Oswego Heritage Council celebrates grand opening of its revitalized history museum in Lake Oswego

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Oswego Heritage Council Executive Director Nany Niland welcomes visitors to the OHC's revitialized and expanded museum at the Oswego Heritage House, 398 10th St. in Lake Oswego.REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Living history actors portrayed Lake Oswego's early citizens Thursday at the grand opening of the Oswego Heritage Council's new museum. From left: Nancy Tongue  as Edna Beckner, Nancy Niland as Lucia Bliss and Nancy Dunis as Lucy Pollard.Something new generally pops up each week at the Oswego Heritage House in Lake Oswego, but Thursday night's unveiling of the Oswego Heritage Council's revitalized museum offered a unique opportunity to celebrate the home's role as a gateway to the community and the organization's role as a rich historical resource.

The grand opening included performances by living history actors portraying Lucia Bliss, the first librarian of the Lake Oswego library; Jerome Thomas, Lake Oswego’s mayor in 1910; Sunday school superintendant Edna Bickner; and Lucy Pollard, one of Lake Oswego’s earliest pioneers.

The OHC board of directors resolved about a year and a half ago to remake and enlarge the museum to give visitors an authoritative overview of the history of Lake Oswego. Tom O’Connor was appointed chairman of the museum committee, which worked to procure items for display.

The committee was advised by Stephen Dow Beckham, a noted American historian and professor emeritus of history at Lewis & Clark College.

“We started bringing dusty boxes up from the basement,” says OHC Executive Director Nancy Niland “What we found was incredible.”

The basement was a treasure trove of artifacts, including letters, photographs and other rare finds.

“That was the fun part,” says Mark Brown, archivist for OHC. Brown, who moved to Lake Oswego from San Diego, is a retired dentist who volunteered in preservation and archiving for the San Diego Natural History Museum.

“Everyday, something popped up," he says. "The depth and breadth of what we found is astonishing.”

The museum features an exhibit of items dating back to the First Nations of the region and follows the pioneers, iron industry, agriculture and business people of the 19th century. In the future, it will also feature rotating exhibitions as they are developed by Brown and the committee.

One unique find was a collection of more than 600 carbon nitrate negatives — images taken by Lake Oswegan Clara Meyer from 1914 through the 1950s. They are pictures of everyday events in Lake Oswego and a remarkable glimpse into the people, places and events that shaped the town.

OHS President Candee Jones says it has been exciting to review the found items, to read letters and piece together the life events that the messages present. OHC will also offer a number of items for sale, including historic notecards, jewelry, napkins, T-shirts and more.

With the grand opening, Oswego Heritage House is now officially called Oswego Heritage House and Museum. Located at 398 10th St. in Lake Oswego, it is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. and by appointment.

To schedule a group tour, contact Niland at 503-635-6373 or visit

Contact Barb Randall at 503-636-1281 ext. 100 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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