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West Linn, OR (IMG) (Images of America) Paperback – January 19, 2009
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
Title: Book celebration brought out West Linn’s history
Author: Cornelia Seigneur
Publisher: West Linn Tidings
It is the stories that intrigue me most as I reflect on last month’s celebration of my newly-published book at the West Linn Public Library.
Harold Gross, fresh from his 96th birthday party, who was wheel-chaired in by his daughter and caregiver, shared how he transported children to and from school after taking over his father’s West Linn public school bus service.
As Harold shared school bus stories, somebody spoke up from the crowd gathered during the program part of the evening where several special guests joined me near the framed photograph display set up to represent the eight chapters of my West Linn history book, Images of America: WEST LINN.
“I rode on Harold’s bus,” said Leroy Lundy, a Milwaukie resident, as all eyes turned to him. “And Harold ordered me get off his bus one day and walk home because I was throwing chestnuts on the bus.”
Lundy shared of his younger years as everyone gathered in the community room of the library broke out in laughter.
The West Linn Library, which co-sponsored the West Linn Book Publication Celebration held Jan. 26, invited the entire community to come share the evening.
And they came. And invited their friends and neighbors. And old friends were reunited and new friends were made. People from all walks of life came, and it felt like one big West Linn party. Celebrating what is good about our city.
The amazing giving people. And preserving our history.
Bill Hughes, grandson of Ellis Hughes who discovered West Linn’s famous rock – the Willamette Meteorite – in 1902, came from Eastern Oregon as did his granddaughter and other family members.
“I remember my grandfather, and the house we lived in. He lived in real poverty; in those days they did not have food stamps or social security,” Hughes noted. “It was like, when you get an idea and you try to generate some interest in it and you try to raise four kids and a wife. They were poor people in those days. My grandfather was trying to provide for his family.”
Everyone clapped for Hughes.
We invited Kernan Bagley and LaVerne Bagley Brown to come up to the front, as well as HJ Belton Hamilton and his wife, Midori. Part of my Famous People chapter.
HJ Belton Hamilton was Stanford’s first black graduate and Oregon’s first black assistant attorney general. Kernan Bagley was Oregon’s first African American U.S. Marshal under Ronald Reagan. And LaVerne Bagley Brown was West Linn High School’s first African American woman graduate.
The gathered crowd applauded. Hamilton has been slowed by several strokes, but his spirit and life and legacy live on.
We acknowledged others who have lived in West Linn for 80, 70, 50, 40 years. More stories were shared, old friendships rekindled and memories recalled.
As I recognized various folks and thanked the many who shared their photographs, stories and time, I felt a sense of overwhelming gratitude for the privilege of getting to meet so many wonderful people this past year while working on the book.
And as I thought about the variety of people who came, including those who attended the pre-event such as the mayor and former mayor, a city councilor and city staff and then as others who began streaming in such as the Clackamas County Historical Museum president, as well as West Linn neighborhood association presidents, historic board members, firefighters, chamber members, community leaders, students, teachers, long time West Linn families and new community members, and old friends of mine and my family, I mused on how amazing it was – over 200 people in an evening, connecting together to celebrate something we can agree upon.
Preserving our history and celebrating this amazing community. And its wonderful people.
The West Linn Book Publication Celebration exceeded my wildest expectations, and I am extremely grateful to community members for their support.
And for sharing their stories.
Title: Local author celebrates release of new book
Author: The West Linn Tidings
Publisher: Midge Pierce
The first thing you notice about author, mother, mentor and now West Linn historian Cornelia Becker Seigneur is her community pride.
“So many generous people living here give so much back,” Seigneur said. “My book is for everyone. My hope is to unify our town.”
The recent release of her pictorial history book, “Images of America: West Linn,” coincides with this year’s 150th anniversary of Oregon. It is the first comprehensive compilation of historical photos and facts about the town originally designated as Millsburg until a grassroots movement decided West Linn was a better moniker.
She dedicated her book to local residents, as well as her supportive family. The book will be officially unveiled at a signing and celebration at 6 p.m. on Monday at the West Linn Public Library. “We live in a caring, service-oriented town,” she said. “This is part of our rich heritage.”
In her research, she discovered that the Willamette River flooded the original Linn City; that at its dedication, the Oregon City Bridge was declared the most beautiful bridge in America; and parts of West Linn had electricity before New York.
The book’s timeliness is reflected in renewed interest in Oregon’s earliest settlements on the eve of the Sesquicentennial. In a town previously known primarily for its mammoth meteorite and impressive falls, Seigneur focuses on the traditions of volunteerism and the dedication of organizations such as the Boy Scouts and Lions Club. Milestones of change are reflected in photos from the 19th century. Her favorites include pictures of school children from the turn of the century through the 1950s.
A journalist, diarist, columnist, editor, photographer, teacher, mentor and mother of five, Seigneur has a writer’s curiosity about lives that inspire. During her 13-year career, she has written about universal journeys and pays homage to those who face challenges with positive solutions. Above all she celebrates family, as manifested in her pictorial release.
“This has always been a family town,” she said. “People have continuity and personal histories here. If they move away, they often move back. This is a place where grandchildren return to live in their grandparents’ homes.”
Before the growth spurts and pressures of the 1990s, West Linn was still a quiet town with more in common with the pace of the past than the lightening speeds of our present.
“On a typical Sunday 100 years ago, families would go to the Methodist Church on Willamette Falls Drive,” she said. “Later they might gather for a community dinner. Did you know there was a (electric car) that ran to the church?”
She also unearthed surprising items like the equestrian center that housed Roy Rogers horse, Trigger, and the bowling alley in the West Linn Inn located above the power plant before it was torn down in the 1980s.
Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the Monday event. Special guests include Grammy award winning guitarist Mark Hanson and Bill Hughes, grandson of Ellis Hughes (who discovered the Willamette Meteorite).
Several stores have confirmed they will carry “Images of America: West Linn,” including Market of Choice, Bulls Eye Coffee, Healthy Spaces, the Heritage Falls Gallery and Dragonfly Greetings and Gifts. The West Linn Adult Community Center will also carry the book.
Title: 'Images of America: West Linn' details city's history
Author: Yuxing Zheng
Publisher: The Oregonian
West Linn residents would be calling Millsburg their home were it not for some pioneer-style democracy in 1913.
When the city incorporated that year, the original vote by the naming committee called for Millsburg. But those judges didn't really like the name and announced in a local newspaper a week later that the city would be called West Linn.
That kind of local history is offered in "Images of America: West Linn," a softcover book released Jan. 19 in the national "Images of America" series. Written by West Linn resident Cornelia Becker Seigneur, the book details, with about 200 photos, the city's beginnings, the Willamette meteorite, its rivers, famous residents, government, education, neighborhoods and culture.
"Preserving our history is vital to any community," said Seigneur, who is a neighborhood correspondent for Clackamas County Weekly. "Knowing our roots, knowing where we came from helps bring us all together and realize our similarities. We have such a rich heritage here in West Linn, and just honoring our past is really important."
The book highlights the city's dependence and rise from its location on the Willamette River, which occasionally flooded and ruined riverfront buildings. Photos detail the Willamette Falls Locks and the nearby paper mill and electric plant that would shape riverside commerce for decades.
One chapter -- and the cover -- is devoted to the famed Willamette Meteorite that brought the city worldwide notoriety. A 1903 photo shows Ellis Hughes, the West Linn man who discovered the 15.5-ton iron meteorite the previous year, with one foot on the rock and another on the makeshift cart he fashioned to surreptitiously move it to his property from land owned by Oregon Iron and Steel Co.
The meteorite, the sixth-largest found on Earth, now sits in the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
"It's the largest meteorite to be discovered in the U.S.," Seigneur said. "I was not even aware of that, the grand scale of that meteorite puts us on a really international map."
Seigneur spent more than six months last year working on the book, initially spending five to 10 hours each week contacting local residents and historic groups. As she got closer to her July deadline, she said she sometimes found herself working around the clock.
A West Linn resident for two decades, Seigneur came up with the idea to write a book on the city's history and in November 2007, she got in touch with editors from Arcadia Publishing, which publishes the "Images of America."
Seigneur said she purposely sought out photographs from personal collections, rather than relying primarily on local historical societies. Many of the previously unpublished photographs come from 40 or 50 private collections, she said.
"As we look back at our past," she said, "we see people who cared so deeply about establishing West Linn, keeping it beautiful, having a safe place to live, and that tradition continues."
About the Author
Since moving to West Linn in 1989, Cornelia Becker Seigneur has been writing about the area in The Oregonian and West Linn Tidings newspapers. Thanks to many individuals, as well as the Clackamas County Historical Society, Clackamas Heritage Partners, and Oregon Historical Society, Seigneur shares this permanent history of West Linn.
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The book arrived bent in half, each page has a heavy diagonal crease shipped by Amazon in a box with no packing.
I've never read such a rich piece of literature! This was amazing! Probably the most beautiful, wonderful book I've ever read!!