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June Reynolds remembers the man who operated Oregon's first Ford dealership, right here in Sherwood.

PMG FILE PHOTO - June ReynoldsIt has come to my attention, through rumors and Facebook, that there is some park planning going on in the lot on the corner of First and Pine streets.

This has been a lively and thriving area for the entire history of Sherwood. The first business there was the Emil Lawrenz Garage, built in 1918. He grew out of his hardware store and needed a new space.

Mr. Lawrenz was the very first Ford dealership in all of Oregon. The Ford Model T's and Model A's were ordered and shipped on the train in wooden boxes and put together at the garage on the corner of First and Pine.

Before that, Emil Lawrenz ran the old Rollich Hardware store. Many Model T's were built on the street. He was experienced because he ran the Honeyman Hardware store in Portland. That brick building is still standing in Portland, and is a high-end condominium these days.

Emil was born Jan. 13, 1883, in Oberöwisheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. He heard in Portland that there was a large German community in Sherwood. In 1920, he asked around and discovered the Kruguer family up on Chehalem Mountain. After getting to know the family, he married Minnie Kruger and they moved to First Street in Sherwood.

About the same time, the KKK started a group in town and were going to march on the new Catholic church outside of town. The unruly mob gathered outside the Weckert Building and Emil, out of curiosity, went over to listen. He confronted the group and talked them out of their march. He was overheard saying: "Those people are just like us. Leave them alone." He diffused the mob.

When the depression hit Sherwood in the 1930s, Mr. Lawrenz phased out the Ford dealership and started the oil heating business. He was still doing that business into the 1950s.

By the 1940s, part of the block was built into the Robin Hood Theater. Because of the war, the builders gathered nails from farmers to finish the building. Now I discovered that the new park's focus is going to be about the Robin Hood Theater. However, the original sign seems to be in the way, which I find ironic.

As a historian, I have listened to many archeologists which say the general rule is to leave artifacts as close to their origin as possible. The decision should be made to leave the sign in its original place or find a place close such as near the Arts Center. The sign is germane to the ideals and motif of the park and the only true artifact left.

And what about the memory of Emil Lawrenz and the first Ford dealership in Oregon?

There are no streets, roads, or areas named for a man who was a Sherwood leader for 50 years, as a member of the Masons and the Methodist Church and a businessman. A plaque with his name and a picture of the garage in that same park block would be in order.

Emil Lawrenz died Sept. 13, 1958, and is buried at Gibbs Cemetery on Chehalem Mountain.

In Historical Society news, the Membership Meeting and election of officers is set for 3 p.m. Nov. 30. Now is a good time to pay your dues and get involved in the organization.

Teachers of second- and third-graders have a window of opportunity now to schedule an "Our Community" field trip to check off the first Oregon state standard for the year. We will provide this field trip until Nov. 1.

The Columbus Day dinner at Mason has been canceled for this year.

The Sherwood Heritage Center is located on the corner of First and Main streets, anchored by the 130-year-old Morback House. Connect with us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

June Reynolds is a member of the Sherwood Historical Society.


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