Corvallis Resources

Avery-Helm Historic District

The first historic district in Corvallis, Avery-Helm, was an approach to protecting neighborhood integrity.  While the National Register of Historic Places nomination proceeded, neighborhood advocates succeeded in down-zoning part of the neighborhood from RS 12 to RS 9 to match the existing built environment. Together, these strategies preserved the 14 blocks of Corvallis' near downtown neighborhood.

College Hill West Historic District

The College Hill West Historic District is a well-defined, well-preserved neighborhood of mostly single family homes. In 2002 with city leadership, staff prepared a nomination for the 262 tax lots and 390 existing resources dating from 1905 to 1945 within the west College Hill area, effectively protecting the character of the near campus neighborhood from intense development.

Oregon State University Historic District

The OSU Historic District was enrolled in the National Register of Historic Places in 2008. The OSU Historic District includes 89 identified resources, 59 contributing resources (54 buildings, 1 structure and 4 sites) dating from 1888 to 1957, and 24 non-contributing structures. In addition to the resources identified on the nomination, OSU identified ten additional non-contributing buildings. The 170-acre OSU historic district is Oregon’s only historic academic campus that preserves both historic architecture and the early Olmsted campus plan.  PreservationWORKS! proudly supported the OSU nomination with the Getty Foundation.

Corvallis Government Resources

Corvallis Art Center / Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan

700 SW Madison St.

The 1889 Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan, an outstanding example of Gothic Revival design, originally stood on the SE corner of 7th and Jefferson. After the congregation moved to a new facility, this church was secularized in 1961 and moved to this site. The former sanctuary floor and interior walls were altered and adapted to gallery use. The Art Center is a fine example of a public/private partnership that adds to the community’s cultural vitality.

The circa 1857 Gothic Revival house moved from its original location at the northwest corner of 4th and Jefferson Streets in 1906. In 1989, the threat of demolition inspired the formation of a nonprofit group that raised funds, managed moving logistics, recruited volunteers, and painstakingly restored Gaylord House at this location. Using traditional tools, replacement sills were hand hewn from fir trees blown down in Avery Park during a January 1990 storm, and cedar shingles were painstakingly hand-crafted. Today, Gaylord House is an excellent example of early Corvallis construction techniques.

Knotts-Owens Farm

3525 Hwy 99W

The 1849 Knotts-Owens Farmstead, an excellent example of pioneer farming and early Oregon settlement patterns, was home to four generations of the Knotts-Owens family. Original farm buildings, located on their original sites, are surrounded by production agricultural fields and oak savanna.  In 1995, an attempt to annex the property for housing failed public vote.  In 2002, a consortium of Samaritan Health Services, the Greenbelt Land Trust, and the City of Corvallis purchased the farm’s 312 acres. Samaritan gained 85 acres for future expansion; Greenbelt secured 95 acres to preserve native oak and wetland habitats, and the City retained 132 acres as open space; ten acres set aside for the historic homestead. The City envisions hiking trails, educational and recreational opportunities, and views Knotts-Owens Farm as a northern gateway to the Corvallis open space system.

Majestic Theatre

115 NW 2nd St​

Built for Whiteside & Small, Corvallis theater pioneers, the 1913 Majestic Theatre housed international violinists, opera stars, vaudeville acts, college plays, local choruses and bands. When the owners put the theater on the market, its future became uncertain. In 1985, responding to well-organized public advocacy, a public/private partnership formed when the City of Corvallis purchased the building and a local management organization contracted for theater operations. In fall 2014, leadership, staffing, maintenance funding and fund-raising challenges caused the management organization to let their contract with the City lapse. In January 2015, the City’s Parks and Recreation Department stepped up and assumed operations management of the Majestic adding to Corvallis’ diverse cultural environment.

Riverfront Commerative Park

1st Street along the Willamette River

Once an eyesore strewn with abandoned cars, and then a proposed highway bypass, Riverfront Park development prompted a vigorous debate about balancing open space and hard-surfaced recreation areas. In 2002, after 30 years of public debate and $15 million investment, the linear park opened as a highly successful gathering place that promotes community identity and pride.

Shawala Point

At the confluence of the Marys & Willamette Rivers

Native People camped, fished, hunted and traded here. Later, the point provided a convenient location for sawmill operations. During the 1980s, the City considered sale and development of the point as a hotel/convention center. Today, it is part of the City’s Parks and Trails system.

Sunnyside School

3525 Hwy 99W (Moved)

Around 1912, a wood-frame Craftsman style school replaced the one-room 1897 Mudflat School. In 1929 when the school districts were reorganized, Sunnyside School closed, and became a residence. By 2013, property owners decided on demolition, but were willing to consider a move. In early 2014, Sunnyside School climbed the hill west of the Knotts-Owens farmhouse to its new location, where it will become an education center for the historic Knotts-Owens Farm.  PreservationWORKS! proudly facilitated Sunnyside School's transition to city-owned stewardship.

Benton County Resources

Benton County Courthouse

127 SW 4th St

The 1888 Benton County Courthouse is Oregon’s oldest courthouse still used for its original government purpose. A 1954-55 remodeling aimed to improve Courthouse function and efficiency and removed or covered original architectural details. The Circuit Courtroom – divided in two –  accommodated a new District Court, and partitioned offices provided needed administrative space.  In the 1970s, when the County outgrew the space, demolishing the historic Courthouse and replacing it with a new structure became a serious option. Persuaded by local advocates and inspired by judicial leadership, Benton County supported a functional renovation that respected historic features. The Courthouse is now the iconic image for both Benton County and the City of Corvallis, and links our shared past to the future.

Crystal Lake Cemetery

1945 SE Crystal Lake Dr

In 1860 Joseph Alexander deeded 5.31acres of his 1849 Donation Land Claim to the Masons' Corvallis Lodge #14 for a cemetery.  A meander of the Willamette River on the east side of the cemetery formed a small lake, that most likely inspired the name Crystal Lake Cemetery – adopted in 1866.  Among those buried at Crystal Lake are Joseph C. Avery, one of Corvallis' founders; OSU presidents Benjamin Arnold and William Jasper Kerr; the Wong family, one of Corvallis' early Chinese families; and Louis and Maria Southworth, an early African-American, Benton County couple.

 

Time, weather, and neglect took their toll on historic stones.  After cemetery operations and management transferred to Benton County in 2001, citizens volunteered more than 500 volunteer hours to survey Crystal Lake Cemetery.  With County leadership, volunteers developed a preservation plan, conducted workshops, and accomplished stone repair.  As County funds are thin, grants provided more than half the costs of the Crystal Lake Cemetery preservation project to document, research, preserve and interpret site.

Fort Hoskins

38150 Ft. Hoskins Rd, Philomath

On July 26, 1856, the U.S. Military established Fort Hoskins on the western edge of the Coast Range Indian Reservation on the Luckiamute River.  The Fort honors Lieutenant Charles Hoskins, who died in the battle of Monterey, Mexico, ten years earlier.  Fort Hoskins guarded the pass through the Coast Range to the Willamette Valley and protected the Native People at the Siletz Indian Agency.  The Fort also provided critical Union presence in Oregon during the Civil War.  Later, the Fort served as a union soldiers' infirmary.  When the Civil War ended, the U.S. Army decommissioned the property, and in 1866 sold the site to Samuel Frantz, who built a house that remains on the property.  Four years after Fort decommissioning, the former Commander's House moved to the vicinity of Peedee.

 

During state-funded excavation by the OSU Department of Anthropology in 1976-77, thousands of recovered artifacts provided critical information about frontier fort life.  Armed with substantial knowledge gained during excavations and exceptional local leadership, Benton County purchased the original site and surrounding area – a total of 127 acres – through a 1991 bond measure.  In May, 2000, Fort Hoskins Historical Park opened for education and recreation.

In 2011, General Augur's descendants provided an 1861 painting to Benton County, that confirmed the Peedee house was indeed the Commander's house, identified its fort location,  and provided missing information about the Fort's physical plan.  When private efforts raised sufficient funds in 2012, the Commander's House dramatically rolled — in two pieces — to its original site at Fort Hoskins, where it was reassembled.

 

Without Benton County's foresight and funding, and individuals' leadership, Fort Hoskins narrative might be lost, instead of the inspiration it is today.

Palestine Church

NE Arnold Rd, Adair Village

This structure is the oldest existing church building in Benton County.  In 1856 members of the North Palestine Baptist Church organized as a division of the Corvallis Baptist Church.  In 1882 the congregation built this church on the location of the former Drum – later Gingles – school, now the North Palestine Baptist Cemetery.  The church remained active until the end of World War II, when the remaining members deeded the property to the Palestine Cemetery Association.  When burial need exceeded available space, Benton County moved the church building to its current location to save this early spiritual center.

Plunkett House/Barn

37283 Kings Valley Hwy, Philomath

Fred Beazell gifted the 585-acre Beazell Memorial Forest to Benton County in 2000, and the forest opened to the public in 2003.  The rehabilitated historic barn is now an interpretive center and classroom.  The Forest also includes the James and Ashnah Plunkett farmhouse, built circa 1870.

 

Benton County accomplished this substantial collaborative work with diverse citizen, corporate, and academic partnerships as a legacy for the people of Benton County and Oregon.

Nonprofit-owned Resources

Hillside

2127 NW Monroe (Newman Center)

Margaret Snell, founder of the Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) Department of Home Economics, designed and constructed the 1910 Hillside and other houses on her College Hill property. In 2000, responding to the need for student housing near campus, the Newman Center proposed to scrape-off the Snell buildings for new construction.  Following public outcry, Newman Center redesigned their original plan to not only retain Hillside, but also to reduce the scale of proposed housing to complement height and massing of the surrounding neighborhood, and to provide underground parking. The result is a pedestrian-oriented, student housing compound surrounding an inviting green space.

Irish Bend Covered Bridge #14169

Campus Way on the OSU campus (Moved)

The Irish Bend Covered Bridge, an excellent example of a covered Howe-truss timber bridge, is one of fifty-six surviving examples of the estimated 450 covered timber truss bridges that once existed in Oregon.  The Howe-truss timber bridge increased the load-bearing capacity and the life expectancy of spans.

 

In 1954 Benton County built the Irish Bend Covered Bridge over the Willamette Slough at Irish Bend Road near Monroe.  In 1988, thirteen years after a modern structure bypassed the bridge, the County dismantled the bridge, stored it for a year, and then reassembled it on the OSU campus over Oak Creek.  By agreement, OSU owns the bridge, but Benton County maintains it.

Covered bridges are no longer compatible with modern transportation standards, so many covered bridges are bypassed, demolished, or moved to allow for the construction of modern roads.  The current project includes: installation of a fire sprinkler system, cleaning, fumigation, dry rot repair, painting, and a new roof.  The current Covered Bridge maintenance project illustrates a successful – and clever – collaborative preservation project.  Federal funds for the project flow through ODOT to the City of Corvallis acting as a state-certified agency on behalf of Benton County to maintain the bridge owned by OSU!

Julian Hotel

150 SW Monroe Ave

In the heart of downtown Corvallis, the 1893 Julian Hotel provides essential housing for elderly or disabled households. Hazardous abatement, an entire sloping floor, and long-suffering amenities required an inventive solution. The stately four-story Georgian Revival hotel’s 2015 rehabilitation required a creative business model and outstanding coordination among multiple public, private nonprofit, and governmental groups. The result is a sensitively rehabilitated structure that offers affordable studio and one-bedroom rentals and also celebrates its historic character and defining architectural features.

Washington School

630 NW 7th St (Benton Center)

The 1923 Classic Revival Washington School opened in September 1924 for grades one through seven with eight original classrooms and a seven-acre athletic field. When the school district reorganized in 1975, Washington School became surplus property. In 1977, the City of Corvallis purchased the school and subsequently sold the building to Linn-Benton Community College as an extension center and retained the grounds for Washington Park.

Whiteside Theatre

361 SW Madison Ave

Built in 1922 by Samuel & George Whiteside, the 800-seat Italian Renaissance-style Whiteside Theatre is the City’s best commercial resource in terms of original design. A survivor of two fires, the Whiteside retains its 1920s architectural features, stunning interior, and its rare Wurlitzer organ. In 2002, a failed sewer line closed the theatre. In 2006, the new Historic Resources Commission denied a historic preservation permit to convert the theatre to shops and a restaurant. Following appeals on the local and state levels, developers withdrew the permit application. The newly-formed Whiteside Theatre Foundation received the theatre from the corporate owner in 2008 as a community gift for film, musical performance, and the spoken word.

Camp Adair

Camp Adair Rd, Adair Village

In February 1941 the U.S. War Department decided to locate a military training camp in Oregon.  Months later, on December 12, five days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the military approved funds for Camp Adair; construction began January 1942.  This World War II army cantonment with necessary support personnel transformed 50,000 acres of family farms to an army post of 1,800 buildings within six months.  Accommodating 33,000 personnel, Camp Adair became Oregon's second largest city at the time.  To build Camp Adair, the military demolished the former town of Wells, that included a school, railroad depot, church, several businesses, and homes.  Families were uprooted, cemeteries relocated, railroad tracks rerouted, and schools consolidated.  The Cantonment is named for Henry Rodney Adair, a West Point graduate, Oregon pioneer descendant, and the first Oregonian killed in the 1916 Mexican border disputes.

Camp Adair hosted troops and military personnel between 1942 and its decommissioning in 1946.   From 1944 to 1946, Camp Adair served as a prisoner of war camp, housing German and Italian POWs.  A US. Air Force radar station operated on the site of the former camp headquarters from 1957 until 1969.  Some wartime structures survive including two former barracks.

 

In 2010, the city of Adair Village acquired the two remaining barracks. The city arranged to move the buildings; placed them on foundations; installed infrastructure, and installed new siding, windows and roofs.

 

Adair Living History (ALH), a local nonprofit, is fund-raising to finish the buildings' interiors for reuse.  The Adair Village City Council agreed to create an interpretive center in one of the buildings.  Once construction is complete ALH will manage the center and provide educational opportunities for those interested in both local and military history.  The Camp Adair Barracks illustrate an excellent preservation example of a successful public-private partnership.

Children's Farm Home School

4455 NE Highway 20

In 1919, Mary Powers Riley proposed that the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) Oregon Chapter build and operate a facility where orphans and other homeless children could live in a homelike environment.  In 1922 the WCTU founded the Children's Farm Home for orphaned or neglected children and managed the facility for 40 years.  During this time, more than 3,500 children benefited from the services provided at the facility.  The Farm Home supported itself through proceeds from a cannery, dairy and slaughterhouse, as well as the sale of fruit and nuts grown on the property.  The Farm Home School closed in 1978.  

Throughout the years, services changed and today the facility provides children's mental and behavioral healthcare services.  A $4.5 million legacy gift launched the Farm Home School restoration in 2008.   In 2011, an unanticipated plumbing upgrade required fund-raising an additional million dollars.  The restoration required five years.  In 2013 the Children's Farm Home School reopened with a public grand entry, banquet room, classrooms, café, kitchen, administrative offices and a museum, and a private facility for children and their families.

Preservation success required multiple elements:

•         Corporate leadership endorsed the restoration

•         Listing in the National Register of Historic Places enhanced fund-raising efforts

•         Generous lead gift inspired additional donors, and

•         Outstanding, skillful, fund-raising carried the project over the financing threshold.

Independent School

25318 SW Airport Rd, Philomath

Built in 1919, the Independent School educated young scholars until 1952, when the school district consolidated and the Independent schoolhouse was abandoned.  The Independent Community Club, a local organization, preserved the school building by giving it new vitality as a thriving community center.

Philomath College Building

1101 Main St, Philomath

In 1865 local subscribers pledged $17,500 to the United Brethren to develop an institution of learning.  Built in 1867 the original two-story brick school building included classrooms on the first floor and a chapel on the second.  Student labor completed the west and east wings in 1905 and 1907 respectively.  Philomath College functioned until 1929, when lack of enrollment due to economic depression and poor financial management forced the school to close its doors.  During its 62 years of operation, the institution enrolled about 6,000 students, educating 1,200 teachers.  After the college closed, church worship continued in the building.

During the 1960s, the building fell into disrepair. The structure's fate was in question until 1978 when Benton County voters approved a levy for initial funds for a county museum in the Philomath College Building.  Local citizens placed it on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Benton County Historical Society acquired the property and opened the Benton County Historical Museum in 1980.

Soap Creek School

37465 Soap Creek Rd, Corvallis

Pete Johansen, a Soap Creek resident, built this school in 1935; the third school to serve valley school children.  Typical of one-rooms school houses, Soap Creek features a covered entry porch, central bell tower, and boys' and girls' cloak rooms on either side of the entry.  The school closed in 1943 when Camp Adair purchased surrounding land for military firing ranges.

 

After closure it stood empty for 26 years, until the dedicated Soap Creek Schoolhouse Foundation formed to restore and preserve the schoolhouse in 1969.

Wren Community Club

34996 Wren Rd, Wren

In the late 1930s, Wren community members built the Community Club for dances, basketball, meetings, and parties.  The original one-time membership fee of 50 cents endures today.  During World War II, Camp Adair soldiers frequented the Community Club for social activities.  Later, the building housed indoor horseshoe courts where statewide enthusiasts competed in tournaments.  In 2002, the Wren Community Club launched it's first annual “Let It Flow” event to fund improvements to the Club, notably to provide full access for all populations.  These stalwart community builders continue to succeed at preservation-the-hard-way:  volunteering, construction, and growth, 50 cents at a time.

Our Own Portfolio

Preserve America

Preserve America, a federal initiative, encourages and supports community efforts to preserve and enjoy our priceless cultural and natural heritage. Program goals include a greater shared knowledge about the nation’s past, strengthened regional identities and local pride, increased local participation in preserving the country’s cultural and natural heritage assets, and support for the economic vitality of our communities.  Preserve America Communities protect and celebrate their heritage; use their historic assets for economic development and community revitalization; and encourage people to experience and appreciate local historic resources through education and heritage tourism programs.  PresevationWORKS! successfully nominated Corvallis for the program in 2008.

Neighborhood Photo Survey

In Corvallis, many properties most in peril from student housing construction are the least protected.  Consequently in June, 2012, PreservationWORKS!, neighborhood associations, and volunteers organized a Photo Survey of all the near campus neighborhoods.  SHPO staff provided basic training on how to look at a building; what information to record; and how to record it.  Surveyors brought their own cameras.  With state staff we provided maps and inventory forms, and clip boards.  We labeled our on-the-ground workers as Neighborhood Photographers.   The press covered the Survey beforehand, so property owners might not be alarmed when people with cameras and clipboards showed up on the sidewalk.  The reconnaissance level survey results were more robust than expected: 

  • Volunteers surveyed more than 2,300 structures on 934 acres in an area approximately 7 miles by 10 miles including 13 distinct neighborhoods

  • Volunteers recorded more than 6,000 images

  • A dormant neighborhood association revitalized and two new neighborhood associations formed

  • Information generated flowed directly into the City/OSU Collaboration Project Neighborhood Planning Group, and directly resulted in neighborhood-friendly zone changes and staff support for a city-wide preservation plan

  • The entire database is available to property owners, neighbors, decision-makers and anyone with access to the internet on the SHPO web site.

The preservation community energized and expanded and the Survey strengthened a sense of community.

City Council Preservation Orientation

For PreservationWORKS!, communicating with decision-makers is a key to our mission.  In January, 2015, we coordinated an official work session for the newly-seated City Council.  Working with Visit Corvallis, our tourism agency, we showcased the Corvallis Transit Trolley, prepared an informative tour, and concise route.  The tour concluded at Depot Suites, short-stay lodging in a historic depot, and the one-time OSU poultry and incubator buildings.  The property owner provided tours of the buildings and an overview of how the buildings were saved, repurposed, and contribute to the local economy.

 

This was a fun-filled program on a rainy, winter Saturday afternoon.  The Mayor, Councilors, and their families participated.  We featured important historic assets, exceptional rehabilitation projects, and examples of sensitive – and insensitive – construction projects, to demonstrate the profound impact of rampant student housing construction – and the demolition of historic homes and neighborhoods it creates.  We were able to provide Councilors with an overview of our local historic preservation process.  This “in-the-field” experience was far more effective than a classroom-style presentation.  Our tourism partners were also able to explain the mechanics of the Transit Occupancy Tax (Bed tax).  We effectively demonstrated our talent for working together to collaborate on heritage tourism projects.

Research Your Historic Site Online Workshop

The explosion of digital content available online is a boon for property owners researching historic homes, buildings and sites. Resources are available from the OSU and University of Oregon Libraries. This workshop explored some of these opportunities, including BuildingOregon.com and the Oregon Digital Newspaper Program. Other resources discussed included OSU online yearbooks, historic resource photo collections, and the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office's online database.

Sunnyside School

Around 1912, a wood-frame Craftsman style school replaced the one-room 1897 Mudflat School. In 1929 when the school districts were reorganized, Sunnyside School closed, and became a residence. By 2013, property owners decided on demolition, but were willing to consider a move. A generous donor stepped forward to move Sunnyside to a new location. With facilitation from PreservationWORKS!, in early 2014, Sunnyside School climbed the hill west of the Knotts-Owens farmhouse to its new location, where it will become an education center for the historic Knotts-Owens Farm.

Legal Participation

Participation in the First-Ever Preservation Case Before the Oregon Supreme Court

In 2015 the Lake Oswego Preservation Society petitioned the Supreme Court to review a recent Court of Appeals decision that allowed the de-listing and demolition of the 1855 Carman House, Lake Oswego’s oldest dwelling.  The law jeopardized the preservation of locally-designated historic properties across Oregon including those in Corvallis.  Because the lower court’s decision set a precedent greatly expanding the applicability of Oregon’s 1995 “owner consent” law, Restore Oregon, PreservationWORKS!, and others filed an amicus brief detailing how the Carman House decision would endanger local landmarks including those in Corvallis.  Preservation prevailed in this watershed court decision.

Preservation Month

Corvallis celebrates its heritage every May.  Working together the Corvallis and Benton County planning staff, the Corvallis and Benton County Historic Resource Commissions and PreservationWORKS! present a month-long series of guided walking, biking, and paddling tours, lectures, workshops, open houses, films, geocaching events, exhibits, window displays, interactive children's events, celebrations, and awards.  The month of activities involves enduring partnerships with City and County Parks and Recreation, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, Benton County Museum, Art Center, libraries, OSU, local churches, campus ministries, industrial resources, downtown businesses, gardeners, granges, Adair Village, and historic property owners.  May is a fun-filled, action-packed opportunity to engage with  our unique stories and storytellers.  You cannot be bored in May!

Historic Trolley Tours

PreservationWORKS! and Visit Corvallis host the Historic Trolley Tours from the shady comfort of the air-conditioned Trolley.  These entertaining 1 1/2 hour programs familiarize tour goers with early Corvallis settlement, milestones, and leaders.  The tour – on Saturdays in July and August – provides visitors and residents an introduction to Corvallis' history and architectural heritage in picturesque historic neighborhoods and downtown.  The Trolley Tour program rolled out in 2007 as part of the city's 150th Anniversary, and is now a welcome fixture in Corvallis' summer events calendar.  The tours:

  • Raise awareness of specific – sometimes imperiled – historic assets

  • Teach basic architectural vocabulary and styles

  • Promote understanding of changing cultural, social, and technological values and achievements, and

  • Celebrate historic structures as three-dimensional narratives that tell inspirational stories of local leadership, development, innovation, and traditions.

Future Projects

Preservation Pubs

Keep an eye out for this, we will be generating content for this in the future!

Preservation Awards Local and State

This part of the site is under construction, stay tuned!

Preservation Successes

Before PreservationWORKS! officially organized, these outstanding Corvallis and Benton County historic resources required significant efforts to preserve and protect them. Many future PreservationWORKS! volunteers contributed substantially to these campaigns.

National Register of Historic Places Districts

Gaylord House

600 NW 7th St.

Madison Street Methodist Church

501 SW Madison Ave (City Hall)

This 1924 Classic Revival church building replaced an earlier church on this site. During
WWII, the building housed the USO Canteen where Camp Adair and OSU servicemen
gathered for recreation. After the war, this structure became an OSU women’s dormitory.
In 1948, the city entered into a lease with the federal government that provided a
purchase option, and the building became known as the Community Center Building. In
1956, when the former Corvallis City Hall was razed, this building provided City Hall
headquarters. The shared histories of Corvallis and OSU are inextricably intertwined, and
this building embodies that shared past.

© 2020 by PreservationWORKS
P.O. Box 1474
Corvallis, OR 97339

info@presworks.org

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