About Siuslaw Pioneer Museum

Our mission at the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum is to preserve and present the rich history of life in the Siuslaw Region for the enrichment of our local residents and visitors from around the world. We are an educational and repository facility that demonstrates the history, the vision, vitality, values, and culture of the peoples of the Siuslaw Valley and coastal region.

Your Siuslaw Pioneer Museum preserves and shares the exciting history of our region with children at our area schools, local families, tourists, writers, visiting academics, and researchers so they can appreciate the history, values, stories, and culture of the people who have made this area home.

Siuslaw Pioneer Museum
Siuslaw Pioneer Museum, 278 Maple St., Florence, Oregon get directions
The mission is fulfilled through the operation of a museum, research library, bookstore/giftshop and various onsite and community activities.

We do this as the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum Association, Inc. an Oregon non-profit 501c3 corporation responsible for funding and operating the museum. All contributions to the museum go directly to cover operational expenses of the Museum such as utilities, insurance, and office expenses.

We operate on the kindness and generosity of contributions by grateful visitors and various membership dues.

Siuslaw Pioneer Museum
Siuslaw Pioneer Museum, 278 Maple St., Florence, Oregon get directions
Siuslaw Bridge, Florence Oregon

The History of Our Pioneer Museum

The Siuslaw Pioneer Museum Association started as an idea in 1974, found its first home in a former Lutheran church about a mile south of the Siuslaw River bridge, and since 2006 has welcomed guests to its current showcase in the former Siuslaw High School building, built in 1905 at 278 Maple Street in Historic Old Town Florence.

Affiliations

Travel Lane County
Florence Area Chamber of Commerce
Lane County History Museum
Oregon Historical Society
Museum of Natural and Cultural History

Meet Our All-Volunteer Board of Directors

Del Phelps President

Del Phelps
President, 2021-2022

I am a proud descendent of 1888 homesteaders Jonathon and Charlotte Phelps. I graduated from Mapleton High School in 1953 and worked many summers in the Phelps mills on Indian Creek. After the Davidson family purchased the Phelps Mill in 1954, I continued to work for them as head sawyer, head planer, and then mill superintendent until 1999. Other volunteer services have included the Siuslaw School Board, Florence City council, and Lane County Budget Committee. I became a licensed realtor in 1998 (to present) and helped develop Florentine Estates. I was president of the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum from 2005-2017 and worked hard to facilitate the success of the museum and its move to Old Town in 2006. I am beginning another term as president now and am looking forward to working with a great group of board members.

Craig Sanders Vice President

Craig Sanders
Vice President, through 2021

My wife Jeanni and I moved to Florence in 1994 after looking up and down the coast for the “perfect town.” After 26 years we are still here. This must be that “perfect town” we were looking for. I was a licensed building contractor from 1973 until 2008 when I started working for Hoagland Properties Inc., owners of the award-winning Old Town Inn and River House Inn in Florence, and retired as company president in March of 2019. I have been a member of the Rotary Club of Florence since 2009 and served as club president in 2017 – 2018. My current hobbies are golf and woodworking. My wife and I also enjoy traveling in our RV with our cat Opie.

I became a Siuslaw Pioneer Museum board member in March, 2020, and have served on the building committee and website committee. I am currently VP of the museum board and look forward to seeing a new website early this year.

Craig Sanders
Vice President, through 2021

My wife Jeanni and I moved to Florence in 1994 after looking up and down the coast for the “perfect town.” After 26 years we are still here. This must be that “perfect town” we were looking for. I was a licensed building contractor from 1973 until 2008 when I started working for Hoagland Properties Inc., owners of the award-winning Old Town Inn and River House Inn in Florence, and retired as company president in March of 2019. I have been a member of the Rotary Club of Florence since 2009 and served as club president in 2017 – 2018. My current hobbies are golf and woodworking. My wife and I also enjoy traveling in our RV with our cat Opie.

I became a Siuslaw Pioneer Museum board member in March, 2020, and have served on the building committee and website committee. I am currently VP of the museum board and look forward to seeing a new website early this year.

Craig Sanders Vice President
Steve Skidmore

Steve Skidmore
Treasurer, through 2021

As have many Oregonians, I, too, have taken the circuitous route to our lovely corner of the Pacific Northwest. Born in Port Neches, Texas, I moved at a young age to Ponca City, Oklahoma, and graduated from high school there. I went to college at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, graduating with a degree in history in 1970, and then to graduate school at the University of Oklahoma in Norman where I earned a master’s degree in library science in 1974.

After working professionally in libraries in Oklahoma and Illinois, I became the library director of the Siuslaw Public Library in Florence and Mapleton. I believe that Florence is the ideal place to live and feel blessed to have found this wonderful community. Since 2013, I have been involved in a number of volunteer activities, including the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum having served as president, vice president, and secretary/treasurer of the museum board of directors.

John Barnes

John Barnes
Trustee, through 2022

I was born and raised in Florence, graduating from Siuslaw High School in 1969. I joined the Air Force in 1970, studied forestry at Oregon State University and started my professional career with Idaho State Parks in 1980. Eventually I moved back to Oregon and served as the Cultural Resource Coordinator for the Oregon Department of Forestry researching and documenting pioneer homesteads, old logging camps, and Native American sites. Following retirement in 2014, I moved back to Florence and volunteered as one of the museum’s docents.

John Barnes
Trustee, through 2022

I was born and raised in Florence, graduating from Siuslaw High School in 1969. I joined the Air Force in 1970, studied forestry at Oregon State University and started my professional career with Idaho State Parks in 1980. Eventually I moved back to Oregon and served as the Cultural Resource Coordinator for the Oregon Department of Forestry researching and documenting pioneer homesteads, old logging camps, and Native American sites. Following retirement in 2014, I moved back to Florence and volunteered as one of the museum’s docents.

John Barnes
Rick Yecny

Rick Yecny
Trustee, through 2022

I was born in Eugene, raised in The Dalles, and attended college at the University of Portland where I earned a bachelor’s degree in business and majored in accounting. I met my wife Jane at the University of Portland. I earned my CPA certificate in 1979 and worked for an international accounting firm in Portland for five years before moving to Florence in 1982. I was a partner in a Florence accounting firm until 2000 before becoming the chief financial officer, then chief executive officer, at Peace Health Peace Harbor Hospital where I retired in January of 2018. I am currently working as a CPA at Holloway and Associates CPAs in Florence.

I currently serve on the boards of the Western Lane Ambulance District, Friends of Florence, Inc., and Oregon Pacific Bank. I enjoy golf, fishing, hiking, camping, and brewing fine micro brews. I am excited about being on the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum board so I can be involved with preserving our history and culture, and educate our community and visitors to our area about our distant and recent past.

Annie Schmidt

Annie Schmidt
Trustee, through 2022

I was born and raised in Kentucky. Think the “Hillbilly Elegy” book and movie setting, but moonshine was the worst my parent’s generation had to deal with. My stepfather’s military deployment led to his assignment in Germany after I graduated high school in 1957. I attended the Munich Branch of the University of Maryland for two years.

I met Gary Schmidt at a summer language institute in Salzburg in 1958 and that changed the trajectory of my life. He proposed after one week and returned the next summer to marry me and take me back to Seattle. We both graduated from the University of Washington, attended graduate school at the U of O, and returned to Germany to attend the University of Munich where we stayed and taught for the next 27 years. We returned to Florence at the beginning of 1994 to retire to the house we’d built at the end of the ‘70s on Lake Woahink.

Since then, I’ve done fundraising for the Florence Events Center; was executive director of the Western Lane Community Foundation (WLCF); volunteered in the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum library, and was a founding member of the Last Resort Players which changed my life! That led to further participation in the Museum as a Heritage Player, Mrs. O. W. Hurd, née Lily Cox, which I continue to do. I was also able to help arrange financing for the purchase of the current building while I was executive director of the WLCF. I have had a strong connection with the Museum for the entire 26 years that I’ve lived here.

Annie Schmidt
Trustee, through 2022

I was born and raised in Kentucky. Think the “Hillbilly Elegy” book and movie setting, but moonshine was the worst my parent’s generation had to deal with. My stepfather’s military deployment led to his assignment in Germany after I graduated high school in 1957. I attended the Munich Branch of the University of Maryland for two years.

I met Gary Schmidt at a summer language institute in Salzburg in 1958 and that changed the trajectory of my life. He proposed after one week and returned the next summer to marry me and take me back to Seattle. We both graduated from the University of Washington, attended graduate school at the U of O, and returned to Germany to attend the University of Munich where we stayed and taught for the next 27 years. We returned to Florence at the beginning of 1994 to retire to the house we’d built at the end of the ‘70s on Lake Woahink.

Since then, I’ve done fundraising for the Florence Events Center; was executive director of the Western Lane Community Foundation (WLCF); volunteered in the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum library, and was a founding member of the Last Resort Players which changed my life! That led to further participation in the Museum as a Heritage Player, Mrs. O. W. Hurd, née Lily Cox, which I continue to do. I was also able to help arrange financing for the purchase of the current building while I was executive director of the WLCF. I have had a strong connection with the Museum for the entire 26 years that I’ve lived here.

Annie Schmidt
Cathy Dupont

Cathy Dupont
Trustee, through 2021

I was born in Cloquet, Minnesota (up in the sticks), and graduated in Education from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. I earned my master’s degree from the University of Northern Illinois while living in St. Charles, Il, with my husband Bob and our three boys. In 1996, he had to medically retire, and we needed to find an area away from the bitter cold winters and overly humid summers of Chicago. Some friends of ours had recently moved to Florence to be near relatives and invited us to come for a weekend to see “Paradise on the Pacific.” We came, loved it, sold our Illinois home, and moved here and have never looked back.

I continued to teach Communications/Speech at local community colleges as I had done in Illinois, and fit in several years of substitute teaching at Siuslaw High School. For a couple of years, I was the community educator for domestic violence for the Women’s Center. After finally retiring from education, I was able to spend more time volunteering at the Women’s Center and other organizations in various roles and positions over the years, and performing with Last Resort Players which lead to my character as pioneer Christina Kyle with the Heritage Players of the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum.

Tess Yahyazadeh

Tess Yahyazadeh
Trustee, through 2021

Tess Yahyazadeh is the assistant vice president and branch manager for Banner Bank in Florence and is the recipient of Banner’s Best Leadership Award in 2020. Born in the United Kingdom and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, Tess is the youngest of eight with a twin brother. She immigrated to the US in 1999, began her banking career in Reno, Nevada, and moved to Oregon (which she says is a lot like Cape Town) in 2003. Tess has three children and three grandchildren. Her hobbies include golf, watersports, pickle ball, four-wheeling, and fishing; and she loves community involvement. She has served as the event coordinator for the Sweet Home, Oregon, chamber of commerce, successfully raised funds for many organizations, is a proud member of the Florence Rotary club, and serves on the board for Soroptimist International. Tess is new to the board and says she is “looking forward to working with the amazing board at the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum!” Appropriately, her favorite quote is this, from Margaret Wheatley: “There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.”

Tess Yahyazadeh
Trustee, through 2021

Tess Yahyazadeh is the assistant vice president and branch manager for Banner Bank in Florence and is the recipient of Banner’s Best Leadership Award in 2020. Born in the United Kingdom and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, Tess is the youngest of eight with a twin brother. She immigrated to the US in 1999, began her banking career in Reno, Nevada, and moved to Oregon (which she says is a lot like Cape Town) in 2003. Tess has three children and three grandchildren. Her hobbies include golf, watersports, pickle ball, four-wheeling, and fishing; and she loves community involvement. She has served as the event coordinator for the Sweet Home, Oregon, chamber of commerce, successfully raised funds for many organizations, is a proud member of the Florence Rotary club, and serves on the board for Soroptimist International. Tess is new to the board and says she is “looking forward to working with the amazing board at the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum!” Appropriately, her favorite quote is this, from Margaret Wheatley: “There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.”

Tess Yahyazadeh