The Old House - that’s what everyone in this area calls it. To members of the Cow Creek Historical Society, the group that owns it, it’s the Old House. Officially, however, it’s the Springer-Martin House, a name derived from the Springer Family who built the house and the Martin family whose members lived in the house from 1940 to 1999. Since December of 1999, the historical society (or HYSTERICAL society, as members sometimes refer to themselves) have been working to restore the Old House, to be used as a museum/research library/meeting place. Before going any further, let me back up to the true “beginning” - and give you a brief history.
The original lands for the estate of our Old House consisted of nine parcels; large to small, some were donation land claims, one was an “officers grant” and some were direct sales by the United States government. Throughout the abstracts of all the parcels until it gathered into one big ranch consisting of some 1470 acres, there were foreclosures, estate settlements, adverse possession disputes and even a court appointed administrator selling the property at “private sale” to his own wife!!
That same husband and wife sold 640 acres to Annie E. Springer on 28 Oct 1901 and in the next couple of years Annie and her husband Rudolph began building the “old house” and purchased more of the original acreage, for a total of 967 acres. According to an old newspaper article, the family moved into the house in September of 1903. The house was built to accommodate two families - Annie and Rudolph on one side and their son Clarence and his wife, Lula, on the other. Hence, the first “duplex” in the valley. The Old House, nearly 4000 square feet, consists each side of a front living room, a dining room/kitchen and a pantry. The center of the house features a large central parlor and a three-landing stairwell. The upstairs has identical bedrooms at each front corner, a nursery, a sewing room, an upstairs parlor and numerous little “hidey-holes”. Above all this is a large attic which has plenty of headroom through the middle and storage space down to the upper floor ceiling beams. AND if you believe in such things, there is a spirit in that attic! According to a “ghost buster” group who monitored the old house, there are three spirits there - all friendly, thank goodness!
Shortly after the death of Annie Springer in 1910, the house and property began to change hands - numerous times - until the Martin family entered into a lease/purchase agreement in November of 1940 and that family had the longest ownership. In fact, some of that family still owns all the land, except the 2 ½ acres surrounding the Old House. That small amount and the house, were donated to CART (Community Action Response Team) in 1998. It was the hope of donor, Zorayda Martin Ford, that the house would be restored and used as a museum for the Cow Creek Valley.
The Old House was held in trust, by CART, until the Cow Creek Historical Society received it’s own non-profit designation (501.c.3) in December of 2003 at which time ownership was transferred.

Much work has been done at the Old House - out-buildings removed, a new foundation (two-thirds of the house was on the ground ; old Yew wood blocks were under the other third), a new roof, sidewalks and handicap access to the first floor, a modern septic system is done, there’s all new electrical wiring to code (one side of the old house had CLOTH covered wiring and glass fuses - inspectors didn’t go for that!), new plumbing to replace old, lead water pipe, and new porches. All the above was done with a mere $6000 of actual grant money. The rest came from donations of time, money and materials from within the Glendale-Azalea area. Over $150,000 of time, money and materials from a hard-working and generous community.
Then - in December of 2005, the historical society received their first major grant from the Collins Foundation and that has taken care of insulating the outside walls and installing 38 sets of double-pane glass windows. Heating experts all agreed that the only way to efficiently heat the Old House is with two heat pumps and grants to other funders are in the process now, for the cost of heat installation.
After heat, comes the inside finish work, the restoration costs of which have been figured at nearly $3000 per room. And there are 14 rooms in the Old House! Mind-boggling.

Restoration of the Old House is about half done. Once the heating system is complete, the inside finish work can begin. The restored central parlor can be used for weddings, meetings - just a variety of events. Other rooms in the house will be used for the display of antique furniture, pictures and artifacts. AND there will be a tight security system to prevent any more burglaries, such as has already occurred! There will be a research library filled with the history of this valley - both on paper and in photographs. Reconstruction of the old Carriage House is planned - a little larger than the original, of course - it will house ADA bathrooms, storage and a commercial kitchen downstairs and a caretaker’s apartment upstairs. The grounds will feature a gazebo and pavilion for events such as weddings, family reunions, etc.
Besides the grant work, local fund raisers are planned: craft, food and cookbook sales at the local Friday Farm Market, the Cow Creek rest area coffee service, several community breakfasts, old fashioned Sunday BBQ in September of each years, beef and pork raffles and many other money-raising events.

The Cow Creek Historical Society is made up of community members and their families who are interested in the preservation of the history of this valley. Canyonville has a good museum and the county museum in Roseburg is second to none. However, many feel that historical things from this area, should stay here and the Old House will be for that purpose. The “events” facilities will be the source of income to keep the Old House going.
All historical society members donate their time to the Old House - there are no paid positions, nor will there ever be. Just recently the group became “custodians” for a scholarship fund set up by former resident, Lee Dixon, to honor his parents, LeRoy and Marcie Dixon. The historical society, being a designated public service organization, will manage the fund for Lee, investing monies for future scholarships, to be awarded each year, to a deserving Senior, chosen by the group.
We are always ready for new members with fresh ideas! If you like history and would like to help with its preservation, just contact us. Membership fees are a nominal $15 per calendar year, per family and that fee goes into the restoration fund.
You may write for more information to CCHS - Post Office Box 309 - Glendale, Oregon, 97442. Another way to contact us is thru this web site or by calling 541-832-2819.