Forging Community Connections at the Claire McGill Luce Western History Room
The special local and regional history archives collected together under the banner of the Claire McGill Luce Western History Room at the Harney County Library have played a role in recent community efforts to retain a connection with our county’s pioneer roots while pursuing creative efforts to revitalize a once-vibrant economy through preservation, restoration, and promotion of heritage-based businesses and activities. Community members and organizations seeking historic home designations, organizing living history events, celebrating the arts and cultures of Harney County, and preserving and restoring downtown buildings have all incorporated resources uniquely available for public access within the library archives to bring an element of historical context into our daily lives.
It all began in 1970 with a pledge and a vision: one thousand dollars per year for thirty years to document and preserve local history at the newly constructed Harney County Library. Little could Harney County-born Claire McGill Luce have guessed that her initial bequest would eventually blossom into a fund of over two million dollars and give rise to a historical research facility rivaling institutions many times its size.