Take a Walk Through Hermiston's History

Megan Kane Walking Tour
Hermiston's Megan Kane stands under the archway at the former Armand Larive Middle School which once served as the town's high school. It is the first stop on an audio walking tour Kane created for her Girl Scout Gold Award.

[quote style=”2″]Girl Scout Gold Award Project Highlight’s City’s Past[/quote]

“If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development.”

A local Girl Scout would agree with that not-too-recent quote from Aristotle. Megan Kane, a member of Girl Scout Troop 51444 in Hermiston, has just completed her Gold Award project – an audio walking tour of Hermiston that highlights some of the city’s history.

The Girl Scout Gold Award, which dates back to 1916, is the highest honor a Girl Scout can achieve. Kane said she put about 140 hours into the project and interviewed a number of longtime Hermiston residents who shared their knowledge about the city. Kane says her tour, which can be found online at YouTube, leads participants on seven stops throughout Hermiston and takes between 60-90 minutes to complete. People can also go to the Hermiston Public Library and download an audio CD onto their smart phones or tablets. The tour can be done on foot or by vehicle.

“As for stops on the tour, I had a general idea of which areas in town I was most interested in but I also had to tailor the stops to who I could find to interview about these places,” Kane said. “It’s harder than you’d think to find people who still have knowledge about Hermiston’s distant past.”

Megan Interviews Frank Harkenrider
Kane interviews former Hermiston mayor and current Councilor Frank Harkenrider for her audio tour of Hermiston.
Among those she interviewed are lifelong Hermiston resident Frank Harkenrider, Hermiston Public Library Director Marie Baldo, former Hermiston City Manager Tom Harper, Spike Piersol, and others. Former West Park Elementary School teacher Kathleen McCall served as her mentor for the project.

Kane, 18, said she initially didn’t know what her Gold Award project would be, but she always had history in mind.

“I decided to make a walking tour of Hermiston because I knew almost nothing about its history and I knew there were many others who were in the same boat as me,” she said.

The walking tour takes participants to various spots throughout town including Hermiston’s first hospital, the site of the town’s first high school, the Arc building that once served as Hermiston’s Civic Recreation Center and hosted many USO dances during World War II, the fairgrounds, Hermiston’s Main Street, as well as the old Carnegie Building that once was home to the library and now serves as the city’s Building Department. At each stop, a Hermiston resident talks about the location’s history.

Kane, who will be attending Eastern Oregon University later this month, is the second Hermiston Girl Scout to earn her Gold Award in the past two years. Last year, Rachel Cruz earn her award by creating the Blessing Room at Pregnancy Care Services in Hermiston. The room is stocked with clothes, diapers, formula and other items for babies, as well as a small inventory of maternity clothes for expectant mothers.

Kane said she hopes people find the tour both educational and entertaining.

“History has always fascinated me, but even more so in recent years,” she said. “Learning about the past can be just as entertaining as watching a great movie. You just have to look at it from the right perspective.”

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