8089 Champoeg Road N.E., St. Paul, OR 97137 - (503) 678-5537 �




FOR RELEASE ON: Monday, March 12, 2007

Media Contacts:
   Judy Van Atta, Event Coordinator, Robert Newell House / 503-678-5537
   Al LePage, Living History Coordinator & "Robert 'Doc' Newell" / 503-335-3876

"Robert 'Doc' Newell" Turns 200 Years Old, Invites Everyone to Celebrate,
Addresses Oregon House of Representatives on History and Government!

 History comes alive as first House Speaker "Newell" joins "Joe Meek" and visitors at his home to celebrate,
Share stories of the past and thoughts about government at the capitol on the bicentennial year of his birth!

Robert Newell Time for Serious Fun!The Robert Newell House Museum in cooperation with the Oregon House of Representatives will be giving the first historic Speaker of the House, "Robert 'Doc' Newell," portrayed by Al LePage, and his friend "Joe Meek," portrayed by Bob Hart, an opportunity to address the House of Representatives in Salem, Oregon on Monday, April 2nd, 2007 at 10 AM in the House Chambers.  This year is especially significant since it is the 200th anniversary of Robert Newell's birth in 1807, and given this fact plus his place in Oregon history as a public servant evidenced by the memorial proclamation that is expected from the Oregon House of Representatives, "Newell" and "Meek" will inform and entertain those present about Oregon government.  Immediately following the address, both legislators and the public are invited to join "'Doc' Newell" himself and "Joe Meek" in the capitol building to celebrate both with cake and conversation.  Also, a series of special events will precede the address, and take place at the Newell House Musuem in St. Paul, Oregon on March 31st to serve as the official kick-off date to this year's many upcoming bicentennial events, all  of which are sponsored by the Daughter's of the American Revolution (D.A.R.) with primary funding provided by West Coast Bank.


"Newell is alive and well," begins living history portrayer Al LePage, and it's time for some serious fun!  Fun, because wouldn't you want to have some fun when you turn 200 years old!  So, it's happy birthday, "Bob!"  And having fun means, doing what Robert Newell would have done back then, what those early American pioneers did to enjoy themselves.  You know, eat and dance and play music, and there's got to be some kind of something to drink and games to be played and singing, too, with the sweet sounds of children or the booming out of adults.  Serious, because, like for any of us, life's more than just about having fun, it's about the work we do, the ones we love and what we care about, it's about how we live our lives, too.  And, boy, did Newell live!  He was mountain man who carried a Bible and works by Shakespeare, took the first wagon over a chunk of what would become the Oregon Trail, farmed, went to the California gold fields, was a promoter, boat captain, mercantile shop owner, peace-maker, public servant, had a huge family, married three times, and helped establish everything from the debate society in Oregon City to the first newspaper ever published in the Oregon Country!  There's a ton and a half of comedy and tragedy in his life and times, and it's my job to tell that story, the serious and unique story of his life and his role in Oregon history."                 "It's time for some serious fun!"  Al LePage as "Robert Newell."


That reminds me of a story says Joe Meek!The Newell House Museum will offer a series of new first-time special events during the upcoming year, all the way from March through October, to celebrate the "Newell Bicentennial!"  The first will be "Bob's Bicentennial Birthday Bash" on Saturday, March 31st, 2007 at the Robert Newell House Museum on Champoeg Road in St. Paul, Oregon (located at the big white house just a few hundred yards west of the entrance to Champoeg State Park.)  It celebrates his actual March 30th birthdate, and begins at 1 PM with the dedication of the recently built "Newell Hall" and ends with the 'Bicentennial Birthday Square Dance" beginning at 7 PM.  Anyone is eligible to enter a cake in the "People's Cakes Awards" contest, and one may either bake a cake using an actual historic recipe from the period of the 1800�s or a contemporary recipe.  Just bring a copy of the recipe with the name of the source to officially enter.  Also, a catered meal with period-correct food will be offered as the "Robert Newell Birthday Dinner," with BBQ Pork basted with lite BBQ sauce, boiled potatoes, whole carrots with turnips, and coleslaw with sour dough rolls with butter and apple cobbler for dessert is $18 by reservation only by calling 503-678-5537.  Other first-time special events during the upcoming summer and fall season will feature more food, dancing and music, plus the hilarious annual auction, and finally end with the fifth annual living history holiday event, "A Pioneer Christmas Eve 1861."    


                                 "That reminds me of a story!"  Bob Hart as "Joe Meek."

'Here's the low down for Bob's Birthday Bash," notes Judy Van Atta, event coordinator for the  Robert Newell House Museum.  "First, on Saturday, March 31st meet Robert and his wife, Rebecca, with old friend Joe!  Yes, everyone's invited to celebrate as we open the Robert Newell House Museum to the public free of charge to honor Robert Newell with a very unusual cake contest, a special dinner, nineteenth century fiddle music and a good old-fashioned square dance!  Oh, and if you'd like to play dress-up," says Van Atta, "feel free to dress the part as best you can in clothing like that of the 1800's!"


Let the Dancing Begin! says Rebecca NewellThe schedule for Saturday's special event is as follows:

 1:00 - "Newell Hall" Grand Opening and Dedication!

2:00 - "People's Cakes Awards" . . .
        Contest Where You are the Judge!       

3:00 - "Cake Awards Presentation" with Refreshments!

5:30 - "Robert Newell Birthday Dinner"
      ($18.00 per person, catered, RSVP required!)

7:00 - "Bicentennial Birthday Ball" a square dance
          Live historic period fiddle music and caller!

The volunteers who will portray the people of the past have varied backgrounds.  Al LePage, portraying "Robert Newell," is a living history interpreter, trainer, and consultant who also interprets various characters in diverse venues from Oregon to British Columbia.  Bobbi Jo Weir, portraying Newell's wife "Rebecca," has previous  . . .

                                                                                    "Let the dancing begin!" Bobbi Jo Wier as "Rebecca," wife of pioneer Robert Newell. 

. . . experience as a volunteer portraying Mrs. Newell at various events for the Robert Newell House Museum.  Bob Hart, appearing as "Joe Meek," has worked for the National Park Service as a living history interpreter, and is currently the executive director of the Lane County Historical Society and Museum in Eugene.               

 "You simply don't want to miss this birthday celebration," adds LePage, "because this really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!"



The Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.) owns and operates the Robert Newell House Museum.  The original Newell House was built on the bluff overlooking the Champoeg townsite about 1852, and was reconstructed by the Oregon State Society of the D.A.R. in 1959.  Besides the reconstructed Newell House, containing Indian artifacts, a unique collection of historic gowns, and other items, the museum grounds also include both the 1850 Butteville Jail and a typical one room schoolhouse.


The high-resolution print quality images above are provided to the print media
with the permission and courtesy of the Robert Newell House Museum.
Crop and color balance these photos as needed.

Please credit "David Krapes, Photographer"