On Aug. 1, the Caples House Museum Complex in Columbia City was supposed to have its 150th anniversary celebration.
The event was scheduled to celebrate the anniversary of the museum's farmhouse and apple orchard, along with a completed restoration project. The house, originally built in the 1870s, was constructed by Charles Caples, one of the first physicians to live in Columbia County.
Unfortunately, event organizers have had to scrap the festivities because of the coronavirus outbreak and restrictions on mass gatherings.
Organizers had planned to have a community event filled with musical entertainment, refreshments, carnival games, wine tastings and much more.
"The decision (to cancel) was emotional," said Daughters of the American Revolution Oregon State regent Rebecca Taylor. "We just wanted to have it so much. … It was a letdown, a disappointment, but everyone was so gracious and understood."
Last year, crews from Oxbow, a Scappoose-based company specializing in heavy transport and rigging, helped raise the two-story home nearly six-feet off the ground. Elevating the home allowed for crews from Arciform, a Portland-based restoration and remodeling build company, to excavate under the building and install a foundation for the house.
Arciform completed the basic restoration last March under budget, which allowed staff to begin the final phase of the project in mid-April, said Taylor. Crews were then able to rebuild the front porch.
"The sturdy, strong porch is now completed and will be named 'Rhonda's Porch' in honor of long-time devoted DAR member Rhonda Stone, who was dedicated to keeping Caples House grounds beautifully maintained," Taylor said. "Rhonda loved the old farmhouse and had a vision of seeing it safely restored but passed away before completion of the project."
The house was originally built with no foundation. The home was built over the footprint of a log cabin previously established in that location. Over time, the home was beginning to show signs of wear, and the floor was shifting and settling in places.
Volunteers and supporters of the museum got a quote of $180,000 to complete the work. Over the past several years, they were able to raise $150,000 through numerous fundraisers, special events and community donations, said Taylor.
She added that the restoration funding also came in part from an $8,000 State Historic Preservation Heritage Program grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.
"The only thing left is painting the farmhouse, tool shed and (the) children's museum, which is scheduled later this summer," Taylor said. "Not only are these three buildings 150 years old, but so is the apple orchard. Due to age and condition, some of the trees will need to be removed and replaced."
Due to volunteers expecting a large gathering for a future celebration, they don't know exactly when the event will be rescheduled.
The museum complex remains closed because of the virus, but DAR hopes to have it open again soon. Taylor says community groups are encouraged to schedule events for late summer and fall.
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