Local author Tom Keller will have two signings in Orofino for his new book, 31 Years On the Upper North Fork Of The Clearwater River.

31 Years on the Upper North Fork of the Clearwater River, book by Tom Keller

There will be an oral presentation and book signing at the Clearwater Memorial Public Library Saturday, May 12, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. A second book signing will be held at the new Clearwater Historical Museum, behind Orofino Elementary School, Saturday, May 19, also from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A retired Forest Service employee, Keller, recently completed writing an autobiography about his years working for the United States Forest Service. In his book, he has gathered memories of his early life growing up on a Montana cattle ranch, and his pursuit of a career with the Forest Service, 31 years of which were spent on the North Fork Ranger District, Clearwater National Forest.

In his book there are entertaining anecdotes about life in the Old Forest Service and the transition from the old ways of doing business to the new ways of doing business with the advent of the environmental movement in the 1970’s.

Tom Keller
Tom Keller dressed as he did while working for the U.S Forest Service on the upper North Fork of the Clearwater.

Everyone is invited to a 'Sneak Preview' of the new Clearwater Historical Museum, 433 Bartlett St. Saturday, Sept. 16, from 2-4 p.m.

The public is welcome to enjoy a tour, along with coffee and cookies. Donors are especially invited to come see what their contributions are accomplishing.

The new museum is being constructed on land donated by Greta Cummings behind the elementary school ballfields. Check out some of the special features it will have such as board and bat siding made from the trees on the property. Be a part of preserving the history of Clearwater Country.

SPOKANE, WA--To help preserve artifacts that tell the history of the Clearwater Valley and to make them available for public education, the Avista Foundation has awarded a $10,000 grant toward the construction of a new facility for the Clearwater Historical Society.

View of the front of new museum building
The new Clearwater Historical Museum is shaping up as construction progresses.
Windows and Tyvek wrap have been added. This is a view of the entrance to the new museum looking toward downtown.

The Society operates the Clearwater Historical Museum in Orofino that includes Nez Perce Tribal artifacts, Lewis and Clark Expedition artifacts, materials tracking the establishment of the Idaho territory, and a variety of oral histories and early film recordings of the logging era, among other culturally significant items and documents.

"Supporting organizations and institutions that help meet the needs of our neighbors and strengthen communities served by Avista is very important to us, said Mike Tatko, Avista's Regional Business Manager for the company's Lewiston-Clarkston service area. "Through the Avista Foundation, we are proud to join with others in supporting this important project of the Clearwater Historical Society."

View of the side of new museum, board and bat siding ready to install.
This view looks toward the hill behind the new museum. Notice the board and bat siding ready to be put up on the outside.
The siding was cut from trees that were on the property and needed taken down.

Clearwater Historical Society President Nick Albers said, "The Clearwater Historical Society Inc., using volunteer labor, donations and specifically the funds from the Avista Foundation, has been able to initiate construction of its new facility then enclose and protect it from the elements. This will allow us to continue our efforts towards completion of the new museum through the fall and next year. The Avista Foundation funding made it happen and we are extremely grateful for their assistance."

For 2017, the Avista Foundation made grants totaling $213,250 to 23 human care services, educational, and economic and community vitality organizations in its 2017 funding cycle.

View of the interior of new museum building
This is the interior of the museum as it is at present. It will have an office, library, storage and restrooms, in addition to the large display room.

A new era has begun for preserving Clearwater Country history!

A new era has begun for preserving the history and heritage of Clearwater Country as the frame and trusses go up for the new Clearwater Historical Museum off Bartlett above Orofino Elementary School.

Clearwater Country is a place where history lives around almost every corner from the Nez Perce Tribe sites to downtown buildings that have stood for a hundred years and the Clearwater Historical Society is working to construct a place where more of that history can be preserved and shared.

For years, people have visited the museum on College Avenue in Orofino and checked out the displays, photos, artifacts and information, but the space has grown too small to share many of the artifacts and items that have been donated and preserved. Some are in the basement and others in storage at other locations. The new museum offers more space, both inside and out.

Everyone can be a part of the effort to build the new 3,000 square foot museum with the space and outdoor display area to highlight the history and heritage of this area. The immediate goal is to get the structure of the museum enclosed and weatherproof for the winter. To reach that goal, another $20,000 in donations is needed. Donations can be made on the web site at: http://www.clearwatermuseum.org/fundraising.html, to their account at Lewis-Clark Credit Union or by sending a check to Goffinet and Clack, Chartered, P.O. Box 629, Orofino, ID 83544.

At a kick-off this spring, Janet Montambo issued a challenge to individuals to match her $100 donation and Lonnie Simpson of Debco challenged businesses to match their company’s $5,000 pledge. There have been many large and small donations to move the project along to this point.

There have also been cost savings since the trees growing on the site have been cut and milled on site for materials and Dale Cox donated trees from his property for the posts to hold the covered porch.

Clearwater Historical Society President Nick Albers said a dollar value cannot be put on the time and expertise of local contractor Rick Burnham of Riverview Construction who has been coordinating the project. The Precision Construction crew has also moved the work along with their skill and expertise.

They are also asking for help collecting historical photos of Clearwater County and particularly at this time photos of the area around the new museum. Many people may not know that at one time there was a cement plant on the upper field behind OES and the cement building that is against the hill was a part of it. The building will be part of the historic blacksmith shop display with the new museum.

Become a part of preserving the history and heritage of Clearwater Country, <a href="http://www.clearwatermuseum.org/fundraising.html">donate today</a>.

 New Clearwater Historical Museum building trusses going up

New Clearwater Historical Museum building is going up

Placing beams for the covered porch area of New Clearwater Historical Museum

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