Mount Angel Heritage Trail expected to be done in 2018
The Mount Angel Heritage Trail, a guided walking path that leads participants to some of Mount Angel's notable attractions, will soon be marked by informational signs. The signs, paid for with several grants, are planned to be installed by this summer.
The trail is an approximately 3.5-mile loop that features historic attractions including the Mount Angel Abbey, Weissenfels Blacksmith Shop, the Saalfeld House, the Glockenspiel and St. Mary Catholic Church, among other landmarks.
The goal of the trail is to teach Mount Angel residents and visitors about the history of the town in an active way.
"It gives you kind of a reason to walk downtown," said Amber Mathiesen, Mount Angel's city manager. "It offers an education component, and it's also an encouragement for exercise for people who are visiting."
With the new signs, each spot along the trail will have a marker with information about the history of the correlated landmark, including a historical photo of the site.
The walking route is something Mount Angel residents and organizations have wanted to create for years, according to Mathiesen. It had originally been intended to be a faith walk featuring the city's religious sites, but as residents and organizations sought grant funding to create the trail, they realized it would be beneficial to broaden its scope to include nonreligious landmarks, Mathiesen said.
The effort to fund the trail and its signage was taken on by the city of Mount Angel and the Mount Angel Chamber of Commerce, which has a separate committee focusing on the Heritage Trail.
The city's been providing information about the walking route since 2016, and even offered printed maps of the route for a time.
But now, the trail will have more legitimacy and visibility due to the signs, which were made possible by a total of $25,000 in grants secured by the Heritage Trail Committee and the city. That includes $10,000 from the Oregon Community Foundation, $10,000 from Marion County's Economic Development Grant program, and $5,000 from HEAL Cities, a campaign by the Oregon Public Health Institute that aims to encourage healthy lifestyles in Oregon cities (HEAL stands for Healthy Eating Active Living).
That funding has allowed for the creation of 10 signs. Mathiesen said that eventually, the goal is to have a total of 17 signs, featuring even more landmarks in the city.
In addition, the HEAL Cities grant will fund benches and garbage cans that will be added along the trail, which are intended to make the path more walkable for residents.
The tops of the trail markers, made of etched glass, were completed in 2017. The city is now waiting on the podium stands for the signs, which are being fabricated by the Silver Falls School District's career and technical education students. They'll be similar to the stands the high-schoolers made for the signage of a similar heritage trail in Silverton.
"That's dependent on the students' schedule," Mathiesen said of when the podiums will be done. "Installation at the latest would be after the end of the school year."
The 10 stops that will be marked by the signs are: the Mount Angel Abbey, Bank of Mount Angel, Weissenfels Blacksmith Shop, the Mount Angel Creamery & Ice Co., the Southern Pacific Railroad Depot, Queen of Angels Monastery, Saalfeld House, St. Mary Catholic Church, Schmaltz and Sons Warehouse and the Glockenspiel.
Some other landmarks that could be included later on include the Father Bernard Youth Center, Mount Angel Towers, Providence Benedictine Nursing Center, the Carmelite House of Studies and Missionaries of the Holy Spirit.