  Seeing Local History Through Scrapbooks.”  And about time, too!  The exhibit has been up since January 5th and, though it runs through March 9th, I wanted to leave plenty of time to see it again.  And again!  As I knew I would, I loved it!

First and foremost, self-serving as it sounds, I loved seeing how my own scrapbooks were displayed!  Not all of them, of course — I think there have been 80-some donated so far.  And I loved the way “they”  (read: Betsy Millard) selected those they thought exemplified the collection and how they chose to display them.  My scrapbooks were in three different groupings and in three different areas.  First was was a stack of “Long Beach School, Room 5” scrapbooks — one for each of the last five years I taught– displayed beneath a sign about me which begins: “Sydney Stevens, former school teacher, author and historian…”

Croquet Scrapbooks!

Next was a display of some of my “Croquet Scrapbooks” with a special “exhibit” of the pages from the 1987 book showing scenes from Nyel and my “surprise” wedding that year.  So fun!  And, finally, as part of an exhibit of church scrapbooks, a number of mine are sitting on what appears to be a church pew.  “Since the pages are fully protected by Mylar,” Betsy told me, “we thought it would be fun for people to be able to look at these.  Everyone loves the Oysterville Church!”  Amen to that.

The most spectacular part of all the exhibits are the complete collection of Gordon Schoewe’s scrapbooks which he kept up from his college years (1944) until shortly before he died (2014).  Fifty years of scrapbooks in Gordon’s inimitable style — complete with a drawing of Ambrose-the-Rabbit, Gordon’s alter-ego!  There are also a few pages featuring one of his and Roy’s early ’80s Christmas Parties with Gordon’s cryptic word bubbles added to our photos.  So bittersweet to revisit those memories now that most of the party-goers are celebrating in the Great Beyond.

Have a seat and take a look at one or two Oysterville Church scrapbooks!

And others — so many others!  Joe Knowles’ scrapbook about his adventure into the Maine Woods in 1913 and schoolteacher Mrs. Osborne’s scrapbook with that infamous 1948 “all school” picture from Ocean Park School — and there I was again, in 7th grade!

And lest you think it was all about me — NOT!  It’s about all of us — our wonderfully intertwined and complicated greater community — a look back of over 100 years!  Be sure to check it out.  You are bound to run across someone you know or a place you’ve been or an event you attended.  Or, perhaps, you’ll be able to spend a few precious moments with a friend long gone.  It’s a great exhibit!




Friends, Family, Music, and Flowers

Saturday, September 16th, 2023

Jim Lee listens to Barbara Bate and Fred Carter.

It was a Saturday afternoon to remember.  At one o’clock friends and family of Marian Lee gathered at the Senior Center in Klipsan to visit, to eat, and to celebrate her life.  They listened to the music she enjoyed during her 100+ years, told stories about their favorite memories of Marian,  and shared a few hours of tears and laughter.  Marian would have loved it all!

The inimitable Barbara Bate played the piano, Fred Carter sang a variety of tunes all of which Marian would have remembered, and Robert Scherrer sang a song that touched many of us — I doubt that there was a dry eye.  (Later I asked him to sing it at my funeral or party or whatever — he said he would, so please hold him to it!  If only I knew the name of it, it might help!)  Diana Thompson’s summary of her mother’s life was fabulous!  Marian would have been proud of her and of her sisters and all of the grands and greats who were there!

One of Patricia Fagerland’s lovely dahlia bouquets.

After we’d dried our eyes and said our goodbyes, Vicki and I headed south to Ilwaco to catch the last hour of the Dahlia Show at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum.  We were just in the nick of time.  Apparently there had been a “dismantling” announcement and exhibitors were starting to comply…  We whipped around in nothing flat and managed to see everything, though we couldn’t do much lingering.

We also saw a lot of folks we knew — so many dahlia growers!!!  I had no idea!  What fun!  I hope it will be an annual event!

P.S.  Late Breaking News:  The name of the song that Robert sang is “Please Pardon Me.”

A Day of Looking Back and Planning Ahead

Thursday, June 29th, 2023

June 29, 2023

My early morning visit to the cemetery was practical rather than sentimental, but there was plenty of time for the gamut of feelings.  Miki, one of yesterday’s participants in our small ceremony for Nyel, wrote that she arrived home with only one earring — drop style of amber glass.  So, I went up for a look around.

Unfortunately, the carpet of pine needles and pinecones were also amber-ish in color and there was no sun to reflect off the glass, so after a few words with Nyel, I headed home stopping at the Post Office on the way.  In answer to Tammy’s “Wow! You’re early today!” I told her of my quest.  “Did you know you are only wearing only one earring this morning, too?” she asked.

Mine was pearl, not amber, and was a gift from Nyel years ago.  For a long time now, they are the only ones I’ve worn.  I couldn’t help wondering “what the heck’s going on?  Is Nyel collecting earrings now?”

But, no.  Mine was on the dresser where I had apparently overlooked it this morning and the amber one was found tucked in a crevice of its owner’s couch.  The day was off to a fine start!

The rest of the day was spent “walking the house” with CPHM curator Betsy Millard to get an idea of what, if anything, might be of interest to the museum after I’m gone.  Her gentle reminders that the artifacts would have to further the “Espys in Oysterville” story helped keep us focused.

After lunch, Betsy kindly showed  Charlie and Marta (and me, as well) the various parts of the museum including storage and archival facilities etc.   We were fortunate that Executive Director Madeline Matson was available so C and M could meet her. The entire visit was wonderfully informative for future planning.  Both “kids” were suitably impressed as I was sure they would be.

We were all so engaged that only one photo resulted.  I don’t know if it has significance or not.  It’s hard to tell with bears.

Marta, Bear, and Charlie

See you in Ilwaco Friday evening!

Wednesday, October 19th, 2022

“POW” by Jean Nitzel – 2017

I think that I can actually count on one hand the number of times our Oysterville Friday Night Gathering has been cancelled — with the exception of the Covid Days, of course.  This coming Friday — day after tomorrow counts as one of those few!

I’ve cancelled in deference to the Artists’ Reception at the Columbia Heritage Museum being held that evening from 4 to 7 p.m.  And, at least two of our “regular” Friday Nighters — Jean Nitzel and Tucker Wachsmuth — will have works on exhibit!  Yay!!

The theme of this year’s Benefit Art Auction is “The Hidden World of Pacific Northwest’s Forests and Gardens” — a motif of mind-boggling possibilities!  Over 60 works will be on display at the Museum’s main gallery for three weeks — October 21st through November 12. During that time, bids can be placed in-person at the museum, or online by going to A link to the auction website can also be found on the front page of the CPHM website.

“Think Small” by Noel Thomas – 2017

For those who would like first pick of any artwork in the auction,  raffle tickets will be on sale at the Museum until the 4 pm opening on October 21st. Only 50 raffle tickets will be sold ($20 per ticket) and the winner can choose any artwork before the auction starts.

Meet the artists!  Enjoy the refreshmets! Bid on your favorite artworks!  All this and more from 4 to 7 at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum!  See you there!



Oh no! Not more treasures!

Sunday, September 11th, 2022

“Self,” I said to myself… “It’s high time to get on with this downsizing project!”  It’s a project Nyel and I began several years ago with an eye to leaving the house in understandable condition when it’s our time to shuffle off. “Understandable” translates to getting rid of all of our personal “stuff” — those keepsakes and photos and endless file folders of written material that will mean nothing to those who will be here next.

We made good progress and between the things that went to museum archives and collections, the things that are designated for family members, the things that we took to thrift stores and Good Will, and the detritus we threw out, we  probably redistributed 80% of the items in the garage and our back forty storage area.  But even so, what remains seems daunting.

I began this morning with a heavy cardboard box labeled Dale’s Photos etc. ’98? “Piece of cake,” I thought to myself.  “Those were the years when mom was at Golden Sands and later at the nursing home.  I probably took most of those pictures myself.  They’ll be easy to cull…”

And the first thing I ran across was an envelope sent from Williams, Arizona on March 22, 1931 — addressed to “Miss Dale Espy” in Redlands California and written in my father’s familiar handwriting  Postage: 2 cents.  It turned out  to be a letter written after my not-yet-dad and a friend had hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back while on Spring Break from the University of Redlands.  Two weeks later, on Easter Sunday (April 5th), Dale Espy and Bill Little would announce their engagement.

Hard on the heels of that treasure, I ran across a postcard in my own tidy 22-year-old’s handwriting sent from Perugia, Italy on March 8, 1958.  The picture on the front was of Michelangelo’s “David” and I reported that we (Charlie’s dad and I)) were still crazy about Italy and that “Quad (which was Charlie’s toddler- nickname) is fine.”

Maybe it’s going to take longer to go through this box than expected…

Walking Back in Time in Old Ilwaco

Saturday, July 16th, 2022

On The Ilwaco Walking Tour

Today I did the impossible.  At least that’s what I would have told you yesterday!  I stood for two hours, walked a couple of miles, and had a first-hand look at Ilwaco from 1850 to 1890.  In fact, some of that time I wasn’t even in Ilwaco — I was sliding down the hill from Pacific City and walking around Unity in the years before the U. S. Post Office declared the town “Ilwaco” in 1876.

The conductor on this Walking Tour time machine was fellow Community Historian, Michael Lemeshko.  He is taking small groups to key areas that he has discovered as he has researched his forthcoming (but not quite finished) book on B.A. Seaborg.  As he explained, although most of those early buildings are gone, the geography remains much the same as it was a century-and-a-half ago.

Our Time Travelling Guide, Michael Lemeshko

But not exactly.  Half the hill where the original Presbyterian Church sat is gone — sliced away from top to bottom in order to construct the main street of town — a street which sported a store, a saloon (or two? or more?) and two houses for “sporting women.”  Ilwaco — even before it was named for the Chinook “Chief” Elwako-Jim — was a rip-roaring fishing village with a population of bachelor Finns who worked hard all day and caroused in the saloons at night.  The Presbyterians didn’t like the atmosphere and moved their church to the other side of the yet-undeveloped town.

We walked toward the present-day boat basin where our guide pointed out the once-upon-a-time high tide line — a marshy unstable area now paved over with streets and parking lots.  But some of us wondered about the underpinnings of that apparent stability… The geographic features seem obvious.  I couldn’t help but wonder how the permanence of cement and asphalt compare to the wooden and brick houses that were there 150 years ago.  Will they one day be gone as well?

IR&N Turntable in Ilwaco – 1890s

We followed the now imaginary train tracks to the once-upon-a-time turn table upon which two men could turn an entire train.  And we heard the story of the kids who were playing there and the tragedy involving a little boy whose legs were crushed…   Further up the street, was the opera house, though as far as is known, an opera was never presented there.  And, then, B.A. Seaborg’s final building — the building that we know today as…

But take the tour, yourself!  There will be another one tomorrow morning at ten o’clock and again on the third Saturdays of August and September.  Reserve your place by calling the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum – 360-642-3446.



Attention Local History Buffs!

Saturday, April 16th, 2022

Ilwaco Shoreline, 1903

If you are interested in local history, especially the history of early Ilwaco, Community Historian Michael Lemeshko and the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum are offering you a fabulous opportunity!  Walking tours of historic Ilwaco beginning in May!  (Lest this information be misleading, I do believe it is the same tour, offered on various dates for your convenience.)  Here is what the CPHM website says:

The tours will be held on the 3rd Saturday of the month from May through September rain or shine. They begin at 2 pm (meet in the Museum’s parking lot) and will last approximately 1 1/2 hours. Each tour is limited to 15 people. You must reserve your spot by calling the Museum at 360-642-3446. The tours are $5 per person, with proceeds supporting the Museum. All participants will be required to wear a safety vest which will be provided.

Mike Lemeshko, September 2016, on the publication of his first book!

The walking tours, led by Michael, will focus on early events and locations  important to the founding of Ilwaco through 1899. As they walk through the areas where Ilwaco had it’s (sometimes) boisterous beginnings, participants will learn about Hayden’s Cove Saloon, the Ilwaco Wharf Company’s Pier, and Finn Hall .  Much of the information is as yet “unpublished” and is the result of Michael’s diligent research for his next book which is about B.A. Seaborg, founder of the Aberdeen Packing Company and Ilwaco’s most successful (and,  perhaps, most controversial) early entrepreneur.

The tours should be a real treat — especially given Michael’s uncanny ability “to find where the bodies are buried” — both literally and figuratively.  It was while he was writing his first book — The Cantankerous Farmer vs. The Ilwaco Railway & Navigation Company and the rest of his neighbors on the Long Beach Peninsula – about Judge John Briscoe (a contemporary of Seaborg’s) that he formed “The Friends of the Briscoe Burying Ground” to take care of a small grave in a field north of Long Beach.  Since then… discoveries have been made!

And no telling what he’s uncovered in his research in Ilwaco.  Sign up for one of his tours and find out!  Perhaps I will see you there…



Walking In A Wachsmuth Wonderland

Saturday, December 4th, 2021

About The Artist

No sooner had I posted my (very late) blog yesterday, than I received a couple of photographs from Collections Manager Betsy Millard and a short note regarding the exhibition of Tucker’s Christmas Cards at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum.  So, in an unprecedented piggy-back on a previous day’s blog, I want to share the photos and the name of the exhibit — “Walking in A Wachsmuth Wonderland.”

Profusion From The Artist’s Studio

As you enter the Museum, you are immediately surrounded by Christmas — Tucker’s half-century of holiday cards as depicted in his yearly greetings to friends and family.  In the glass display cases immediately to the left and right of the front doors, are a few cards with explanatory displays describing his process, and steps required for some of the finished products.  In addition, are examples of the table-setting-name-tags/ornaments which sometimes accompany the cards.

Tucker’s Christmas Cards On Display at CPHM

Along the hallway leading to the museum’s auditorium, the display cases are  filled with cards — a lovely display creating the “walkway” of the Wachsmuth Wonderland.  Seen as a totality, there is no mistaking that they are by a single artist.  Tucker’s distinctive style — somewhat formal but almost always depicting a bit of whimsy or nostalgia — is clearly apparent.  It’s a lovely walk to take as winter rains and winds splash and bluster outside.   No matter what, it will put you in the mood for the Christmas Season in all its many aspects!

A Lifetime’s Creativity on Display at CPHM!

Friday, December 3rd, 2021

Card and Ornaments – The Hobby Horse Year 2012

If you know Tucker Wachsmuth (or Chester or Chet or Tuck — depending on how and since when), you are probably aware that he is always busy at this time of year.  It’s the holiday season and each year since he and Carol were married in 1970, he has spent these weeks before December 25th making their family Christmas card.

Each year, the theme differs.  Sometimes he depicts something that the family has recently enjoyed doing.  At other times, it’s an activity they’ve done together or, perhaps, centers on one of Tucker’s many interests — sailing, the wild creatures that visit their Oysterville place, or possibly a more seasonal theme such as gingerbread men or snow falling on the Oysterville Church.  Some themes are personal yet with universal appeal — Carol’s childhood teddy bear (which she still has) or, in 2012, their four grandchildren riding hobby horses.

Tucker’s 50th Christmas Card — Our House!

Tucker’s methods range from silkscreen to linoleum or wood block prints or rubbings, and even to cutouts using a template and X-Acto knife.  Backgrounds or finishing touches might be made with an airbrush or by using colored pencils or hand-painting specific details.  And, as if those techniques aren’t enough, Tucker says he sometimes has to design and make some of the behind-the-scenes equipment so that his silkscreen or other printing apparatus does exactly what he would like.

Frustrations along the way?  Of course, there are many.  The greatest, according to the artist, is to successfully execute an idea but then to be unable to find the paper that will fulfill his vision.  Perhaps not quite the right sheen or the blue being close but…

Tucker’s Cards on Display at Our House – 2017

Nevertheless, after half a century of Christmas cards, there is no doubt that Tucker’s degree in art has come to fruition — over and over again.  51 years of Christmas cards plus, in some cases, a Christmas ornament for each family member as accompaniment!  (Those, by the way, began as place holders at the large Christmas dinner that Carol did each year before she retired.  They soon served a dual purpose — an ornament for the Christmas tree, as well.)  “But I don’t make them every year,  says Tucker.

And the best news of all — Tucker’s cards are now on exhibit at the Columbia Heritage Museum!  The lobby is full of Christmas — all of it Tucker Wachsmuth’s Christmas Cards and accoutrements, the work of a lifetime!  Bravo, Tucker!  I urge everyone to go take a look.  It will get you in the Christmas spirit no matter what!!  And I guarantee it will make you wonder what he will come up with for Christmas 2021!

It was fun but it wasn’t the same…

Saturday, November 13th, 2021

“Out The Window Art Auction” – Photo by Vicki Carter

In all fairness, CPHM’s “Out The Window Art Auction” was not meant to be the same as its annual “Six by Six” predecessors.  Hence the name change and the differences in entry requirements, presentations, etc.  We knew all that going in, but even so, our visit to the exhibition this morning required some serious self-talk and a great deal of wishful thinking about next year and the years to follow.

I was totally unprepared for the disparity in sizes, approaches and yes, let’s be honest, in the quality of entries.  A few  like Tucker’s  “The Jibe Mark: The Oysterville Regatta” and Marie Powell’s “Window To A Summer Garden” were downright spectacular.  And several — Bruce Peterson’s “Bus – Florence Italy”, Charles Funk’s “Cones & Crow” and Patti Breidenbach’s “Sun Flower Days” reminded me of long-ago experiences with a visceral jolt.

But honestly?  Mark Tyler’s “Daisies” and Don Nisbett’s “Untitled” are the ones that called me back to look again.  And then again.  Was it because they were the only two six-by-sixes?  Perhaps.  I’m a sucker for daisies so Mark’s subject-matter could have been part of the appeal.  But, it definitely wasn’t subject matter with Don’s.  Perhaps composition?  I’m sure not colors.  And I don’t think I’d want to live with it.  But still… those two small pieces were the most compelling for me.

“Out The Window Art Auction” – Photo by Vicki Carter

I’m glad we went and saw the exhibition “up close and personal.”  It was definitely a better way to view each of the pieces than through the online display, though that hasn’t been true in previous years.  I’m not sure exactly why this year’s online presentation didn’t seem as good.  I wonder if it had to do with the disparate sizes and how they were photographed.  Or, more likely it was just me.  Even so, do I think there is a place for such a fundraiser in the future?  You betcha.

But, the Pandemic Gods willing, could we please have both?  There is nothing that can quite compete with the excitement generated at the live Six-by-Six auction with Bruce Peterson auctioneering, Karla Nelson handling the long distance phonelines (better than CenturyLink, you betcha!) and Richard Schroeder providing security NMW (no matter what.)  Add a few bidding wars among friends, a toast or two to the winners (or sometimes the losers!) and food that is as artistic as it is tasty… and it’s the best show in town!  Fingers crossed and paddles raised for next year!