Newmuseum documents Blaine’s Peace Arch era

Published on Thu, Aug 24, 2006 by Tara Nelson

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New museum documents Blaine’s Peace Arch era

By Tara Nelson

In 1921, money was commonly referred to as “cabbage,” a “cathouse” was slang for bordello and a “canary” was a term for a female singer.

Some terms, such as “to carry a torch,” however, still mean to have a romantic interest for someone, said Christina Alexander, reading out of a book of 1920s terminology.

Alexander, president of the U.S./Canada Peace Arch Anniversary Association and a resident of Blaine, recently opened a new museum featuring the memorabilia and artifacts of the era in which the Peace Arch was constructed.

The museum, located in the Hollinger Building at 685 Peace Portal Drive, currently displays historical photographs of the Peace Arch, red leather theater seats from Blaine’s former Seaview Theater, and a regular showings of the Peace Arch Rising film, originally aired on the History Channel, as well as other exhibits.

Alexander said she organized the museum with Birch Bay resident John Choulochas, who is vice president of the organization.

The approximately 1,000-square foot office space was conditionally granted free of rent by building owner Mel Hollinger, of Blaine. Alexander said she thinks Blaine has a rich historical heritage and that a museum could act as a catalyst to bring the community together.

“I really believe culture affects your community,” she said. “It gives people a sense of where they come from. We also have long-term goals of bringing people together.”

Many of the current exhibits came from the Mary Hill Museum of Art on the Columbia River Gorge in Washington, as well as from the Blaine archives – really a box in city hall, she said.

A genuine 1920s top hat was donated by long-time Blaine resident Josephine Seawright and Blaine resident Burt Iverson donated several historical photographs.

Alexander added she’s working on coordinating an exhibit by Blaine photographer Elias Breiford, who documented Blaine during the 1920s and beyond.

The museum is also looking for volunteers to expand hours of operation during the upcoming Peace Arch dedication days event, scheduled for September.

“We’re looking for anyone who has a story about Blaine’s history,” she said. “It really can’t happen without everybody’s support.”
The Peace Arch City Museum is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free but donations are gladly accepted, Alexander said.

For more information, or to volunteer, call 332-7165.

The annual International Peace Arch Dedication Days celebration is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, September 9 at Peace Arch Park.

The event will include historical reenactments, 1920s period costumes, antique cars and other activities.

For more information, visit www.peacearchpark.org.