By Victoria Stewart / For The Chronicle
Tucked away in the inner city of Winlock town and guarded by an oversized rooster with bright eyes, the red and white facade of the 1914 Winlock Fire Hall and Prison now houses a well-displayed collection of history by Winlock.
But this is not the only historical collection in the city, and members of the Winlock Historical Museum soon realized that they risked losing much of Winlock’s irreplaceable history with the death of a historian Winlock. beloved.
The community lost Roy Richards, the venerable and beloved curator of the Renegade Rooster Winlock history collection, in October 2020. Since that time the estate has been inventoried and is working towards its inevitable dispersal. This loss, closure, and imminent dispersal of the entirety of the Renegade Rooster’s content to Winlock led members of the Winlock Historical Museum to realize that many artifacts were unique and irreplaceable and needed to be preserved in and for the community.
New museum member Lesa Givens immediately launched a GoFundMe.com crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to purchase as much of the collection as possible. She painted a thermometer sign and posted it prominently around town to show the current efforts in hopes of motivating the rest of the community to want to help purchase the collection. His hopes and efforts paid off in no time.
The GoFundMe campaign, which began in March, has taken off in leaps and bounds as the community mobilizes with museum volunteers to save their history. Current fundraising efforts amount to approximately $ 25,000 between the GoFundMe account and checks mailed to the museum’s address. The total continues to grow through daily donations, with everything welcome and accepted, from small to large amounts.
“We try to buy as much as we can get,” Givens said. “The more we breed, the more we can do. ”
Richards’ Renegade Rooster collection is massive, filling two buildings and featuring items of particular interest to Winlock as well as items of general historical interest.
“We have a priority list that includes articles of greatest historical value to Winlock, irreplaceable articles comprising decades of high school yearbooks and decades of unique issues of Winlock News related,” said Givens.
A recent Saturday found volunteer members of the on-site museum at the Winlock Fire Station across from Town Hall in downtown Winlock, cleaning, vacuuming, dusting, rearranging and preparing the annual opening of the museum and, in particular, for the 100th anniversary of Winlock Egg Day, which is scheduled to take place on Saturday, June 19.
The museum has long been a popular destination for visitors and residents of the community. The historic structure and collection is a big draw to the city for visitors from afar, according to volunteer Tim Clarke, who frequently hosts the museum’s afternoon hours (once normal operation resumes).
“A lot of people come here during the summer,” Clarke said.
Visitors come from afar to visit the town’s small community known for its giant egg, including from Oklahoma, Montana, and other countries like Germany.
“They come off the freeway and when they see it’s open they want to see what we’ve got, the story,” Clarke said.
Creating exhibits has been a labor of love for museum secretary Dave Rubert, who has been a member of the museum since 2007 and significantly contributed to the reorganization of the museum in 2014.
Last Saturday Rubert accepted a donation of 1930s business records from the Veness sawmill and also lugged around a shop vacuum to clean the carpets. He took a few minutes to point out various interesting exhibits and to emphasize the importance of the museum to visitors as well as members of the community.
“By far, class photos attract the biggest crowds,” he said. “Customers love to find their loved ones, stand up and remember. “
Other collections in the Winlock Historical Museum feature logging devices and large displays of veterinary tools for animals, display boards from bygone local businesses, vintage tools and photographs.
Rubert, with a background and a love of photography and history, delved into old photos and memorabilia to create framed exhibits and spent hours digitizing the museum’s photo collection.
Like other members of the museum, he is working on creating a space to house all of the collectibles purchased from the Richards Estate. The number of items that can be purchased will depend solely on the amount collected.
“As much of the story of Winlock as we can and be able to allow ourselves a space to display it all for the community to enjoy,” said Rubert.
With the future goal of creating adequate housing for additional collections, museum president Tommy Thompson hopes they can secure grants.
“My big hope is to build an annex at the back of the building,” said Thompson, who was a volunteer ambulance driver at the fire hall in the 1980s and early 1990s.
“This place was never intended to be an archive,” said Thompson, noting the need to install climate control for the museum. A 900 square foot air conditioned addition is in the early stages of planning.
In the meantime, donations to purchase collectibles are always welcome, according to Givens.
“If we had a million dollar donation, we’d be doing something cool with… There’s no cap,” she said.
Time is running out, she said.
“They (Richard’s executor) are doing all they can to give us time to fundraise,” Givens said. “But at some point, they have to shut down the domain.”
To donate, access the GoFundMe campaign organized by Lesa Givens entitled “Help Preserve our Town’s History, Winlock, WA”
Checks can also be mailed to the Winlock Historical Museum, PO BOX 632, Winlock, WA, 98596.
For more information on the Winlock Historical Museum, to donate items of interest to the museum, or to find out how to reach the museum, send an email to [email protected]
For more information, call Dave Rubert at: 360-880-6895 or Tommy Thompson at 360-880-8668.