Opinion & Editorial

Historic preservation gives a town a sense of community, history

The Creswell Old Schoolhouse, as seen in 1875. Photo Provided/Creswell Area Historical Society

By Annette Bowers Gapp
Creswell was my hometown growing up. In my heart, it is still my hometown.
I come back quite often to visit family. My mom saves The Creswell Chronicle for me (at my request), so I can read news about what’s happening in ”the Friendly City,” where I spent 12 years getting an education. When I read the articles on efforts to save The Old Schoolhouse, I cheered and wondered what I could do to help.
I enjoy local history and have always loved to hear stories of those elder to me about long ago days. I guess you could say I have a passion for the past. A landlord of mine once said I was born ”100 years too late.”
I remember The Old Schoolhouse from when I was a kid. I have a faint memory of going inside during its tenure as a library. It was just ”always there.”
In driving around this great state, I pass by many old buildings – be it houses, barns or schools. Some have been restored by private parties, but I feel sad when I see those lonely and forgotten, covered by blackberry vines and left to fall into disrepair.
Yet ”once upon a time,” they played a part in someone’s life.
I have seen historic preservation in action where I reside, near Stayton, Ore. The current project there, The Brown House, was previously a private residence, a boarding house and a hospital.
Carol Zolkoske was on the ground floor in this project and said that it hasn’t always been easy, but after many years of dedication and work, they are getting closer.
On-site events such as an open house have begun taking place, giving the community a place to gather. Businesses in Stayton are now restoring older buildings to revitalize the downtown area – like Jeff Mexico’s restoration of The Star Theatre several years ago. The other evening I was at the theater and it had sold out of tickets and were turning people away.
It is worthwhile to preserve these historical buildings. It connects us to ancestors, shows us what conditions were like for them, along with different styles and traditions.
It is important for coming generations to see how life was lived in bygone days. Let’s not forget that the knowledge and advancements we enjoy today came from diligent minds that were nurtured in those historic schoolhouses.
Deepwood, a grand estate in Salem, Ore., was saved from the wreckingball many years ago. Today, with its beautiful architecture inside and out, it is a center for various community enrichment events.
All of these places have been saved because someone cared enough to be involved.
I applaud the Creswell Heritage Foundation and local volunteers for all they are doing to further this historic preservation of The Old Schoolhouse. Historic preservation occurs through grants, donations, volunteers and a core group who has boots on the ground. This core group needs positive feedback and community support. I encourage the residents of Creswell and surrounding area to do something.
Since I live a distance away, volunteering wasn’t practical, so my mom and I joined forces and made a donation. The last time I came down to Creswell I walked around the construction site at The Old Schoolhouse and saw it sitting on its new foundation. It’s looking great!
May all who come behind us find us faithful to preserve some of these landmarks of history. For it’s in knowing where we have come from that will help show us where we are going.
Step up and support the Creswell Heritage Foundation in saving The Old Schoolhouse.



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