Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Thieves steal garden's serenity

7/24/13 Chatterbox
Betty Kaiser

The Ina M. Daugherty Memorial Garden is a local oasis of serenity and inspiration. This private, church-owned garden is located adjacent to the First Presbyterian Church of Cottage Grove, at the corner of Adams and South 3rd St. It invites neighbors and churchgoers to enjoy the shade of old growth trees and drink in the sweet surroundings of fragrant flowering plants. It offers free serenity.

Recently, someone(s) decided to steal the serenity. In fact, they first went all around town and helped themselves to a selection of plants that didn’t belong to them. They tipped over a planted barrel downtown, yanked out geraniums at The This ‘n That store and then brought shovels to the Daugherty Garden. There, they brazenly dug up specimen size azaleas, hydrangeas and more.

That same week, vandals were also out wreaking havoc at Pine Meadows Campground. Six young males were allegedly drinking beer and walking through the campground looking for trouble. Perhaps they were the ones who tore the porch off the entrance booth and stole a golf cart. Later, someone sped through the Primitive Campground at 4:30 a.m. waking up campers and spinning donut circles in the ground.

Ina and Warren Daugherty would not be happy. They were givers not takers and believed in building up the community—not tearing it down. Like many of Cottage Grove’s pioneers, Mr. Daugherty was in the logging business. In the early 1920s, he and a partner harvested timber until the best of it was gone. Mr. Daugherty’s partner decided to quit but he persevered saying, “We’ve built the roads and made the investment, let’s harvest the smaller trees as piling. The opportunity is where you are-not someplace else.”

In 1923 Daugherty established a wholesale lumber and piling business. It was successful and eventually moved to offices above the Knickerbocker store on Main St. In the late 1940s, he purchased the Chambers lumber mill. To pay for it, he mortgaged everything he had, borrowed from family and went deeply into debt to finance the remaining one million dollars needed.

The mill was a success but burned down in 1950. Today, South Lane Fire Dept. sits on a portion of the property and the children’s park across the way on Harrison St. was a gift from Mr. Daugherty. One of many that enhanced our city.

As profits from his businesses came in the couple partnered in giving back to the community. Some of their money established the Warren H. Daugherty Aquatic Center. Some was set aside to build a new Presbyterian Church on Adams Ave. Ina was very active in church activities. Warren was not much of a church goer but a great giver.

Ina worked with the famous Italian architect Pietro Belluschi in designing the building that is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1951, it is all wood and the style became known as Pacific Northwest Architecture. Mr. Daugherty donated all the lumber for the building and his wife helped with the design.

Later, the Benson property adjacent to the church was purchased from an endowment fund that the Daughertys had established in 1963. The house on the property was torn down and the site landscaped in honor of Ina, a longtime member and benefactor of the church. It was a proper memorial and recognition for one who loved flowers and was often found weeding in the church gardens.

Over the years, the property fell into disrepair: paths were washed away; vines, weeds, fallen branches, debris and general overgrowth obscured the garden’s original intent and beauty. It became obvious that a complete overhaul of the property was necessary.

In 2009 a volunteer work force headed by a master gardener, began a restoration project that continues today. Together, a small core of men and women, worked tirelessly every week. The first two years they hauled away dozens of truckloads of overgrowth revealing the good bones of the garden and (surprise!) a large cedar tree!

Slowly the shape of a classic urban garden began to emerge.
In 2011 a rose garden was established along with other perennials such as azaleas, daffodils, holly bushes, tulips and Japanese maples. The volunteers also tediously replaced 1,000 feet of path border while the weeding; pruning and general clean up continued.

In 2012, the garden underwent more major renovations and plantings. Nearly three dump truck loads of wet quarter-minus gravel were spread and compacted on the paths. Dozens more perennials were added, patches of day lilies were separated and spread throughout the garden and of course…more pruning and weeding.

Last summer, the garden was chosen to be on the South Lane Mental Health’s 4th Annual Town and Country Garden Tour. The Daugherty’s would have been proud that their investment was still reaping benefits for others to enjoy. And it was a dream shared for all who contributed time, money, energy and sweat equity.

Today, the garden is an on-going project bringing peace and joy to the workers and all visitors. There is also documented on-going vandalism and graffiti by young people. Now some anti-theft measures must be put into place because some yardbirds wanted landscaping material for their garden at no cost to themselves.

Today, more than ever, we must always be vigilant about our properties. Fortunately,  there are now available a variety of cameras, motion-activated sprinklers and lights that can be installed to protect our stuff. I’m not sure they can bring peace of mind but they can help. Maybe one can find the Pine Meadows campground golf cart!

It’s sad. We work. Thugs steal. It has ever been this way. So folks, look out for one another. Know your neighbors. Cooperate and communicate. Teach your children and your grandchildren that private property means just that.  It’s private. It belongs to someone else. Don’t steal, deface or tear it up. Respect is more than the Golden Rule. It's also good karma.

Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart.

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