A milestone of sorts was reached when the counter passed 20,000 on a project at the Bandon Historical Society Museum to digitize the collection of negatives from the Western World newspaper.
The 20,000 mark represents a little more than a year of work by museum volunteers on a project that’s going to take several years. It represents about two and a half years out of the 50 years the Western World took film photos.
A 2017 grant from the Coquille Tribal Community Fund supported this year’s work. Grants funds were used to update scanning equipment and buy archival quality storage material to ensure the long time preservation of this collection. We aren’t throwing the negatives away.
The collection the museum is currently working on starts in 1982 and covers the years through about 2001, when the newspaper stopped using film and switched to digital photography. Another collection of negatives has been preserved by former Western World editor Mary Schamehorn and covers the earlier period. Schamehorn and current Western World editor Amy Moss-Strong were instrumental in obtaining the negative collection for the museum. The two editors were also instrumental in having the paper’s morgue, its collected back issues, moved to the museum.
Having both the negatives and the back issues gives us the opportunity to identify the who, what, when and where of the pictures in the collection. Labeling the scanned photos is another monumental task.
Several volunteers work on the project. Rick Hinojosa and Dave Pratt are among those who keep the scanner churning. Micky Frank and Bob Coraor have devoted time to cross referencing with the newspaper and attaching labels to the digital file. Summer student employee Ally Richert devoted any spare work time to scanning and labeling.
I work on all aspects of the project and have also begun a project to select, print, and create a paper label for some of the pictures. While we are producing a huge digital database, we want some of the collection to exist in a physical form too. Everything is backed up on the cloud. As interesting photos come off the scanner, we share them on Facebook.
There’s room for more help!
Not every frame is a work of art. We do a little editing when there are half a dozen frames of the same group shot. But we don’t leave much out because we don’t know what is going to be important later on.
The museum already has a collection of several thousand digital images. In time, we could have well over a hundred thousand pictures.
We aren’t going to fill the museum with pictures of the 1980s. But often we find a photo from a hundred years ago and wish someone had left us a little more information. We think of this scanning project as a gift to the future.
Two Bandon Boy Scouts have been working to double the museum’s parking capacity. When the City of Bandon gave the museum use of a former storage yard adjoining the existing parking lot, the challenge was to prepare the lot for cars.
Life Scouts Alexander Schulz and Ethan Butler are developing the parking lot as their Eagle Scout service projects. In order to earn the Eagle Scout rank, a Life Scout must lead a major community service project. The Scouts have identified two separate projects connected to the lot.
Scout Alexander Schulz took responsibility for the parking surface of the lot. His work began with removing the debris left when the city vacated the lot and culminated with leaving a finished gravel surface. Protecting several above ground electrical boxes added a challenge to his project.
The new lot got its first full use during the Veterans Day event.
Scout Ethan Butler chose to landscape the strip of land between the lot and the neighboring property. Four types of invasive plant species dominated the slope. Ethan found a surprising amount of debris buried under the hillside. Several truckloads of fill material had to be contoured to match the slope along the existing landscape. The strip will be planted with native plants.
Before any work began, each Scout completed a thorough application process to get the approval of the museum, the troop leadership and the Chinook District of the Oregon Trail Council.
To finance the project, both Scouts split, delivered and sold several cords of firewood. The Scouts and the museum are working together to pay for materials, especially several truckloads of gravel and fill material.
Eagle Scout candidates cannot do their project work alone. They must enlist the help of other volunteers to do their projects. The projects involve several hundred man-hours of work. The boys will each submit a final report on their project to the Chinook District Eagle Board.
Chris Butler is the scoutmaster of Troop 313. The troop is chartered to the Bandon Lions Club.
The Oregon Community Foundation recently informed the Bandon Historical Society that it was awarded a grant in the amount of $1700 from the Small Arts and Culture grant program. The Bandon museum was one of four organizations in Coos and Curry Counties to receive a grant.
The museum grant was support by the Fred W. Fields Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation.
The Small Arts and Culture Grant program is open only to organizations with a budget of under $100,000 a year. The money supports the general operating budgets of the organizations. In establishing this grant program, the OCF recognized that smaller organizations sometimes need general operating funds as well as funds for special projects.
In their application, the Bandon Museum titled their application “Lights and Power” and explained they would use the funds to pay for utilities.
“We appreciate that there is a program to support our operating costs. Many grantors will support special projects but our biggest project is keeping our doors open. We thank the Oregon Community Foundation for meeting this need,” said Jim Proehl, museum board president.
This is the third year the Bandon Museum has received a Small Arts and Cultural grant. Other south coast recipients included the Ellensburg Theater Company, Music on the Bay, and the Southern Oregon Kite Festival.
Over 200 people visited the Bandon Historical Museum on Veterans Day for the museum’s Veterans Day Salute.
Volunteer Rick Hinojosa organized the event, which has had a larger turnout every year since he began organizing the event.
Several collectors of military items, ranging from miniature cameras to military trucks, brought items to display.
At the beginning of the program, Hinojosa gave special recognition to Anna Dahl, Clayton Duval, Don Goddard, Rodney Junge and Richard O’Grady, all World War Two veterans.
Collectors, service men, veterans, children, families, and the general public met and mingled throughout the day.
The day’s featured speakers were three Coastguardsmen, Boatswains Mate 3 Giff Finley, Lieutenant JG Jake Rettig, and Lieutenant Commander Ben Crowell. Each Coastguardsman gave a brief recap of his military career and talked about the role of the Coast Guard on the South Coast. All three recognized the WWII Veterans and acknowledged their shared military experience.
The Museum also has permanent military exhibits on display.
Bandon High School juniors in Kate Hawthorne’s US History Class had great weather for their trip to Bandon’s Historic Cemeteries October 24.
The class used “The Cemetery Challenge” generated by the museum to guide their visit.
The challenge booklets are printed with funds from the Coos County Cultural Coalition. The challenge led students to “The Last Survivor of the Whitman Massacre,” a tombstone shaped like a tree stump, the Tupper’s of Tupper Rock, “Bandon’s Most Highly Decorated Soldier,” a Civil War hero who joined up at the age of 13, and many others. Of course they visited Lord Bennett.
The “Challenge” ties the local history into the larger story of national and world history. There is a close partnership between the museum and Bandon’s schools.
When their trip to the cemetery got rained out, three classes of Bandon High US History students came to the museum.
Teacher Kate Hawthorne’s plan for the day was to take her classes of high school juniors to the Averill/GAR/Holy Trinity cemetery and use the “Cemetery Challenge” booklet developed by the museum as a guide.
However, with an inch and a half of rain predicted for the day, the field trip was diverted to the museum. Each class took a quick, self-guided tour. Many students searched for family connections. Some found themselves in the school section.
The students were good guests.
The trip to the cemetery will be rescheduled, perhaps to Halloween.
The Bandon Historical Society will be celebrating Veterans Day, Saturday, November 11, with a special event at the museum. The Veterans Day event will run from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Admission to the museum will be free all day.
Military vehicles will be outside the museum, while inside, special, one day exhibits of military collections will be on display. A brief spoken program will begin at 11:15 AM. The museum’s permanent exhibit of local military items will also be on display.
Museum Volunteer Rick Hinojosa, a Vietnam veteran, organized the event. This is the fourth year Hinojosa has put on the Veterans Day event and he has added to it each year.
Hinojosa has also spearheaded an effort to collect photographs of local World War II veterans to be added to the Oregon Spirit of ’45 project.
The photographs will be added to the museum’s collection and submitted to build the Oregon Wall of Honor and enhance the national Wall of Honor to be unveiled in Washington DC, August 2020. The goal of the national Spirit of ’45 program is to insure the legacy of the World War II generation is remembered and in place to inspire generations to come.
“Veterans Day would be an especially good day for local veterans and the families of veterans to bring service photos in to the museum,” said Hinojosa. “We are concentrating on collecting World War II veteran photos for the Spirit of ’45 project but are also collecting service photos of any veteran who considers Bandon home.
Photographs do not have to be permanently given to the museum. Volunteers will scan the photographs and give the originals back.
"We'd like to thank Eileen Scott for many years of loyal and dedicated service to the museum. We are especially grateful for the work she did when Judy Knox retired and Gayle Nix was making the transition as the new director. We'd say we are going to miss her but she will still be a part of the museum community and I am sure were are going to need to call on her often when we can't find something or are not sure just how something works," said Jim Proehl, museum board chairman.
Eileen will be remembered for her many contributions to the Museum and will now have a chance to enjoy the "retired" life. We thank you Eileen!
Gayle will now work five days a week. She will assume the duties Eileen fulfilled, which included tracking membership and donations, paying bills, supervising volunteers on Monday and Friday, and recording museum accessions.
More than 40 students in the Bandon Summer Recreation program became History Detectives for the day and went on a history hike that ended at the museum Thursday, June 22.
The group gathered at Harbor Lights Middle School where volunteer Jim Proehl showed a brief slide show and set out the day’s challenges.
Volunteers Adrienne Smith, Ardis-Ann Szala (aka Z) and Mickey and Jackson Franks joined the group that set out to investigate several Bandon history mysteries.
When the group reached the Masonic Temple, Mickey Frank shared the story of Evelyn Manciet’s historic stand at her telephone switchboard in the upstairs of the building during the 1936 fire. The highlight of the trip, from the kids’ point of view, was getting to visit the dark and scary cellar of the building, built in 1910.
The museum offers huge thank you to Peter Braun and company at the Cobbler’s Bench for hosting the visit.
It was a great stroke of fortune that Kassandra Rippee, Coquille Tribe archeologist, was in the area when the group stopped by the Na-So-Mah memorial garden across from the Coast Guard Building. Rippee shared the story of Grandmother Rock, told the story of the piece of artwork at the center of the garden and answered lots of questions about local Indian history.
Another highlight was being invited aboard the Coast Guard boat in the harbor. Three Coastguardsmen welcomed the kids aboard, gave them a tour, and let them sit in the pilot’s seat.
Not much time was left to spend at the museum. Volunteers Bill Smith, Doreen Colberg, Donna Mason and director Gayle Nix helped them perform some final History Detectives’ tasks.
The group ranged in ages from six to 12. The city sponsored program runs throughout the summer. Several local groups and organizations provide themed activities.
MacKenzie Earl Handsaker, a third generation Bandon resident, was awarded the $10,000 Bandon—Fifty Years Later scholarship at Bandon High’s graduation Saturday, June 10. The Bandon High Class of 1967 was the moving force behind the scholarship.
Handsaker, who goes by Mack, will attend Corban University in Salem where he will enroll in an accelerated master’s degree program for pastoral studies. His high school resume reflects a strong mix of athletics, church involvement, music, and community service. He has a 3.88 grade point average and ranks seventh in his class.
Handsaker is the son of Mark and Naomi Handsaker and the grandson of Earl and Norma Handsaker. In his application essay he wrote, “I have lived in Bandon my whole life. Asking what living in Bandon has meant for me is asking about everything I have gone through and grew from in my life. Bandon has from the beginning always kept me grounded to family and sticking to my roots. I remember Dad driving by the location of the old Bandon hospital and telling me he was born right there and then would tell me of all the things that he had watched change in his town, giving me this portal to the past, so to speak, where I could see through his eyes a world that is the same as the one I am in but yet very different. This connection between my family’s past and the town’s past has always reminded me to keep humble and remember the important things in life.”
The scholarship was the largest single community scholarship awarded to a member of the Class of 2017. Handsaker received additional scholarship help from other community groups and from Corban University.
The idea to give a scholarship was broached at a meeting to plan the Class of 1967’s fifty year reunion. When everyone at the meeting agreed they would contribute if a scholarship program was in place, class member Bo Shindler took up the job of building a scholarship program.
Shindler asked the Bandon Historical Society to administer the project. The museum banked the scholarship money and the museum staff kept track of donors and issued receipts. Shindler established a “Go Fund Me” account that deposited funds with the museum. Museum volunteers worked with Bandon High’s counselor to develop a scholarship application and make it available to the class.
A committee of museum board members evaluated applications and chose the scholarship recipient. Museum Board President Jim Proehl made the scholarship presentation at graduation and threw out a challenge to the Class of 1968 to continue the program.
Class of 1967 members donated the most, but donations also came from other alumni and the community at large. The museum received ten percent of the amount collected to cover the cost of administering the project.
The museum hosted a program Saturday, May 6, on the topic of shipwreck, rescue and survival. Museum Board members Mary Schamehorn and Reg Pullen hosted the event. Bob Fisher told the story of the wreck and rescue of the Elizabeth Olson on the Coquille River jetty and then told the story of the wreck of the tug Rebel, his survival in the sea and rescue from the surf. A near capacity audience attended.
The MSNBC program "Your Business with J. J. Ramberg" recently approached the Museum seeking information and photographs related to the history of cheese making in Bandon. The information was needed for a documentary video which aired on Sunday, February 12, 2017.
The focus of the program was on the positive effects of the new Face Rock Creamery on the town's business climate and included interviews with the Creamery's principals; Greg Drobet, Daniel Graham and Brad Sinko.
Jim Proehl, the Museum's Board President and volunteer, worked with the show's producers to select appropriate historical photographs.
The Bandon Western World, owned by Lee Publishing, has generously donated their bound archived newspaper copies to the Museum. The donation was initiated and coordinated by Western World editor Amy Moss Strong and Museum board vice president and former Western World editor Mary Schamehorn.
The bound volumes, located in the Bandon office of the Western World, were transferred to the Museum by volunteers Donna Mason, Jim Proehl and Bob Coraor with the help of several students from the Bandon High School Community Arts class. The bound archives in connection with the previous donation of the Western World film negative files provides an outstanding resource for those researching Bandon’s history.
Archival storage supplies and shelving were supported by grants from Trust Management Services and the Coquille Tribal Community Fund.
About 20 students from Jen Ells’ Community Arts class spent an hour providing the Museum staff and volunteers with help in developing new exhibits, storing research materials and rearranging the Museum for an upcoming event. The visit and work session served as the semester final exam for the class.
Walking from the High School to the Museum the class also took a brief tour of some of the historical sites in Bandon.
The Coos County Cultural Coalition awarded an $800 grant to the Bandon Historical Society to purchase materials and develop exhibits that will provide historical displays beyond the walls of the Museum. This generous grant will help the Museum expand its ability to create exhibits that will benefit those who may not have the opportunity to visit the Museum.
One of the early exhibits to be developed under this grant will be in displayed at the Gorseblossom Festival (http://www.gorseblossomfest.com/ ) on February 17 – 19, 2017 at the Bandon Old Town Market.
Bandon High School students, in a recent visit to the Museum, helped put the exhibit materials together.
HS Contino, author of the book Shipwrecks of Coos County, recently spent a day at the Bandon Museum researching her next book, Shipwrecks of Curry County.
In addition to writing, Hannah Contino works for the North Bend public library and formerly worked for the Coos History Museum. She spent her time looking through the museum’s photo files, photographing objects on the museum floor, and searching the museum’s records for items related to Curry County shipwrecks.
Hannah hopes to put the finishing touches on her book in January and is looking forward to a summer release date. It will be published by Arcadia books as part of its Images of America series.
Refurbishing the shipwreck display is one of the tasks the Bandon museum plans to complete during the closed period in January.
The museum will host a program on shipwrecks Saturday, February 4, as a way to celebrate the museum’s reopening for 2017. HS Contino has been invited to share her knowledge of local shipwrecks as a part of that program.
Over a hundred people visited the Bandon Historical Society Museum during its Veterans’ Celebration Saturday, November 12. The historic military vehicles parked outside the museum drew some to the event.
The event was organized for the second year by museum volunteer Rick Hinojosa. The museum has held veterans events for many years.
The featured speaker was a Boatswain's Mate First Class Ray Clendenen who serves out of the Motor Lifeboat Station, Coos Bay. He spoke about the role of the Coast Guard in Bandon and answered questions about the mission of and service in the Coast Guard.
Several collectors exhibited parts of their military collections, including Hinojosa, Joe Lash, Alex Tessman and Stephen Joyce.
The military vehicles on display were from the Oregon Central Coast Military Vehicle Group. The vehicles came from Myrtle Point, Coos Bay and Florence and were manned by Jim Shipp, Joe Perkins, Cal Applebee, Traci, Jason and Clayton Kellam, Hunter Berrier, and Anthony Stump.
Several local veterans brought their service photos to the museum to be scanned into the museum’s photo collections. The museum will continue to encourage veterans and the families of veterans to offer photos for scanning.
The next museum event will be its annual members meeting Saturday, December 10. After the 1:00 business meeting, the event will include a members’ social with a chance to meet new executive director Gayle Nix and see the Department 56 Snow Village and shop the museum gift shop.
The Oregon Community Foundation recently awarded the Bandon Historical Society a grant of $1,800 as part of the foundation’s Small Arts and Cultural Grants program.
The Bandon Museum titled its application “Sharing Bandon’s Story.” The museum earmarked the grant money for communication with its members, visitors and the general public. The funds will be used to produce newsletters, maintain the museum’s website, and pay for postage, phone and Internet.
The grant to the Bandon museum is supported by the Fred W. Fields Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation.
Ninety-six Small Arts and Culture Grants were awarded throughout Oregon, totaling $300,000. Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations with operating budgets under $100,000 a year were eligible to apply.
“Many grant programs only fund new projects,” said Museum Board President Jim Proehl. “This program recognizes that small organizations often simply need operating money. We appreciate the Oregon Community Foundation for recognizing our needs.”
The mission of The Oregon Community Foundation is to improve life in Oregon and promote effective philanthropy. OCF works with individuals, families, businesses and organizations to create charitable funds to support the community causes they care about. Through these funds OCF awards more than $60 million annually in grants and scholarships.
The Bandon Historical Society will be “Celebrating Veterans” with a program at the museum Saturday, November 12, the day after Veterans’ Day. The free event will take place at the museum from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm with a short presentation beginning at 11:30 am.
Military collectors will put their materials on display and be on hand to discuss their collections. Military vehicles will be on display outside the museum in our parking lot. Volunteers will add material to the museum’s permanent military display.
Rick Hinojosa, a museum volunteer who served in the Air Force during the Vietnam conflict, organized the event.
The collections, the vehicles, the military objects, whether they date from the Civil War or the conflicts in the Middle East, provide an opportunity for military and civilians to talk about military service according to Hinojosa.
Gayle Nix became the new executive director of the Bandon Historical Society Museum in October. She replaced Judy Knox, who retired after holding the job for 20 years.
“I came in at a really good time,” said Nix. “Judy left the museum on a firm foundation,” noting that the museum has a strong volunteer base, is operating actively and is financially solvent.
Nix was born in Bandon and attended Bandon schools through high school. “I have lots of family in this area.My mom was a Howard,” said Nix. Her father, Bob Propeck worked as a cheesemaker at the Bandon Cheese factory and worked as a weighmaster at Ocean Spray.
Nix lived away from Bandon for 21 years and then moved back. “Moving away and coming back gave me a whole different perspective on Bandon-by-the-Sea,” said Nix, who lived in several other parts of the county. “I appreciate Bandon as a great place to live. Had I stayed here forever, I might not have known that.”
Before taking the job at the museum, Nix was the office manager at a medical clinic. As executive director, Nix is responsible for the day to day operation of the museum. Eileen Scott continues to work part time as her assistant.
“The days go by so quickly,” Nix said of her job at the museum. “History has always been an interest to me. What better place for me to work.”
It was a full house at the Bandon Historical Society Museum Sunday (September 25) for a program commemorating the 80th anniversary of the 1936 Bandon Fire.
Twelve “fire survivors” were in attendance and each was introduced and given an opportunity to share a story.
Bandon Mayor and Museum Board Vice President Mary Schamehorn presided over the event. The focus of this year’s event was the year following the fire. Most of the material in her presentation came from the pages of the 1937 editions of the Western World, written and edited by her grandfather LD Felsheim.
Another guest at the event was Richard Howell of Grants Pass. A front page story in the February 4, 1937 Western World told the story of the then three-month-old Howell being lost and given up for dead in a storm and flood that ravaged the area. He was found alive lodged in the fork of an alder tree.
Photographs of the fire, the flood, and scanned pages from the Western World illustrated the talk.
Fire survivors who signed in at the event included Elbert Bales, Bill Dodds, Joann Brown, Bernie Ertel, Mary Capps, Richard Buchanan, Harvey and Betty Hiley, Edith Winters, Edna Hunt Paulson, Wayne Foster and Thomas “Sparky” Adams.
The next program at the Bandon Museum will be a Veterans’ Celebration to be observed at the museum Saturday, November 12, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.
Members of the Bandon High Class of '61 gathered for a reunion at the museum on "Cranberry" Saturday. Board member Donna Mason, a member of the class, headed up the gathering. The museum ran extended hours. Class members from neighboring years also dropped in to join the gathering. Volunteers added extra fifties touches to the display, which was already decked out for the Cranberry Festival. Class members swapped stories and reminisced over museum pictures. "We hope other groups consider the museum as a gathering place," said Museum Board Chair Jim Proehl.
Two authors who have written extensively about local history visited the museum this week to gather photographs for upcoming books.
Bill Lansing, who has written and published books on logging, schools, and the Civilian Conservation Corps visited Tuesday to gather photographs for a book on south coast rivers and fishing. Lansing is the former president and CEO of Menasha Forest Products headquartered in North Bend.
Andie Jensen’s titles include “Hangman’s Call,” a book about executions in Coos County and his most recent book, “Gone But Not Forgotten,” a book on the coal mining operations in at Beaver Hill. Jensen is a retired California Police Sergeant who has written extensively about local law enforcement since moving to Coos Bay. His book about Beaver Hill was his first title not about policing. Jensen’s next venture will be about places that were once communities, such as Parkersburg, Prosper and Randolph, that are now mostly just spots on the map.
Though different in style, both authors produce heavily illustrated books. Bandon’s museum has shared photographs with both in the past.
Almost forty volunteers gathered for a potluck/picnic at the museum on August 24, 2016. The gathering allowed volunteers to get to know others they might not often cross paths with and share their appreciation with each other for helping out.
The museum provided chicken and volunteers brought the trimmings. The evening was especially rich with desserts.
Volunteer coordinator Kathy Dornath spearheaded the event. Outgoing director Judy Knox and incoming director Gayle Nix worked together to make the evening run smoothly.
Volunteers introduced themselves around the table and each told what job he or she did. “Every person at the table downplayed their role in the organization” said board president Jim Proehl. “Everyone does more than they admitted to. We’re powered by volunteers. It was great to see all that power have fun together in a relaxed setting.”
The museum has been collaborating on a book, Coos County Memories: The Early Years, to be published by Pediment Press and The World and Western World newspapers. The coffee table style book should be available in November.
Pediment Press, based in Battle Ground, Washington, works with local newspaper publishers and historical societies to document history county by county around the Pacific Northwest. The book currently in production features Coos County through 1939. The book draws heavily on the Bandon museum’s photo collection. The Bandon Museum, Coos History Museum and individuals in the county have contributed to the book which is heavy on photographs.
Volunteers Jim Proehl and Mary Schamehorn have been helping the publishers with the editing process. “We’ve seen the proofs. There is more Bandon in the book than any other community in the county,” said Proehl, who attributes the fact to the photogenic nature of Bandon’s past and the accessibility of the museum’s photo archives.
The books should be available in the museum Gift Shop in time for Christmas.
A traveler with a miraculous story visited the Bandon Historical Society Museum today (August 20, 2016). Richard and Sandy Howell of Grants Pass were in Bandon to escape the triple digit heat in the Rogue Valley.
Richard handed museum director Judy Knox a crumpled page from the February 4, 1937, Western World. “I’m the baby in that story,” said Howell.
“Infant Lost in Flood Found Alive,” read the headline and the article told the story of the three-month-old infant washed away in a flood who was found lodged in the fork of a tree.
“This proves whiskey is good for medicinal purposes,” said Howell. “I’m living proof.” Howell explained that R. H. Christensen, the neighbor who found him after the flood, took the three-month-old back to his house and gave him a tablespoon of whiskey.
“They never put the part about the whiskey in the newspaper stories,” said Howell, who shared accounts of his rescue from two other newspapers.
“I hate whiskey to this day, and I hate water. I haven’t taken a bath in 60 years,” said Howell. “I take showers.”
The Howells came to the museum to see if the Bandon Historical Society had a better copy of the article he shared and had any further information on the 1937 flood. Volunteer Jim Proehl agreed to produce a reprint from the museum’s microfilm collection and search for more articles on the flood.
Howell’s story may hold the key to explaining an unlabeled set of photographs from the Felsheim photo collection, recently scanned by museum volunteer David Pratt, that appear to have been taken after the ’36 fire but seem to be focused more on water damage than the fire.
The text of the February 4, 1937, Western World article follows:
“Lodged in the branch of an alder tree beneath the roof of what had been his home, a three-month-old baby son of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Howell, who had been given up as dead, was found alive by searchers following the storm of Sunday night.
“The Howells, father, mother and three children-–a son aged six: a daughter two; and their three-months old son—were living in a house built in a canyon on Lowe creek on the North Bank Road near the R. H. Christensen farm. Above them was a dirt dam some 20 feet in height, the water of which had been used for irrigation purposes on the Christensen farm.
“The terrific downpour of rain caused the dam to give away during the night. The sudden onrush of water swept the Howell home from its foundation and carried it down the canyon some 800 yards to the main road. The walls had collapsed and the roof had fallen in.
“Trapped within the enclosure of their wrecked abode, the Howells grasped madly for the hands of their children. The mother quickly gathered the baby in her arms, but in the topsy-turvy trip down the canyon, half submerged in icy water, she lost him. When the wreckage came to a halt at the main road, there were father and mother and the two older children, but the baby was gone.
Madly, they searched in the pitch darkness, falling and calling, searching every inch of mud soaked ground on their hands and knees. Frantically they jerked at branches of trees and wreckage of lumber and shingles, but all to no avail. Finally giving up in despair, firm in the belief that their baby was dead, the motley four, water-soaked and numb with cold made their way to the Christensen home.
“After rebuilding the fire and making the victims comfortable Mr. Christensen hurried to the home of Maurice Ray, superintendent of the Moore Mill & Lumber Co. logging operations, Howell’s employer. Aided by a flashlight and lantern, Christensen and Ray rushed to the scene of the wreckage to find the body of Baby Howell.
“An hour had elapsed since the dam broke and the Howell home made its sudden descent down the canyon. Doubt was in the minds that they would even be able to locate the body of the child, when suddenly after upturning what had been part of the roof of the modest abode they saw Baby Howell. His left arm and his head were firmly hooked over the limb of an alder sapling that had been washed from its moorings by the rushing torrent, and he was alive, breathing; in fact gurgling as they gently lifted him from his anchorage to the arms of rescue.
At top speed the men rushed the baby to its parents, where after superficial examination he was found apparently little the worse for his experience. He was brought to Bandon and given a thorough examination by Dr. E. F. Lucas, who found no water in the lungs and only a slight fever as the result of exposure.“
Thank you Richard and Sandy for visiting the museum and sharing this wonderful story!
A house with ties to the aftermath of the 1936 fire was demolished today (August 1, 2016). The small house was set at the back of a lot in the 800 block of Division Street. One similar house still stands in the neighborhood.
The house was once part of a complex of structures built by the Works Progress Administration to house families after the 1936 disaster.
The October 1, 1936 Western World reported, “’Baby Bandon’ will be built on the hilltop near the high school building, city and state officials decided here last night, subject to approval of the WPA or any other agency that supplies funds with which to build the family-unit type of building to house residents through the city.”
In 1936 Bandon High School was on the east side of town, on the property where the baseball field now sits. An aerial photo shows the horseshoe shaped sets of housing lining the street that ends at the GAR Cemetery. The high school and gym are to the right. A Google Map image of the same location in 2016 provides an interesting comparison of structures today and 80 years ago. Click on the images to see larger pictures.
“The hilltop location was chosen because of its proximity to the high school building in which grade school classes will also be held temporarily,” reported the October 1 Western World.
The October 8 paper reported work was under way. The October 15 edition exploded with indignation with a story that only people who had been on “relief” before the fire would get help from the federal government.
The October 22 paper included a letter from E J Griffith, the state administrator for the WPA, clarifying that “working people” could also stay in WPA housing. The paper also reported the first nine-family unit was almost complete.
The WPA units were intended to be bare-bones, temporary housing structures. In time, they were torn down or moved to reduce them to one dwelling per lot.
Today one more ”temporary” structure was torn down, 80 years after the 1936 fire.
A crew from the Bandon Museum traveled to the Coos County Fairgrounds Museum in Myrtle Point Wednesday (June 22) to install a Bandon exhibit in that museum.
The Fairgrounds Museum is designed to host exhibits from other museums and groups that share Coos County’s history.
The Bandon exhibit covered about 140 square feet of wall space and a display cabinet about eight feet long. The exhibit concentrates on water related subjects-- beach, harbor, and bog-- to set Bandon off from the county’s inland communities.
Museum volunteers constructed 18 thirty-by-twenty inch cloth covered foam board panels and six half-sheet panels. Photos were mounted on the larger panels and the small panels bore text. The display case was filled with beach related objects.
The work of preparing the panels was shared by a wide ranging group. Volunteers Doreen Colbert, Gayle Nix, Paula Colgrove, Kathy Cowan, Kathy Phillips, Nancy Murphy, Jim Proehl, and Donna Mason helped with constructing panels, and finding, printing and mounting photographs.
Jen Ells’ Community Arts class at Bandon High spent a session at the museum helping to prepare the exhibit. Student employee Katie Brown put the finishing touches on the text panels.
The peak time for visitors at the fairgrounds museum is during the Coos County Fair, which this year is July 26—30. The museum is open at other times throughout the year.
A capacity crowd enjoyed Mary Schamehorn’s presentation on “Bandon’s OTHER Fire, the Fire of 1914” at the museum Saturday, June 11, one-hundred and two years to the day after the June 11 catastrophe.
Over a hundred people signed the guest book for the day: most attended the talk. The audience exceeded the museum’s seating capability.
Schamehorn used a copy of the Western World, owned and edited by her grandfather L. D. Felsheim, as her primary source for the presentation. She also drew on accounts of the fire from the Coos Bay Times and the Portland Oregonian.
Not lost on the audience, as shared by Mayor Schamehorn, was the editorial commentary from 1914 that discussed the community’s concern with public safety contrasted against its willingness to invest in prevention.
There was a lot of discussion of gorse, even though gorse was not a factor in 1914’s fire.
The presentation was generously supported by a digital slide show. Jim Proehl prepared the visuals.
Additional information about the 1914 fire can be found in an article by Dick Hancock in the May 2016 Bandon Light newsletter.
The museum has been busy hosting school classes. More than a dozen volunteers have helped guide visiting students.
High school juniors taking Kate Hawthorne’s US history class visited Tuesday, May 31. The class ran through the “Cheesy Challenge,” tested their ability to discriminate among historic odors, and found themselves among the collection of high school annuals and grade school photo albums.
The group traveled to the cemetery and used the museum’s newly developed “Cemetery Challenge” booklet to connect Bandon citizens to local and national historic events.
After lunch, the juniors returned and joined the volunteers in doing jobs around the museum.
Third graders came to the museum Wednesday and Thursday. Jim Sylvester and Priscilla Weston’s classes took part in the “Passport to the Past.” The third graders especially delighted in finding the “secret stamps” they could get by discovering people like “former Ocean Crest students,” “ teachers who had taught third grade at another school” and “the mayor Bandon” among the volunteers.
Next week the museum will host a class from Powers and all of Bandon’s fourth graders.
The Bandon Historical Society Museum has chosen Gayle Propeck Nix to become its new executive director. The decision was finalized at the May board meeting. Nix will assume the position in October.
At the March board meeting, Judy Knox told the museum board she planned to retire in 2016.
“When we decided to celebrate Judy’s twentieth anniversary at the museum, we did not know she planned to retire,” said Board President Jim Proehl. “We still get to have a retirement party.”
Nix is a Bandon native. Her father, Bob Propeck, appears in many of the museum’s cheese making photos. We find pictures of Gayle at Ocean Crest and Bandon High. She left the community for a time but returned about 18 years ago. She has many years of experience as a medical clinic office manager.
“We know we can’t replace Judy. She has cared for the museum so well the last twenty years. In Gayle, we think we have found someone in whose good hands Judy can comfortably leave the museum,” said Proehl.
Board members Reg Pullen, Betty Hiley and Donna Mason were on the museum’s hiring committee and brought the hiring recommendation to the board.
Eileen Scott will continue in her two day a week position. Knox’s retirement timeline will allow a smooth transition.
“Judy is looking forward to being a museum volunteer,” said Proehl. “Most of us who volunteer at the museum and serve on its board are retirees, so we’re looking forward to welcoming Judy to our ranks, even if it means we have to work through this transition.”
A grateful "Thank You" goes to the Boy Scouts of Troop 313 who recently spent their meeting night mowing and trimming the Bandon GAR and Averill Pioneer Cemeteries.
Many people in Bandon do not realize that the historical Averill and GAR Cemeteries have neither an owner nor any organization which provides care and maintenance. Although at times the cemeteries have become overgrown with raspberry bushes, weeds and grass, there has been an on-going and ever changing group of volunteers who have provided labor and equipment to keep them cut and trimmed.
Most recently, the Boy Scouts of Troop 313 spent their evening getting the cemeteries cleaned up for Memorial Day. Jim Proehl, who has been mowing the cemeteries for the last 13 years, encouraged the Scouts to step in and “Do a Good Deed.” Thank you Scouts!!
Volunteering for the mowing job is not a new activity. The Western World of March 12, 1959, reported on one of the previous volunteers, Fred Feiger, in the newspaper clipping seen here.
The voters of Coos County will have an opportunity to provide our museum, and all the museums in the county, with a stable source of funding. Oregon law allows counties to ask voters to approve an annual, tax supported, county historical fund. The fund can only be used to operate historical museums accredited by the Oregon Historical Society.
A vote on the fund in Coos County will be on the November ballot.
If the ballot measure passes, Coos County residents would pay 10 cents for every $1,000 in real estate valuation. For a property assessed at $100,000, the tax would be $10. The tax would raise a projected $500,000 in its first full year.
Getting the measure on the ballot has been the work of an ad hoc committee made up of representatives of the county’s eight museums.
The Bandon Historical Society’s board of directors voted to support the concept.
We believe the measure would be good for not only us and the county’s other museums, but for the county as a whole. With the historical fund in place, every community’s museum will have the resources to pay staff and be open regular hours. Well-run museums bring visitors to a town and expand a town’s cultural and heritage activities.
Let’s get behind this measure. Let’s start spreading the word that this is important to us and a good deal for the county.
All of us who work with the museum dream of spending less time on fundraising and more time on history. This measure is our best shot at making that dream come true.
A steady stream of visitors congratulated Judy Knox at an event designed to celebrate her anniversary of 20 years as our Museum's Executive Director.
More than 140 people attended the event! Many left special messages in a guest book hand-made for the event by Kathy Cowan. The event was the best-attended museum event in many years.
Bandon's Mayor Mary Schamehorn read a proclamation declaring April 23, 2016, Judy Knox appreciation day and presented her with a plaque.
Visitors from several other area historical societies also attended.
Jim Proehl, Nancy Murphy and Donna Mason put together a special photo exhibit dedicated to Judy that was enjoyed by all.
Donna Mason and Kathy Dornath organized the refreshments and volunteer Nancy Drew served the cake. Board member Faye Albertson attended the front desk and signed in visitors.
"We can't say we were surprised by the attendance," said Museum Board Chairman Jim Proehl. "We know there are lots of people out there who know of and appreciate the work Judy does for the museum. We knew they'd come."
If you missed the celebration but still want to congratulate Judy, be sure to stop by the Museum and see Judy.
Two thousand pages from historic Bandon newspapers will become available to view online because of a decision made by the city of Bandon’s budget committee.
At its March 18 meeting, the budget committee approved a $2,500 grant to the Bandon Historical Society Museum. The museum’s board earmarked $1,300 of that amount toward sponsoring the digitizing and posting online of Bandon’s newspapers.
The balance of the city’s revenue sharing grant will be devoted to minor building repairs and preserving historic photographs and documents.
The Bandon newspapers will appear on the website Oregon Historic Newspapers, maintained by the University of Oregon. The web address is oregonnews.uoregon.edu and the site is free.
The museum has worked with the university for many years to preserve Bandon’s newspapers on microfilm. When the technology arose to digitize information and post it online, the university used grants to buy the equipment and develop the website.
Some editions of the Bandon Recorder are already posted because the university used them to establish the site.
Now the university seeks sponsors to defray the cost of digitizing a community’s newspapers. For example, the Friends of the Langlois Library sponsored the preservation of the Southwestern Oregon Recorder, published in the community of Denmark in 1884-85, which is now viewable on the web.
The newspapers posted on the site are word searchable and can be cut, copied and pasted. They are valuable research tools.
At sixty-five cents a page, the $1,300 worth of revenue sharing money will support 2,000 pages, which should cover about five years worth of newspapers.
The money the city shares in its revenue sharing program originates in the state’s liquor tax. The state allocates a portion of the tax revenue to cities. While most Oregon cities just apply the funds to their operating budgets, Bandon’s city council is unusual in that it shares this revenue with local non-profits and organizations.
Come in and step up to our corner tavern, or more accurately our "tavern corner."
When we reshuffled some or our exhibit pieces to make room for a new desk, a massive cash register that was formerly located in the Arcade Tavern was relocated into a corner of the Pioneer Room. All alone in its new location, it was all too apparent that the space cried out to become an exhibit on Bandon’s bars and taverns.
Volunteers scoured our photo collection, then printed and mounted a dozen new images related to saloons.
Made possible by a grant dedicated to projects enhancing our exhibit space from Trust Management Services, the new "tavern corner" exhibit was launched.
A few months ago the Museum received thousands of negatives from the Western World, and recently an additional two boxes of photographs and other memorabilia were delivered to the museum by James and Tanya Felsheim.
The boxes, a donation on behalf of the children of Louis and Anne Felsheim, who died in 2015 were located in the garage of the Felsheim home. They appear to be what Louis took home with him when he retired as publisher of the Western World, a newspaper founded by his father in 1912.
They contain a treasure trove of images of Bandon. While few of the pictures are dated or labeled, most appeared at some time in the pages of the Western World so they can be cross-referenced for identification. Volunteers have begun the work of sorting, scanning and researching the photos and in the process are enjoying the chance to explore another source of Bandon history. A few of the photographs appear in this article for your enjoyment.
A special event to celebrate 20 years of Judy Knox’s service as the executive director of the Bandon Historical Society will be held at the museum Saturday, April 23, from 1:00 to 4:00 PM.
Admission to the museum will be free for the event.
“We are inviting everyone to come in, have some cake, sign the guest book, congratulate Judy and enjoy the museum that she has left such a mark on,” said museum board president Jim Proehl.
A Bandon native, Knox and her husband Ron co-chaired Bandon’s Centennial celebration in 1991. That experience led to her involvement with the museum.
Knox took the job with the non-profit historical society in 1996, the year the museum moved into its current location in Bandon’s old city hall building.
“Judy has taken care of the museum’s collection and overseen the preservation of the town’s history,” said Museum Board President Jim Proehl. “She is the center of our museum community.”
Knox has also been instrumental in forming and maintaining SWOMA, the Southwestern Oregon Museum Association.
The April 23 event will encompass some other significant anniversaries: 40 years as a historical society and twenty years of residency in an 80-year-old building. The museum recently celebrated the 100 years anniversary of the wreck of the Fifield and will observe the eightieth anniversary of the 1936 fire later this year.
We hope to see you at the celebration.
A roll-top oak desk, once used by the owners and editors of the Bandon Western World, is one of the newest additions to the collection at the Bandon Historical Society Museum.
The Felsheim family donated the desk. “We’d like to thank James and Tanya Felsheim and John and Renee Felsheim for choosing the museum as a home for this magnificent piece of furniture,” said board chairman Jim Proehl.
The desk had last been in the home of Louis and Anne Felsheim, who both died in 2015. Bandon’s Western World newspaper was founded by L. D. Felsheim in 1912, who ran it until his death in 1962. It was then owned and operated by his son Louis until he retired and sold the paper. Both publishers worked at the desk.
The Western World operated in the First National Bank building (now the Masonic Hall) one of the few buildings not completely destroyed in the 1936 fire. The desk survived the fire.
Moving the solid oak desk from an upstairs room in the Felsheim house and into the museum was a challenge.
A crew of five high school students, Jared Duval, Ben Bean, Havoc Taylor, Collier Green and Owen Bivens, provided the muscle. Museum volunteers Bob Coraor and Jim Proehl superintended the move along with John Felsheim.
The desk will become the centerpiece of a display on the role of newspapers and publishing in Bandon’s history.
The museum is putting two significant contributions received in February to work together.
The Coquille Tribal Community Fund awarded the museum a grant of $2,750 to buy museum quality storage materials.
The Bandon Western World donated several thousand negatives taken by newspaper photographers before the paper changed to digital photography.
Moving the negatives into a better storage environment is the first application of the CTCF grant. The Western World stored its negatives in paper envelopes in cardboard boxes. While that system met the needs of the newspaper, it was not designed for long term preservation.
The long term goal will be to store each strip of negatives in a polypropylene sleeve. The sleeves will be labeled with and stored in acid free envelopes, all to be held in acid free cardboard boxes. The Coquille grant pays for the materials.
Museum volunteer Kathy Cowan started the process of moving the collection out of the sometimes vermin-infested boxes it arrived in into new, museum quality boxes. In the process, she worked to preserve the Western World’s organization system.
The negatives complement the collection of Western World negatives Mary Schamehorn preserved, which the museum is also working to put into better storage.
This is the fourth year the Coquille Tribal Community fund has awarded the museum a grant.
Students, parents and staff from the Bandon Pacific Christian School celebrated Leap Day with a visit to the Bandon Historical Society Museum.
The idea of a museum field trip was generated by a student doing a current events project who saw the Western World article about the museum reopening in February and the article about the wreck of the Fifield.
The students were given a special tour of the Fifield exhibit, took the museum’s History Detectives’ Challenge, visited the touchable table, and wrapped dead animals around themselves (tried on fur coats.)
Board members Donna Mason and Jim Proehl hosted the visit.
Friday night’s members’ social was well attended. Old and new members, staff, and board members mixed and talked and looked at what was new among the exhibits.
Several people used the occasion to join as members. Other members used the social as an opportunity to offer to volunteer.
Caroline Sorensen greeted guests and tended the admissions desk. Nancy Drew poured wine. Kathy Dornath, Paula Colgrove and Donna Mason took care of refreshments, including a generous cheese tray donated by Face Rock Creamery.
Over forty members checked in during the two hour event.
Austin created and installed a museum quality exhibit in each of the school district’s three buildings to display the history of that school. At Ocean Crest School and the high school, Austin found underused display cabinets, sought permission to use them, and designed exhibits to fit the spaces. For Harbor Lights Middle School, Austin built a cabinet from scratch and installed it on a wall opposite the school office. Local woodworker Chuck Duval shared his home shop and talked Austin and his helpers through the construction process.
Austin used the museum’s photo collection, computer and printer to produce the pictures and captions used in the display. He looked to the recently created displays in the museum’s maritime room as a model for mounting and arranging material.
Eagle Scouts can’t do projects entirely on their own. Austin enlisted the help of over a dozen friends, adults and fellow Scouts in the course of completing the project. The project required Austin to learn and share a lot of local history.
The final step on his trail to Eagle will be appearing before the Chinook District Eagle Scout Board who will review his project and his experience as a Scout. Austin is a Scout in Bandon’s Boy Scout Troop 313, which is chartered to the Bandon Lions Club.
The collection complements the collection, starting about 1955 and continuing through about 1982, that Mary Schamehorn saved from destruction when she was working for the Western World. Schamehorn worked with Western World editor Amy Moss-Strong to secure the negatives for the museum. Mary is the museum board’s vice president, a former Western World editor, Bandon’s mayor and the granddaughter of L D Felsheim, who started the Western World in 1912.
The newspaper negatives are especially valuable because the images in them can be cross-referenced with the newspaper to get the who, what, when, where and why depicted in the pictures. But then the negatives can add more to the story, because the newspaper typically only used one or two pictures from a roll of film that contains 20 to 30 images.
The museum has the equipment to turn the negatives into digital images. Thousands of volunteer hours of work lie ahead scanning the negatives, connecting them to their stories, and putting the information into a data base.
It’s unlikely the museum will devote a lot of wall space to photographs of the 1990s, but the work can begin to preserve and protect this resource. And what seems historical is relative. When grade school students visit, the pictures of when their parents were children are historical to them.
The museum’s board and staff have declared Friday, February 26, “Members' Appreciation Day.” “We can’t honor members by letting them in for free or giving them a discount in the gift show, since those are already privileges of membership, but they can bring in friends for free, especially if they plan to talk them into joining,” said Board President Jim Proehl. “We hope members who have not been in for a while will take this as an occasion to visit. It’s a day to show members just what they are supporting and say thank-you in person,” said Proehl. The day will conclude with an after-hours members’ social, which will include light refreshments, from 4:00 to 6:00 PM. Board members, volunteers and staff will be on hand to “show off” the work done in January.
After being closed for the month of January, the Museum exhibits have been refreshed and are ready for new visitors. Stop by and see the new exhibit about the Steamer Fifield becoming stuck on the Bandon bar. Thanks go to the many volunteers who rebuilt, created and refurbished many of the exhibits. Tom Hultin, Will Turner and Craig Tresidder did a lot of the “heavy lifting,” moving and remounting some of the museum’s larger objects in advance of rearranging some exhibit space. Ray Murphy and Jim Cowan borrowed a truck from Goddard Energy and retrieved two large display cases from the Coos History Museum’s former building. The Coos Bay museum has been sharing with neighboring historical societies furnishings that don’t fit the décor of its new museum. Donna Mason and Nancy Murphy have led the job of rebuilding exhibits. Kathy Cowan, Kathy Phillips and Jim Proehl produced and mounted photographs and exhibit labels. The project is financed by a grant from Trust Management Services. Paula Colgrove has volunteered to manage the museum gift shop and used January to take inventory and rearrange the stock. Doreen Colbert, Elaine Stohler and Barbara Scherer worked on a project, funded by the Coquille Tribal Community Fund, to move the museum’s stored artifacts and documents into better storage systems.
A new look to our website was launched and we would appreciate your comments and suggestions to improve it and make it more useful to you.
Board President, Jim Proehl, was recognized as Volunteer of the Month at Bandon City Hall. Congratulations, Jim!
that the roll top desk donated recently has a mystery locked drawer?
We need a lock picker! We know there is something in the drawer and we've tried to pick it but do not want to damage it. Are you the right person to unlock this drawer? Let us know!
Did you know...
that cheese production has been an important commercial product in Bandon. The Historical Society helped document that history which can be found along with many photographs on Face Rock Creamery's web site.Read More Here
that there was a military school located just south of Bandon? The story of Millard Military School has been prepared by Andy Christensen.Read More Here
that Bandon's 9-hole golf course was the western most golf course in the continental US. Designed by Lee Smith, it opened for business in 1927 as Westmost Golf Course. It also operated as Face Rock GC for many years, as Old Bandon Golf Links from 2009 to 2013, briefly returned to Face Rock GC and, unfortunately, is now closed.Read More Here
that in the UK there is a saying, "kissing's out of season when the gorse is out of blossom"...
that the population of Bandon has only increased 344 people in the twenty years between 1990 and 2010...
that Bandon had its own heated, indoor swimming pool as early as 1925.Read More Here