Discover The History of Your House

As part of the City of Canby’s recognition of Historic Preservation Month, a program to help people research the history of their homes will be given on May 18th at the Canby Public Library. The program is presented as a partnership between the Canby Historical Society and the Canby Public Library. Admission is free.

“Questions about the history of people’s homes are probably the most frequently asked questions posed to historical societies and libraries.”

Mike Schmeer, President of the Oak Lodge History Detectives, will present the program at 1:00, offering many tips that can be used when researching your house’s history.

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Discovering Your House’s History

Genealogy is a popular hobby in the U.S. – enjoyed by millions. But researching one’s family history requires resources. 

We in the Portland metro area are fortunate in that we have the Genealogical Forum of Oregon (GFO) library – chock full of resources to help us research our family history, not only in Oregon but nationwide. The GFO is hosting its annual Open House March 16th-24th – online and on site – complete with FREE classes. 

GFO Open House

Of note will be an in-person presentation entitled “Discovering Your House’s History” by yours truly on March 23rd at 3:00 at the GFO. This topic is by far the most asked “how to” question asked of libraries and historical societies. I gave it in Estacada and Gladstone last year, and have been asked to give it again twice this year – – – so far. This presentation will give you many suggestions as to how you might go about learning more about the history of your home. Registration is required for each of the online classes.

Follow the link above to see all of the available classes, and if you’re interested in researching your house’s history consider attending the March 23rd House History presentation. It’s FREE!

Mike Schmeer
Chairman, Oak Lodge History Detectives

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Jennings Lodge Historical Marker

It has been asked where the Historic Marker is located in Jennings Lodge.

It is one block west of River Rd. on Jennings Ave., at Morse St.

The marker tells some of the history of Jennings Lodge, complete with photos. It is located on the site of the former Jennings Lodge Campground – now a housing development.

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS from the Oak Lodge History Detectives

History is all around us all of the time
All we need do is look for it

Image of an undated Brownell Family Christmas Card
A Brownell Family Christmas Card

The Oak Lodge History Detectives
Wishes You and Yours

Happy Holidays

and a Very Merry Christmas

We wish you the very best in the upcoming year

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OLHD Installs Two Historic Markers In Oak Lodge

Image of commemorative marker erected by OLHD in 2023
Site of the First Oak Lodge School, 1856 – 1866 — Served
Concord, Gladstone, Jennings Lodge, Lake Oswego, Oak
Grove, and West Linn. Established by Orville Risley.
OLHD, 2023

Over the last two weeks the Oak Lodge History Detectives succeeded in installing two historic markers on River Rd., commemorating the first two schools in the Oak Lodge area.

The idea of “first schools” historic markers was hatched six years ago when the exact location of the Oak Lodge area’s very first school, established by Orville Risley in 1856, was identified from an 1856 Clackamas County survey. That school was a log structure located at the intersection of River Rd. and Laurelwood Dr., and students from both sides of the Willamette River attended. By 1866 the student population had outgrown the little log building, so the pioneer community built a newer structure further south on River Rd., at today’s River Bluff Ct. – on what later became part of the Roethe farm. Students from today’s Lake Oswego, West Linn, Gladstone, Jennings Lodge, Oak Grove and the Concord area attended the little school. But the pioneer population continued to grow, and in 1890 the school district again needed a larger schoolhouse. It was then that Michael and Minerva Oatfield sold the school district 1 acre in the S.W. corner of their farm – where today’s Concord play area is now – and the first Concord schoolhouse was built.

Image of commemorative marker erected by OLHD in 2023
Site of original Riverside School, 1866 – 1890 — Served
Concord, Gladstone, Jennings Lodge, Lake Oswego, Oak
Grove, and West Linn. Named by teacher Mary Devore.
OLHD, 2023.

The historic markers for the first two schoolhouses were made possible in part by a grant from the Clackamas County Cultural Coalition, managed by the Clackamas County Arts Alliance, and with private donations.  The bronze plaques were made by the Paul Zimmerman Foundries in Columbia, PA. The black basalt boulders were purchased locally at Portland Rock & Landscape Supply, were transported to their respective locations by Knapp Construction Company, Inc., and mounted by Greg Sandidge of Eagle Creek Engraving.

OLHD is excited to have completed this first historic marker project. Suggestions from the community for more markers have been solicited, and OLHD looks forward to the installation of many others in the future.

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Oak Lodge Library Groundbreaking Cermony

Come and celebrate the long awaited groundbreaking for the new Oak Lodge Library.

Enjoy free ice cream, and learn a little history.

Saturday, September 16, 2023
1-3 P.M.
Concord Property
3811 S.E. Concord Rd., Milwaukie

Construction is beginning on the new Oak Lodge Library and community park
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Discovering Your House’s History Talk


“What Can You Tell Me About My House’s History” is the most frequently asked question received by the Oak Lodge History Detectives (OLHD). With well over 1,000 homes in the Oak Lodge area the answer is generally “not much”. Our best advice is for curious homeowners to learn how to do it themselves and enjoy the discovery, using many available tools.

OLHD will be giving a talk on this subject on May 6th at the Estacada Public Library at 12:00 noon. It is open to all. You are welcome to join us for an educational afternoon.

Mike Schmeer
Chairman, Oak Lodge History Detectives

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Carol J. Powers Obituary

Carol J. Powers
1949 – 2023

OLHD has lost a long time member. Carol Powers had been an active and supportive member of OLHD since 2015. She attended most of our meetings and followed OLHD on Facebook. She passed away on Feb. 19th.

There will be a service for her on Friday March 10th.  You can read her obituary below.

Obituary of Carol J. Powers

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William L. Holmes House Opening

General Joseph Lane, Oregon’s first territorial governor

On March 4, 1849, General Joseph Lane of Indiana was sworn in a Oregon’s first territorial governor.  The location of this event was the William L. Holmes House at the Rose Farm in Oregon City.  The house will be open on Saturday to commemorate the event. Come and learn about Lane and how he came to Oregon.

Date:  Saturday, March 4, 2023

Place:  536 Holmes Lane in Oregon City

Time: 12 noon to 4 pm – refreshments will be served. Admission by donation.

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OLHD article in the Clackamas Review

Read the Clackamas Review article: Oak Lodge History Detectives get $2,000 for pioneer schoolhouse markers

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