Sun, Feb 23, 2020
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Toledo Library opens door to local past with new History Room

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Volunteer Barb Lewis, with the Toledo Community Library, reviews an old copy of the Toledo Messenger on a microfilm projector at the library's new History Room. Open to the public during regular library hours, the History Room features a number of artifacts on loan from the Toledo Historical Society, as well as archives of multiple local newspapers going as far back as 100 years.

The Toledo Community Library has a new exhibit open to guests hoping to learn more about the area's past.

The library's History Room, located in the back of the facility, contains a collection of documents, photographs and other artifacts on loan from the Toledo Historical Society, as well as a large number of newspapers on microfilm donated from the estate of Glenn Ramsey.

"I'm having an absolute ball with this," said library volunteer Barb Lewis of the microfilm collection, which includes a projector for viewing, stating she has been able to look back and find such happenings as the birth notice of her husband from a 1947 copy of The Winlock News.

Other publications in the collection include copies of The Oregonian, The Chehalis Advocate, The Centralia Tribune, The Centralia Daily Chronicle, The Toledo Messenger, and many others from throughout the area, some of which date back more than 100 years.

Lewis said she has especially enjoyed looking at the advertisements from back then to see what was on sale, like ethanol-treated gasoline promised to be worth the $0.03 extra per gallon; what the prices were like, such as a top-of-the-line Oldsmobile new off the lot for $750; and which businesses may still be around today.

"There's some wonderful things all around here," she added of the other artifacts in the History Room, which presently include old Cheese Days buttons, photo albums, locally-produced reference books and more, with additions expected to be contributed in the coming weeks.

Library organizer Pat Caldwell said, since receiving the microfilm collection, it has become the library's ambition to find a projector able to print the newspaper images, stating they hope to pursue a grant in the future for such an upgrade.

In the nearer future, the library is planning for another kids story time on Jan. 14 with a winter theme this month, followed by a basket weaving class at the end of the month and a tea party on Valentine's Day. The library is also pleased to announce, due to an increase in the number of available volunteers, they have expanded their regular Saturday hours to 5 p.m. to make their resources available to more local residents.

For more information about the History Room or other library programs, visit the Toledo Community Library during their regular hours from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursdays and Saturdays.

To find out how you can become involved in library activities, contact Caldwell at (360) 864-6757 or visit their Facebook page at

The front page of the Dec. 23, 1915, issue of the Toledo Messenger, a now-defunct weekly newspaper previously published in the Toledo area. The headlines of the day told of the ongoing war in Europe, an outbreak of Whooping Cough among local schoolchildren, and the possibility of a federally-funded steel bridge in Toledo over the Cowlitz River.

Photographs and books make up many of the exhibits in the History Room, much of which had been provided by the Toledo Historical Society. Additional exhibits are expected to be on display in the coming weeks, and those with artifacts they wish to contribute for display at the History Room are encouraged to contact Don Renner at

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