By Nancy Varekamp, CNews Editor
OSS celebrates centennial
They aren’t full-time residents, but many Portland members of the Oregon Stamp Society devote untold hours in Concordia. They’ve spent 56 of the organization’s 100 years based at the former fire station on 33rd Avenue at Alberta Court, and this year they invited visitors from around the world to visit.
“The stability of having our own clubhouse and library promotes a vibrant philatelic community,” pointed out Eric Hummel, president.
You’ll find him at the clubhouse several days a week – frequently with other members –maintaining the building and the stamp collections and displays.
When OSS bought the retired fire station in 1960, it was unusual for a stamp club to own a building. Now several do, but Hummel believes OSS’ is the most unusual, despite the fact American Philatelic Society’s clubhouse is a converted match factory in Pennsylvania.
OSS activities include two meetings per month, an annual auction, the Rose City and Collectors Corner monthly stamp fairs and the PIPEX annual national stamp show. The centennial prompted a few more gatherings this year.
The 220 members – in Oregon, throughout the United States and Canada – hosted a summer exhibition at the Multnomah County Central Library, a clubhouse reception in July and an August weekend-long open house, complete with building tours, exhibits of members’ stamp collections and a display depicting the group’s history.
Sheryll Ruecker, OSS archivist, reported on the summer celebrations in the journal Federated Philatelist. They included installing a time capsule on clubhouse grounds. Filling it are club memorabilia, old and new philatelic souvenirs and U.S. Forever stamps.
“I wonder what those members who open it up 100 years from now will make of them,” she said. “Will Forever stamps actually last forever?”
When OSS purchased the clubhouse, it added initiation fees to its membership dues to help pay off the $13,500 city loan. Renting the space to other groups helped pay the mortgage – in less than 10 years – and continues to help support building maintenance.
After 56 years, Hummel said, members continue to feel welcome in Concordia and they return the favor.
“We are in a residential neighborhood,” he pointed out. “We and all who use the building make an effort to be good neighbors.