Brooks Historical Society

Current Projects


Welcome Waycar (Caboose) # 14411!



 Brooks Historical Society Members greeted their 1910 CBQ waycar (caboose) as it was settled into place on specially prepared tracks east of the Brooks Depot Museum at Powerland Heritage Park on October 17, 2017. The waycar is planned to serve as a society meeting room, office and storage room.  This will clear room in the historic depot for future renovations to bring the depot back to more nearly to as it was when it was a working train depot.

Thanks to BHS member Paul Duchateau, arrangements were made to bring the waycar on two flatbed trailers to Powerland Heritage Park. Then a large crane lifted it into place in three pieces; two wooden “trucks” or wheel assemblies, and then the body of the car. CBQ is visible on the car in several places. Careful sanding on the car revealed the number 14411.

Steve Rippeteau, a railfan and new member of BHS, pursued leads to find that the waycar began its working life for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy (CBQ) Railroad in the Midwest. The book, The Burlington Waycars, by Randall R. Danniel and  Marian L. Reis with Joseph Douda, shows that  waycar #14411 was built by the CB&Q in June, 1910 at their Aurora, Illinois shops as a NE-6 Class. When CB & Q merged with Burlington Northern, in 1970, the car was brought west. That same book shows that in June, 1975, waycar #14411 was sold to the Oregon, Pacific & Eastern railway (OP&E). 

OP&E, a now defunct logging and excursion railroad out of Cottage Grove, Oregon did not keep it long. About 40 years ago (1977, approximately) it was sold again to private owners south and west of Eugene, Oregon. There it and an old {S&P} (Southern Pacific/Oregon & California) caboose were used as lodging for workers on the property.

At their January 2018 meeting, Brooks Historical Society voted to restore the exterior so that it was functional and looked good, but not the most historically accurate and thus expensive repair. They authorized Paul Duchateau to research materials, methods, and expenses and get back to the Society with information. The interior is mostly empty, but needs some modifications to be functional as storage, an office and meeting room.  After a plan is adopted, we will begin repairs. If you would like to help with the restoration and repairs, email Paul Duchateau at If you would like to donate to the project, contact our Treasurer, Dorene Standish,

You can find more information about CBQ, OP&E and a CBQ waycar in the Medford Railroad Park similar to our own by clicking on these links.

Restoring the Agent's Office and Ticket Counter 

Members Leah and Ed Duda have recreated a ticket counter and repainted and refurnished the Agent's office more as it was in the early 1900s, down to using the original paint colors. When availability of storage and office space in the caboose, occurs, we can clear out the northeast corner of the depot, and re-create the ticket and public entrance area more nearly as it was when the building was used as a depot. We plan to re-open the northeast door to the building, which used to serve as the main public entrance. If you remember the old Depot in Brooks, or better still have pictures of it prior to 1960, please let us know.  If you would like to donate to the project, contact our Treasurer, Dorene Standish,

Annual BHS Used Book Sale

Again, this year we will offer our used book sale, starting with June events. We will renew and replenish our supplies as we can so for each event there is a sale, there will be new and exciting used books to choose from at bargain prices. For certain we will have the book sale during the Fourth of July Celebration, and during both weekends of Steam-Up.

Book Sale


Farm House Museum Opening

Members of Brooks Historical Society, particularly Dorene Standish, have helped finish and furnish the Farm House Museum near the entrance to Powerland Heritage Park.   Two rooms, a kitchen and a parlor, are available to view, furnished in the style of an early 20th century farmhouse. Be sure to visit for a view of home life during the time when steam engines were in their prime.

Farm House Museum          Farm House Museum


The French Prairie Heritage Rose Garden

Brooks Historical Society Depot Museum is the repository for records, documents, and family history relating to the French Prairie Heritage Rose Garden. The rose garden conserves Oregon's first roses in displays arranged to interpret their historical significance to the French Prairie community and greater Willamette Valley.

The Mary Ann Egan Rose is an important and historic contribution to the French Prairie Heritage Rose Garden.

After a long and difficult journey, Patrick Egan and his wife, Catherine Canty, arrived in the French Prairie in 1852. Six years later, their fourteen-year-old daughter, Mary Ann, died of pneumonia. A white moss rose was planted on her grave where it thrived for many years, with the family gathering every Memorial Day to clean the grave, care for Mary Ann's rose, and celebrate her brief life. In the 1950s the cemetery board requested that all graveside plantings, including Mary Ann's memorial rose, be removed to ease cemetery maintenance.

Mary Ann's niece, Adele Egan, saved the rose almost sixty years ago, by moving it to her family's 1875 farm where it continues to bloom year after year in memory of little Mary Ann.  The rose and this heartfelt story are a welcome addition to the French Prairie Heritage Rose Garden, and the Depot Museum archive.

The rose garden is in the first phase of this construction on the campus of Antique Powerland Museum Association (APMA). The garden has a prime location adjacent to the new caretaker's residence and two-room museum at the entry to APMA. The garden and extensive educational signage will be viewed by more than forty thousand visitors every year as they enter the museum complex. Rose garden visitors can come to the Depot Museum to learn additional information about the families and historical figures connected with each of the roses.

The rose garden is planted in six themed collections. Of local interest are roses brought across the Oregon Trail by French Prairie families. Of international interest is the rose collection and history of Fr. George Schoener. Fr. Schoener began his hybridization experiments in 1911 while he was assigned to the Church of the Assumption in Brooks. In 1915, when the church was only forty years old, it burned to the ground taking all of Fr. Schoener's research records, and most of his seedlings, in the inferno. The Depot Museum will tell this story and Fr. Schoener's hard work and dedication to "rise-from-the-ashes" to become internationally known as the "Padre of the Roses." All known surviving roses from his experiments will be planted in the French Prairie Heritage Rose Garden.  

If there is a rose in your French Prairie family, or Willamette Valley family, that you would like to contribute to this growing collection of living history, or to inquire about becoming involved in this project by volunteering time, or giving financial support, call Brooks Historical Society board member, Dorene Standish, at 503-393-2053. 


                Adele Egan pictured with the Mary Ann Egan Rose






Video Recordings of Elders in the FrenchPrairie Area


Brooks Historical Society members are preserving oral histories of elders in the area. Their experiences range from farming, life in the armed forces, life in an internment camp during World War II, to inventions and innovations and their effect on lives and families.

The members of the interviewing and recording crew started as amateurs, but are improving steadily. We would love to have an experienced video editor to help us with our project. Contact us if you are interested.

We show selected videos in our museum to complement our other exhibits. We also offer the videos for sale to the public.

See our Publications for Sale page.