A bright future for yesterday: Char Green takes over at OHC
Char Green is on her third career, one it would seem she has been preparing for all her life. A lifelong lover of history, she was recently appointed executive director of Oswego Heritage Council and the fit could not be more perfect. She has served as the interim director since former director Nancy Niland took a job at the Lake Oswego Public Library.
"I'm a former nurse and spent 18 years delivering babies, then spent several years selling baby warmers for General Electric," she said. When GE transferred her to Oregon in 2010, Green and her husband Alan Green had three days to find a place to live.
"We found a listing on craigslist in Lake Grove," she said. "And when we drove into Lake Oswego we thought it was perfect."
Alan Green is the owner of Green Window Restoration, which deals with historic woodwork and windows. Both Greens are passionate about historic architecture and live in a Wade Pipes home in Lake Oswego. Pipes was considered the foremost exponent of English cottage architecture in the state. The house was built in 1924 for the first supervisor of Mt. Hood National Forest and his wife, a noted Pacific Northwest gardening expert.
Green says she has always been enamored with history, and her passion for genealogy and historic architecture comes naturally. Green is also the chair of Lake Oswego's Historic Resources Advisory Board.
"I grew up in a house full of books," she said. "I love reading history and biographies and I am fascinated with genealogy. My husband is from England, and he knew (his family line) just to his grandparents. I was able to trace his family back to 1066, and believe he is related to William the Conqueror."
She also loves researching the history behind homes and was able to learn the history of a home built in 1937 that her husband bought in Los Angeles in 2005.
"He said that was the nicest gift he ever received," she said. "There is something special about knowing who has lived in your home before
She said since she was hired in January two different parties have come to OHC asking for helping learning about their houses.
"I'd like to build a library of house biographies," she said. "Capturing that history to share with homeowners would be a cool thing to offer. The more you know about your house the more you can ap-
preciate it and feel attached to it."
Green says her first priority is the expansion of OHC's growing city archive including a library of house biographies, as well as photos of Lake Oswego and how it has changed over the years. She encourages citizens to go through their photos and scan and email her images that show the city.
"If you have photos that show landmarks or notable places which would be identifiable, send them in," she said. "You may not think it is a big deal now, but in 50 years people will want to see what it looked like back then."
Her second goal is to increase the community's knowledge about OHC and make them aware it is available for rent.
"I've heard people say they have driven past for decades and not realize what we do," she said. "Our building is available for rent. We are still one of the most affordable options for hosting not just community and business meetings but small gatherings such as bridal and wedding showers, birthdays and anniversaries."
Her third goal is to help maintain and grow the success of OHC's annual fundraisers including the Heritage Home and Garden Tour, Rock Your Ribs and the annual Classic Car and Boat Show.
The Home and Garden Tour will take place June 7, Rock Your Ribs is scheduled for July 26 and the Car and Boat show will take place Aug. 23.
OHC was founded more than 30 years ago with a mission to preserve and promote the history and culture of Lake Oswego.
In addition to the fundraising events OHC hosts monthly Chatauqua lectures. Popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Chatauqua lectures were an institution that provided adult education courses and entertainment.
The Chatauqua planned for April 1 features Paul Lyons speaking on the history of the women behind Springbrook Park in Lake Oswego. The events are free and begin at 7 p.m. Doors ope n at 6 p.m.
Other ways the public can support OHC:
— Contributing to the Legacy Project. The Legacy Project will build an endowment to sustain ongoing programs, improve the museum, sustain archival activity including manuscripts, photographs, paintings, books and other objects and enclose the entry atrium for receptions and overflow event space.
— Selecting OHC as the charity of choice for purchases made on Amazon Smile.
"We want to be the first organization you think of when you are talking about Lake Oswego history," Green said. "If we don't know the answer we will research to find it."
Oswego Heritage Center and Museum is located at 398 10th St.,in Lake Oswego. Admission to the museum is free. The museum is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Green says OHC sometimes is confused with Lake Oswego Preservation Society. The organizations are different and collaborate at times. LOPS mission is to preserve, protect and advocate for Lake Oswego's built environment and historic assets.
To learn more visit oswegoheritage.org.
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