The Old Aurora Colony Museum preserves some of the buildings of the original colony, which settled Aurora as a communal, sustainable village. Its heyday was from 1856 to 1883.
The Aurora Colony was also known as Dutchtown, because so many German immigrants lived there. Presumably, Dutch and German were all considered the same at that point to other Portland area folks. This is another of the original buildings.
The washhouse and summer kitchen, with herb garden in foreground.
The Steinbach Family house, where George, wife Catherine, their five children, and Grandpa Frederick Miley lived from 1876 to 1883. The house was moved to the Museum property from its original location four miles north on the Willamette River.
Natural building materials that might be imitated today: cedar logs and mortar made from mud, straw and manure. The ends of the beams (seen in the mortar at the upper right of the photo) are visible also in the ceiling of the building's interior.
The table is set for family dinner in the log cabin's main room. The chairs are painted "Aurora blue," a Prussian blue that was a common choice (in its many shades) for the townspeople. Note the beams exposed on the ceiling – they continue through to the
View into Grandpa's room in the house (he had a separate entrance), with the parent's room beyond. The children slept in a loft above.
Cottage style, before it was a style.
The washhouse and summer kitchen were shared by colony residents.
Another shared space: the gristmill. The millstone used at the Aurora Colony were made from smaller, separate pieces of stone fitting together to form a wheel, so that if part wore down, it could be replaced more easily than replacing the whole wheel.
The wood shop at the Old Aurora Colony could be installed in any number of hip bars in Portland circa 2013 (Dig a Pony? The Sweet Hereafter?), and look right at home.
While in Aurora, check out the Aurora Mills Architectural Salvage store, located a block or so from the Museum, and smack against the still active railroad tracks.
921 SW Washington Street, Suite 750 Portland, OR 97205 Phone: 503-222-5144 • Fax: 503-227-8777