BANDON - “Shaped by Fire: The Surprising Story of Bandon’s Schools” is the title of program at 3 p.m., Friday, Sept. 20, at the Bandon Public Library's Sprague Room, 1204 11th St. SW. 

The program is a history of Bandon’s schools generously illustrated with photographs from the Bandon Historical Society collection and the Mary Schamehorn photo collection. Bandon Museum volunteer Jim Proehl will draw heavily on both photo collections to illustrate his talk. 

Proehl is a retired Bandon High teacher. 

“When I worked there, I never thought much about why Bandon’s schools were configured the way they are. It wasn’t until I retired and began volunteering at the museum that I started to understand the School District. Did you know that Bandon High was once the capitol building for the state of Oregon?”

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The library talk will be the culminating program in a series of events the museum and School District are working on together to mark the 80th birthday of Ocean Crest Elementary School. Ocean Crest was built to replace a school destroyed in the 1936 fire and was expanded after an arsonist burned down Bandon High in 1974.

“Every building in the School District has some relationship to a fire,” said Proehl.

“If you attended school in Bandon, there is a chance you or someone you know will show up in the slide show,” said Proehl, who works closely with the museum photo collection. The museum has tens of thousands of photos in the museum archives, and “school” is the largest category.

“When we think about history, we tend to forget that there have always been children and they always need to be somewhere,” said Proehl. “People have lived here for thousands of years. We can only speculate on a lot of that time but we have a pretty good visual record of where we kept the kids over the last 150 years.”

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