Haunted history in Forest Grove
In the spirit of Halloween, the Old Train Station Museum and Library in Forest Grove is spookier than ever before.
On Thursday, Oct. 31, the museum will participate in the Merchant Halloween Trick or Treat, giving out candy from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Volunteers expect about a thousand children to stroll down Main Street in Forest Grove and visit businesses along the way.
Though the museum's displays will not be open that night, volunteers hope the event will bring more foot traffic to the museum at 1936 19th Ave. The building is located about a block away from the Merchant Halloween route.
"Some of the problem is nobody knows we're here — not 'nobody,' but a lot of people still don't know we're here," said Melody Haveluck, volunteer with the Friends of Historic Forest Grove.
The haunted museum features a historical wall and various display rooms. Spooky exhibits include a beheaded logger mannequin with an original 1940s chainsaw, and there's skeletons in period dress at almost every corner.
Check out photographer Christopher Oertell's slideshow of photos from the Haunted Old Train Station.
Haveluck says about half of the displays are made up of historical value, while the rest are simply fun decorations inspired by various TV shows and Halloween themes. Her goal was to put a spooky twist on Forest Grove's history.
"Instead of being boring history, it's kind of like connecting to history," said Haveluck.
Most of the mannequins, decorations, and clothing was donated by museum members for the event. They get to decide how long the items will be on display — either indefinitely or until the end of the month.
"So, what we're doing is saving a lot of the history that people don't know what to do with," said Haveluck. "Instead of going to ReStore or Goodwill, bring us your history."
Volunteers have spent over two months planning each display and slowly putting it together since the start of October, but they're not done yet. They plan on adding a kids' section with less fragile, touch-sensitive decor, so children can grab a display without harming its historical value.
"As time went by, I was getting ideas and getting ideas," said Haveluck, showing off one of the new exhibits: "This is Eleven from the (Netflix show) 'Stranger Things.'"
Haveluck said attendance has been picking up throughout the month, and she expects a big turnout before Halloween. Volunteers also plan on adding outside window decorations and a strobe light to entice others to walk in — with spiderwebs to greet them at the door.
"We're going to do this again next year," said Haveluck. "But we're going to try and focus on the history of Forest Grove, if we can. This year, it was just like whatever we could do to get people in here. … Everything comes with time."
The Old Train Station Museum has been open every Wednesday and Saturday in October, but organizers plan on reducing the number of days it's open in November.
Organizers plan on decorating the museum again next year, but hope people will catch the displays in time for Halloween. For more information, visit FHFG.org.
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