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Fort Dalles/Anderson Homestead

Dear Friend of Fort Dalles Museum,

Fort Dalles Museum houses an historic collection of wagons and antique vehicles. The collection includes a stage coach, buses, road-building equipment, a covered wagon, two hearses, and surreys, one of which was owned by Oregon Governor Zenas Moody. A portion of these antique vehicles were entrusted to the care of the museum by the American Legion Post #19.

Interior of Metal Building (Blg. 2)

The vehicles, like all antiquities, are subject to the process of aging. In order to preserve these historic vehicles, conservation steps need to be taken. However urgent the need for conservation of the vehicles, even more urgent is the need to replace the buildings in which they are stored. It is the opinion of professionals who have surveyed the collection that efforts to preserve and protect the individual vehicles will be useless if they cannot be moved into a proper facility.

The collection is scatted throughout the museum ground compound, in different buildings including: a wooden shed, a metal shed and the Anderson barn. The current housing conditions leave the vehicles exposed to wind, dust, vermin, and insects. The Anderson Barn roof leaks, allowing water damage to vehicles stored there.

Exterior of Wooden Building in Winter (Blg.1)

The vehicles are exposed to the extremes of temperature. In The Dalles summer heat can soar to over 115° F; in the winter temperatures are often sub-freezing, and recorded temperatures for the area have been below 0° F. Because The Dalles is in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains, the climate is overall dry, with annual rainfall averaging about 13” per year. This dry climate has helped keep the vehicles from rapid decomposition, but the materials used to build these vehicles are reaching the end of their natural lifespan. Paint is peeling, fabric and leather seat coverings are decomposing, metal and wood wheels and frames are losing their integrity and stability.

Age takes its toll as paint, wood and fabric begin to deteriorate.

The vehicles are crowded together behind wire fences, and does not allow visitors to move around the vehicles and view them from all sides. There are also additional artifacts in the vehicle sheds which cannot be properly displayed due to lack of room. Wheel-wrighting tools, farm and logging tools, a kiln and a Universal printing press are part of the collection that are not properly exhibited due to lack of exhibit space.

The museum has tried repeatedly over the years to apply for grants, but being owned by Wasco County, it was classified as a government entity instead of a 501(c) 3 non-profit, thus making it ineligible for the vast majority of cultural and preservation grants. The economic downturn of this past decade also had a detrimental effect. County budget cuts left the museum to struggle on a tiny budget of $25,000 that has barely kept the doors open, leaving no funds for restoration work.

Other avenues have been explored to find funding for a building to house the antique vehicle collection. The Martin family donated $125,000 to the museum for the purpose of building a new facility for the collection. In Sept. of 2009, the Fort Dalles Museum/Anderson Homestead Foundation was formed as a 501 (c) 3 organization. In August 2010 the Foundation received tax-exempt status from the IRS, enabling it to apply for, and receive grants for historic preservation, cultural trust, development and maintenance of the facility.

Artist’s conceptual rendering of proposed vehicle building.

It is essential to the preservation of this historic vehicle collection that we first raise the funds for a new vehicle building to house the collection. Once that is accomplished, we will be able to begin work on conserving the vehicles themselves.

Your charitable tax-exempt donations for the preservation of this historic vehicle collection can be made to:
Fort Dalles Museum/Anderson Homestead Foundation
P.O. Box 591
The Dalles, Oregon 97058.

Thank you for your help and support.
Fort Dalles Museum/Anderson Homestead Board of Directors
September, 2010

ODOT Transportation Enhancement Project

The Fort Dalles Museum/Anderson Homestead Foundation applied for funding from the Department of Transportation Enhancement Project. These funds have already been allocated by the federal government, and it is up to the Oregon Dept. of Transportation to select the projects that meet DOT criteria to receive these federal funds. The public opinion survey was open until February 28. We are pleased to say the Vehicle Building project has been selected as one of 31 finalists for consideration, out of 80+ applications. We expect to hear back sometime in April or May as to whether we will receive funding for this very important project.

Other projects:

     Fort Dalles Museum applied for, and received three grants in 2009.
     The first grant was from Oregon Trails Fund for doing a condition assessment and preservation plan for two of the wagons in the vehicles collection, the Hotel Dalles Bus and the Prineville/The Dalles stage.
     We also received a grant from the Northern Wasco County PUD to replace the roof on the Anderson House, a project that helps to preserve the house for the education and enjoyment for generations to come.
     The third grant was a $17,000 "Preserving Oregon" matching grant awarded by the Oregon State Office of Historic Preservation for two preservation/restoration projects at the Surgeon's Quarters.
     The first project was the 2010 restoration of all the original window sash in the building. Historic records indicate the windows in the Surgeon's Quarters were made by hand on site during construction of the house. The contractor for the window restoration is Amy Harrington McAuley of Oculus Fine Carpentry in Portland, who will be blogging the restoration.
     The second project was the 2010 restoration of the stone chimneys and foundation. This work will be done by Alan Ash of Ash Stone Masonry of Eugene. He will be using local stone and a lime based mortar to restore the chimneys to their original appearance.
     The Preserving Oregon Grant is a 50% matching grant, so for every dollar received the museum must match it with either reserve funds, donations, staff or volunteer time, or donated services. To help raise funds for this grant and for other projects at the Museum, including the new Wagon Buidling, a 501(c)3 foundation has been set up. This non-profit will make it easier for the museum to receive donations and apply for grants that, as a county-owned and run facility, the museum would not otherwise qualify for.
     It is an exciting time to be involved with Fort Dalles Museum. We welcome your contribution of thoughts, ideas, time or money for any of our various efforts.
     Eric Gleason, President
     Wasco County Museum Commission
     for Fort Dalles Museum/Anderson Homestead


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Visit us at Oregon's oldest history museum
Fort Dalles Museum and the Anderson Homestead
500 W. 15th Street and Garrison
The Dalles, Oregon 97058
Phone: 541-296-4547

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Fort Dalles Museum and the Anderson Homestead
500 W. 15th Street and Garrison
The Dalles, Oregon 97058
Phone: 541-296-4547
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