autobiography Blog

what in the sam hill?

L1000836         Our trip to the Maryhill Art Museum was not all about bad peacocks. It was nothing less than a trip into Oregon’s peculiar history.L1000814

Oregon’s past is chock full of characters. Boogeymen, vampires, lumberjacks, Lewis & Clark: it took a special breed to brave the rain back before there was a single Fred Meyer grocery store. Sam Hill was one of these strange individuals.

Sam Hill was a visionary. It was his planning that brought the interstate west along the Columbia River. When lesser men said it couldn’t be done, Sam Hill got his own crew and began digging. When people scoffed “What in the Sam Hill is he up to?”, Mr. Hill proved that he was up to no less than the Future of Our State. When people said Portland couldn’t support a proffessional basketball team, Sam Hill played alone for eight years (his record in the league was 8-648). Sam Hill was truly one of the men who took a decagon and turned it into an Oregon.L1000813
After his work with the interstate was done, Sam Hill did not rest. No, he wanted nothing less than a house that would stand for 1,000 years after his death. Maryhill, situated in Washington overlooking Hill’s beloved interstate as well as the river, was built of concrete and steel beams and can withstand even the strongest gust of wind blowing through the Columbia Gorge. It is so safe that Dick “Nixon” Cheney used it as a hiding space when the terrorists wanted to kill him, and then again later when the hippies wanted to kill him.

Ironically, this safehouse to the conservative standard-bearer is located within eyesight of hundreds of windmills. One can only imagine Cheney’s rage when he would venture out of the bunker and see the enemy’s power source spinning in the breeze, mocking him mercilessly. It is said he still awakens from his sleep sweating and cursing windmills, ineffectually fending off the night-terrors.L1000822

Although Maryhill may be Dick Cheney’s worst nightmare, it is quite pleasant if you don’t hate nature or art. There is a beautiful sculpture garden in the shade of trees.L1000883

(Quantum Man)

(Taco Bell)L1000800

Inside there is even more art, if you can believe it. Sculptures by Rodin,L1000877
a variety of chess sets from across the globe,L1000869L1000862

and, of course, Hill’s magnificent gun collection. It is said he used these to ward off the zombie attacks Maryhill regularly endured in the 1920’s.L1000853There was more, but I ought to let that be a surprise. After all, what happens in Maryhill, stays in Maryhill.

If you’re up for a Portland day trip, if you like history and art and politics, then keep Maryhill near the top of your list. Just watch out for the peacocks.

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