The gate at the stately Fort Townsend sign on West Main Street in Long Creek will one day lead to a museum for the local community.

That’s the vision for the Long Creek Historical Society.

The group, which has been striving for years to establish a home for their accumulation of local artifacts, documents and other historical memorabilia, is in the midst of a five-year plan to solicit input from Long Creek citizens on the direction and future of the museum and site.

Annual fundraising events include the Founders Day Celebration on the Fourth of July and a St. Patrick’s Day dinner in March.

The society recently hosted a successful eclipse dinner Aug. 18 and will hold a buck season deer bake and food sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, at the main intersection in town.

So, what’s behind the “Townsend” name?

Fort Townsend is named for a local man, William “Billy” Townsend, who is credited with saving the Long Creek community during the 1878 Bannock and Paiute Indian War.

During the uprising, local people hastily built a fort east of town where settlers gathered to defend themselves. Townsend, a veteran of the Civil War, prevented members of the approaching tribes from entering the fort.

Townsend’s great-grandson, Long Creek resident Dan Morrow is president of the Historical Society. Other members include Stan Metz, vice-president; Reiba Carter Smith, secretary; Marsie Watson, treasure; Linda Hunt and Gaye Pruit.

The group meets at 4 p.m. the last Friday of the month.

For more information, contact the Long Creek Historical Society by mail at P.O. Box 153, Long Creek, OR 97856, or call Smith at 541-421-3165.

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