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Published: Tuesday, 8/7/2012

Oregon historical museum takes shape

Oregon area to get home for its past


With work on a new museum under way, the city of Oregon soon will have a place to celebrate the region's history.

The Harbor View Historical Museum, still under construction, is to commemorate the five villages in the Oregon area that existed from after the end of the War of 1812 to 1950, when all five villages except for Harbor View were incorporated into the city of Oregon.

The work was spearheaded by the Harbor View Historical Society, which is dedicated to preserving the history of the city of Oregon and the area once known as the Northwest Territories, said president Samuel Boniface.

Volunteer work on the museum began after the city of Oregon approved a five-year plan for the project, said Mike Joseph, secretary of the Harbor View Historical Society.

Volunteers are now busy converting the Harbor View Missionary Baptist Church into the new facility. The volunteers come from a variety of sources, said Mr. Joseph, including some who are just in the neighborhood and want to help out.

"It's about education," Mr. Joseph said. "We want to teach children about history and have them be a part of it."

The museum plans to have exhibits showcasing each of the five villages that used to make up the area, he said.

Recently, the construction received some help from a local Boy Scout Eric Oatis, who agreed to help complete a new library for the museum as his community service project that's needed to qualify as an Eagle Scout. The 16-year-old is a member of Boy Scout Troop 104 from St. Joseph Church in Maumee.

Once complete, the library will feature more than 500 books and serve as a free resource to the surrounding neighborhood, Mr. Joseph said. The library project began on July 28 and is scheduled to be completed in stages over a month.

The idea for the museum originated with Mr. Joseph and Dr. Gary Cashin, who both envisioned creating a museum that would showcase the area's heritage.

After searching for a location, Mr. Joseph said, they found the church on 2083 Autokee St., which they purchased in December, 2010, with funds provided by private donations.

Contractor and volunteer labor for the building is being coordinated by David Rumpf, the president of the Professional Remodelers Organization. Gladieux Home Center is offering discounts on building materials.

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