Cottage Grove Museum

The building which now houses the Cottage Grove Museum has had a visible presence in Cottage Grove since its construction in 1897. Its unique octagonal shape makes it easy to see, as this photo taken in 1903 from Mt. David clearly shows.

Cottage Grove Oregon circa 1903

Cottage Grove, circa 1903.
Photo courtesy of the Gerald W. Williams Collection, Oregon Digital Collections, a collaboration between the University of Oregon and Oregon State University.

According to “Golden Was the Past,” prior to the building of the church, services were first held in railroad cars and then in the private homes of Catholic families. By 1895 there were enough members that they needed to build their own church. It served its function for just over sixty years, but by 1960 the congregation had outgrown the space. Ownership of the building was transferred to the Cottage Grove Historical Society for the museum after the a new church was constructed.

The unique, octigonal Cottage Grove Museum

Cottage Grove Museum, taken spring 2014

I love driving by this little octagonal building with its beautiful stained glass windows (most of which are still the originals). Last Christmas we made a special trip down there at night to see the windows aglow. As an architecture buff, it is the architectural features that catch my eye when I visit, but lots of Cottage Grove History is contained within these walls as well.

Stained glass windows of the Cottage Grove Museum

Stained glass windows in the Cottage Grove Museum


In 1997, on its centennial birthday, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. For more details about its history and construction go to here:

The Cottage Grove Museum is located on the corner of H and Birch Streets in Cottage Grove.

Changes at Bake Stewart Park
Hendricks Park: Rhododendrons


  1. Mrs Random says:

    On the middle stained glass window, it looks like some kind of fancy cupcake in the center, with whipped cream on top. I could feel religious about something like that, but I’m guessing it is really something else if it was really in the church to start with. Do you know what it is supposed to represent?

    • I like your version — the cupcake. I always saw a heart of some sort in that window. I do not know what they are supposed to represent. I haven’t found much information about the building in the books I have or online, and haven’t had the opportunity to get down to the Historical Society or back to the Museum to ask questions. (That’s a great idea for another post!).

  2. I was left wondering about the stained glass as well. Although all are beautiful, they do not appear cohesive in color or style. If you had not posted them together, I would not have known they were from the same building. They must each have their own story.

    • I have always found it interesting that the windows are not especially religious in any way that I can tell, but they are cohesive if you see them in context. They do have similarities in style that are not coming out well in the way that I’ve cropped them for the photo.

      • tarasuehughart says:

        Each one of the windows has a different religious symbol,. Please come im and we can give you a sheet with the explanations of each symbol.

        • Thanks Tara Sue. We were in during your Christmas open house. I loved seeing the windows lit up at night! We picked up a sheet then, I also heard that there are tours that I’d love to take some day.

  3. please come on in and the friendly staff will be glad to explain to anyone about the stained glass windows and their design. Each of the windows are different. These windows were made in Europe and are original to the church.

    • Thanks Tara! The staff has always been exceptionally nice when I’ve visited, maybe I’ll be able to make it in soon and talk windows with them.

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