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Volunteers help landscape around Carnegie Library and Zion Church on August 5 in Gresham.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: CHRIS KEIZUR - Matt Holland, Gresham History Museum's director, clears dirt for a new flower bed.Community members came together Saturday to help cleanup and beautify Gresham's most historic block, which contains the former Carnegie Library and Zion Church.

The Rotary Club of Gresham, in partnership with Tsuru Island, hosted the all-day event on Aug. 5 to refurbish the garden beds, remove undesirable trees and shrubs, add drip irrigation and provide general maintenance to the downtown block along Main Avenue between Fourth and Fifth Street.

Tsuru Island donated all the plant materials and most of the tools that were needed to complete the job, while the Rotary Club will sponsor maintenance for the next year to ensure the property stays pristine.

COURTESY PHOTO - Rotarians Brian York, left, and Bob Avila double-team a stump grinder during the club's effort Saturday, Aug. 5,to cleanup and beautify the historic block in downtown Gresham.Because of limited funding for the Gresham Historical Society, most of which is earmarked specifically to preserve and maintain the city's history, there was little left for landscape maintenance. That is why it was important to have the two organizations help.

"We couldn't have done this on our own," said Matt Holland, Gresham History Museum's director.

The Carnegie Library in Gresham is one of 2,509 built by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Our local example was a Tudor-style building constructed in 1913, which was later added to the National Register of Historic Places. It served as a public library until December 1989, and was subsequently purchased by the Gresham Historical Society and converted into the Gresham History Museum.

The Zion Church next door was completed in 1928, with gothic revival architecture serving as an obvious nod to the churches dotted across continental Europe. The Historical Society recently completed the purchase of the church, which is being leased to Spinella's Off the Wall restaurant, safeguarding another historic building.

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