The Good Ol’ Days

Museum News

The museum’s summer hours began the first Friday of June and will continue through Quilt Fair weekend in mid-September In addition to Saturdays and Sundays, the museum will be open Fridays from 1 – 4 pm.   Museum volunteers welcome the additional visitors during the beautiful summer months that bring bicyclists, motorcyclists, campers, and vacationers to Vernonia.

We are pleased to have an intern this summer.  Rachel Brown is studying history in college and agreed to spend some of her vacation time helping us update and digitize our artifact tags.  The informational labels for our older artifacts were typewritten back in the 1960s and have faded with age.  The new tags are being prepared by computer and printed in a larger font for improved readability.  Rachel’s help is greatly appreciated.

Ms. Rogers sixth grade class for the Vernonia Middle School visited the museum in early June as part of their local history curriculum.  The students enjoyed seeing the artifacts and pictures of early Vernonia and learned a little more about life in Vernonia several generations ago.


Independence Days of Yore  

Although the summer months were busy ones for the early day Vernonians,  there was also time for some fun and relaxation.  Just as we do today, the Fourth of July was celebrated with community events.  A July 1925 article in the Vernonia Eagle described the 1882 Fourth of July gathering in Mist:  “At that time there were merely trails through the woods and people lived several miles apart.  The chief means of transportation was horseback due to the lack of roads.  About fifty people participated in the festivities, the children amusing themselves at games and swings.  A community outdoor picnic was one of the features of the occasion.  Nelson Cole of Mist made a speech on the caption of Independence Day.” 

The same issue of the Eagle also recalled an 1883 picnic in Natal held in Nels Peterson’s barn.  People from Vernonia and Mist attended the entertainment that consisted of fireworks, dancing, a picnic in the afternoon, and a midnight dinner at Mr. Peterson’s, the dance lasting all night.  Roads had been built and more families had moved to the area.   The paper also noted that during the current holiday, local resident Virgil Powell, his wife and children spent the 3rd, 4th and 5th in Tillamook, Garibaldi, Barview, and Rockaway, returning home by the way of Seaside.  The article stated that they had a wonderful time at Rockaway but the Seaside coast was too crowded with people and not even enough room to park a car.  Some things haven’t changed!


From Virgil Powell’s Diary

Virgil Powell was a long-time resident who had a farm in the Upper Nehalem Valley between Natal and Pittsburg.  Each year from 1906 until 1955, he kept a regular diary of his activities.  These excerpts from July 1917 show Powell’s practice of taking a holiday trip for the Fourth as a break from all the chores of the farm started well before 1925:


Tuesday, July 3:  Left 6.30 A.M. went up got Parkers and went down to Seaside.  Got there about 4.30 P.M.  Cloudy in morning but very good in afternoon.


Wednesday, July 4:  Was in Seaside, Gearhart and Cannon Beach all day.  Rained awful hard early in morning but very good during the day.


Thursday, July 5:  Left Seaside 9 A.M. and got home 10 P.M.  Had all kinds of tire trouble.  Rained a little but pretty fair day.


Sunday, July 8:  Raked, shocked and cut hay all day.  Very hot in forenoon but cloudy in afternoon and looks very much like rain.


Thursday, July 12:  Hauled hay all day and got considerable hauled.  Awful hot all day.  Ora came over.


Thursday, July 13:  Finished hauling hay 11 A.M.  Just fooled around in afternoon.  Cultivated potatoes after supper till 8.30 P.M.  Awful hot all day.

The Vernonia Pioneer Museum is located at E. 511 Bridge Street and is open from 1 to 4 pm on Saturdays and Sundays (excluding holidays) all year.  From June through mid-September, the museum is also open on Fridays from 1 – 4 pm.  There is no charge for admission but donations are always welcome.   Become a member of the museum for an annual $5 fee to receive the periodic newsletter, and if you are a Facebook user, check out the new Vernonia Pioneer Museum page created by Bill Langmaid. The museum volunteers are always pleased to enlist additional volunteers to help hold the museum open and assist in other ways.  Please stop by and let one of the volunteers know of your interest in helping out.