Fort Umpqua, Oregon, 1856–1862
Siuslaw National Forest, Oregon, 2001
by Phyllis Steeves, NF Archaeologist
Volunteer Daryl Curran’s painting, recently presented to the FS, depicts PIT projects at U.S. Army Fort Umpqua, Siuslaw NF, Oregon.
When Daryl Curran is not volunteering on a PIT project, you might find him with a paintbrush in hand. In the painting above, he recreated images of PIT projects at U.S. Army Fort Umpqua in 1999 and 2000 on the Siuslaw NF in Oregon.
If you look closely at the painting, you will see the past reflected in what is left of the old window panes and the present archaeological investigations in the broken-out sections. Volunteers discovered the firing range (lower center) by finding the caps used to explode the powder, and located a small cemetery (lower right) by unearthing remnants of the picket fence surrounding it. Survey and test excavations revealed the location of the soldiers’ barracks (upper left) and the hospital and billiard room (upper center). The historical depictions are based on photographs taken by Lt. Lorenzo Lorain and Dr. Edward P. Vollum while they were stationed at Fort Umpqua in 1858.
Without knowing it, Daryl captured the essence of “Windows on the Past,” a FS initiative designed to provide access to heritage information, sites, and experiences. We came up with the “Windows” idea long after Bill Gates, but the concept is the same; all the programs and projects open windows into a larger and more fascinating world—in this case, the world of the past. PIT is the largest and most widely known program within the “Windows on the Past” initiative.
Retired from a long career of building dams, freeways, bridges, and jetties, Daryl Curran now devotes his time to smaller-scale projects. He is helping to restore a historic building in downtown Springfield, Oregon, for a community art center or volunteering with his wife Kay on PIT projects from Oregon to New Mexico. Both Daryl and Kay have contributed more than 2,000 hours to PIT projects.