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Citys Iron Heritage Trail has tourist attraction potential

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO Sisters Susanna Campbell Kuo, left, and Corinna Campbell-Sack stand by the panel they designed at Iron Mountain for the Oswego Iron Heritage Trail. History lovers are already coming from far away to trek on the trail.

It is very, very good when you preserve the history of your community.

It is even better when you can make money while you are doing it.

That is what Susanna Campbell Kuo has in mind now that the Oswego Iron Heritage Trail is up and running. If the historical trail becomes a moneymaker, it will make Kuo's labor of love even lovelier.

'We're really excited about this,' Kuo said. 'This will tie together all the physically surviving pieces of our iron industry.'

It is hard to imagine today while walking around Lake View Village, but long ago Lake Oswego had a short but colorful history as the 'Pittsburgh of the West,' in which its furnaces turned out thousands of tons of pig iron every year.

The boom years are now marked by a walking map for seven sites, which all have panels designed by Kuo and her sister Corinna Campbell-Sack. It marks the fulfillment of a dream that Kuo has had since 2004.

The Campbell sisters headed up a special committee set up by the Historic Resources Advisory Board, which was joined by the Oswego Pioneer Cemetery and Friends of Tryon Creek State Park.

What makes Kuo especially pleased, though, is that two groups have already found out about the Iron Heritage Trail and came to Lake Oswego to see it, spending nice tourist bucks in the process.

'They came to visit Lake Oswego history,' Kuo said. 'That just amazes me. One group included one of my old high school classmates, and the others from the group were from Argentina. They came to the Lake Shore Hotel and rented suites. The other group came from San Francisco.

'These old iron furnaces were placed in scenic places where people love to walk. We got these visitors without even trying. The requests came out of the blue.'

The Iron Heritage Trail is a trailblazer for the Northwest, but Kuo noted that similar trails have long been popular attractions back East.

She is planning to get the word out about the trail with a website, a brochure, and eventually, scheduling special activities.

The seven sites on the Oswego Iron Heritage Trail are:

* Prosser Iron Mine

* Charcoal Pit (panel still to come)

* Pipe Foundry Site

* 1888 Iron Furnace

* Workers Cottage

* 1866 Iron Furnace

* Oswego Pioneer Cemetery




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