Press Release: Oregon cooking, food traditions detailed in new series

Attendees welcome to 1910-era samples at free event

After countless tours, one of the most popular questions received by staff at the Stevens-Crawford Heritage House (SCHH) in Oregon City over the years is: “But what did they eat?” The Clackamas County Historical Society (CCHS) is excited to finally show (and serve!) common food practices near the beginning of the 20th Century.

A new series of free programs and events, But What Did They Eat?, focuses on Oregon cooking and food traditions. This fun series is made possible by a generous Oregon Museums Grant offered through the Oregon State Department of Parks and Recreation.

“Food is a powerful topic,” says CCHS Executive Director Claire Blaylock. “Food preparation and recipes are passed down from one generation to the next. The Stevens-Crawford Heritage House is the perfect place to talk food – it was, first and foremost, a home.”

SCHH is a historic home located in the heart of Oregon City. It was donated to the Clackamas County Historical Society by lifelong resident, Mertie Stevens. 

The kickoff event for this new series, set for 7 p.m. on Sept. 19, will focus on canning, a technique originally created by the French in 1795. The discussion, lead by Nan Hege, will touch on the history of the practice and detail the huge role canning played in the development of the Western United States. This then-new method of food preservation helped fight food insecurity. 

Although there is no charge for the event, CCHS is asking for attendees to consider bringing canned items that CCHS will donate to the Oregon Food Bank.

Attendees will also be treated to samples of jellies and jams canned using a variety of methods.

“Yum!” added Blaylock.

Given space limitations, registration is required. Register online or call CCHS at 503.655.5574.

All future events in the series will engage attendees with conversations about foods and traditions. It will also culminate in a new SCHH exhibit based around food, slated for January.

Saving the Gordon House: 9/14 MOOT Event

MOOT is excited to present an evening talk by Molly Murphy about the historic Gordon House, the only Frank Lloyd Wright building in Oregon. The house, designed in 1957, was one of Wright’s Usonian homes designed for the middle and working class, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Originally located adjacent to the Willamette River and neglected for years, the house was
threatened with demolition in 2001. With major grants and donations, the Frank, American
Institute of Architects, and City of Silverton were able to dismantle and move the historic home
to the Oregon Garden in Silverton. The disassembly and move required a significant amount of
preservation work, but a year after the home was moved it was opened as a museum and remains the only Wright house accessible to the public in the Pacific Northwest and one of a few in the United States.

Molly Murphy is the General Director for the Gordon House Conservancy, and has worked for that organization since the time of the move. She will present the history of the house, along with a 10-minute film about saving and restoring the home with information about Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian design movement. In addition to working for historic home preservation in multiple locations, Murphy herself lives in the historic old Mount Hope School building near Molalla.

She will share her passion for preservation and knowledge about this state treasure, the Gordon House, on Wednesday Sept. 14 from 7-8 p.m. at MOOT.