Tuesday, October 7, 2014

31 Days in Oregon: Tualatin Heritage Center


• thirty-one day challenge •
{DAY 7} 
Portland Area

Over the summer, the kids & I went to the Tualatin Heritage Center for the first time. It is a small museum with only a few exhibits. We had a great visit. The woman inside was very helpful and informative. She answered my children's unending questions.

The building for the Heritage Center was once a Methodist Church. It was built in 1926 and moved to this location in 2005 after threats of being torn down.

Tualatin Mastadon
The main draw to the Heritage Center is the info on the Tualatin Mastadon. The story goes that around 1871 the jawbone of a large animal was found in a swamp in the Tualatin area, not far from the Heritage Center. The Smithsonian identified the bone as coming from a 'prehistoric creature.'

Decades later, part of a rib and molars were found near Nyberg Road in Tualatin.

In 1962, a college student went searching for more mastadon bones. He & his friends found about half of a skeleton.

The skeleton has been on display in a couple places, but has not been of huge interest to the public. The city of Tualatin is working to change that.

Scientists believe the Tualatin Mastadon was about 27 years old when she got stuck in the swamp.

Left Tusk

Huge teeth, molars.

Ice Age & the Kalapuya People
Along another wall are displays about other parts of the area's history.

Granite stone found in Tualatin. Granite is not found in this area and is thought to be brought in on iceburgs during the Great Missoula Floods.

The Kalapuya were the Native American people of the Willamette Valley. Many of the arrowheads on display were found in farmer's fields.

Also on display is a 'grinding bowl and pestle used by the Atfalati band of the Kalapuya.'

Sweek Pond Trail
Right outside the Heritage Center is a trail. We explored it a little.


Highlights along this area were a cherry tree (with cherries) and a snake. My kids love spying creepy, crawly things.




Ice Age Boulders
There are large boulders around that are not from rock found in our area. Scientists believe they were brought here on icebergs during the Missoula Floods.

A few boulders have been brought to the Heritage Center to bring awareness of the effects of the Ice Age in the Willamette Valley.

2.5 ton quartzite boulder found near Gaston.

10 ton granite boulder found near Gaston.

Granite found in Tualatin.


To learn more about the Missoula Floods check out this video.



More Mastadons Around Town

Many of the Mastadon bones are displayed at the Tualatin Public Library. Notice the Mastadon etched in glass behind the bones.


Outside the new Cabela's store in Tualatin is a 9' tall bronze mastadon sculpture.

I have lived in this area my entire life & never heard about the Tualatin Mastadon until recently.



To see what others are sharing for the month of October check out write31days.com

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