The goal of the Historical Society is to preserve the history of the City of Myrtle Creek and the surrounding communities in the 97457 Zip Code area.

Let’s Light Up the RIO!

Many Myrtle Creek and local area residents remember “going to the movies” at the RIO Theater or enjoying performances at the “Myrtle Creek Opera”, where a young Michael Fowler first played his fiddle to a public audience.

Unfortunately, the interior of the RIO, which opened at the First Avenue location on Friday, January 9, 1953, has been remodeled to the extent that it cannot be restored to its’ original condition. However, there is a current opportunity to apply for a “Diamonds in the Rough” matching grant from the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department to “light up” the RIO sign and make cosmetic improvements to the marquee and outside lobby.

In November 2015 a Preservation Specialist from Oregon Parks & Recreation conducted a site visit and thought the RIO would be a good candidate for the grant. Further, two electricians, Michael Fowler from Myrtle Creek and Hal Fletcher from Albany, OR have inspected the wiring and the existing RIO neon sign and provided cost estimates to make necessary repairs that would make it possible to “Light Up the RIO” again. Finally, the building owner has given permission to proceed with the project if the grant is approved.

Total cost estimates to date are between $5,000 to $6,000.0, which means that approximately $3,000.00 in cash or in-kind services is needed to meet the 50% match.

Since the deadline to apply for the grant is May 13th, 2016, donations to help meet the match are now being solicited and should be received by May 11th. Please make checks payable to the Main Street Myrtle Creek Association, write RIO Project in memo line, and mail to: 729 S. Main Street, #2, Myrtle Creek, OR 97457. All donations may be tax-deductible.  The Main Street Myrtle Creek Association, is an IRS 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. 

Ted Romas
Grant Project Coordinator

2016 Calendars

Do you have your Historical Society calendar for 2016 yet? We still have some available. You can get your calendars from a Historical Society member or contact Darrell Bangs. Also check at Del's Building Supply, MSK Hardware, Millsite Mercantile, Homestead Furniture or Myrtle Creek City Hall. The collection of vintage photos for 2016 follows the theme of "people at work" and has been dedicated to the memory of Tommy Ireland.

This Day in History: April 12, 1954

Bill Haley and the Comets record “Rock Around The Clock”

On April 12, 1954— Bill Haley and the Comets recorded “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around The Clock.” If rock and roll was a social and cultural revolution, then “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around The Clock” was its Declaration of Independence. And if Bill Haley was not exactly the revolution’s Thomas Jefferson, it may be fair to call him its John Hancock.

Covered Wagons of the Oregon Trail

This video was originally made for use in 4th grade classrooms who are studying the Oregon Trail, but contains enough historical trivia to make it interesting to adults too.

Who Do You Think You Are

Who Do You Think You Are?

Don't forget! "Who Do You Think You Are?" (US) debuts this Sunday (3/22/15) at 10pm Pacific on TLC, with Julie Chen's visit to China to learn more about her maternal grandfather. See the series schedule (including reruns) here. If you don't have cable or you have to call it a night earlier than that, episodes usually become available on the show's website after airing.

You can see the lineup of this season's celebrity guests here.

Printer Blunder = Calendar Sale

We have a batch of 2015 calendars that were printed with page titles missing! What does this mean?  We can't let them go to waste.   Perfectly usable calendar pages with 13 large photos depicting  travel & tourism services during 1940s and 1950s.   These are all new and in good condition except for missing titles.  Nothing wrong with photos, just a title error.   However, as a result, starting today they'll be offered at half price...$7.50 each!  What a deal!

When Pacific Highway (Hwy 99) was constructed, it was the primary route from Canada to Mexico and brought thousands of travelers through Myrtle Creek...all needing gas, food & lodging. Service stations sprung up on nearly every corner along Main St. with tourist cabins north and south of town.  The 2015 calendar recalls this tourism boom and is also dedicated to memory of John Shirtcliff.

To order, Contact Darrell at 541-863-4762 to purchase or write to You may print an order form here.  Don't forget to change price to $7.50.