South County Chamber celebrates centennial Sept. 18
With a Roaring '20s feel, St. Helens will be abuzz on Saturday, Sept. 18.
The occasion: a centennial celebration marking the 100-year birthday of the South Columbia County Chamber of Commerce building, which is located on Columbia Boulevard, just off Highway 30.
The chamber building, constructed in 1921, once served as a railway station for St. Helens.
The celebration, which will run from 1 to 7 p.m., will go by the theme "Talk of the Town."
Judy Thompson, an ambassador with the South Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, talked about the importance of the building.
"I hope to bring awareness to the value of a building that's 100 years old that has stood so proudly on the corner all this time, with people not even recognizing how important it was to our past," Thompson said.
The celebration will feature events for the whole family.
"We've got a lot of room to be outdoors," Thompson said. "We've got a lot of really fun things planned. We have speakers, we have music, we have characters that are going to engage with people. We have a lot of fun giveaways for kids, like railroad whistles, caps and bandanas."
Ice cream and lemonade will be served.
"Tables will be spread out, so you can sit down and visit a little bit," Thompson said.
The event will go beyond the building. The Portland Pink Grayline open-sided trolley will be taking passengers, at no cost, from uptown to downtown St. Helens, with trolley stops along the way.
According to the chamber, a "knowledgeable and engaging" conductor will be on board the trolley to speak of times past.
"We want you to take a trolley ride through town," Thompson said. "The biggest thing is I hope people recognize what a neat little strip we have from uptown to downtown.
"One of the things that's so hard for us is that it's so separated. There are actually people who live in this community that don't even know downtown exists. I've run into them."
The double-sided trolley will leave from Emmert Motors and heads to downtown. Trolley riders will be able to meet merchants along the route.
"The first stop will be Market Fresh," Thompson said. "They're going to do some local product tasting."
Thompson said the museum will be providing a walking tour from 2 to 4 p.m.
Period-friendly music will be provided by Larry Jackson Big River Big Band with Ellie Wieneke. Guests will also be able to walk among vintage cars, motorcycles and industrial vehicles.
The Columbia County Museum Association has created photos on poster boards that make reference to the railway station and buildings from past decades.
The South Columbia County Chamber of Commerce merchant gift shop will be open to visitors.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.