Come Visit Zimmerman House Museum and Gardens

Zimmerman House Muesum and Gardens, Gresham OR. Click to enlarge

Oregon Storytellers with a Local Lens

Right in Wilkes East Neighborhood’s backyard, near Sandy Boulevard and 171st, sits a white, Victorian house surrounded by lush grass and beautiful flower gardens. Have you ever noticed this beauty while driving by?

If you’ve always been curious or it’s been a long time since you’ve visited, let us introduce you to the Zimmerman House Museum and Gardens. This slice of Oregon heritage is run by ECHO – East County Historical Organization (your local historical society) and they have big plans to reinvigorate this Gresham Park.

ECHO’s new board has goals to make this former dairy farm into a thriving place of learning and an event space for the community. They are currently developing plans to add a paved driveway with designated parking spaces, ADA access to the gardens, and create an area for outdoor gatherings. Even though updates will be occurring, plans will hold true to the home’s designation as a historic property on the National Register.

The group is also redefining their educational mission for the museum, so be on the lookout for new exhibits, community events, and stop by for guided tours with expanded content. To start off, they are hosting their first archeological survey in the park on Saturday, September 30. They hope to rediscover some of the home’s former outbuildings like a bunkhouse, outhouses, and more. The public is welcome to join in.

Adding to their community engagement goals and starting in September too, the Zimmerman House Museum will be open every Saturday from 10am to 3pm. ECHO is looking to fill three part-time tour guide positions with those who have an enthusiasm for storytelling, can speak in front of groups, and are seeking supplemental income. For those interested, please send an email to for job descriptions.

Also, ECHO’s decorating the Zimmerman House for the holidays is happening again this year. Some of you may have made it through the storms last year to visit their first event, and they hope you, and those that stayed safe at home, will come out for some holiday fun after Thanksgiving. This upcoming event will focus on the house itself with each room being decorated in a different theme. Santa will also be inside the house this year, taking photos, and checking his naughty and nice list.

With ECHO’s increased activities and goals, they have a great need for interested volunteers. From board members to office help and beyond, there are all kinds of opportunities for the Wilkes East community to get involved and help their local historical society grow. You don’t have to have experience or even a passion for history, just a desire to give back. Training is included, and it’s a lot of fun, too!

Interested? Please contact ECHO at 503-618-0946 or email For more information and to stay up to date on ECHO news and events, visit their website at, like them on Facebook, and follow on Instagram and Twitter.