Historian sleuths out public library's origins
Local historian Kathryn Hurd stepped into the library the minute it opened on Thursday, Aug. 22, to discuss her research with Estacada News.
No sooner has she crossed the threshold when Michele Kinnamon, director of the Estacada Public Library exclaimed that she was just about to call her. Shed found something new.
That something new turned out to be an ordinance from 1960 establishing the library as a city library.
This is exciting because there is a large gap in documented history about the Estacada Public Library from 1925 through about 1991.
Hurd is preparing to give a talk about the history of the library in Estacada during its centennial celebration on Saturday, Sept. 7.
But Hurd has had to work hard to piece together a history.
There are gaps in all history about Estacada, she said.
From her research, and shes done a lot, shes found very few published books on Estacadas history.
Last year Arcadia Publishing released Hurds Estacada book as part of its Images of America series.
Hurd said that she felt envious when looking at the authors acknowledgements in the Lake Oswego volume of the series.
The images in that book came from Lake Oswego Public Library. From the authors acknowledgments, Hurd surmised that the Lake Oswegos historical information had been largely centralized to that citys library and historical society, the Oswego Heritage Council.
Hurds experience gathering information for the Estacada volume was very different.
She had to rely heavily on oral histories of Estacada and interviewed more than 200 people for the project.
Documentation was not easy to come by.
Thats whats hard about researching times past in Estacada.
Thats also whats fun about it.
Hurd likened her research to a jigsaw puzzle.
Thats what I find exciting about research; when you find a little thing and can say, Aha! she said.
She gave the example of discovering that Still Creeks name had nothing to do with the calmness of its waters. Still was a local familys last name.
Hurd has been hard at work preparing her presentation for the Estacada Public Librarys centennial celebration.
Not surprisingly, As far as information on the library, there isnt a whole lot.
She explained that it takes about 15 minutes to glance through the librarys box of archived items from its history.
Again, shes been relying heavily on oral histories of peoples memories of the library and their parents memories of it.
But she has found out a thing or two.
Youll have to come to her speech at the librarys centennial celebration to hear of how a group of women got together to form the library in 1913 and why they did so.
But Hurd was willing to share a few details about what was going on at the time in Estacada.
At that time it was what was considered a bawdy town, she said.
Shes come across comments along the lines of there are more saloons than there are churches.
Shes discovered accounts of brawls breaking out amid an infamous triangle of saloons near where the Safari Club building is now.
In 1913, two years after the completion of the River Mill Dam, Estacadas population was smaller than it is now; but they were much more closely knit.
Hurd explained that people settled around where City Hall is now. And there were more businesses back then.
It was a very prosperous time in Estacada, she explained.
Around the time the library came into being, Estacada was getting phone lines, lighting and streets with nice timber sidewalks.
Hurd has uncovered enough information to give one a sense of life in Estacada 100 years ago.
But thats all were giving away for now.
To learn more:
To learn more about the start of the library 100 years ago, and what Estacada was like back then come to the Estacada Library for its centennial celebration from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Sep. 7 in the librarys Flora Room.
Everyone is invited.
Enjoy a library history exhibit while enjoying live music by the Upriver Dulcimers at 11a.m.
At noon, Oregon State Librarian MaryKay Dahlgreen will give a talk, Hurd will discuss the Estacada Public Librarys origins and what Estacada was like at the time and author Stevan Allred will read an original piece on his personal experience with libraries.
Guests are invited to enjoy coffee, lemonade and gourmet cake at 1 p.m.
The library will hold an open house from 2-4 p.m. with a trivia hunt and raffle prizes and the opportunity to have your name commemorated in the Skip-A-Week Quilt Clubs library centennial quilt.
Can you fill in the gaps?
If you have any information on the history of the Estacada Public Library please get in touch with Kinnamon by emailing email@example.com or dropping by the library.
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