About the SCHS

Silverton Country Historical Society & Country Museum

SCHS BuildingsIt all began at an old-timers picnic in the summer of 1974, when a small group of people, proud of their place in Silverton’s history dating back to its founding in 1854, decided that as much heritage as possible should be preserved for future generations and placed in one location to be enjoyed by all. That’s when the idea of a Silverton Country Museum was born. And so out of those first discussions, the organization was formed and articles of incorporation for a nonprofit Silverton Country Historical Society were drawn up and filed.

This was not the first time that the idea surfaced for a museum in Silverton; clear back in March, 1930, Silverton photographer June Drake, who chronicled life in Silverton in the early 1900’s, was one of the organizers of the Silverton Historical Society. A collection of many early artifacts and relics from the earliest days of Silverton were for a time on display in the windows of the Drake Brothers Studio in Silverton. It was the intent of the society to eventually move those items to a display area in the Eugene Field Grade School in Silverton until a more suitable location could be found for the collection. Whatever became of the Silverton Historical Society from that earlier time or of the assembled items is unknown. It’s possible that the depression years which followed, and then the war years, took its toll on continuing to organize the society and the efforts in keeping it going.

Today’s historical society was formed on November 20, 1974 by a group of persons interested in preserving the 120-year heritage of the ‘Silverton Country’. Up until that time, bits and pieces of local memorabilia were stored away in attics, trunks, garages, and basements, or sometimes proudly displayed in living and dining rooms of Silverton area homes. And then, soon after, a really amazing thing happened to move the idea further along; Silverton’s First National Bank branch offered the 1908 vintage Ames-Warnock house to the historical society to use as a museum. If the society would take care of the cost of moving it, it was theirs. Once a suitable location was arranged for and the funds necessary to move the old home were received, arrangements were made for moving the building through the heart of downtown Silverton to its current site in the spring of 1975.

The official opening took place on July 4, 1976, and from early on, the museum had specific dedicated rooms such as a doctor’s room, a child’s bedroom, a schoolroom, pioneer bedroom, and a living room, all decorated with ‘period’ items having a Silverton connection. In addition, special displays throughout the museum showcase important stories such as Homer Davenport, a well-known political cartoonist of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s and an Arabian horse expert, who was born near Silverton. Also on display are memorabilia and photographs from Silverton’s huge logging industry of the early 1900’s.

The museum and the society have continued to grow, and historical Silverton items continue being donated and added to the collection under the supervision of the volunteer curator and directors.

Visit Silverton for a Real Oregon History Experience

Volunteers take turns hosting the museum on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 – 4 p.m., February through November. Suggested donations are $2 for adults and 50¢ for children. Group tours and research appointments can be arranged by calling the museum at 503-873-7070. Find our current events and activities and directions to 428 South Water Street at http://SilvertonMuseum.org/. We are waiting to see you in Silverton, a town full of history for everyone to see and visit.