In 2003, the City announced the need to widen the east side of Boones Ferry Road in downtown Tualatin. the cry went up to save the 1926 Craftsman-style church and the 1913 brick store which stood in the way. The church was offered to the Historical Society and when careful inspection deemed it sound enough to be moved, the Society began a campaign to save and move the building and refit it to become a Heritage Center.
Signatures and promised donations were gathered from over 1500 supportive citizens, an operational agreement was made with the City of Tualatin, and the project was launched. City Council members, City staff members, City advisory committee members, and several dozen Historical Society members mobilized to raise funds, arrange the move, and plan its new use. Then early Sunday morning, July 17, 2005, the old church building was lifted off its foundation and rolled down several streets to its new home on Sweek Drive. After several more months of structural changes and updating it was opened for dedication and ribbon cutting on February 11, 2006, to become the new Tualatin Heritage Center.
The church was hand-built in 1926 by local residents and was originally known as the Community Methodist Church and later became the Tualatin United Methodist Church. It served until 1982 when a new building on Martinazzi Ave. replaced it. It subsequently served other congregations and businesses until its move.
The building holds cherished memories for many. In its 80 years it was the scene of countless christenings, weddings and funerals and for many years was Tualatin's only church. In its new role, it is the home of the Tualatin Historical Society and is co-operated with the City of Tualatin to offer programs and activities for the general community. Typical offerings: concerts and recitals, birdwalks along the wetlands, plays by the Lumiere Players, art shows, oral history and genealogical workshops, jam sessions, knitting and crocheting workshops, and Mad Science for K-6 kids. And it is a repository of local history resources. It is also available for family reunions, weddings and receptions. A monthly calendar of events is emailed to Society members and available online.
Society Board Member Norm Parker points out that the Heritage Center will never be a museum in the classical sense. Instead, the Society is planning to use multi-media technologies to take advantage of a growing database of digitized historical photos and an oral history program that captures voices and images of local persons willing to share their stories. An Oregon Heritage Commission grant launched the Tualatin Oral Chronicle project which includes a vintage rotary phone a visitor can pick up and start talking into. Their voice is digitally stored in a computer for later use.