By F. C. Blake
For the Independent.
With no plans to slow down soon, devoted volunteer, Marge Martin has donated over two decades of her time to Gold Hill’s Historical Society. The structure housing Gold Hill Museum sits at 504 First Ave, one block off (2nd Ave.) the main street once part of Old Hwy. 99. “Patty’s Cafe is your landmark,” Martin says. “If you’re coming from Medford, you turn left there; it’s one block down.”
Fully sold on the joys of spending time amid quaint old photos and artifacts, Martin takes her turn every Thursday. “We’re open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 12 noon until four p.m.,” she said. “Sometimes they also call me when something special’s going on.” She clarifies that to mean an event, such as a bus bringing a contingent from a Medford Retirement Home. “They’ll call in advance and make an appointment,” she says. “We might treat them to cookies and punch.”
Recently an antique car show drew enthusiasts from as far away as Washington, California, Utah, and Montana.
What might people see in one of Gold Hill Museum’s five display rooms or basement? Antique furniture, kitchen appliances including an ice box, old sewing machines, mannequins costumed in long dresses, mining tools, pans once used for finding gold in the river. “Among other items, we also have military uniforms from WWI and II, arrowheads, and lots of books,” she says.
They probably won’t see, but may “feel” the presence of a friendly resident blacksmith’s ghost that Martin fondly dubbed “Willie.” Along with another volunteer, Martin agrees she has caught a glimpse of Willie’s shadow. “He’s tall, really good-natured, wears grey clothes and a hat,” she says.
Sometimes, museum visitors wearing ashen, or bewildered facial expressions, have emerged from the basement. She then knows, they’ve probably just met Willie’s “spirit” but were too embarrassed to admit anything.
The phone # to call Gold Hill Museum for more information is 541-855-1182 or visit website http://www.ci.goldhill.or.us/historical.html.