Saturday, July 28, 2012

Thomas Condon

DAY 22: Friday, July 27th. We're in Salem, OR. We drove here yesterday from Boise, ID and on the way, we passed the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, and made a short stop at the visitor center - the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center. What a fascinating place! I learned there about Thomas Condon, who is probably the only Congregational Minister who has a National Park Visitor Center named for him.  He was born in Ireland in 1822, came to America with his family, graduated from Auburn Theological Seminary in NYC, was ordained a Congregational minister in The Dalles, OR, and served a church there. But he had a passion for geology and paleontology and began exploring fossils in the area. He was the first to discover the extensive fossils along the John Day River, said today to be the largest fossil deposit in the world. He began sending fossils to scientists back east and eventually left the ministry to become a full-time paleontologist, was made Oregon State geologist and the first professor of geology at Oregon University. He went on to publish a book, Two Islands and What Came of Them about the two major mountain ranges in Oregon which he believed were separated millions of years ago by an ocean which resulted in separate evolutionary development of the flora and fauna, and thus a completely different fossil record. What an interesting man!

Thomas Condon Center

DAY 23: Sat. July 28th. Yesterday, Roger Hull, Ellen and I took a nice walk in Minto Park in Salem while Bonnie Hull and J.E. Seibert biked, and then we all ended up for lunch at the Minto Island Growers Farm Stand where we had a great lunch. Good food! All fresh and organically grown.
Ellen, J.E. Seibert and Roger Hull at Farmstand

 Then we headed into downtown Salem to explore "Play Me--I'm Yours" piano festival -- upright pianos have been distributed in a dozen outdoor locations in Salem (and in other cities all over the world) and anyone can just sit down and play. We went to one on a pedestrian bridge over the Willamette River and had a little sing-along with another family - the dad played the piano better than any of us did.
Play me! I'm yours!

After that we visited the place where Bonnie has a little "studio" space along with several other artists and then went to a new coffeehouse run by the Salem Alliance Church (a Christian and Missionary Alliance Church). They undoubtedly would not agree with Thomas Condon's views of evolution (as biblical fundamentalists, they undoubtedly believe in a "young" earth), but their lattes are delicious and beautiful.

Piece by Manuel Izquierdo

We also tucked in a visit to the Hallie Ford Museum at Willamette University - a museum our friend Roger Hull had a great deal to do with creating. We love going there. In a newly-opened gallery we saw a sample of an Oregon sculptor's work - Manuel Izquierdo -  who will be featured in a major retrospective next January that Roger is curating.  It will be exciting.  

Bonnie Hull's "My Mother's Hand" wall 
Beautiful Latte

No comments:

Post a Comment