Oregon Centennial Inspires Kerbyville Museum
Friday October 24, 2008
By Alice Mullaly
Welcome to As It Was: Tales from the State of Jefferson
The Oregon Centennial in 1959 inspired many efforts to preserve history. In Josephine County, the Illinois Valley Federated Women’s Club recognized that many pioneer families had kept their historic treasures and it was time to find a way to preserve and display them. They bought and restored a pioneer home near Kerby and filled it with artifacts. Operated by the Josephine County Historical Society with county assistance, the Kerbyville Museum opened on June 10, 1959.
The museum includes a sturdy little log schoolhouse, once on Sucker Creek, complete with outhouse. There are also exhibits on Waldo, the first county seat and once a thriving gold town. In 1857, the county seat was moved to Kerby, then called Napoleon. In 1860, the state legislature changed the name to Kerby after the original Donation Land Claim owner. The county seat moved to Grants Pass in 1886 and Kerby’s prominence declined.
The museum gained an annex in 1965 that allowed display of more contributions from generous local pioneer families. The Kerbyville Museum offers a visit to a piece of the region’s past. It is open in the summer from Thursday through Monday. Visiting hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Today’s episode of As It Was was written by Alice Mullaly, the program producer is Raymond Scully. I’m Shirley Patton. As It Was is a co-production of JPR and the Southern Oregon Historical Society. To share stories or learn more about the series, visit asitwas – dot.org.