Back in the late 50’s, a small group of members in the Eugene Mineral Club decided to form their own club. Thus the Springfield Rock Club was born. Harold Dunn, a member of the Springfield Rock Club and an officer of the Northwest Federation of Mineralogical Societies, had been given a letter from a schoolgirl from North Dakota. She wrote asking for a list of state rocks. Alas! After much investigation Harold found out there was no such list. (Remember this was many years before computers).
Harold came back to his club and told them of his discovery. The members decided to do something about it. An active committee was created and letters were written, asking, “If they had a choice to name a state rock what would it be?” Cooperation from the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, rock and gem clubs, students, and interested individuals resulted in a poll from which the thunderegg emerged a winner.
On March 29, 1965, the Fifty-Third Legislative Assembly proclaimed the Thunderegg to be Oregon’s State Rock, and Oregon became the first state to have named a State Rock. But it didn’t end there.
The dedicated committee from Springfield went even further and suggested that a collection of thundereggs be displayed at the State Capitol Building. Supported by several other clubs, including the Willamette Agate and Mineral Society of Salem and the Oregon Agate and Mineral Society of Portland, the plan came to fruition, and George Williams of Tualatin Valley Gem Club in Forest Grove, then President of the Northwest Federation of Mineralogical Societies, presented the display to then Governor Mark Hatfield.
Shortly thereafter the Oregon Council of Rock and Mineral Clubs was formed. This organization aids in establishing communication with legislators and administrators concerning the use of public lands by collectors of rocks and minerals.
Then, during the construction of a new wing at the Capitol, the original thunderegg display mysteriously disappeared. It was discovered, unaccountably, at the Chemeketa Community College and might have remained there had not rockhounds visitors to the Capitol persistently asked, “Where are the thundereggs?”
The display was returned to the Capitol and placed in the Visitors’ Center Orientation Room, which incidentally, is often locked so public access is limited to group tours. In 1977 it was proposed that a lighted case be placed in an otherwise gloomy corner at the end of a short hall near the Information Desk for the display of Oregon rocks, minerals and gemstones. The Legislative Assembly budgeted $2,500 but the bids exceeded that amount and the project was shelved. It started up in 1979 then again in 1981 and again there was no money for it and it got shelved again. Harold Dunn and several other people went to Mr. Schirman, Director of Administrative Services and asked again, “Would there be money in the coming year?” The answer came back “NO!”
It was decided that if a showcase was to be built, the money would have to come from the different rock clubs. It was suggested that a pledge be made of $2.00 per club member. The response was overwhelmingly positive; and when it came time to make good on those pledges, they came through one hundred percent.
The case was built but then came many delays before it was finally installed on November 12 but the official presentation was on December 10, 1982. Harold was one of the Committee assisting in the ceremony.
Oregon Council of Rock and Mineral Clubs, of Salem is in charge of having a different club placing a display of Oregon rocks in the case for three months.
To be sure that only appropriate material is shown, and to maintain a high standard of showmanship, rules drawn up by Ted Arrowwood, Carol Lundin, and Harold Dunn have been adopted; with a supervisory committee in charge.
Our club has been asked many times to display our club members' rocks at the Capitol.
Over the years our club membership had dropped down to a dozen members or less but some members would work a bit harder and again we would increase our membership. (One example): We elected a new president in 2004, a man by the name of Dale Oakerman, his one goal during his presidency was to get us back to our once status of being a non-profit organization. He would call and find out what forms we had to start with, E.I.N., after that was filled out (three-page form & took four months) we were accepted. Next we went to our State forms, (nine-page form & 6 months later) and that was accepted in early 2005. Then came the Federal Internal Revenue Service forms (nineteen-plus pages and another seven months of waiting) then came the phone call from Clyde D. Gavin in September 2005 asking me to change one of the lines on page 1 from a 'club organization' to the part that said we were an Educational Organization. Since we were doing all these educational things already, we qualified to be listed as educational. I received the papers on October 3 or 4th. That is one way, our members worked a bit harder. We then became the Springfield Thunderegg Rock Club.
We have had articles in the local newspapers about our club. Here are some of the ways in which we contribute to our community:
* We maintain a display case in the Springfield Public Library.
* Members have given lectures at the Willamalane Adult Activities Center.
* Our members donate their time as a volunteer/instructor in the Center’s Rock Shop, and our members have displayed their creations there too.
* Our members work with the City of Springfield at their Children’s Celebration held annually in July, giving away a polished rock to every child who comes to our table and demonstrating the use of lapidary equipment.
* Our Club offers scholarships of $1000.00 to graduating senior students from either Springfield High Schools.
* We celebrate with the students of S.M.A.R.T. (Start Making A Reader Today) in May, giving a rock bag filled with eighteen polished rocks and gems with literature, each year on their graduating day.
* We have done Rock Identification Programs for Elementary school also.
* Annually, our club offers a Rock and Gem Show; it is free to all who come.
Who we are
Here is our current Board of Directors. Elections are held each November with new officers starting their terms in January.
Sgt @ Arms