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Telling the tales of Estacada

FILE PHOTO - Local historian Kathryn Hurd peruses through the 1989 Estacada News archives. Hurd, whose book Estacada was published in 2012, is working on a second book about the area, tentatively titled Estacada Sagas. Local historian Kathryn Hurd loves telling people’s stories.

She’s been hard at work collecting oral histories from Estacada residents, which will appear in a book that will be published next year.

The working title of Hurd’s most recent effort is “Estacada Sagas” and will be published with Arcadia Publishing’s History Press.

Hurd’s previous book, “Estacada” was published as a part of Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America” series in 2012. Like the rest of the series, the book presented photographs from the city’s past from 1840 through the 1980s and provided context with detailed captions.

With “Estacada Sagas,” Hurd hopes to delve deeper into some of the stories she explored in her previous book and discover new ones. Hurd received a $2,380 grant from the Clackamas County Cultural Coalition for the project.

The new book will include a variety of stories. Currently, the content spans from 1902-1995 in Esacada’s history. Hurd’s only requirement for stories is that they help tell the history of Estacada and those who live there.

Much of the book will consist of first-hand accounts.

“These are the personal views of people in Estacada, what they remember, and what they experienced,” Hurd said.

For example, she’s spoken to the projectionist of the old Broadway Theatre, which operated from the late 1920s through 1985.

She learned that theater employees would play the organ for patrons before films started, and that the projection booths were dangerous for the operators.

“(The booths) had to be all metal to protect the projectionist and projector from fire, and they used carbonart lamps, which were very hot and exuded carbon monoxide,” she said. “It’s amazing they got through and were able to do their jobs.”

Hurd had been hard at work collecting first-hand accounts for her book, but she enjoys the process.

“I love interviewing people,” she said. “There are so many fun stories.”

Hurd has written five other books. She credits an early work, “Briarwood Remembered,” with further developing her passion for storytelling and oral histories.

Hurd used to live in Briarwood, just outside of Lake Oswego. Every year, her neighbors would gather at their Christmas party and share stories of the area’s history.

“They kept saying, someone should write a book, so I decided I would,” she said “I interviewed as many people who lived there, past and present, as I could.”

Hurd says she’s never experienced writer’s block while working on one of her projects.

“I get totally involved in what I’m doing,” she said. “I love following all of the different threads, and I get excited about putting the pieces together. When you love it, it’s easy to get involved in.”

Hurd recommends that aspiring writers try their hand at many different genres to figure out what they enjoy most.

“Do different kinds of writing,” she said. “I sold stories to Christian Science Monitor but discovered I didn’t like writing for magazines. I wanted to write about history. Feel things out and settle on what creates a passion.”

Share your story

Hurd encourages anyone with interesting stories about the Estacada area to contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..