Posted on November 01, 2012
Gorge Architecture and HistoryEssay length: 497 words.
Reading time: ~ 2 minutes.
Drive down the Columbia River Gorge, take any exit, and you are likely to pass by a piece of history. Whether it is a small community church with an active congregation, a museum, or a crumbling structure, all of these buildings are important pieces of a rich Columbia River Gorge architectural heritage.
One of my favorite subjects (non-human) to photograph is architecture. I love the lines, the texture of the building materials and the history of the building itself. For me, the buildings that are abandoned and in disrepair make for images that are equally compelling and beautiful as those buildings that are beautifully restored and maintained. As an aside, I must admit that it saddens me to see structures that are a part of our history and story here in the Gorge that are crumbling with decay.
The best way to explore and find these places is to get off the main roads and just drive. You will stumble upon these historical treasures everywhere. Tucked away in a corner behind the main part of a tiny town, out in a vast field of wheat, buried in a fruit farm, or even surrounded by trees as tired and worn as the building itself. Fear not, if you are short on time, you can find these treasures along the main roads as well.
Pictured here are two Goldendale historic homes, one is the Presby Museum and the other is known as the “Red House.” Maryhill Museum and Stonehenge are just down the hill from Goldendale, right off highway 14. Maryhill Community Church (the little white church) is in the small town of Maryhill and is an active community church. South of the Columbia River, just off highway 97, is the abandoned church located in Locust Grove on a private farm. The abandoned farm with windmill and the old schoolhouse are in Goodnoe Hills, just southeast of Goldendale...those you will have to hit the backroads to see. These are but a few examples of some of the beautiful historical buildings you can see in a small radius around Goldendale, Washington.
If you happen to be traveling elsewhere in the Gorge, use the same principles of exploration as above: cruise around the town and see historic homes, get out on the main roads, or be a bit more adventurous and hit the backroads. And, where permitted, get out of that car and explore!
So, no matter where you happen to be, the Columbia River Gorge region is a great place to explore history and architecture. Often you will find places along the main roads, some even with signs describing when the building was founded, by whom, etc. Or, even more likely, when you get out into the country and explore, you will find those hidden gems. The buildings long abandoned, where you may even be allowed to climb or crawl around, and here you can picture the history how you imagine it and write a little story all your own...get out and explore the Gorge!