The Southern Oregon Historical Society (SOHS) experienced significant water damage at its downtown Medford Headquarters, located in the historic JC Penney building at 106 N. Central Ave. The damage occurred during heavy rains from Sunday evening, June 18, through Tuesday morning, June 20. The building was undergoing re-roofing at the time, which allowed water to penetrate the interior.
Fortunately, the archive collection of 2-dimensional artifacts, housed in an unaffected area, remained unharmed. However, a portion of the 3-dimensional materials, located in another section of the building, suffered water intrusion. SOHS Executive Director Ron Kramer stated that they are assessing the affected items to determine the necessary conservation efforts.
Belfor Property Restoration has already commenced the remediation and restoration process for the interior, addressing the significant damage caused by the water. The repairs are underway to restore the building to its previous condition.
Unfortunately, the water damage has caused a delay in the Society’s plans to open a new History Museum. Originally scheduled for October 2023, the opening date will now be pushed back to the spring of 2024 due to the repairs needed in the heavily affected area of the building. Despite the setback, SOHS remains committed to opening the new museum, albeit at a later date.
The SOHS Research Library, which typically welcomes the public between noon and 4 pm from Tuesdays to Saturdays, was mostly unaffected. However, it remained closed for about a week to allow Belfor Property Restoration to lower humidity levels in the building. During this time, SOHS staff completed an assessment of the Collection items, identifying those requiring special conservation measures.
In more positive news, last fall, the SOHS had contracted the Rick Stevens Painting Company to repair and repaint three exterior walls of the building. This repainting project, funded by a grant from the City of Medford, is set to begin in late July. The vibrant transportation mural on the north wall of the building will remain intact, preserving its cultural significance.
Despite the water damage setback, the Southern Oregon Historical Society remains dedicated to preserving and sharing the rich history of the region. The remediation efforts and upcoming renovations signify the commitment of the society to create a thriving historical resource for the community to enjoy in the years to come.