Twelve of us met this fair winter day on 24th and University streets in East Eugene. We began our jaunt just one block from the entrance to the Masonic Cemetery, shaded by a stand of majestic Douglas fir trees and covered now with numerous native plants. Snowdrops and violets were in full bloom, and the buds of Indian plum were just opening. Meandering about, we located the gravesites of historic Oregon figures John Whiteaker, first governor of Oregon, geologist Thomas Condon and artist Maude Kerns. Margaret Prentice showed us the scatter garden sanctuary; a hidden alcove for remembering loved ones.
We headed uphill past 22nd and Columbia streets. Here the remnants of the streetcar line that serviced the old Fairmont neighborhood—then called Fairmont City—still exist. Established in 1890 as a suburb to Eugene, Fairmont City was annexed into the City of Eugene in 1902. Sadly, Eugene opted in 1917 to use bus lines as a primary form of public transportation.
We continued up Fairmont Boulevard to Hendricks Park, past stately homes and the location where wild animals were once maintained in cages, according to Janet Jacobsen and Suzanne Steussy. We soaked up lovely views near Skyline Boulevard, and then walked through the rhododendron garden, where early rhodie bloomers and carpets of hellebores brightened the winter landscape.
By then, more than half the members decided not to pass up Dick Hildreth’s invitation to see Dorothea Lange’s photography exhibit of Pacific Northwest farmer workers at the Knight Law School, so we parted ways at the base of Washburne Park.Members: Chris Cunningham, Margaret Prentice, Helen Martz, Keiko Bryan, John Moser, Suzanne Steussy, Dick Hildreth, Janet Jacobsen, Moshe Rapaport, Joella Ewing. Nonmembers: Jyoti Naik, Denise Cox.
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