Thursday, December 13, 2018

Christmas Toys: Featured Artifacts

It's the time of year when people are busy shopping for holiday gifts.  What did children of the Circa 1920 era receive as Christmas gifts? The Benton County Historical Museum collection contains several toys which the donors said they received as gifts.

“Santa” brought this doll-sized toy stove at Christmas in 1914 or 1915. It was originally silver in color.
As a child in 1914, Winnibeth McDowell received a gift of this coin bank in the shape of a 20-story building.
Educational toys are nothing new. This slate, with letters and numbers that could be moved around onto the central groove, was patented in 1917.  It was a gift to donor Ivan Burkert in 1922.

This doll carriage was a Christmas gift to Bird Johnson in 1923.  She played with it as did her children.

Happy shopping! Which of today's toys do you suppose will end up in a museum in the future?

By Martha Fraundorf, Volunteer for Benton County Historical Society, Philomath, Oregon

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Reconstruction Aide Harriet Moore

Button from a Reconstruction Aid
uniform of 1918-1920.

In 1917, Congress required that all veterans from World War I receive rehabilitative health services.  The Army Surgeon General then developed a training program for women aides.  Six locations were selected and women high school graduates who could pass a physical exam recruited.
Harriet Forest responded and entered a program at Reed College which included courses in anatomy, physiology, hygiene, psychological aspects of recovery, hospital management, massage, and “corrective gymnastics.” The students also attended clinics in orthopedic surgery. Graduates appointed as Reconstruction Aides received fifty dollars per month (sixty dollars if serving abroad) and living expenses.  They cared for wounds, and treatments to keep up muscle tone and help soldiers recover from fractures, paralysis, and amputation. Sixteen of the “re-aides” later founded the American Physical Therapy Association.

After completing the program, Harriet Forest traveled to the mobilization center in New York City, expecting to be sent to France.  Her orders were cancelled and she ended up serving at Camp Gordon and Fort McPherson in Georgia and at Walter Reed Hospital, Bethesda, Maryland. She served in the program from 1918 to 1920, followed by a year doing physical therapy for the Public Health Service.

Harriet Forest Moore in
Reconstruction Aide outdoor uniform.
Harriet Forest Moore in
Reconstruction Aide indoor uniform.
After service, Harriet enrolled at Oregon Agricultural College, graduating with a B. S. in 1922.  In 1924 she received one of the first M.S. degrees in vocational education awarded by OAC. 
After marrying James Moore in 1922 and raising two children, she became involved in local history, recording headstone information for the DAR and writing a history of the Corvallis Presbyterian church. In 1955, she took a job as an assistant in cataloging at the OAC library.  From 1961 to 1966 she served as the university archivist, work which won her the Oregon Historical Society’s Henry C. Collins award from the collection and preservation of local history.  She also collected many of the photographs in the Benton County Historical Museum’s collection.
Harriet Forest Moore
Although the Reconstruction Aides were sworn into the army and given orders by the Army doctors, and paid by the military, Congress reclassified these aides, plus telephone operators and other female military workers as civilian employees.  As such, they were not considered veterans and not eligible for benefits.  In 1977, the G. I. Bill Improvement Act ordered the Department of Defense to accept applications for veteran status from women with wartime service.  In 1981, reconstruction aides were officially recognized as such.  When several years later Harriet Moore applied for veteran’s benefits, the army said its records showed that she had served only a short time and was not eligible.  She submitted documents to show otherwise but the issue was not resolved before she died in 1992. 

By Martha Fraundorf, Volunteer for Benton County Historical Society, Philomath, Oregon 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Corvallis Train Depot History

I'm always amazed by the process of moving an entire building to a new site.  That act seems even more amazing when the building is not a wood frame home but a large stone building.
In 1909-10, a new railroad depot of cast stone (concrete blocks shaped to look like stone) was constructed along the Southern Pacific tracks at Ninth Street and Washington Avenue in Corvallis. The old wood-framed depot (now Depot Suites) was moved to Seventh Street to serve as a freight depot.
The move to the new location at Sixth Street
and Monroe Avenue took three weeks.
In June of 1917, the Southern Pacific Railroad extended its interurban electric rail line to Corvallis.  Powered by overhead electric lines, the red cars carried passengers north to Portland four times per day. To accommodate passengers on this line, the stone depot was moved.  The building was raised off its foundation then pulled by a team of mules.
The Corvallis train depot in its new location circa 1920.
The Southern Pacific discontinued the “Red Electric” service in 1929 and all passenger service to Corvallis in 1933.  In 1956, the city of Corvallis purchased the building for use by the police department.  The building deteriorated and was scheduled to be demolished but it was sold and moved to yet another location in May 1982.  This move involved tight maneuvering through downtown Corvallis, watched by many.
Moving Southern Pacific Train Depot in Corvallis
Photo by Joe Malango
But this time it took only one day to relocate the building to 603 N. Second Street (between Taylor and Polk).   From 1963 through 2008, it housed the Michael's Landing restaurant.

Two other restaurants followed before the Spaghetti Factory opened in the renovated building in 2014.
By Martha Fraundorf, Volunteer for Benton County Historical Society, Philomath, Oregon

Monday, November 19, 2018

Oregon "Civil War" Football History

On Friday, November 23, 2018, Oregon State University football team will play the University of Oregon for the 122nd time. 

Oregon Agricultural College (as OSU was called then) began playing collegiate football in 1893 when the school had only 204 students.  Rules of play and eligibility were different then so OAC could field a team which included several people who were not current college students, such as a faculty member the son of the school president and some students in the preparatory (high school) division. 

The University of Oregon fielded a team the next year and the rivalry began. It is the seventh oldest rivalry game and the oldest on the west coast.  Oregon State won the first game 16-0. Over the decades, Oregon has won 64 games; Oregon State has won 47.  Ten games ended in a tie, including a 3-3 tie in 1914.
Oregon vs. Oregon State,  1914
The next year, OAC played its first game outside the western United States, when the team traveled to the Midwest to play Michigan Agricultural College (Michigan State). The Beavers won that game but not that year's  one against the University of Oregon.

During the remainder of the circa 1920 era, Oregon State won the 1917 game played in Portland and the 1923 and 1925 games played in Eugene.  The 1920 and 1921 games ended in 0-0 ties; Oregon won the remaining 5 games.

A series of  mounted footballs commemorate the 1925 season in which Oregon State compiled a 7-2 record.

In those years, the Oregon-Oregon State games was called the Oregon Classic or the State Championship.  It wasn't dubbed the “civil war” until 1929.
During halftime of the “civil war” OAC students would form a line, hands on shoulders of the person in front, and march in a serpentine around the field while waving banners and cheering.

After a victory, fans would assemble and on a march down to the Mary's River to watch Methodist minister J. R. N. Bell toss his top hat into the Mary's River.

By Martha Fraundorf, Volunteer for Benton County Historical Society, Philomath, Oregon