News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters Museum to celebrate City’s 75th

The board and volunteers of by the Three Sisters Historical Society are making preparations for the 75th anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Sisters in April 1946. Throughout 2021 the Sisters History Museum is collaborating with the City, the Sisters Arts Association, and local businesses and organizations to sponsor a number of special observances of Sisters 75th Anniversary. Events will necessarily be planned around whatever current COVID-19 restrictions are in place.

The doors of the Sisters Museum (managed by the Three Sisters Historical Society) opened to the public on September 18, 2020, only to close due to COVID-19 restrictions two months later. From that time until reopening on February 26, 2021, a great deal of work and planning was underway by the museum’s board of directors and volunteers.

“We at Sisters History Museum are looking ahead with many exciting events planned for the community. We are very grateful to the many people who have supported us over this last year. Please stop in to visit us! We are open Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,” Board President Jan Hodgers announced.

Other times to visit the museum are available by appointment by calling 541-904-0585. The museum is located at 410 E. Cascade Ave. (on the corner of East Cascade and North Larch) in the former home of Sisters residents George and Virginia Wakefield. Built in the mid-1930s, the building is now owned by Chris Boxwell, who has done extensive remodeling and updating. The museum occupies the four rooms on the first floor. Boxwell currently has the house on the market but the museum is hopeful they will be able to remain tenants in the historic building for the foreseeable future.

The museum hopes to reinstate their popular small-group history tours down Cascade Avenue in May 2021. As part of the City’s celebration, the museum’s volunteer Hal Darcy is creating 13 new plaques to be placed on historic buildings and other locations, matching the five plaques already located on The Palace, Hotel Sisters, the Maida Bailey Building, and two others.

The City has created a map denoting the 18 historic locations that will be used for the guided, narrated tours, as well as enabling visitors and residents to take their own self-guided tours. Maps are available at City Hall and the museum.

Watch for the creation of an historic mural on the Fir Street side of the Habitat for Humanity Thrift Store at 211 E. Cascade Ave. Minnesota artist and muralist Steve DeLaitsch, whose work is being funded by an anonymous local resident who has commissioned other murals by him in the past, has traveled around the country and in China and Italy to sketch and paint. A trained painter, he has created a number of murals in the U.S.

The mural project is a collaboration of the Three Sisters Historical Society, the Sisters Arts Association, Sisters Habitat for Humanity, the donor, and DeLaitsch. Zeta Seiple and Karen Swank, historical society board members, are providing the historic photos that will be the subject matter for the mural.

Museum volunteer coordinator Ronni Duff, reported that during COVID, “I have continued to recruit some volunteers with great potential, and they have started working in the museum since we reopened.” Duff went on to say, “Karen (Swank) and I have been coordinating with the City on our murder mystery event for the 75th Anniversary.”

The Historical Actors Guild of Sisters will re-enact the murder of reclusive Sisters resident Henry Krug by A. J. Weston, also of Sisters, who was after the gold supposedly stashed by Krug.

On July 10, the museum will be hosting a Founder’s Day Picnic to commemorate the original platting of the Sisters townsite 120 years ago on July 10, 1901, by Alex and Robert Smith. The picnic was made possible by a grant from Citizens4Community and will be held on the museum grounds. More information will be available closer to the picnic.

Replacing the former Friends of the Library Book Corner, the museum has used books available for sale on their front porch during the Friday and Saturday hours of operation. All books are priced at $3 or $5, with proceeds going to help fund the work of the museum. This summer, there are plans for a large book sale to replace the one formerly held by the Friends.

As soon as the COVID-19 regulations allow (hopefully this fall and winter), the historical society plans to resume the popular Fireside Talk evenings, which are free with a current society membership and open to the public for $10.

The Three Sisters Historical Society has a website, and Facebook and Instagram accounts where they post information on events and historic photos of early Sisters.

Like most nonprofits, the historical society is always looking for volunteers to help in a myriad of ways, including all of the above activities. One other project requiring volunteers is the recording of longtime Sisters residents to capture their memories and stories for the oral history library. There is also ongoing need for: museum guides (training provided) and help in the gift shop; researchers of historical persons and places; grant writers; and data entry help. If interested in volunteering, contact Ronni Duff at [email protected]


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