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A gift of bound volumes of the Molalla Pioneer helped get the wheels turning on research-focused space.

A gift of bound Molalla Pioneer newspapers helped inspire the Molalla Area Historical Society to create a more user-friendly space for visitors to research Molalla history.

It all started when the Molalla Pioneer gave the historical society its bound volumes from 1953-2009, said Iris Riley, president of the Molalla Area Historical Society.

COURTESY PHOTO: IRIS RILEY - A finished work table in the new research area created at the Molalla Historical Society.Since then, "we had kept them upstairs in an accession area and office space in our 1865 VonderAhe House on the same utility shelving they were on in the Herald-Pioneer office in Canby," she said. "A visit from Molalla High School soccer coach Ryan Gates and his dad, Mike, to research the history of high school soccer teams in Molalla inspired us to create a more user-friendly space for people researching Molalla history."

COURTESY PHOTO: IRIS RILEY - Foothills Cabinets' Dave Snodderly in the midst of building project at Molalla Area Historical Society. That got the wheels turning and after months of planning and design, "we heard of a local company, Foothills Cabinets, that pretty much does word of mouth business," Riley said. "Dave and Tim Snodderly did a marvelous job of bringing our dreams of an expanded research library to life."

The custom cabinetry and shelving have been built and installed and there was an event Nov. 20 to benefit the library, which was open, even in its transitional state, for visitors to enjoy.

Currently, the historical society staff is reorganizing its archives and files for easier accessibility.

COURTESY PHOTO: IRIS RILEY - The bound volumes of the Molalla Pioneer from 1953 to 2009 sit in a new storage area at the Molalla Area Historical's Society's new research library.
"We plan on having a grand opening of the Molalla Area Historical Research Library when the Dibble House Museum complex opens in the spring," Riley said. "The library will be dedicated to Dorothy Del Ridings, a well-known and loved teacher in the area, and one of the founders of the historical society."

With the new research area coming together, the historical society is in the midst of fundraising to purchase furnishings, lighting and archival supplies. Donations to this effort can be made to the Molalla Area Historical Society through its website at

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