Maxville Heritage Cultural Center: Sponsor Spotlight
The remnants of Oregon logging camps can scarcely be seen nowadays. Sometimes all one can glean from a once bustling operation is a dilapidated wood shack, a forlorn line of railroad, or perhaps the scattered remains of rusted, unidentifiable machinery. But thanks to the research and diligence of La Grande native Gwen Trice, the integrity of a camp like Maxville has been resurrected with the cultural recognition it much deserves.
The Maxville logging camp, located 15 miles north of Wallowa, Oregon, began in 1924, and ran until the mid 1930’s. What makes this camp particularly significant is its diverse workforce. Over 50 African-American families migrated there from Arkansas and Mississippi, one of whom was Trice’s father, “Lucky.”
Until a few years ago, the camp’s history rested in a couple obscure books and within the recollection of a few aging denizens. As soon as Trice learned of this local phenomenon in 2003, she set out to gather interviews, collect photographs, and recreate the historical integrity of Maxville in order to celebrate its unique existence and preserve it as a hallmark of cultural unity.
Today, the story of Maxville continues to expand and flourish through a handful of representations. Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) has aired Trice’s film “The Logger’s Daughter,” which portrays the story of Maxville’s community, history and people, while the Oregon African American Museum is displaying an exhibit with the film, as well several related artifacts through April 3rd.
The Maxville Heritage Interpretive Center is currently located at 211 E. 2nd Street in Wallowa with an open house scheduled April 3, 2011
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. A recently reintroduced land use bill by Senator’s Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley will enable the MHIC to occupy the Wallowa Compound, buildings erected in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps in Wallowa. In addition, Gwen Trice has just returned from Elko, Nevada, where her video “On to Higher Ground: Saving our Past for the Present” was part of the Deep West Video screenings at the annual Western Folk Life gathering.
Trice has also been in close collaboration with acclaimed musician and recording artist Marv Ross to develop a multicultural “traveling exhibit” theatre production that will illustrate and dramatize Maxville. And finally, the third annual Maxville Gathering is scheduled for August 20th, 2011—where cultural and historical enthusiasts can enjoy a day of music, tours, readings, food and refreshments— all dedicated to honor the people that made up such a monumental place and time in the history of Oregon and America. For more information, go to www.maxvilleheritage.org, www.opb.org, or www.oaamuseum.org