Popular demand extends historic map exhibit

EUGENE, Ore. - By popular demand, an exhibit of historic maps will remain open to the public for at least 2 more weeks at the Lane County Historical Society.

Director Bob Hart says the society launched the exhibit September 28 for a 2 week run.

But after more than 100 people attended a two hour opening reception for the 20 old archive maps, the society decided to keep the exhibit up longer. Hart told KVAL News, "Public response has been very good. We have people coming specifically when we talk to them, and they come through the door saying, 'Where are the maps?'"

The old maps on display are a selection showing Eugene, Springfield, Lane County and Florence.

One of the oldest, if not the oldest map on display is a May 1856 plat map of Eugene City, predating statehood by 3 years. An undated old Eugene map shows a seperate district called Fairmount and something else unusual. "This is a railroad line, Tom, that's not actually built through the Fairmount area. Basically it's a projected railroad that goes nowhere," explains Hart.

There's also an old 1890 semi-aerial view of Eugene with a University of Oregon map in lower right hand corner that incorrectly labels UO as Oregon State University, and tuition free. "Beaver fans of the world, unite--get upset," laughs Hart.

Hart said the popularity of maps can be explained 2 ways.

First, much of historic Eugene is being lost and there's been so much change that people just gravitate to these maps of what Eugene-Springfield used to be.

Hart also thinks the interest is part "retro," with people realizing the new GPS gizmos are not always accurate and folks don't want to totally discard paper maps.