Marie Dorion is Topic of 3rd Tuesday

The Union County Museum will host their October Third Tuesday event in the Little White Church in Union, Tuesday, October 15, at 7 p.m. The title of the presentation is The Little-Known Story of Marie Dorion. This is the last museum event of the year.

The Story of Madame Dorion
Six years after Captains Lewis and Clark included Sacajawea in their expedition to the Pacific Ocean, Marie Dorion, an Iowa Indian, made much the same trip, with the Wilson Price Hunt Expedition, financed by John Jacob Astor. Caught during winter months in often horrendous circumstances, and under leadership that could only be described as incompetent, Madame Dorion’s trek was both many, many miles further, and, she made it while pregnant and caring for two children under 5. Her epic story shows the strength and perseverance needed to survive – sometimes alone and against all odds.

While Sacajawea did not come through the Grande Ronde Valley (as the Lewis & Clark Expedition was further to the north), Madame Dorion passed through several times. An historic marker along Highway 237, just a couple of miles north of North Powder gives the outline of her story, focusing on the birth of a baby daughter near the site of the marker, just days before New Year’s Eve, 1811.

History has treated the two women very differently: one became a celebrity and the other has been virtually forgotten. Her story of courage and determination is worthy of being remembered.

Bev White Bio for Third Tuesday

Beverly Donovan White was born in Pendleton and attended college at what is now Eastern Oregon University. After marriage, she and husband Bill moved to this area where, she taught in Baker City, Imbler and La Grande. The last 24 years of her career she was a reading specialist at La Grande Middle School. In 1993 she started the Literacy Center which provides free tutoring and materials and is now housed in Cook Memorial Library. Many volunteers have helped with this effort and she says more are always welcome!

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Museum Society to hold Annual Meeting

The Union County Museum Society announces the organization will host their annual meeting Friday, October 11, at 7 p.m., in the Little White Church. Owned by the museum, the Little White Church is located across Main Street from the museum in Union. The featured speaker is Scott Schroeder.

A dedicated fan and student of local history, with special interest in high school sports, Scott Schroeder was born and raised in Union and attended grade school through high school there. He taught and coached at the high school for 23 years. During the second half of his career he taught US history and government. He has an interest in researching the history of Union schools with an emphasis on sports and activities, including researching school annuals and newspapers. He will also discuss the relationship between the museum and the school, including discarded materials.

During the annual meeting, Mr. Schroeder will tell stories about exceptional Union High School and other county sports teams and their achievements through the decades.

The annual meeting is free and open to the public. Just prior to the presentation, there will be a brief review of the museum season, presented by Sharon Hohstadt, Museum Society Board President, followed by recognition of volunteers, election of board members and a vote to accept the 2020 budget.

Please join us for a pleasant evening and the chance to get to know your museum and the people who work to compile, protect and present the history of Union County.

The Union County Museum Society, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, owns and operates the Union County Museum. The Society’s dedicated volunteers handle all aspects of running the museum, from hosting visitors to creating exhibits, accepting and preserving historical items, maintaining and upgrading the buildings and overseeing the business. Your membership in the organization is valued and encouraged.

Join us for September Third Tuesday

UNION, OREGON__Thank you to all who attended Pioneer Day, Saturday, September 7. It was a fun day and lots of the museum’s fans helped us celebrate our 50th Anniversary.

Next, the Union County Museum will host September’s Third Tuesday event in the Little White Church, Tuesday, September 17, at 7 p.m. The title of the presentation is Celebrating the Artwork of Robbie Waller.

Caralee Anley, granddaughter of Robbie Waller, will be sharing the story of Robbie’s prolific artistry. Robbie, a long-time resident of Union County who passed away in 2018, was a philanthropist and china painter who spent many years teaching art classes and showing her work at the Union County Fair. As part of Caralee’s presentation, select pieces of Robbie’s art will be available for a cash donation to the Union County Museum. 

Caralee Anley, originally from the Portland area, now lives in La Grande enjoying a slower pace. She loves to travel, design creative spaces, and volunteer for community events.

The museum thanks Dulcimer Delirium for their delightful music at the July Third Tuesday, David Arnold for presenting his collection of vintage railroad promotional art at the August Third Tuesday and the audience members who attended each event. Watch for news of the Union County Museum Society’s Annual Meeting, scheduled for October 11, in the Little White Church.

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August Third Tuesday topic announced

The Union County Museum continues its Third Tuesday Series August 20, with a presentation about the connection between railroad history, tourism and the settlement of the West. The event begins at 7 a.m., in the Little White Church, across South Main Street from the museum in Union.

Titled The Art & Influence of Early 20th Century Railroad Advertising, the focus of this presentation is the influence of the four major railroads, Great Northern, Northern Pacific, Union Pacific, and Milwaukee, as they forged their way into the Pacific Northwest. During the second great Railway Age of development, beginning in 1890, railroad companies produced rather extraordinary and artistic promotional materials to extol the virtues of railroads and traveling by rail. Together we will explore how, using this beautiful and creative advertising, the railroads prompted settlement, promoted tourism and fostered economic growth, as well as helped shape the region’s character and travel corridors the people of the Pacific Northwest have followed since the beginning of the 20th Century and still use today.

Presenter David Arnold has worked for the Wallowa Union Railroad as a conductor and licensed Locomotive Engineer for 18 years. A railroad historian and Vice-President of the Friends of the Joseph Branch, Mr. Arnold has a broad background related to railroad operations in the Northwest. 

As a Graduate student at the University of Washington, the focus of his Master’s degree in history thesis was the relationship between Union Pacific Railroad and the development of sports and recreation in Wyoming Territory, 1868-1890. Mr. Arnold subsequently earned a Master’s degree in public health from Oregon State University, with an emphasis in Safety Program Management. He specifically focused on transportation and railroad safety issues, working closely with Union Pacific Railroad and Operation Lifesaver Programs. 

Through George Fox University, Mr. Arnold taught a summer seminar on Northwest Railroad History for 8 years in the Rhodes Scholar Program, from 1992 until 2000. From 2010 until 2016, he served on the Oregon Transportation Commission’s State Rail Plan committee designing regional rail transportation models for both freight and passenger operations for the 21st century. Mr. Arnold currently serves on the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Rail Division Advisory Committee overseeing distribution of funds to support both mainline and branch line economic and infrastructure development needs for the state of Oregon. Having utilized passenger rail as his primary source of transportation since the 1940s, Mr. Arnold is a strong advocate for the need and return of this mode of travel through Eastern Oregon and is currently engaged in efforts to make this happen. 

Mr. Arnold also has a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from George Fox University and an earned Doctorate of Psychology (Ph.D.) from Gonzaga University.

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Illustration by Edward Teller, famed commercial artist and painter, for the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Dulcimer Group Plays for July Third Tuesday Event

The Union County Museum launches its 2019 Third Tuesday series July 16, 7 p.m., in the Little White Church, the museum’s historic venue across Main Street from the museum in Union. The group performing is Dulcimer Delirium, whose program will consist of demonstrations, a look at the museum’s zither, and playing of tunes and singing.

Formed in 2019, Dulcimer Delirium is a group of local musicians who enjoy playing a range of music on the mountain, or lap, dulcimer. All the members have experience on other instruments and found the dulcimer to be adaptable to many playing styles and genres of music. The group includes people from a wide variety of professions and has no designated leader.

“We prefer to use consensus in choosing the repertoire and in arranging the tunes to our satisfaction,” explains Sharon Porter, a group member. “Some of our instruments were hand-built by luthiers Jerry Nolte, recently from Cove; Janita Baker of Santa Margarita, California; Dan Cox of New Tazewell, Tennessee and Ron Ewing of Columbus, Ohio. Other instruments were made by the McSpadden, Gold Tone, and Folkcraft companies. Dulcimers are a bit like potato chips…‘betcha can’t buy just one!’”

Dulcimer background: No one knows who built the first dulcimer, but the instrument arose in the early 1800s from the community of Scotch-Irish immigrants to the Appalachian region of the United States. It is curious that the instrument has no apparent ancestor in the immigrants’ home countries of Ireland and Scotland. Some say the drones of a dulcimer harken to the bagpipes of Scotland, but this is pure speculation. The dulcimer is a descendent of the zither family, drawing from the Norwegian Langeleik, French Epinette, Swedish Hummel and German Scheitholt. It goes by various names and nicknames including dulcimore, hog fiddle and, in Appalachia where it may be made from barn siding, Tennessee music box. It is truly an American-born instrument.

The dulcimer was first used as a parlor instrument as the sound is quiet and suited to small home settings. Virtually no recordings of the dulcimer exist from earlier than the late 1930s. The instrument experienced a renaissance in the 1950s with the folk revival movement led by Jean Ritchie, a traditional noter player* from Viper Kentucky, who brought mountain music to New York City. For the evening performance, Dulcimer Delirium will demonstrate the various styles of playing, show some variants of the instrument itself and play a range of repertoire from old time mountain music to modern day tunes.

*A noter player uses a small dowel in the left hand to press on the string to make a pitch, kind of like using a finger but the slides you can make produce a distinctive sound. Often a turkey feather is used instead of a pick in the right hand.

UCMuseum Hosts Opening Event on Mother’s Day

The Union County Museum begins a celebration of its 50th anniversary when it opens for the 2019 season on Mother’s Day, May 12, from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission to the annual event is free and refreshments will be available. Museum volunteers always look forward to showing museum patrons through the exhibits, highlighting the facility improvements made over the past few months.

“This event is the beginning of a season-long recognition of the people and patrons who have made it possible for the museum to become the regional gem it is,” said Sharon Hohstadt, museum curator. “We are so grateful to all and proud of what we have accomplished over the years.” Hohstadt served as president of the Union County Museum Society for 10 years, before accepting the role of curator in 2018.

A special anniversary celebration is being planned for September 7, during an enhanced Pioneer Day. Watch the website, newsletter and media for more information as details are solidified.

While admission to the museum is free on Mother’s Day, the museum board of directors encourages people to join the Union County Museum Society to support the mission of collecting, preserving and presenting our area’s history. Membership starts at just $10 a year for individuals and includes entry for free throughout the year and the quarterly newsletter. For just $50 a year you can be a Supporting Member and help ensure the museum continues its important role in the county.

Days and hours of operation after Mother’s Day are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday hours and dates will be announced. Be sure to include a visit to the museum when enjoying a Sunday drive after church or as part of entertaining visiting friends and relatives.

More volunteers are always needed and welcome, with activities ranging from being a host to working on new projects and necessary tasks. To learn more about volunteering, or to book a tour for a group, please contact Linda Bond, Museum Society Secretary, or call 541.910.8263. Volunteer hosts work in shifts.

September Third Tuesday at the Museum

The Little White Church faces Main Street and sits beside City Hall.

As the 2018 season winds down, the Union County Museum is pleased to highlight the talent and knowledge within the museum’s board members and volunteers. Guest speakers for the September Third Tuesday are Sharon Hohstadt, Museum Curator, and Anne Rodriguez, who has created a successful outreach program. The event is September 18, at 7 p.m., in the Little White Church, across Main Street from the Museum in Union.

Sharon will give a talk she presented in May to visiting members of the California & Oregon Trails Association, about the Oregon Trail migration, which began in earnest 175 years ago.

Anne Rodriguez, also a retired teacher, will do the traveling trunk presentation, giving us all the chance to hear what she takes to area schools. She presented to 269 students last spring and is scheduling school visits for 2019.

We will “open the mike,” for the last segment of the evening, inviting museum volunteers and members to do a short talk about their areas of interest and expertise. This has the benefit of bringing to light people who may be selected to present an expanded version as the guest speaker at a Third Tuesday next season. Please contact Austin Saunders, board President,, if you have something you would like to share.

The purpose of the September Third Tuesday event is to foster more exchange between the board, volunteers, members and the general public and to encourage all to attend the Annual Meeting, Friday, October 5. We hope to see you at both of these engaging events.

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July 3rd Tuesday Features Paper Dolls

As we learned during the May Third Tuesday, people’s collections can open a window into popular culture and history. What a person chooses to collect is often connected to their youth, what was happening at the time in the country, and the interests they carried into adulthood. Tuesday, July 17, Carolyn Caldwell Mayer will share her collection of vintage paper dolls and the story behind them.

Carolyn was born in Manhattan, Kansas, alongside (actually ahead of) her twin sister, Marolyn on April 21, 1934. Their dad was a chemistry teacher and researcher at the Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, known now as Kansas State University.

It was during the Great Depression, with the prospect of World War II looming over the world. Times were tough, but everyone was pretty much in the same boat, so life was okay for little girls. They had two best friends in the neighborhood, and one of the favorite things to do was to play paper dolls. At the time, stacks of paper doll books in a bin at the dime store cost 10 cents – just the amount of their weekly allowance.

Marolyn and Carolyn would buy one paper doll book with one dime and split it, and then spend the other dime on two ice cream cones. They also loved to draw their own paper dolls and clothes, spending many happy hours cutting and coloring.

A few years later, another set of twins joined the family and through a series of moves the girls’ dolls and paper dolls disappeared. But gifts and paper dolls in the newspapers kept the interest in them alive.

Long after she married, and after her children (who had never liked paper dolls no matter how hard she tried to interest them) were pretty well grown up, Carolyn started to build a new collection, mostly the new ritzy books that cost a lot more than a dime. Then people, including her children, started to give them to her and the whole thing snowballed.

“I still love to cut out paper dolls,” says Carolyn, “and now I’m trying to find ways to display them so that everyone can see them for the delightful pop art that they actually were.” In addition to collecting paper dolls, Carolyn had a career in chemistry and has taught piano lessons for nearly 50 years.

July’s Third Tuesday will begin at 7 p.m., in the Little White Church in Union, across South Main Street from the Union County Museum. The monthly event is hosted by the Union County Museum Society. For more information, call 541.562.6003, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m., or go to the website,


Special Hours for July 4th

The Union County Museum will be open extended hours in honor of Independence Day, Wednesday, July 4th. The museum will open at 10 a.m. and remain open until 7 p.m. (Normal hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

The additional hours coincide with activities in Union to celebrate the holiday, culminating with fireworks at dusk at the high school athletic field. The fireworks were moved to Union for 2018, due to construction underway at Community Stadium on the Eastern Oregon University campus in La Grande. Please take this opportunity to explore the museum and enjoy all that Union has to offer.

Stitches In Time is Topic of May Third Tuesday

The Union County Museum launches its 2018 Third Tuesday Series May 15, at 6 p.m., in the museum at 333 South Main Street, Union. Sharon Porter, a retired member of the EOU education faculty, is the guest speaker, sharing items from her vintage sewing machine and toy collection. She describes her pathway to collecting vintage sewing machines and toys in the passage below:

“Growing up on a farm outside South Solon, Ohio, was a perfect way to explore the natural world. Back then, kids were on a long tether after chores were completed. Every day brought a new adventure from catching crawdads to stealing the ball from stinkbugs. I feel guilty about that to this day! My mother thought it necessary for all of us to have piano lessons so after high school, I decided to major in music education so I could teach and enjoy an amateur life in music. I play in several local bands and ensembles and am lucky to experience the joy of playing music with others. I play bass, ukulele, recorder, piano (not often!), dulcimer, and am learning tenor guitar and mandolin.

“Not used to having a spare moment while teaching at EOU, I suddenly found time to rediscover old hobbies of my school days in central Ohio and Kentucky. Sewing my own clothes through high school and college, I wondered how much fun it could be to sew without a deadline. So, at retirement I turned to quilting as so many do here in the county. As a beginner, I am quite content to sew simple designs on vintage machines. There is something inspiring about sewing on a machine that holds a history of another person’s creative efforts. Vintage machines led me to a surprising hobby…toy sewing machines. When out in the RV, at band camp, or on the deck, I can relax and sew amidst a brew of music and companionship. I love to travel and these tiny wonders fit nicely in a suitcase and off I go! Come hear a bit of the history of the vintage sewing machines in our museum and the toy collection I have been inspired to start collecting.”

Third Tuesday events were started in summer 2017, and proved popular. Watch this website for more about the schedule and topics.