Cottage Grove

A peek into the past

The Arcade Theatre, Main Street, Cottage Grove Photo provided/Dana Merryday

For a town that is only 122 years old, Cottage Grove sure has packed a lot of history into that time. Not only has a lot of water flowed under its covered bridges but the folks here take their history pretty seriously. Not less than five organizations work to record, research, and present the history of our city and its colorful inhabitants.
In addition to what is already in place, Main Street Cottage Grove, is making some history of its own by starting a new way to serve up the past: History Pub! The first one of these monthly events will be happening Tuesday, April 2 in the historic Burkholder Woods Building, better known as the Axe & Fiddle, from 5 to 7 p.m.
The inauguratory History Pub has wisely chosen a way to see just what was going on almost 100 years ago right where you will be sitting through the Morelock Films. Local businessman William Morelock who operated the Arcade Theatre, would occasionally turn the camera on downtown and capture everyday life in Cottage Grove in the ’30s and ’40s.
In addition to this tantalizing topic, the History Pub will feature a trivia contest for prizes, a 50/50 raffle, and good fellowship with friends met and unmet in a relaxed atmosphere with food and drink available. All funds raised (including 10 percent of your purchases at the Axe) go to the Main Street Organization’s efforts to revitalize our historic downtown. Local historical organizations will also be on hand to let you know more about what they do and have to offer.
Jared Matthew, Cottage Grove’s Downtown Coordinator, said ”It is important to keep our downtown vibrant and improving, but to also remember and honor our past.”
He gave the current project of restoring the Bank Building to its original appearance as an example of how we can upgrade but still keep our history. Matthew, originally from Philadelphia, a city whose history runs very deep, is particularly impressed with how passionately Cottage Grovers take their history. He came up with the idea of having a History Pub to allow folks who haven’t connected with our local history a chance to meet some of the Main Street history partners who are working to keep our history alive.
So each first Tuesday you will have a chance to sip a brew and take in another aspect of Cottage Grove’s past. Some other opportunities to absorb some local history: Third Saturdays, Community Center, 10 a.m. CG Historical Society (April 20 topic is History Roundtable, come share your story!); fourth Tuesdays, Magnolia Gardens, 2 to 3 p.m., (March 26, Opal Whiteley) – public invited!
Next up on the History Pub, May 7 at 5 p.m. ”Bohemia’s Most Colorful Characters and How They Changed Cottage Grove,” presented by Stephen Williamson.
Come full circle and meet the past in the present at History Pub! Learn more about what is happening in historic downtown at Main Street Cottage Grove on Facebook or @MainstreetCG.
Contact Dana Merryday
at 541-942-7037
[email protected]



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