We’re Still Here!

Greetings!

I just wanted to write to let everyone know that OLHD is STILL HERE!  Though the Covid-19 Pandemic has taken the wind out of our sails, and completely interrupted our ability to continue studying our local history, research is still being done in the background – as much as can be done remotely.  But it is difficult.  Most repositories are closed for in-person research, and most office business is being done remotely. Most meetings are being done electronically, and our usual meeting place is still not open to the public.

In July it started to look like we might be on the back side of the pandemic.  But the Delta variant, coupled with those that have chosen to not be vaccinated, has brought it back with a vengeance.  Thus it will still be a while before OLHD will be conducting in-person gatherings again.  But don’t despair – – – OLHD is not going away.  You will be notified when the time seems right to safely get together again.

Mike Schmeer

Chairman, Oak Lodge History Detectives

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OLHD designated as tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit

Greetings!

BREAKING NEWS!

After operating as a simple grass roots neighborhood history group for the last eleven years OLHD was recently designated a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit by the IRS.

In March 2009 our group began with the invitation of several local history minded individuals to the home of Pat Kennedy to discuss the community’s local history and how to promote it.  The group continued meeting regularly, and in the ensuing years  grew larger and started holding community gatherings to teach about the history of the Oak Grove, Jennings Lodge, and Oatfield Ridge neighborhoods. It was determined early on to NOT attempt to have a physical museum or library, but instead to build a DIGITAL library and use its photographs, maps and scanned documents as teaching tools.  With donations from community families and research by members, the library holds a wealth of knowledge about the area’s history.  Several times a year programs about early families and events have been offered at meetings, we’ve participated in several community fairs, and our group has been active in efforts to preserve some of our threatened historic resources. 

More recently it was decided that in an effort to do even more to live up to our mission the group should become a 501(c)(3), which would enable us to apply for grants and receive tax deductible donations.  With the prospect of additional income it is hoped that we can accomplish even more history related projects in the community.  In March, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, 90 pages of the application, accompanied by supporting documentation, were sent to the IRS.  Finally, in October, OLHD received the IRS Letter of Determination designating OLHD a 501(c)(3).

Following the designation the OLHD board has joined the Zoom “club” and has been meeting virtually to design our plans for the future.  And measures are being taken to make donating to OLHD  as convenient as possible by setting up an online donations mechanism.

OLHD looks forward to continuing our mission of “Investigating the Past and Enriching the Future” in the coming years.  We sincerely appreciate the support we have received from the Oak Lodge community, and hope that you will join us in learning more about our history in the future.

Sincerely,

Mike Schmeer, OLHD President

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OLHD Membership Dues Moratorium

Greetings:

In any other year October would be OLHD’s Annual Meeting, at which time memberships that are due would be renewed.  This year Covid-19 has changed all that.  We have not had an in-person meeting since February 2020 and likely will not have one until well into 2021. Thus we’re all losing a year of local history education.

Because of the meeting cancellations, and the fact that our bank balance is reasonably healthy with no large expected expenses coming, the OLHD Board has decided that it would be unfair to be asking for membership renewals this fall.  So, be advised that ALL ACTIVE OLHD MEMBERSHIPS HAVE BEEN EXTENDED FOR ONE YEAR.  So if your membership was due in Oct. 2020 it will now be due in Oct. 2021, and for those whose membership would have been due in Oct. 2021 it will now be due in Oct. 2022.

OLHD appreciates all who have continued to support our efforts to ‘Investigate the Past and Enrich the Future’ of our Oak Lodge community. Thank You.

Sincerely,

Mike Schmeer

Chairman, OLHD

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Future OLHD Meetings

Greetings!

Generally, in the past, OLHD has held its “Annual Meeting” in October.  However, just like so many other things, Covid-19 has changed all that.  For safety’s sake we will not be holding an in-person meeting in October.  In fact indications are that in-person gatherings may have to be delayed well into 2021.  I’m not even sure that our usual meeting place would be available even if we did want to meet. Thus you should not expect any in-person OLHD gatherings “until further notice“.

I am, however, contemplating trying to host a Zoom session if there was enough interest.  As you are probably aware many groups, including some historical organizations, are using Zoom as an alternate means of meeting in person.  The BCC is doing that, as is the Concord Task Force, the Library groups, the Clackamas County Heritage Council, the Historic Review Board, the Oak Lodge Library genealogy group, and many others. Zoom allows everyone attending to communicate, and allows one to display slides and videos.  OLHD already has several slide presentations that could be presented, and of course new material as well. This would take me a while to assemble, but if you think this would interest you please let me know.

The only news I have to share is that I’ll be “attending” my first Clackamas Co. Historic Review Board meeting on Oct. 15th (via Zoom) to discuss a proposed “demolition of an existing agricultural building on a Clackamas Co. landmark site”. I have no other information about it at this time. We’ll also be electing a Chair and Vice-chair.  I’ll keep you posted.

Stay safe, minimize your exposure to groups, and wear a mask while in public!  The Holidays are going to look a bit different this year.

Mike Schmeer

Chairman, OLHD

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Conservation Easements Webinar

Greetings:

If you’ve ever thought that, perhaps, you’d like to try and preserve your unique or historic property into the future once you’ve “moved on” this webinar might be something you’d be interested in.

Conservation Easements are held by a preservation organization, and place certain restrictions on your property (which you can customize) which restrict what a future owner can do with it.  The easement is attached directly to your deed and provides even better protection than having your home designated a county “Historic Landmark”.  AND, there are tax benefits. So one should familiarize themselves with the tax implications ahead of time.

This webinar is free, and will be held Aug. 13th. But you’ll need to register first.

You can learn more about Conservation Easements by Googling it, or visiting the Restore Oregon website.

Mike Schmeer

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Oak Grove’s Skoog Family

OAK GROVE’S SKOOG FAMILY

A few old timers from Oak Lodge may remember the Skoog family. Perhaps they went to school with a Skoog, or maybe they remember the family from Skoog’s Garage, or the Oak Grove Fire Dept.

Skoog Family group photo, ca. 1904

Oscar T. and Anna Skoog Family ca. 1904
Back, L-R: Guy H., Oliver, Oscar P. Skoog; Front L-R: Oscar T., Gordon, Gertrude, Garold (Mike), Anna Skoog.

Originally from Sweden the Skoogs immigrated to the U.S. in 1866, eventually settling and homesteading in Phelps Co., Nebraska around 1879. Charles P. and Mary Christine Skoog had five children, the youngest being Oscar Theodore Skoog born in Sweden in 1863. In 1882, in Phelps Co., NE, Oscar married his neighbor Anna C. Magnuson and the couple had five children while still living in Nebraska. Oscar T. Skoog was a carpenter by trade. By 1895 the couple had removed to Cascade Locks in what was then Wasco Co., OR where the Cascade Locks were nearing completion. They had their sixth child there in 1897. In the 1900 census Oscar was enumerated in Cascade Locks as a “day laborer”. By 1901 the family had moved to Portland, and in 1905 they had moved to Oak Grove.

Photo portrait of Nina Skoog, 1913

Nina Skoog, 1913

Oscar and Anna Skoog purchased property on Oak Ave. (today’s Oak Grove Blvd.) in Oak Grove, located between the central part of Oak Grove and Oatfield Rd. at East Ave., and built a home there. The family consisted of Oscar T. Skoog and Anna, Oliver, Guy Howard, Oscar Paul, Gertrude, Gordon and Garold.

Photo of Skoog's Garage on River Rd, 1923

Skoog’s Garage on River Rd. looking north, 1923; Oliver Skoog by gas pump.

In the early 1920’s, after both serving in WWI, Oliver and Gordon Skoog established “Skoog Bros. Garage” on River Rd. between today’s Oak Grove Blvd. and Maple Streets. But following the construction of the Super Highway in the 1930’s the brothers moved their garage to the S.W. corner of the Super Highway and Oak Grove Blvd. on the original Skoog property, naming it “Skoogs Service Station”. Their former garage on River Rd. changed hands several times over the years, becoming part of the “Kelley Boat Co.” in the late 1940’s, “Lesman’s” in the 1950’s, then later “Johnson & Sons”, later yet “Palmer’s Auto Repair (Palmer Kellum)”, and most recently the “River Rd. Garage”. Oliver Skoog was killed in 1936 while walking along the Super Highway, and Skoog’s Service Station on McLoughlin Blvd. carried on under Gordon Skoog’s ownership. In Oct. 1945 Gordon Skoog sold Skoog’s Service station to Ed Gustafson and went into the real estate business – first with Oregon City Real Estate, then Kronberg Bros. Realty, and eventually with the family owned Skoog’s Realty (Gordon & Rilla Skoog) up until the 1960’s. Skoog’s Service Station continued to operate under the Skoog name (“Skoog’s Garage”; “Skoog’s Service Station”, and “Skoog’s Super Service Garage – Towing”) until about 1951.

With continued urbanization in the Oak Grove – Jennings Lodge area there was a need for a local fire station. Oscar and Anna Skoog had died in 1937 and 1936 respectively, and in December 1944 the remaining Skoog family (Gordon and his wife Rilla, Don Skoog, Nina Skoog, and Gertrude Skoog Hastings and her husband Fred Hastings) deeded “Lot 2, Block 44 of the First Subdivision of a portion of Oak Grove” – part of Oscar Skoog’s original property – to the Oak Grove Rural Fire Protection District, the precursor to today’s Oak Lodge Fire Dept.

Scan of Skoog family deed to Oak Grove RFPD, 1944

Skoog family deed to Oak Grove Rural Fire Protection District, Dec. 1944

The Skoog’s house remained on the property and was eventually turned into an office – ultimately becoming the residence for the Fire Chief and later the Fire Marshall. The Skoog family had a close relationship with the Fire Department. Don Skoog was a volunteer fireman for a time, and his wife Elsie would write a check to the fire hall every Christmas.

Sketch of the first Oak Grove Fire Hall, 1944-1949

Artist’s sketch of first Oak Grove Fire Hall 1944-1949

The original fire hall was constructed in 1945 and was a simple wood frame building. In 1949 funds of about $36,000 were approved to build a new “fire proof” building with sleeping quarters for volunteers.

Photo of newspaper article containing a request by the Oak Grove Rural Fire Protection District to build a two-story fire house; 1946

Oak Grove Rural Fire Protection District request to build a two-story fire house; 1946

Newspaper article about Oak Lodge Fire Protection District plans to build new fire house; 1949

Oak Lodge Fire Protection District plans to build new fire house; 1949

Sketch of the second Oak Grove Fire Hall, 1949-1976

Artist’s sketch of Oak Lodge Fire Hall 1949-1976

The Skoog house continued being used until 1976 when the third firehouse was built, at which time the house was demolished to allow for expansion. Thus the Skoog family can take credit for providing the land for today’s Oak Lodge Fire Station in Clackamas Fire District #1.

Aerial photo of Oak Grove RFPD buildings

Of the Skoog children Guy H. Skoog died in 1916 (from TB), Oscar Paul (a Glazier by trade) died in 1931, Oliver died in 1936 as did Garold O., Gordon died in 1965 and Gertrude (Skoog) Hastings died in 1968. Oscar Paul Skoog’s son, Donald joined the Navy right after high school, went into real estate into the late 1950’s, and became a longshoreman around 1964.

Photo portrait of Donald W. Skoog, 1941

Donald W. Skoog, 1941

Like families so often do, the Skoog descendants have moved on from Oak Lodge, but can take pride in having left their historical mark in the community.

Mike Schmeer
Chairman, Oak Lodge History Detectives

OLHD wishes to thank Nancy Skoog Barkley for her contributions to this narrative.

Newspaper article about freestyle skiing with photo of Gordy Skoog, 1975

Gordon “Gordy” Skoog, 1975

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OLHD: No June Meeting

OAK LODGE HISTORY DETECTIVES

NO JUNE MEETING

Greetings:

In a normal year OLHD would be having a meeting the second Thursday in June.  However, Covid-19 has changed all that.  Though Oregon is gradually starting to open up we are still experiencing new cases, and the majority of our members are in the “most vulnerable” category.  Thus it would not be prudent to be meeting, AGAIN.  Our next usual meeting date would be in October, so we’ll just have to wait and see what the health situation looks like then.

As far as updates is concerned:

OLHD has filed for tax-exempt status with the IRS. In addition to the Covid-19 impact on the IRS operations we anticipate that there will be a couple challenges with our application due to the fact that we waited so long from the time we first incorporated in 2011 until filing last month.  We’ll just have to wait and see what the IRS has to say, and that could take a while.  But at least we’ve filed and paid the application fee.

Yours truly has applied to Clackamas County to serve on the Historic Review Board – requiring final approval by the County BCC.  This is a volunteer position, and Board members evaluate new applications to be designated a County Historic Landmark, as well as evaluate applications to modify or demolish existing ones.  I go into this with some trepidation, knowing full well that the County’s existing ZDO 707 – – it’s Preservation Ordinance – – has many issues that need revising, and that such revisions take a very long time to accomplish. However, if we are going to improve our ability to preserve our historic resources this is the best place to start.

The Concord Task Force is still working on the various options for the Concord property, which include a Community Center, library and park space.  We have been meeting lately in ZOOM sessions, and the consulting firm OPSIS has been working very hard coming up with design concepts.  You can keep abreast of these concepts under consideration by following this link:  https://www.clackamas.us/meetings/communityproject/oakgladproj

Finally, if you haven’t already heard, Oak Grove will NOT be having an Oak Grove Fest this year.  Sights are set on resuming it in 2021.

Stay home if you can, wear a mask and exercise Social Distancing when out, and stay safe.  Until there is an effective vaccination we are all still at risk.

Mike Schmeer

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New page for the Starkweather family

William A. Starkweather, 1822-1905

Though we are not able to meet in person, are “Social Distancing” and staying safe at home, we can still enjoy our local history.

The name Starkweather is probably not familiar to most people living in Oak Lodge today. But 100 years ago it would have been a household name. Most people today would associate it with the Starkweather house, now the Sandes of Time B&B on River Rd. – – – if at all. No streets bear the name, and there are no commemorative markers to honor them.

William Starkweather first bought land in our area in 1865, but was well known to Oregonians before then. The Starkweathers were legislators and educators and the family was intertwined with the Risleys.

OLHD has now posted information about the Starkweather family on our website (see link below), which includes Victoria’s Journal, written by William & Eliza Starkweather’s young daughter in 1879-1880 and reproduced for us by Nancy (Starkweather) Hersey. Sadly Victoria’s life was cut short in 1890 when she died from “Typhoid Malaria”. Victoria’s Journal gives us a snapshot of what life was like in Oak Lodge ca. 1880, and who was living here then. It is a fascinating read. We’ve included an introduction at the beginning for context, as well as a family group sheet at the end. You’ll find the PDF link to “Victoria’s Journal” at the very bottom of the website page.

[Starkweather Family Page]

Enjoy!

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City Directories


Historians and genealogists alike are well aware of the value of city directories when researching an area’s history or their family history. They can be a great research tool. Portland has directories back to the early1860’s, available at libraries and on Ancestry.com.

Oak Grove and Jennings Lodge, being relatively new communities (1890 and 1903 respectively), rarely had a directory. But Clackamas County did publish a couple of them that we know of fairly early. Not only is it helpful to see WHO was living there then, and where, one can see what some of the businesses were from the listings and advertisements. Like so many documents these directories give us a glimpse into life in Oak Lodge “back in the day”.

OLHD has scanned the Oak Grove & Jennings Lodge portions of the 1916-1917 Clackamas Co. Directory, as well as the Oak Grove portion of the 1947-1948 Clackamas Co. Directory.

Check out the OLHD website for PDF’s of these two directories, and see if any of your ancestors or other familiar names show up! If you have a slow connection (like me) please be patient as it loads. Enjoy.

https://www.oaklodgehistory.org/pages/oaklodge/oakgrove/

https://www.oaklodgehistory.org/pag…/oaklodge/jenningslodge/

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OLHD April Meeting – CANCELLED

OAK LODGE HISTORY DETECTIVES

APRIL 2020 MEETING

CANCELLED

Greetings:

So, here we are, in the midst of a National (World Wide) Health Crisis and a ton of uncertainty. Do I really need to SAY it?

Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic crisis, the fact that the majority of the OLHD members fall into the “most vulnerable” category, and the likelihood that the crisis will not end any time soon, the April 9th OLHD meeting has been cancelled.

Hopefully we are all practicing “social distancing” and staying at home in our national effort to minimize the serious illnesses and deaths brought on by this new virus. So, stay home as much as possible, keep your distance from others, practice that hand washing, and STAY SAFE.  Learning about our local history can wait.

Mike Schmeer

Chairman, Oak Lodge History Detectives

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