The following are the projects that the Western Culture Conservancy would like to undertake.  There are many worthy cultural sites and historic places around our tri-county area (Josephine, Jackson, and Douglas Counties,) that should be brought to the attention of the public in general, so that each time they pass by a site they may have passed by a thousand times, they are reminded that site, place, or item is important, and perhaps played a part in there being towns here in the first place.

Our rich history is steeped in stories from the mining and logging camps, and some of our towns in the tri-county area were founded by the miners and the loggers who lived and died here, bringing prosperity and laying the foundations of our cultural history.  And we also need to remember and recognize the incredible culture of the Native Peoples who lived and thrived here, and mark those places too.

PROJECT 1: The Replacement of the Galice Creek Historical Marker
This project entails the replacement a long existing historical marker near the mouth of Galice Creek in Josephine County, Oregon. A carved wooden marker existed at this location which once read: 

Historical Galice Creek. Old mining camp and scene of battle of Rogue River Indian War of 1855-1858. Gold discovered here 1851.

Due to its great age, this marker's posts toppled over in the winter of 2013 and the wooden sign was later taken by unknown parties. For its first project, the Western Culture Conservancy plans to replace this missing historical marker.

PROJECT 2: RS 2477 Road Project
This project entails a long term program to map and catalog all existing RS 2477 designated roads in Josephine and Jackson counties, Oregon for the purpose of protecting these historic public right-of-ways for future generations. 

The Western Culture Conservancy will utilize any data and maps collected as a means to educate the public about the history of these important historical features and seek to inspire the public to take an active role in their preservation.

PROJECT 3: Kesterson House Historical Marker
This project entails the erection of a historical marker at the site of the Kesterson Estate at Chair Riffle, near Galice in Josephine County, Oregon.
This site was the summer home of the Irving E. Kesterson family. Of Kesterson, said one biographer,
 “There are few more inspiring examples of self-won success in the history of the timber industry than that furnished by the career of Irving Ernest Kesterson, who has by steadfast adherence to the right principles of business and perseverance in surmounting obstacles, won an enviable place in the annals of this county.
 He was a native Oregonian, born at Gold Hill, June 18, 1893, studied in the public schools of Washington and Oregon, graduating from high school at Grants Pass, Oregon. He lived at home until he was 18, then started learning the various angles of the timber industry. After a few years of obtaining the rudiments of lumbering by working for others I. E. Kesterson started his own company under the name of the Kesterson Lumber Company at Grants Pass.
 In 1917 he was joined by his brother, William Ivan, in a partnership arrangement in a sawmil1 operation in Klamath County, Oregon, when they took over the original Burkhardt Lumber Mill near Dorris. This mill had been operated by Captain Semon for some years until foreclosure proceedings when the Kesterson brothers acquired ownership from the bank holding the mortgage. This mill burned in 1921.

In 1922, the brothers took over the Topsy Lumber Company, at Topsy, Oregon, moved it to Dorris and there erected the Kesterson Lumber Company mill, successfully carrying on the business until 1930. During 1929, they built the present modern mill on the site of the old Whiteline Ranch one of the first settlements made in Klamath County, and during 1930, this plant started operations under the name of the Kesterson Lumber Corporation, becoming one of the major lumber companies in the Northwest. It handles Ponderosa pine exclusively, and is one of the most complete mills under one roof in the county, including dry kilns, box factory, planing mill and saw mill, with a capacity of 50.000,000 board feet, and employs 500 workmen. The company has its own logging camp, fells its own timber and its production has been gradually increasing with its products being shipped to every state in the Union”.

Kesterson was killed in an automobile wreck near Galice, Oregon on August 13th, 1958. The Kesterson Estate was claimed by fire in 1971, but its extensive hand masoned foundation and rockery, today serve as the focal point of the Chair Riffle Picnic Area overlooking the Rogue River.

The Western Culture Conservancy intends to erect a historical marker recognizing Irving Kesterson's important role in the Oregon timber industry, as well as to educate the visiting public of the historical significance of the former home site at Chair Riffle.

PROJECT 4: Almeda Mine Historical Marker
This project entails the erection of a historical marker at the site of the famous Almeda Mine, which was once the leading producer of silver in the State of Oregon. This was also the location of the discovery of the famous “Yank Ledge” in 1874 which marked the first hard rock mining rush in Oregon history.

Miners from all over the Far West poured into the area by the hundreds hoping to stake claims, including prospector Ed Schieffelin, who later attained fame as the founder of Tombstone, Arizona.

This 1874 discovery later became the Almeda Mine, which later became the leading employer in Josephine County, Oregon until the mine's closure. At this site, the famous Yank Ledge, a huge body of silver and copper mineralization can be prominently seen overlooking the famous Rogue River, while the remnants of the Almeda Mine, where nearly 50,000 ounces of silver and over a quarter of a million pounds of copper were produced, can be seen across the river.

The Western Culture Conservancy intends to erect a historical marker at this site to educate the public about the discovery of the Yank Ledge and the historical significance of the Almeda Mine.

PROJECT 5: Historical Film Series
This project entails the production of a series of films designed to educate the public on the Far West's rich mining, logging and agricultural history in an effort to preserve this vanishing history.

The films will be shot on location at important historic sites, include historical photos and feature narration by local historians.

The films will be made available to historical societies, film festivals, libraries, schools and the general public in a variety of ways.

PROJECT 6: Oral History Project
The goal of this project is to document and preserve a record of the Far West's unique culture and history through personal oral accounts.

The project entails locating those persons who have a background in the mining, timber and agricultural industries, as well as those who's families played an important role in the development of the Far West for the purpose of interviewing them to preserve their unique knowledge and experiences.

The oral histories will be made available to historical societies, film festivals, libraries, schools and the general public in a variety of ways.

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