Troutdale Historical Society Museums
Select from each of our Museums below
to learn more. Image galleries for each museum as well
as hours of operation are also available. Enjoy!
Harlow House, Barn Museum and Depot Rail Museum open on Third Saturday of Each Month.
The Troutdale Historical Society will have all three of the museums open on the third Saturday of each month starting January 16, 2010, from 10a.m until 2 p.m.
The Harlow House will feature a display of the society's vintage Valentines.
The Barn Museum exhibit is called "What Went By" and illustrates the history of Troutdale from its beginning as a city in 1907 until its centennial celebration in 2007.
Among the exhibits visitors will find text panels, antique farming tools, a slide show of vintage photos, and murals by local artist Kathy Allegri.
A wonderful collection of railroad memorabilia and tools is on display in the Depot Rail Museum.
The Depot store will also be open on Saturday.
The Rail Depot Museum, End of the Line Museum
Store, and THS office are also open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tuesday thru Friday. The Harlow House and Barn are open
when volunteers are available. To visit the Harlow House
and Barn museums, please contact
us, so we can arrange for a volunteer to be there
when you visit.
The Troutdale Historical Society Announces new exhibit at Harlow House Museum
We are pleased to announce that we have on display a wonderful, quirky collection of Penny Balch’s hats. Penny was a long time member and faithful volunteer of the Troutdale Historical Society who lost her battle with cancer last year. Her family has graciously allowed us to show off her vintage hats, along with some bags and gloves, too. Please join us and honor Penny’s memory by viewing her collection.
In addition to Penny’s hat collection, we still have antique ruby glass on display.
The ruby glass is being loaned to the Troutdale Historical Society by long time member and ruby glass collector, Doneva Shepard. Her collection includes dishes, cups and mugs, pitchers of all sizes, and a wonderful assortment of souvenir items.
Since the Harlow House is a turn of the century house, it is a perfect venue for these fantastic collections. Anyone with an interest in ruby glass and/or vintage hats will not want to miss seeing these exhibits, and anyone who has an appreciation of beauty from the past will enjoy it too.
The Harlow House Museum is open every third Saturday, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and on other days by request. The hats and ruby glass will be on display throughout the summer.
This home was built
in 1900 on what was known as the "Harlow
Farm" by Fred E. Harlow, son of Capt. John
Harlow, Troutdale's founder.
Originally a sea captain from Maine, Capt. Harlow
was a Portland businessman who came to the Sandy
River to establish a country farm. He named his
place Troutdale because of the fish ponds he built
near the cliff. When the railroad was built from
Portland through the Columbia River Gorge in 1882
he convinced them to establish a depot, which
took the name of the farm.
Fred Harlow and his family lived in the home
until about 1915. The second occupants were Lou
Harlow, another of the captain's sons, and his
wife, Laura Bullock Harlow. Both Lou and Laura
were mayors of Troutdale.
The last residents of the home were Lee and
Mabel Evans, both descendants of pioneer families.
She was a piano teacher and claimed to be the
"first white girl born in the newly-platted
town of Troutdale".
The knoll on which the house stands kept it
above the 1948 flood waters. There are four bedrooms
upstairs. One serves as the curator's office,
the others are open to visitors. The contents
of the house include household goods from both
the Harlow and Evans families as well as many
items donated by residents of the area.
The Harlow House is on the National Register
of Historic Places. The grounds of the Harlow
House are part of the city park system.
Our Barn Museum was the brainchild of John Nasmyth,
who was one of the founding members of the Troutdale
Historical Society. He suggested that the society
needed a place to display (and store) all the
farm equipment and other artifacts being donated.
His idea of funding was to bring a check every
time he had a notion to do something.
Members went to work designing and building
the barn in their spare time. Dick Jones, who
discovered the society through a tour of historic
homes, contributed many hours to the construction
of the barn. He is considered the main builder.
Ten years later, the museum was completed enough
to hold an exhibit.
In 1998, we opened our first exhibit entitled
"Smelt Run! A Fish Story", coinciding
with the society's 30th anniversary. Included
in the exhibit were a collection of pictures,
text and artifacts of the Troutdale smelt runs
that once drew thousands of visitors to the Sandy
River. A glimmer from the small silver fish in
the spring run off, and the news of the smelt
run spread quickly from Troutdale to Gresham to
east Portland. There was also a film of the runs
from the Oregon Historical Society files which
showed in Riegelmann's Smeltvision Theater.
Currently displayed in the Barn museum is an
exhibit commemorating the 200th anniversary of
the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery. The
explorers spent six days in the Troutdale area,
discovering plants and learning about the native
more on this exhibit select here.
On November 20, 1882,
a rail line was built through what is now Troutdale
and on east through the Columbia River Gorge.
Troutdale's founder, Capt. John Harlow, asked
railroad builders to establish a depot at his
town site. When they refused, he sailed his small
riverboat up the Sandy River during a spring freshet
and declared the river navigable.
Harlow demanded an expensive drawbridge to accommodate
river traffic instead of the trestle planned by
railroad builders. He obligingly withdrew his
demand when the railroad bowed to his wishes for
Troutdale grew up along the tracks, a one-sided
main street facing what is now the Union Pacific
line. The town flourished and once boasted a meat
packing plant, a five-story distillery, a lumber
mill, an opera house and its own newspaper.
In 1894, Coxey's Army, a ragtag band of unemployed
men, invaded the railroad yard, hi-jacked a train
and attempted to reach Washington, DC, where they
planned to ask the president for jobs. They were
stopped by troops at Arlington.
The original 1882 depot burned in 1907. A replacement
structure was built in that same year. Indoor
restrooms were later added and the trackside bay
altered. Otherwise, the building, which was the
shipping site of many carloads of fresh vegetables,
is much the same as when it was new. The station
agent's office contains railroad artifacts donated
by local residents.
The depot was given to Troutdale by Union Pacific
Railroad in 1976. It was moved to this location
from its original site on the north side of the
tracks about two blocks west. The depot is part
of Troutdale's Depot Park, which offers access
to the Sandy River and Beaver Creek.
In 2001, the society was given a caboose,
also from Union Pacific Railroad, which
was moved to the Depot's parking lot.
It is also open for viewing during regular