Chetco Valley Historical Museum
A visit to the Chetco Valley Historical Society Museum three miles south of downtown Brookings offers something old and something big. The old thing is the historic Blake House and the artifacts of nineteenth century Oregon pioneer life that are inside. The something big is the largest Monterey Cypress in the United States which is located on the museum grounds.
Looking Around Inside
Built in 1857, Blake House is a wooden frame building two stories high that is set back from Highway 101 in a quiet, peaceful location offering a wonderful view of the surrounding farm land and lily fields as they run away and down toward the imposing, very visible, Pacific Ocean. Housed in the museum are photographs, writings, archives, household furnishings, a spinning wheel and exhibits on Curry County’s history from its indigenous cultures through the founding of its cities and towns. There is also a collection of artifacts and information on the region’s logging and shipping industry.
The well cared for house is the oldest standing building in the Chetco Valley. It was built by Harrison G. Blake, an early Curry County resident who, in 1874, became the first member of the Oregon House of Representatives from Southern Curry County. He was the first postmaster of the Chetco Post Office and so the building was the home of the first post office in the area. It also served as the area’s first stagecoach station.
Looking Around Outside
The Monterey Cypress stands in front of the house and has reached a height of over 130 feet and a breadth of 18 feet in less than a century and a half. The tree was planted by Blake when the house was built in 1857. Cypress grow fast. Nestling in the shade of the tree are a flower garden complete with scarecrow and huge ship bell. Maintained by the Brookings Garden Club, the yard is filled with beautiful, flowering plants all year. You will want to wander around the property and inspect the tool shed, tractor, outbuilding and a number of other trees not a lot smaller than the Monterey Cypress.
Blake House is located at 15461 Museum Road, which runs parallel to Highway 101, a little over two miles north of the Oregon/California border on the inland side of the highway. The hours are Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 PM with extended summer hours. A small donation gains admission. Museum staff can be reached by telephone at 541-469-6651.
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