Historic weapons on display at the Ermatinger House in Oregon City

Presumed location of the famous raffle to determine the name of Portland to house the Civil War cannon, weapons from different eras

COURTESY PHOTO: MITCHELL RICE – Members of the 1st Oregon Volunteer Infantry gather at the Academy in Vancouver, Washington to celebrate Veterans Day in 2019.

PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) – Friends of House Ermatinger and living historians who represent the 1st Oregon Volunteer Infantry are hosting an event to display historic firearms in Oregon City.

A Civil War-era cannon will be stationed in front of the Ermatinger House, 619 Sixth St., and small-group tours of the house will be available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 15, to explore the house and weapons smaller 19th century exhibits inside.

The alleged status of Ermatinger House as the location of the famous Portland name raffle is just one of its many interesting features. Its Greek Revival style is similar to many modest houses built in the United States in the 1840s, except that it is the only house remaining in Oregon City built by the central Hudson’s Bay Company fur trade. Its tin roof, hidden behind a cornice, is also very unusual.

COURTESY PHOTO: 1st OREGON VOLUNTEER INFANTRY – Mitchell Rice’s exhibit features a stack of weapons, flag, drum, and a continental uniform typical of General George Washington’s Revolutionary Soldiers.

Friends of House Ermatinger have been fundraising and organizing events in the house since the 1990s, before the house fell into disrepair and had to be closed for security reasons.

On the National Register of Historic Places, Ermatinger House was restored in 2014 largely thanks to advocacy from City Commissioner Rocky Smith, who was a tour guide at the house after he moved to Sixth Street. It reopened to the public in 2018.

Officials in Oregon City last year awarded the Friends of House Ermatinger the Ruth McBride Powers Memorial Award to recognize their coordination of virtual events and exhibits during pandemic-related closures.

Since the house was able to reopen to the public, the Friends of the Ermatinger House have set themselves the goal of trying to organize an event at the house once a month. Holly Swogger, Oregon City Recreation Programmer, Ermatinger’s Official Tour Guide, thanked Mitchell Rice of the 1st Oregon Volunteer Infantry for taking the lead in organizing the event this weekend.

Swogger said the group of friends are trying to organize events that will engage the public in connecting with the history of the Ermatinger House, as well as the development of Oregon City in the mid-1800s. American Military Armaments has been one of their most successful events that has generated a lot of interest from the community, ”she said.

Showcasing weaponry from the 18th to the 21st century, the event offers citizens the opportunity to see, touch and hear about these historic weapons. Many of the same weaponry seen in previous years will be on display at this annual US military weapons event.

Last year, due to the pandemic, the event happened entirely virtually. This year, they plan to run the event both virtually and live.

COURTESY PHOTO: HOLLY SWOGGER – People dressed as Civil War soldiers sit at the dining room table at Ermatinger House during the historic Heritage Day event in 2019.

Previous events have involved people disguised as Civil War soldiers at the Ermatinger House Heritage Holiday event, which focused on the great flood of 1861-1862, which took place just over the holidays. The event focused on what life would have been like at Ermatinger House during this time.

“At one point, the Ermatinger House functioned as a boarding house and most likely housed Civil War soldiers during this time,” Swogger said.

Tours of the house are free on January 15, but donations are welcome. Email [email protected] or call 971-219-4881 with any questions.

Portland Tribune and its parent company, Pamplin Media Group, are news partners of KOIN 6.


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