149 years young, Oregon experiences a first

February 14, 2008. As of today, on its 149th anniversary of statehood, the 33rd state of the union, Oregon joins Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia and New York and gets its very own online encyclopedia. The Oregon Encyclopedia of History and Culture is up and running! For those of us that love history, the Valentine’s Day debut is more than appropriate. Many claim a passion for historic subject matter for its cultural significance as well as overall fascination with the state they live in. The stories are captivating and inspiring.
If you’re in Portland, Oregon, today at 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm, you are invited to attend a free launch event for the Oregon Encyclopedia. There will be readings, refreshments and music. If not, you could always celebrate with a little History in VogueTM and find yourself the lucky owner of a Dead Reckoning of the Pacific Graveyard shipwreck chart, a Lewis & Clark States, Indian Nations or black map!. Since they were created for the 1804, 5 and 6 bicentennial in 2005-2006 and are running near the end of their limited numbers, they would be an amazing way to express and indulge your fondness for Oregon history. Show some love, already!
Quoted from their February 14 press release: “The Oregon Encyclopedia will include entries on all parts of the state, with special attention to smaller communities. It will include information on Oregon history, art, architecture, literature, anthropology, ethnology, folklore, and more. Encyclopedia editors and staff will involve as many local communities as possible by gathering information through community meetings. The first meeting will be held this spring in Coos Bay and Madras, with others taking place throughout Oregon over the next year.”
Their mission statement, taken from the infant website, reflects an ideal goal: “The Oregon Encyclopedia of History and Culture provides definitive, general information about the State of Oregon, its places, culture, institutions, significant events, and the people that shaped them. The user-friendly electronic format is intended for use by students, teachers, researchers, and general information-seekers.”
This event is a historic first, inspired by the Oregon Sesquicentennial of 2009. Their goal is 3000 entries by the end of the year, even though the offerings now may seem a bit on the lean side. It is hoped that contributors will flesh out the site with their various areas of expertise. Since oft-forgotten events will be featured, and focus will be on smaller communities, the site has great potential for seekers of the obscure.
For example, there are thousands of sites, probably more, relating to the Lewis & Clark Exposition, but if you go looking for the identity of the remains of a recent Coos Bay shipwreck, you will find that particular moniker lost to the sands of time. Perhaps it played some role in Oregon’s rich cultural past. Or not. Regardless, it is historically significant, and has Oregonians intrigued.
In researching his Dead Reckoning shipwreck chart, Bill Brooks was up against a
mountain much like the wreck of the Glenesslin found herself in 1913.
There is no one place to find definitive answers. There was much speculation, rumor, conflicting information as well as misinformation to sift through, and certainly no Oregon Online Encyclopedia to refer to with a simple click of the mouse. 
Yes, it was a monstrous undertaking, but it is now complete and ready for its Close up. What do wows taste like, anyway?
Happy Birth Day, Oregon Encyclopedia!
Long may you thrive and keep growing,
because history is happenin’!

                                                                                     The wreck of the Glenesslin at the base of Neahkahnie Mountain in 1913

News Links:
Oregon Encyclopedia Launch Event (press release)
Historians Launch First-Ever Encyclopedia of Oregon


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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. NW Limited!
    You rock!!!

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