If it weren’t for the efforts of some folks, we would be doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.
Such is the case in Prospect where a group of folks would like to see the preservation of artifacts from the rich history of their area. In the early days, this small unincorporated town was a hub of activity centered in the lumber industry. Reportedly, there were as many as eight mills in the city. All of them busy sawing giant Douglas fir trees into dimension lumber for use in housing across the country. With that came the support industries and others that rounded out the community.
Sadly, the demise of the industry, has not allowed Prospect to maintain
a healthy economy. With the decline, nonessential industries are the
first to go. Despite that the area is rich in history, much can be
lost through the neglect brought on by the need just to do something
Halie Mauer is one of those persons who just isn’t
satisfied to turn the page or go on to the next chapter. She and
several like-minded people have formed what they call a Historical
Group in an effort to preserve the colorful history of a unique area in
southern Oregon. But the desire isn’t always enough, especially after
Jackson County so unceremoniously pulled the rug from under the feet of
it’s 14 historical societies.
The Material Girls of Shady
Cove, who yearly donate hundreds of quilts to Providence Medical
Center, stepped to the plate in an effort to raise some funds for the
Historical Group. They made two large quilts, each with historic
pictures of the early days of the community, to be donated to the group
to raise needed funds.
Those quilts were donated to the
Historical Group on Aug. 1. Following three years of planning and
working and the donation by the Material Girls, it appears there won’t
be a raffle after all. When the Historical Group saw what the work
represented, they decided instead to keep them as part of the archive
because of what they represent. As with all projects by the Material
Girls, the work is outstanding, but this goes beyond just comfort.
They have now become a part of the history of the area.
several years, now deceased URI reporter Dottie Cameron, kept artifacts
in her own home. Since her passing, Mauer has been the keeper of the
collection, again in her home. A public building has served as a place
to keep overflow items, but space in both places is limited.
put, the Historical Group needs a place to display artifacts and money
to operate such a center. Nearly everyone is in agreement that history
should be preserved, and many also donate old and unused items for the
collections, but few are the people who actually work to preserve those
things. Prospect has a very active group of about 35 people, but still
needs funds for operation of a building.
Historical Group meets the third Monday evening of each month at the
Community Hall, except for summer months. Information on the Historical
Group is available from Halie Mauer at 560-3296.
In a way,
Dottie Cameron represents what is happening with historical societies
all over. Cameron worked tirelessly to preserve the history of the
region, going so far as to begin oral histories of some 50 members of
the community with ties to the past. Her death, and the death of
everyone, cuts a link to the past. Like the roots of the Bonsai tree
trimmed to keep the plant small, severing our roots prevents us from
growing and reaching our potential. Cameron was dedicated. Mauer says
that others now need to step to the plate to carry on that tradition.
By Ralph McKechnie
Of the Independent