Cannon Beach historical society expansion means more storage, meeting and video roomsCANNON BEACH - The historical society in Cannon Beach expects to open the addition to its building in May, using money from previous fund-raisers to pay the $200,000 for construction. The extra space will include a meeting room, much-needed storage space and a video room for recording and listening to oral histories.

"We have 50 or more oral histories," society president John Williams said. They are helpful to researchers and those who simply want to learn more about Cannon Beach's history, he said.

The meeting room can be space for children to gather while on a field trip, or room for the planned lecture series next summer as part of the Lewis and Clark bicentennial celebrations. Williams hopes partnerships with the Cannon Beach Book Company and the Haystack Rock Awareness Program, among others, will help the society create new programs.

"I like that I get to meet people," said Sharon Stewart, the only employee. She enjoys helping people learn about the history of Cannon Beach and working with volunteers. "We have a wonderful volunteer group," she said.

Williams praised the volunteers who put together the exhibits. "It takes an enormous amount of effort and research," he said.

The building has a permanent and a rotating exhibit, The latter is currently a collection of pictures and memorabilia of Frank and Irta Woodfield. The society is planning a history of Cannon Beach sandcastle contests and a commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Cannon Beach Community Presbyterian Church for next year.

MORE INFO.The Cannon Beach History Center at 1387 S. Spruce St. is open 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, excluding holidays, and admission costs $2. More information is available at

(www.cbhistory.org)

Historical Society President John Williams recommends the Clatsop County and Seaside historical societies and the Columbia River Maritime Museum for other historical information.Williams has been president for four years. "I keep saying 'This is my last year,'" he said. He is happy with the society's progress in the last four years, including finishing the permanent exhibit, building the new addition and starting an endowment fund to help support itself. The society also sponsored a tour of historical homes in Cannon Beach last summer, and plans to repeat the tours this year. Williams said it was exciting for both guests and homeowners.

"In the process, they learned more about the homes they occupied," he said, praising homeowner Jill Grady, one of the organizers.

"To know something about what has been that's gone into the making of the community today," is important, Williams said, as is celebrating the ancestors who shaped that history. "Hopefully, we increase knowledge and awareness and dispel ignorance."

He said knowledge of past mistakes helps people avoid those mistakes. "The short-term rental, I think, is a perfect example," Williams said.

Williams said the society may expand the hours the museum is open, hire a curator and develop more educational programs.

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