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Vera Badsky: Finding beauty in the Columbia Gorge

Troutdale’s historic Harlow House museum will offer a summer exhibit of the art work of the late Vera Badsky, a native Oregonian, who began painting when she was 14. Upon moving to Dodson, she painted more than 100 scenes of the Columbia River Gorge.

The display can be seen each Sunday afternoon, 1 to 4 p.m. at the Harlow House, 726 E. Historic Columbia River Highway, Troutdale. Admission is by donation.

The Vera Badsky art collection in the Harlow House is on loan from the Crown Point Country Historical Society. The total collection features almost 130 paintings celebrating the gorge which were given to the society after Badsky’s death.

She was born in 1911 in Haines near Baker City and died in 2000 at the age of 89.

Never married, she moved to Portland in 1940 and worked at the Albertina Kerr orphanage until it closed and then served as a nanny for several Portland families. Throughout her lifetime she worked in watercolors and oils on paper, art board and canvas. She was a charter member of the art association, Picture of the Month Club, and took art correspondence courses from the same Minneapolis school where Charles Schultz of “Peanuts” fame was a graduate. After her retirement in 1966, she lived in Warrendale and later in Dodson near Cascade Locks.

Her art was largely focused on the gorge with renderings of Vista House, Rooster Rock, Beacon Rock and numerous waterfalls. About 30 images are shown in the Harlow House.

The Harlow House is a 1900 farm house, the last building on the property of Capt. John Harlow who came to the community, established trout ponds, and named his farm Troutdale. The trout are celebrated in wetlands near the house and a sculpture of trout near a gazebo in the grounds. The property is a Troutdale city park and can be accessed on foot from upper Troutdale by a trail called Robin’s Way.

The home has been restored and maintained since 1979 by the Troutdale Historical Society and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

May 1 also marks summer hours for the adjacent Troutdale Historical Society Barn Exhibit Hall, an exhibit of film and historic images telling the story of the construction of the Historic Columbia River Highway, the first section of which was 100 years old last year.Summer hours for the highway exhibit are 10am to 4pm, Monday through Saturday, and 1 to 4pm, Sunday. Admission is free to residents of Multnomah County. Others pay $5 a person. Children are admitted free. The barn store offers a large collection of local history books.

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