Looking into ideas


I grew up with parents who wanted to know about the surrounding history and geology of Oregon. When we traveled, which seemed often, we had numerous books stuffed under the front seat for easy access: roadside geology of Oregon, numerous plant & tree identification guides, bird identification guides (plus binoculars), and a state geographic names book. Don’t all families travel like this? Apparently not, according to my friends growing up.  Ok, we also had huge stockpiles of kids books too and I benefited from older siblings who would actually read to me.  During my time at university, I discovered a love of history classes but wasn’t about to tag on an additional degree at that point. An Art major and Anthropology minor was just fine. Yesterday I pulled out two books to initiate the thought process for the 5 communities offering windows for the Art in Rural Storefront project. Railroad, wool, dairy, agriculture, & timber are all components that crossed between most of the cities early history. I didn’t expect a story about Big Red the rooster in Scio or how Brownsville was the site of the second woolen mill in the valley. Halsey was named for William Halsey, a head-honcho in the Willamette Valley Railroad company. Most of these towns started out around 1840 (early settlements) and became official around 1870-90.  Some of the town names changed over time too. There was the deeper occupation of the valley by the Kalapuyan tribes. Fur traders didn’t enter the area until about 1810 and the native people had been there for generations prior.  The valley was very abundant in natural resources. The Kalapuyan  tribes harvested wapato and camas plants/roots, ate deer, elk , birds & salmon from the forests and streams. They did an autumn burn of the valley to control the grasses.  So much vibrant history involving humans and I’ve not even started looking into the geologic history (like the Missoula flood or volcanic activity). Enough to ponder on for today. What I really need is to visit the Benton County Historical Museum in Philomath to gather more ideas.


The fern panels have started and I’ve run out of spruce wood. I really need to figure out a good source and just order a bunch of sticks. Picking through my local hobby shop supply has been alright but not a good overall solution. At least I have enough for this particular lamp!


Published by paperstew

I'm an artist in Albany Oregon focusing on paper and natural objects for inspiration.

3 thoughts on “Looking into ideas

  1. You can absolutely get lost in the history of your area – there is the potential for endless fascinating information to be found. I love the woodblock cover of the Geographic Names book too! The ferns are looking great.

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