Located beyond an inconspicuous storage area on the second floor of the university plant services building is a room that holds more than a century of George Fox history. The entryway that leads to these reminders of years past was once hidden by a cabinet, so they took to calling it “Narnia” and the name stuck. And while you won’t find any witches, magicians or talking animals in this place, you will encounter a vast expanse filled with artifacts dating all the way back to prehistoric times – long before the founding of what was then Pacific College in 1891. Recently the Journal joined longtime plant services director Clyde Thomas and resident historian Rick Fieldhouse to discover and document some of Narnia’s most intriguing treasures. 

Photos by Jeremy Lloyd


Artifact found in the 'Narnia' room at George Fox University

Pre-Columbian stone artifacts were often donated to the university by farmers, who discovered them while plowing their fields. Pictured are a stone bowl (top); a chopper (left) that served as a hand axe; a shaft sander (center), which created smooth shafts for arrows or javelins; a multipurpose tool called a pestle (right); and flakes (bottom), used as knives or scrapers.

Artifact found in the 'Narnia' room at George Fox University

This medical bag belonged to Dr. John Brougher, a George Fox board member from 1946-76 and a major financial supporter of the university. The man for whom Brougher Hall is named delivered more than 10,000 children during his 50-year medical career and also served as curator of the university museum in 1977. The bag still contains many of the original medical instruments. 

Artifact found in the 'Narnia' room at George Fox University

Another of the many items in Narnia donated by Friends missionaries, this iron axe head was set into the wooden shaft with resin, which has mostly deteriorated with age. This particular piece came from Kenya in the early 1900s and was donated to the university in the 1940s. It could have been used as a tool, a weapon, or both. 

Artifact found in the 'Narnia' room at George Fox University

This early surveying transit belonged to Oliver Weesner, who taught math, physics and business at the college for 43 years until 1952. Weesner spent several decades as city surveyor, helping lay the groundwork for much of the city of Newberg. He also served as the college’s treasurer during the Great Depression, and often used his own assets to help keep it financially afloat.

Artifact found in the 'Narnia' room at George Fox University

These original seats from Wood-Mar Auditorium were removed from the balcony during a remodel in 1973. They came from the Hippodrome Theatre in Portland and were installed in Wood-Mar shortly after the auditorium was first constructed in 1910. The framework of the seats is cast iron, and the wire frame underneath is designed to hold a gentleman’s hat so he doesn’t obstruct the view of those behind him. 

Artifact found in the 'Narnia' room at George Fox University

This Aymara Indian dance costume was brought back from Bolivia in the early 1930s by an Oregon Yearly Meeting of Friends missionary. Adorned with glass “jewels” and embroidered with metallic thread, the costume would have been worn with equally decorative pants and a headdress and used to perform at celebrations throughout the year.

Artifact found in the 'Narnia' room at George Fox University

This clapper, part of the Victory Bell used in the bell tower of the original Friends Pacific Academy building, dates back to 1885. In 1954, the Victory Bell was mounted on a cart and taken to games to be rung after a George Fox win. As a result, it was the target of many pranks, including one instance when it was stolen by Reed College students and ended up at the bottom of the Willamette River. The bell was recovered and later mounted in the current Centennial Tower, but the clapper was replaced by electronic chimes. 

Artifact found in the 'Narnia' room at George Fox University

M. Lowell Edwards was the engineer behind the development of the first practical artificial mitral heart valve. Narnia contains early examples of the valve, its components, and the molds used to make them. Lowell Edwards, who attended Pacific College from 1919-1921, was the grandson of Newberg Quaker pioneer and college co-founder Jesse Edwards, for whom Edwards Residence Hall is named.

Artifact found in the 'Narnia' room at George Fox University

Believe it or not, this Pleistocene mammoth tooth came from a juvenile. One of many fossils donated to the university over the years, this tooth came to George Fox via Newberg Sand and Gravel in the late 1960s after it was discovered by a dredge operator. 

Artifact found in the 'Narnia' room at George Fox University

This beanie was originally worn by Dr. Homer Hester in 1928 to indicate his underclassmen status. His father, Dr. Thomas Hester, was credited with bringing a new game called “basket-ball” to Pacific College in 1898. Also pictured is an early athletic jersey (right), estimated to be from the 1920s; and a cheerleader’s sweater from the early 1970s, thought to be one of the first clothing items to display the college’s new Bruin mascot. 

Learn more about us through the George Fox University Vimeo channel.