Vale museum gets ready for spring opening with cleanup party

The Rinehart Stone House Museum will open up again with a spring cleanup project Saturday, April 30, 2022. Volunteers are welcome to bring garden tools and paint brushes to help. (The Enterprise/SCOTTA CALLISTER)

VALE – The Rinehart Stone House Museum stirs back to life this weekend and volunteers are needed to dress up the historic building.

Saturday, April 30, is opening day for the museum and that’s also a planned workday to make use of a $4,000 grant the museum recently received from the Malheur Cultural Trust.

Gary Fugate, a local historian and president of the museum, is looking for volunteers Saturday who can help weed and trim vegetation. He also needs help with giving doors and windows at the museum a fresh coat of paint. He plans to start clearing out the museum’s cellar ahead of a project to repair stonework.

Workers should plan to start about 10 a.m. Saturday.

Meantime, Fugate is putting the finishing touches on an application seeking state funding to help restore stone masonry damaged by the 1957 flood in Vale. He estimates the project will cost $18,000 and the museum needs to raise half of that through donations.

Fugate said he could use expert help and advice from those who know about tuck pointing and patching old stone buildings.

The two-story building was constructed in 1872 by Louis Rinehart and was the center of the community, which was formally named Vale in 1887. The building was used as a hotel, store and post office.

Those who want to volunteer can show up at the museum or call Fugate at 541-889-1996 to learn more about what help is needed.

Those who want to donate to help the fund drive can mail a check made out to Malheur Historical Project and mail it to PO Box 413, Vale OR 97918.

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