Thursday, June 9, 2011

History Down the Road

The Old Order Church sat on the corner. Whenever we drove past, I looked wondering what the church was like inside. I knew that there were no electric lights. I wondered how they kept warm in the winter. The old outhouses sat out back. In front of the church were the hitching posts. Little did I know when I was growing up that the old church was indeed a special landmark of our little part of the world.

We grow up not realizing the points of interest that surround us. One room school houses dot the area, but we never thought of their historical worth. Some had turned into homes. Some were even storage buildings. Still they sat by the road waiting for us to notice.

Old Bears Mill was preserved calling tourists to visit. The historical buildings surround us became points of interest. My grandfather's barn landed on the historical registry. A rich history surrounded us, and we barely noticed.

For me, the old farm houses draw my attention time and time again. Many have been remodeled. And, to my satisfaction, there are those who preserve the integrity of the original home. We lived in historical buildings. Our home was originally a log house.

Yes, everyone who lives in an older area has history surrounding them as well. It is that recognition, the thrill of knowing that we were part of it. When I do research online, I smile when I run onto a bit of history or a picture of the area around Neff Road. I look at posted photos of the old grain elevator, my grandad's barn, the Old Order Church, a house where Wetzels lived when I was a child. All part of my history.

I love driving through Greenville looking at the old homes. Oregon doesn't have a history as such. This is a state built on logging, fishing and waterways. There are old rambling homes in Portland, but the country side is not dotted with old farm houses like those in Franklin Township. The history here is different.

Perhaps the old pipes clank, floor boards creak, the lane is gravel and the house is cold in the winter, but you are living history, a history I love to look back on.

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