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The glories of Gaston revealed

County museum hosts exhibit about small town during May


NEWS-TIMES PHOTOS: CHASE ALLGOOD - The Gaston exhibit at the Washington County Museum this month features lots of old photos and mementos of the towns interesting history.May is Gaston month at the Washington County Museum, meaning Gaston residents with valid identification can get half-price admission throughout the month, as well as free admission all day Saturday, May 21. That’s when local historians Ken and Kris Bilderback will present a special program about Gaston at 1 p.m.

There will be photos of local petroglyphs, along with stories of Wapato Lake, onion fields and the role second-generation Japanese immigrants played in Gaston’s development. Videos related to Gaston’s history will be on a continual loop.

The museum is located in Hillsboro’s Civic Center on the southeast corner of First Avenue and Main Street, above the Starbucks coffee shop.

An old photo shows the rail line and the old train depot from a time when trains regularly passed through Gaston. Railroad spikes like this rusted one in front of the photo helped hold the ties to the rails.

For decades, onion fields lined the east side of Highway 47 in Gaston, where Wapato Lake used to sit and where it still floods frequently, providing the soggy conditions the onions needed in order to grow well. The farmers eventually sold their fields to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

An old bell from the Gaston State Bank sits near photos of the bank and other buildings that once lined Gastons main drag.