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History of the Columbia Gorge Rockhounds
Original Club Mascot Jasper
The history of this club has been transcribed from documents provided by Jerry.
A Short History of the Columbia Gorge Rockhounds
The Columbia Gorge Rockhounds had its beginning in 1947. A group of people who were interested in horticulture and geology formed a study group. They met in homes in the Stevenson, Wahington area.
After a few years, it became evident that some members were more interested in gardening than minerals so two clubs were formed. The rockhounds made up their charter in 1951. They met in the home of Frita and Toots Klemen's in Warrendale, a small community on the Oregon side of the Columbia.
When they outgrew the Klemen's home, the club met in Cascade Locks school. Some members were more interested in the Friday evening games and sports in the gym than in the meetings. The president, Bill Palmer, and other concerned members looked for another meeting place.
Bill asked Corbett members Claude and Gladys Woodle if the club could meet in the large annex of their home. The Woodles graciously opened their home. However, Gladys was dismayed when her home reeked of cigarette smoke during meetings, several indignant smokers left the club.
The rockhounds met in the Woodle's annex from 1953 to 1975. They were forced out when a fire destroyed much of the Woodle home. They found a new meeting place in the Corbett Volunteer Firemen's hall. The first and third Fridays were available for meetings and Activities. Although the hall has grown and changed, it is still our meeting place today.
The club members enjoyed field trips where they hunted for rocks and gems in our mineral-rich country. They bought machinery to cut and polish their beautiful treasures.
After attending shows of other clubs, our talented people decided to have a show of their own. In 1969 they built their own cases and set up a show. Rudy Camp was president that year and his artistic wife was secretary. The president's wife automatically becomes the secretary of this club. We are flexible, though, and have elected a secretary for unmarried presidents.
The first show was held in the cafeteria of Corbett high school where it was held until 1980. That was also the year that Mt. St. Helens erupted during the week of our show. Corbett had a good view of the smoke.
The 1981, '82 and '83 shows were held in Fairlawne Towne Community Center in Gresham. We returned to Corbett in 1984 and set up in the fire hall. All subsequent shows have been in the fire station because we really belong in the gorge.
Our club belongs to the Northwest Federation of Mineralogy Society, the Oregon Council of Rocks & Minerals, and the Portland Regional.
We try to follow the standards of the founders as we enjoy our activities in a spirit of friendship in the gorge.
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