Would Medora miss the windmills?

Sep 9, 2015 | 1 comment

Medora's Diary

Medora’s Diary

One hundred years ago today, my Aunt Medora wrote in her diary:

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 1915            

We arrived in Astoria at five thirty this morning and it was a typical Oregon day, cold and rainy. We had breakfast at the Imperial, then crossed the bay on the Potter. Took the train at Megler and all the way down the beach. I didn’t see a soul I knew… Oysterville is just the same and so very uninteresting. We had dinner at Mrs. Kistemaker’s, then went to Grandpa’s to see Aunt Dora, Verona, the cousins Mary and Julia.

Medora's House

Medora’s House

Medora was returning with her family from a trip to California where they had been “wined and dined” by my grandmother’s childhood friends and had spent many days at the Panama–Pacific International Exposition which was a world’s fair held in San Francisco. The ostensible purpose of the Exposition was to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal, but it was widely seen in San Francisco as an opportunity to showcase its recovery from the 1906 earthquake. No wonder Oysterville seemed “so very uninteresting” to sixteen-year-old Medora!

I often wonder what she and my grandparents would think of Oysterville today. I’m sure they would be amazed at the number of visitors streaming into the village, even at this time of year, and they would find it somewhat strange that there are so few full-time residents.

Medora, 1915

Medora, 1915

No doubt they would be favorably impressed by innovations such as electricity and indoor plumbing but I wonder how they would feel about all the “automobile machines” and the absence of horses and cows and barns and chicken sheds. Would they wonder what had happened to all the boats on the bay – such a common sight a hundred years ago? And what would they think about paved roads and a population that doesn’t include children? Would they miss the windmills?

Would the “historic character” of Oysterville – the ambiance that we 2015 residents so cherish – seem familiar to them? I know they would recognize the streetscape. “Grandpa’s” house (the R.H. Espy place) would look the same except that it is now painted red. Medora’s own house (where we live now) would look the same (both outside and in) and, though the Monterey Cypress trees that Tom Andrews had planted in 1900 are now immense, I do believe Medora and her family would feel right at home on Territory Road.

I hope the same same can be said of us one hundred years hence.


1 Comment

  1. Stephanie Frieze

    If clearer heads prevail, Osterville will continue to be a window to the past and not become a developer’s cash cow. One cannot but help to wonder at the county’s thinking in wanting to remove Osterville’s historical status.


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