Court House building was the cultural center in 1879 Eugene

Eugene City Band – undated photo
Lane Co. Historical Museum Photo Collection
Used with permission


The musical entertainment of the Court House Friday, was a most enjoyable affair.  The house was filled to over flowing, many went away unable to even to obtain standing room.  The music featured by the Eugene Band was the best we have heard yet, and the there appears to be no limit to the boys improvement.  The first of the programme was music by the String Band, and they acquitted themselves in their usual good style.  The choir failed to appear, but its place was well filled by Mrs. Heminway and Mr and Mes. Stowell.  Although the arrangement was entirely impromptu we have never heard better singing in the place.

Mrs. H. proved herself to be one of the best singers in the State.  She deserves great praise in that she kindly volunteered to fill the place of the absent choir, and sung without any previous preparation.  The Duet by Alice [?] and May Dorris was immense and brought down the house.  Mr. P.H. Farrell, the leader of the band was made the recipient of an elegant instrument, valued at $ 50, and purchased for him by the members of the Band.  He was perfectly unconscious that any thing of the kind was going to take place, till it was presented to him by Mr. H. Knox, and the surprise completely took away his breath.  He was unable at first to express his thanks.  Hon J.B. Underwood made a few appropriate remarks in his behalf after which the citizens present contributed largely towards paying for the elegant stand now being erected in the public square.”  Oregon State Journal (Eugene, OR) Jun 21, 1879, pg. 5, col. 4.  University of Oregon Knight Library Newspaper Collection.

When I read these old newspaper articles I have to remind myself of the date – and what it must have been like in Eugene over 130 years ago.  The city’s population was under 1500 persons, streets were dirt and if there were sidewalks – they were wood planks.  The County court-house appears to have been the center of activity in the city.  There seems to be an effort to bring culture in to the lives of the early Eugene residents – and apparently there was no shortage of talent.


About gtoftdahl

Researching in Oregon Newspapers
This entry was posted in Eugene History, Lane County Oregon History and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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