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Lucy the friendly ghost

Possibility of a specter raises Halloween hackles at Oswego Heritage House


by: VERN UYETAKE - Jude Graham looks over items highlighting the legacy of Lucy Pollard this Halloween season at the Oswego Heritage House, where her sad story lives on along with a quilt, a dress and other belongings.Are there such things as ghosts? Is there a ghost at Oswego Heritage House? Is that ghost the ghost of Lucy Pollard? by: OSWEGO HERITAGE HOUSE - Lucy Pollard is shown here when she was a young woman living in Oswego, Ore. But does her spirit live on in the halls of the Oswego Heritage House?

Such questions can only be answered in “The Twilight Zone.” But for the purposes of celebrating Halloween in Lake Oswego in 2013, it is beneficial to believe that the ghost really is Lucy Pollard, one of Lake Oswego’s earliest pioneers, and she is wearing the huge hat and long dress that were fashionable in the early years of the 20th century.

The notion of Lucy haunting the Heritage House began when the late Helen Grigg, founder of the Oswego Quilting Club and a true pillar of Lake Oswego, donated Pollard’s hat, wedding dress and shoes to the Heritage House a few years ago. OHH Executive Director Jude Graham was happy to accept the gift, but when other people heard about it, they asked Graham, “Could Lucy Pollard be haunting the Oswego Heritage House?”

Could spooks be haunting the historical halls of Heritage House?

On the surface such an assumption could normally only be made by people who watch too many Abbott and Costello movies. Yet for Graham it was food for thought, especially now, because strange things have been happening at the OHH lately.

A year ago a Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce meet-and-greet was held at the Heritage House when one man entered the room, looked worried and announced, “Do you realize you have a ghost here?”

Another eerie incident came when a visitor told Graham: “I could have sworn somebody just walked across the kitchen floor.”

“Yes, it’s Lucy,” Graham answered.

A few months ago a toilet was left flowing at night and it caused extensive damage to the museum’s carpeting and walls. Could the toilet have been flushed by a ghost?

Back on Sept. 29, a storm raged in Lake Oswego, and the Heritage House was right in its path. Two huge fir trees, which had stood on the property for a hundred years, were blown over and ripped through the roof, gouging two large holes that allowed rain to pour in. Was a ghost behind this disaster?

by: VERN UYETAKE - The legacy of Lucy Pollard is beautifully displayed this Halloween season at the Oswego Heritage House.If so, it would have been out of character for Lucy Pollard. She was a staunch, productive citizen and a kind-hearted soul who cared about orphans. A surprising amount is known about her life, and the materials are in the files of the OHH. It is even known that she used flour sacks to make her undergarments.

Lucy Mary Puylaert Pollard was a mere 3 months old when her parents moved to America from Belgium in 1890. The Puylaert family rushed to Oswego, Ore., when iron ore was discovered, and Lucy’s father, Peter Pollard, took a job at the Oswego Furnace. Sadly, one day he fell 40 feet at the job site, which forced him to give up foundry work and take up strawberry farming.

Lucy helped out by becoming a cook for wealthy families and canning jams and jellies with strawberries from the family farm. Her handwritten recipe book is in the collection of the Oswego Heritage Council. Lucy’s avocation was helping the orphans at Christie School. She made shamrocks out of green paper and sold them to raise money for the Christie orphans.

Lucy’s life took a sad turn when she married the town taxidermist and the marriage turned out badly. Lucy’s letters to her family in Belgium told just how unhappy she was. Finally, her mother, Johanna Pollard, told Lucy, “You come home,” and she did. She lived on the family farm near the Pioneer Cemetery off of Stafford Road for the rest of her days.

Yet the question must again be asked: “Does Lucy Pollard’s ghost now haunt Oswego Heritage House?”

“That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it,” Graham said.

Cliff Newell can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 105.