Silverton - Mt. Angel

May 29, 1998

The in-between day we chose for this trip was the one where it rained. It was in-between two nice days. It was raining when we left Valley River Center and raining when we returned. Actually, it didn’t stop all day. We drove to the Cooley Iris Gardens which are a short distance from Silverton. We mostly stayed inside the large display room where all the varieties of iris are displayed. The Gardens furnished coffee and the trip leader had Bette Bars and cookies for everyone. A few brave people ventured out to the show garden and lovely landscaped grounds with iris and other flowers surrounding the buildings. After about an hour, we drove to Silverton for a tour of historic places and buildings. Some of the larger homes were owned by executives of the Silver Falls Timber Co. and one was owned by the owner of the opera house and had a dance floor on the top floor. We stopped to take pictures of and view the Four Freedoms Mural, a Norman Rockwell work, painted by Silverton muralist David McDonald. We ate lunch in the Coolidge & McClaine City Park, and fortunately there was a covered area but it was cool. After lunch we left for Mt. Angel and met our tour guide, Jerry Lauzon, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. He took us inside the church where he gave a wonderful talk on the various parts of architecture that make up this wonderful structure. The chimes ring often in this small town, even when there is a funeral. Our group was fascinated with his talk and many said it surpassed anything they had ever experienced in Europe. We left St. Mary’s and drove up to the Mt. Angel Abbey where we toured the library, chapel, museum and ended at the bookstore and gift shop. The library, built in the round with open shelves and daylight available everywhere with skylights and windows, is an architectural marvel designed by a Finnish architect, Alvar Oalth. We returned to Silverton via the Gallo Bridge Road and drove over the Gallo Bridge, one of the few covered bridges that one can still drive on. Our covered bridge authority, Clair Cooley, took a picture. We took the Cascade Hwy. out of Silverton, and Rosella — whose family (grandparents) lived in Sublimity — talked about the history and showed us the church and cemetery area close to where her family had lived. We stopped at Stayton at the D.Q. for ice cream and returned to I-5 and home by 6:00.

Our driver was Wayne Coker, and those trying to keep dry all day were Ethel Allen, Ewart & Margaret Baldwin, Sally Bethel, John & Madeline Burns, Ingrid Carmichael, Clair Cooley, Florence Douglas, Liz DeShetler, Doris Harris, Cecily Joost, Virginia Kapsa, Evelyn.Knott, Bonnie Ledford, Dodie Leppmann, Norm Lumian, John & Lenore McManigal, Loretta Mason, Barb & Walt Miller, Lois Nelson, Frances Newsom, Liz Reanier, Edna Robertson, Alice Sacks, Kathleen Schlenker, Don Sears, June Smith, Betty & Harvey Speck, Paulette Thompson, Louise Thurber, Paula Vehrs, Christof Wegelin, and trip leaders Bette Hack and Rosella Jones.

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