About The Troutdale
Our business is old business at the Troutdale Historical
Society. We focus on the past. We are pledged to preserve
the history of the Troutdale area as well as the Sandy
River and the Columbia River Gorge. The Troutdale
Historical Society is a non-profit 501 (C) 3 organization.
We offer entertaining and informative programs October
through May, on the 3rd Sunday of the month. Special
events throughout the year include:
- Our annual Tea
& Tour the first Saturday in May at historic
- A cemetery tour in May
- An old-fashioned ice
cream social the first Saturday of June
- The Troutdale School
reunion in October
- Christmas Open House
the first Saturday in December
Realizing the importance of recording and preserving
the history of this region, af few Troutdale citizens
founded the Troutdale Historical Society in 1968.
It is an active part of the community, promoting events
and activities through out the year.
We maintain three museums, the Harlow
House, a 105-year-old farmhouse; the Depot Museum,
a turn of the century railroad depot, complete with
Caboose and gift shop; and a Barn Museum that houses
our changing exhibits.
In the last few years we have displayed
with pictures and text, the story of the smelt runs
in the Sandy River and a Time Line from the evolution
of the Columbia River Gorge to the Troutdale area
in the year 2000.
The historical society
hosts a Tea & Tour on the first Saturday in May.
This event is held in historic homes in the area.
Tables are set with fine china, crystal, silver, and
bowls of spring flowers scenting the air with lilac
sweetness. This event hosts 150 guests resulting in
one of the society’s major fundraisers.
county was ready to condemn and tear down
the Multnomah County Poor Farm, the Troutdale
Historical Society stepped in and saved it
as a historical landmark. Eventually it was
purchased, restored and developed by the McMenamin
brothers who turned the property into a charming
destination for travelers, artists, musicians,
and it also offers a great dining experience.
The Barn building committee, which
consisted of community volunteers, residents, pioneer
families, and city government, cooperated in a huge
project of building a 6400 square foot, two story
building. The builders completed the project over
a ten-year period on a pay as you go basis. It now
houses our changing exhibits on the main floor with
storage and meeting facilities on the upper floor.
The Harlow House, one of the oldest
farmhouses in the city of Troutdale, was purchased
by the historical society over 25 years ago. It is
maintained as a turn of the century home, much of
it in its original state, and furnished with furniture
and belongings from families in the area. The city
maintains the grounds as a beautiful park for all
to enjoy. More here.
The train depot, once a bustling rail
stop heading into the Columbia River Gorge, sat abandoned
and deteriorating. The historical society moved the
building across the tracks up onto the scenic Old
Columbia River Highway, where it is easily accessible
to tourists. We later acquired a caboose donated to
us by the Union Pacific Railroad to place next to
the depot building. The depot houses the train memorabilia
museum, a gift shop, and the society’s office.
Historical Society hosts an annual cemetery
tour guided by a local cemetery historian. We
visit pioneer cemeteries in east Multnomah County
pointing out locations and stories of the prominent
Historic “Treks” are popular
with the members. A chartered bus and tour to museums,
historic locations, and scenic byways in both Oregon
and Washington make up the basics of the treks. Some
are one-day tours and some are overnighters. Great
food, accommodations, and fun are musts on the “Treks.”
The Ice Cream Social has been an annual
affair almost forever. The Troutdale countryside is
dotted with strawberry fields and is known for the
sweet flavorful variety of strawberries. In June,
at the peak of the season, the society dishes up strawberry
shortcakes heaped with ice cream and whip cream. The
event has taken on different formats over the years
and is now celebrated in Mayors Square in the center
of town on the first Saturday in June.
A Board of Directors governs the Troutdale
Historical Society assisted by a volunteer director
and two part-time paid office staff. Volunteers host
all the museums, plan, and make sure all the activities
We have 300 members who receive a monthly
newsletter. Learn how to
become a member.