Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New Book on Zena Reminds us of Great Riding and Great History

There's a new book out that offers all kinds of riffing on the notion of "a sense of place"!  Finding a Sense of Place: An Environmental History of Zena looks terrific.

So what is this place Zena?

Some of the very best bike riding around Salem is in the Eola Hills to the northwest of Salem.

Wineries and Vineyards near Zena
There's a lovely cluster of wineries and vineyard land on the hills and picturesque rural roads, several of which enjoy relatively low traffic.  A great wine, it is said, shows a sense of place.  It can be from this area, this vineyard, and no other.  It is distinct.

On Memorial Day Weekend, most of these wineries will be open!

This part of the Eola Hills is also rich with history. Zena and Lincoln are old, old settlements, and little remains of them.  You may know about the church, but much of the rest is not remembered.

Zena today and in 1852
click to enlarge to see approximate location of early road and Phllips claim
(General Land Office survey map from UO)
On Spring Valley Road is the Greek Revival John Phillips House, built in 1853.  Houses from before statehood are quite rare, and are in need of special care and attention.  It's worth a ride to see it, though the house sits back from the road and has been fenced for security.  It's a precious thing - and you wouldn't see it by car!

John Phillips House in 2007 via Virginia Green
It needs some TLC

Zena Farm house
Along Spring Valley are other 19th century houses.  And of course the church.  It's worth the ride!

Just down the road on Zena is Willamette University's Zena Forest and Farm project. At the farm is a house from 1905.  Willamette students can learn farming directly and students in many other disciplines use the forest and farm for projects.

Bob Reinhardt is a professor at Willamette and has just edited a book on Zena!

Finding a Sense of Place: An Environmental History of Zena is 14 essays by students in two terms of Reinhardt's course "Environmental History of Zena."
  1. Section One: Geological Origins and First Peoples - Examines geological and climatological forces at Zena and the history of the Kalapuya people in the area.
  2. Section Two: The Transformation of Eden - Analyzes the beliefs that Euro-Americans brought to Zena and how Euro-American agricultural practices changed over time.
  3. Section Three: Law, Ideology, and Stories at Zena - Explores efforts to rationalize and make sense of Zena through legal mechanisms and narratives.
  4. Section Four: Conservation and Restoration at Zena - Assesses changing land use practices at Zena since the late twentieth century.
It's deep dive into place.  How great is that!  According to the university,
The book retails for $20 and is available at The Willamette Store and Amazon.com. Royalties will benefit the Willamette Sustainability Institute, which provided the funds for the book’s publication through a Faculty Fellow Research Grant.
Bob also rides a bike often, and in and around the SESNA neighborhood you might have seen Bob and Leah McMillan, who is on SESNA's board, riding their bikes.

It's not surprising that it's easy to make a link between riding a bike and finding a sense of place.

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