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About The Troutdale Historical Society

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 homes
  • 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.

Presently we are featuring a Lewis & Clark exhibit entitled Quicksand & Condors, depicting the time the Corps of Discovery spent camped in the area.

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.

When the 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. More here.

The Troutdale 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 “residing” citizens.

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 are successful.

We have 300 members who receive a monthly newsletter. Learn how to become a member.


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