After years of struggle trying to find a permanent home for the Maxville Heritage Interpretive Center, Director Gwendolyn Trice is seeing daylight shine on the project. A June 6 open house at the new MHIC home at 103 N. Main St. in Joseph received a steady stream of visitors. MHIC also recently received a $20,000 grant to help move, restore and renovate the last building left from the 1920s logging town located above Wallowa.
A new employee started work on June 22 as well, which gives Trice more time to work on fundraising and the logistics of the building restoration.
The open house provided some validation for Trice’s efforts. “We normally close at four, but we didn’t get out of here until 5:30 because people just kept coming in. People were excited we were open, and it’s just what we wanted to see,” Trice said.
Bob Kavanaugh, U.S. Bank’s district manager in Eastern Oregon, attended the open house with his wife Sherry to show both the family’s and the bank’s support for MHIC. “What Gwen is doing is awesome. She’s a gift. She’s bringing history back to life with this project,” Bob Kavanaugh said.
The $20,000 grant is from the Kinsman Foundation and earmarked for the renovation and work to the log building. “We already have Dave Rogers of Logs & Timbers LLC and Jim Platz of Pilgrims Progress, two people at the top of their field in restoration work for log structures,” Trice said. Rogers has already completed a draft for the next steps of the project, including costs and plans for taking down, restoring and reassembling the cabin.
Trice also said that MHIC is seeking a $5,000 matching grant from the community to accomplish the first phase of the project. Donate online at maxvilleheritage.org, at the MHIC office or by mail to MHIC/Cabin, PO Box 492, Enterprise, OR 97828.
MHIC has already found property on which to restore the cabin and its two-story stone and mortar chimney as they wait for the acquisition of property for its permanent home. Trice added that MHIC is in negotiations to obtain property located between Joseph and Enterprise to become that home.
Trice said the dismantling process of the building and chimney is rigorous and detailed. “We’ll get to bring Clatsop Community College back, and we’re looking at a way to connect EOU (Eastern Oregon University) to the project, too. This is a place that’s begging for students to come out and work on it at different levels,” Trice said. The process of actually dismantling and removing the cabin is expected to start sometime in July.
MHIC is open from Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.