Founded in 1986, the Society's mission is to preserve, promote
and interpret the rich and colorful history of Tualatin

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Heritage Center




The Tualatin Historical Society began in 1986, 27 years ago.  Co-founders Loyce Martinazzi and the late Karen Lafky Nygaard thought their interest in Tualatin's early days might be shared by others.  They were correct.  Early programs, held in the then-new Senior Center and built around a theme--early schools, Oregon Trail settlers, covered bridges--drew good crowds.  Many activities and publications followed, fulfilling the mission "to preserve, promote and interpret the rich and colorful history of Tualatin."

Pictorial calendars were published for the years 1988-199l.  In 1988 the Society held a Diamond Jubilee Ball in Ramada Inn celebrating Tualatin's 75th birthday.  It has sponsored harvest festivals, barn dances, Oregon pioneer days for 4th graders, a Winona Cemetery Stroll at Twilight where 25 early settlers "emerged" from behind their gravestones to tell their story, Tualatin's First Hundred Years, a narrated video of early Tualatin scenes, mini-museums in the Van Raden Center at Crawfish Festivals, tours of historic houses, strawberry festivals and elegant teas at the Sweek House.

The Society has a growing collection of vintage photographs, numbering some 1162 that have been  digitized and several hundred more that remain to be scanned.  In 1990 Society members dismantled the 1875 Hedges House with a plan to re-erect it downtown--the plan came to naught but John Bowles built a charming miniature of the quaint farmhouse for exhibit.  In 1991 the Society helped raise $8,000 to have the collection of mastodon bones assembled by the University of Oregon for a standing display in Tualatin's original library.

In 1994 the Society published Tualatin...From the Beginning, updated in 2004, that tells the history from the ancient mastodon to the upscale Tualatin Commons.  There is an ongoing program of recording oral histories; some are included in the four books in the Tualatin-the-way-It-Was series. Last year it published a Little Red Schoolhouse coloring book.

In 2006 the Society led the fund-raising of $250,000 to move and preserve the 1926 Methodist Church.  It was rolled down the street to a site on Sweek Drive where it is co-operated with the City and serves as the Tualatin Heritage Center.  The opening of the Center is celebrated each February with a program on some aspect of Tualatin's history.  This year's was "Prehistoric Tualatin--Valley of the Giants and Ice-Age Floods."  

A Heritage Garden planted next to the Center holds descendants of flowers and plants from the early settlers, including the Robbins rose that came over the Oregon Trail and hop plants from an early hop yard.  Funds for the garden, $13,000 to date, have been raised by the sale of engraved bricks in the courtyard.

Society membership now totals more than 200.  The Society's board meets on the first Monday of each month and holds monthly programs with guest speakers on the first Wednesday.  Both are at 1:00 pm in the Center, and are open to the public.

Prehistoric Update:


Follow these links to learn more about prehistoric discoveries in our area:

~ The Tualatin Ice Age Trails

~ On The Trail of Erratic Rocks - "Grant's Getaway"s video with Grant McOmie

~ Ice Age Tonquin Trail - "Grant's Getaway"s video with Grant McOmie

~ Willamette Valley Pleistocene Project



Did you know that...

At the close of the last ice age, a mastodon, perhaps injured or in poor health, died in the area that is now Tualatin?

The Atfalati tribe of the Kalapuya Indians settled in the region, rich with game, fish and natural foods and that many of their artifacts were found by the first homesteaders and later farmers?

Coming by covered wagons over the Oregon Trail, pioneers began arriving in 1850. By 1853, 26 families settled donation land claims and the hamlet was known as Galbreath for the local ferry by that name? Or that Taylor's Ferry was upriver and Brown's Ferry, downriver?

We invite and encourage you to make connections to the past by learning about Tualatin and joining us in our mission.




The Tualatin Historical Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Gifts to the Society are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by the law. Membership fees are not tax deductible.

Our store is always open

war,change,growth book

Our books, jam, bricks, and notecards make great gifts.

Mark your calendar!

Monthly Programs

Evening Program

Native American Stories of Columbia Region History
Thursday, June 19, 7:00pm
Tualatin Heritage Center
Donations accepted

Traditional Indian storyteller Ed Edmo will share tribal legends on Columbia region history, including big floods. Known also as a poet, playwright and artist, Edmo grew up at Celilo Falls and leads interpretive visits to the well-known "She Who Watches" and other petroglyphs in the Columbia Gorge. His presentations are popular with all ages. A $3 donation for adults is suggested. Program co-sponsored by the Ice Age Institute and the Tualatin Heritage Center.

Day Program

No day program is schedule for the month of July. For information, call 503.885.1926

Evening Program

Bonners Ferry Landslide 1998
Thursday, July 17, 7:00pm
Donations accepted

Awakened one night from a deep sleep, I received a frantic phone in early October 1998 from Union Pacific’s contractor who was responsible for cleaning up their derailments.  “Bill, get dressed and head for Bonners Ferry. The mainline is out-of-service because of a massive landslide.”  His words bolted me out of bed and I asked, “Landslide?  In October?  And, it’s been a dry summer…what gives?”  I soon found out. Bill Bugel, recently retired in the railroad industry in both engineering and operations positions after 42 years will talk about the Bonners Ferry Landslide. He blended his knowledge of rail engineering and operations plus that of geology to deal with the continual challenges faced by operating a major railroad. Overlaps between the railroad industry and geology include:  slope stability, bank erosion constraints, tunneling, earthquake notification, as well as the day-to-day maintenance issues such as keeping the ballast section clear of fines, dealing with run-off and so forth. Program co-sponsored by the Ice Age Institute and the Tualatin Heritage Center.

We hope to see you at one of our programs and events. These events are sponsored by the Tualatin Historical Society. We welcome you to join us!

Visit our beautiful
Heritage Patio and Garden

Heritage Patio

Order your engraved brick today! Click here for an order form and mail it along with your check to :

Tualatin Historical Society
P.O. Box 1055
Tualatin, OR 97062


This website is maintained in loving memory of Shirley Disch, 1928 – 2004

Copyright Tualatin Historical Society, 2008