The Benton County Historical Museum opened in the summer of 1980 in the restored Philomath College building. The building itself is a historical artifact, built during 1866-1867 by the United Brethren Church to house its Philomath College.
Donor: Cecil Hayden estate
Cecil Hayden lived in Alsea for over 80 years. For his efforts to preserve artifacts and document the history of western Benton County, he became known as "The Historian of Alsea." This plate and other objects from his estate are the first artifacts accessioned by the museum.
Featuring the Benton County Courthouse, this plate commemorates the centennial of the date when Corvallis received its city charter from the state. The other buildings pictured on the plate include the original First Methodist Church, City Hall, the Carding Mill, a Portland and Corvallis steamer, the Memorial Union Building at OSU, "The Lady of the Fountain" (once at OSU), the old Central school and High School, Blumhart's Ferry, "The Corvallis" train engine, Mr. Frank Grove's home, and Benton Hall at OSU.
Donor: Mrs. Roy Avery
Corvallis founder J.C. Avery and his wife Martha used this coverlet on the bed in their first cabin in Corvallis. This homespun coverlet from the 1840s was donated by the wife of J.C.'s grandson, Roy.
Donor: Bill Fendall
David Fendall drove the Philomath-Alsea stage coach before becoming a car salesman and a barber in Corvallis. For recreation he grew award-winning roses and played championship checkers. This set of checkers is hand-made of cross sections of a tree branch. The checkerboard is signed by Newell Banks, the American champion at both checkers and chess for 25 years.
Donor: Francis Duell
Mid-20th century Philomath street scenes, businesses, and people are the emphasis of a photo album donated by Francis Duell, proprietor of Duell's Jewelers.
The Benton County Historical Society's photo archive contains over 37,000 photographs, including prints, negatives, and photo albums.
Donor: (Pauline) Mary Keith
Artist Colista Murray Dowling was a charter member of the Oregon Society of Artists and a well-known watercolorist. She also won the competition for the 1914 Rose Festival Poster, painted murals on the walls of many Portland Buildings, and worked as an illustrator for The Pacific Monthly.
This painting was owned by her friend and fellow artist Pauline Goldenstein, the donor's mother.
Donor: Norma Wagner, Monroe
Donor: Merle Gilb
Hugo Neuman established the Willamette Valley Winery on Neuman Road in Benton County. Established in 1934, it was one of the earliest wineries in Oregon. Operating until 1960, it produced some white wines, plus cherry, prune, and a variety of other fruit wines, all of which supposedly "went down like punch."
Donor: Crawford H. "Scram" Graham
Oregon logging photographs taken circa 1900.
The photo selected for the online exhibition shows loggers who work the rollway and ginpole as they parbuckle (cross haul) the logs onto railroad cars. The steam donkey used for power is not shown in the picture. Judging by the sniped log ends, they were transported to the rollway over a skid road.
Donor: Larry and Sondy Well
Renowned printmaker, professor and former dean at OSU, and later curator of prints at the Portland Art Museum, Gordon Gilkey gave this trial proof of his "Terrestial Terrain" to Marian and Larry Well in 1962.
Donor: Mrs. Otto Vollstedt
North Benton County farmer and pioneer Christmas tree grower Otto Vollstedt collected 48 Oregon license plates, including the first one issued by the state in 1911. Colors changed yearly from 1911-1930 and from 1934-1942. Updates during 1930 and from 1943-1945 took the form of a windshield sticker, not new plates. License plates from the 1950s featured slots for yearly validating tabs. The use of validating stickers instead of metal tabs began in 1964.
Donor: Elaine Heckart
The dolls represent the five women who made up the Pioneer Queen and her court, a part of Corvallis' 1957 centennial celebration. The women, all in the 80s, were from pioneer families. Martha Avery Fulton (Mrs. J. F.), 82, was crowned Pioneer Queen. She was the daughter of Punderson Avery, son of Corvallis founder J. C. Avery. The others were Mrs. E. W. Howard (maiden name Hull) whose grandparents came to Oregon in 1852; Corlie Starr Schmidt (Mrs. W. A.) daughter of Clay Starr, who came to Oregon in 1852; Mrs. Walter Taylor; and OSU graduate and the school's first secretary, Helen Holgate, daughter of Benton county judge E. H. Holgate.
The dolls were a 1959 project of the Corvallis Woman's Club. Mary Toy created the dolls, Nita Kofoid painted their faces, and Elaine Heckart made the costumes. Heckart's son made the throne.
Donor: Flossie Overman Estate
Birthdays, of people or museums, are a time of celebration. In 1978, 99 people came together to celebrate Flossie Overman's 90th birthday. In this photograph, she displays her birthday cake, which is decorated with a picture of Philomath College. After graduating from the college in 1912, Flossie Overman taught school in several rural districts in the area before becoming a clerk in the Philomath school district. She also donated over 130 items to the museum's collection.
Donor: Genevieve Nettleton
This Sally Victor feather hat from the 1950s is just one of nearly 650 hats in the museum's collection. Donor Genevieve Nettleton attended OSU, taught home economics and served as the librarian at Monroe High School, and worked at the Corner Grocery in Corvallis.
Donor: Marlene McDonald
James Blodgett, great grandson of the pioneer who first settled in Blodgett's Valley, won these ribbons at the Benton County 4-H Fair in 1931 and 1932 for his calf, Princess, and for woodworking. The ribbons were donated by his niece, local historian Marlene McDonald.
"Prayer to Tcha Teemanwi"
Donor: Ede Schenkel
We call it Mary's Peak; the Chepenefa (the Mary's River band of Kalapuya) called it Tcha Teemanwi and thought it a place of spirit power. In her drawings and paintings, Corvallis artist Ede Schenkel uses symbols to depict inner journeys. Here she uses various animal and bird forms to represent the spirit of Tcha Teemanwi.
Donor: William Shumway
Artist and Pegasus Gallery owner William (Bill) Shumway has combined his background in abstraction with an appreciation of Oregon landscapes as in this silkscreen print of Tcha Teemanwi. He says, "Always I try to capture the moment, even in landscape, because it changes so quickly due to wind, seasons or all the other factors that can quickly change the light and the mood of the landscape."
Donor: Edna Wiese 1991-097
The collected papers of Edna Wiese are included in the BCHS Archives along with over 13,000 other documents.
The Edna Wiese Collection contains personal childhood memories of early 20th century school children in Benton County, 8th grade final examination tests, maps, and diplomas.
Donor: Milford McKimmy
This 1970 recording features two pieces each by Corvallis seventh, eighth, and ninth grades bands on one side, plus two pieces each by the junior high school orchestras and their choirs on the other. It ends with the orchestras and choirs together performing Williams' Era of Peace.
Donor: Marcie Yukiko Amano
Corvallis artist Marcie Yukiko Amano was raised in Japan but studied art at UCLA and OSU, graduating in 1970. During the 1970s she studied with living master of the traditional Japanese woodcut, Jun'ichiro Sekino. Her landscapes have been included in many juried shows around the country.
Donor: Daniel Froehlich
1994-009-0001A, 1994-009.0001C, 1994-009.0001R
Daniel Froehlich donated this collection of items related to the 1942 Rose Bowl Game between the Oregon State College and Duke University. Oregon State won the Pacific Coast Conference championship with a record of 7-2. Undefeated, Duke was ranked number two in the country. Because large scale gatherings were prohibited on the west coast after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Duke offered to host the game, making this the only Rose Bowl not played in Pasadena.
On a cold and rainy day, the teams played to a 7-7 tie at half-time. During the third quarter, OSU scored twice on passes from Bob Detham to George Zellick (38 yards) and to Gene Gray (40 yard pass followed by a 28 yard run) but had one kick fail. Duke also scored on a one-yard run, making the score Duke 14, OSU 20. "Jack Gunether of UPI wrote 'The Beavers skipped and slammed and flicked passes with an ease and finesse which completely baffled the record crowd.'" The OSU defense, which had held 5 opponents scoreless during the regular season, showed its mettle in the fourth quarter by intercepting two Duke passes and allowing only a 2-point safety. OSU had won by a score of 20-16--its first and only Rose Bowl win.
Donor: L. Donald Docken, St, Paul, Minnesota
After training at Camp Adair, the army's 70th Division fought in France during World War II. Fifty years later, the people of Phillippsbourg, France erected a monument to "The men of 275th Infantry Regiment, U.S. 70th Division, who in defending Alsace stopped the German "Operation Nordwind" attacks at Phillippsbourg and Baerenthal, 2-5 January, 1945, and in memory of those who gave their lives in the battle." The town presented this crystal sculpture, a replica of the dove at the top of the monument, to representatives of the 70th division at the 1994 dedication. The donor was a member of that group.
Donor: Hank Fleck
Artist Hank Fleck painted this watercolor of the Wren sawmill while visiting his daughter Karen Harding there. A former Oregon resident and commercial artist for Pan Am airlines, he now teaches and paints in Florida.
Donor: Jack Raiche
The museum collection includes over 175 quilts. The Women's Club of Beaver Creek made this one in 1933. Each club member made and signed duplicate copies of a quilt block in the Dresden plate design. The women then traded blocks so that each had a complete set with which to make her own quilt. This one was owned by Clariss Boies Raiche. The names on the quilt blocks are Amelia Allen, Ruth Beach, Blanche I. Coon, Ken Coon, Laverne Coon, Jennie Cowling, Bernice Decker, Dorothy Decker, Mary Decker, Ruth Decker, Luella Dunn, Lottie Ebert, Mrs. ____ Foster, Bessie Gates, Viola Gray, Etta Ham, Esther Hendrick, Bess Cowling Hendricks, Nell Hendricks, Marie Larkin, Ida Lean, Bertha Mercer, Vivian Neabeack, Claribel Neer, Bernice Nelson, Christina Nelson, Helen Nelson, M. P. Nieveck, Norma Nieveck, Helena H. A. Peterson, Phoebe Pickens, Luella Rasmussen, Inez J. Riggs, Jake Stevens, Frances Thompson, and Hester Thompson.
Donor: Monte Boggs
Leo Burton, whose mother lived in Corvallis, created a series of photo albums documenting life in the Eugene District of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The donor, Monte Boggs, served in the CCC in Waldport and Yachats.
During 1933-1942, the Civilian Conservation Corps employed over 3 million young men on a variety of projects on public lands. The young men were fed, clothed, housed, given education and training, and required to send a portion of their earnings home to their parents. In Benton County, the CCC had a camp at what is now Peavy Arboretum. They built a road to Mary's Peak, the Baldy Reservoir, Cronemiller Lake, and the sign shop at the arboretum. They also planted trees, constructed firebreaks, and strung telephone lines.
Donor: Darrell Ebbert
Early 20th century rural Benton County people, scenes, and industry are represented in the Ebbert family collection of glass plate negatives, prints, and photo post cards.
Donor: Dorothy Mathews
Although now a resident of the San Juan Islands, artist Caroline Buchanan lived in Corvallis for many years. In addition to painting watercolors such as this untitled work, she taught art classes at LBCC and led workshops in Greece and other scenic locales. A past president of the Watercolor Society of Oregon and a Signature Member of the Northwest Watercolor Society, she has held many solo shows and been included in many juried exhibitions.
Donor: Gilman Keasey Estate
Corvallis resident Gilman Keasey made this English-style longbow of yew with a horn-trimmed cork neck. In addition to being a renowned maker of wood bows and arrows, Keasey was a champion archer who could "put 9 out of 9 arrows into a plate-sized circle from 90 yards." He won the National Archery Championship in 1935 and 1936, taught archery at Oregon State University, and co-authored a textbook on the sport.
Donor: Arnold and Barbara Falberg
After graduating from Corvallis High School, George Green became a successful artist whose trompe d'oeil abstract works hang in many well-known art museums. "Zone of Middle Dimensions: The Long Slide" is done with colored pencil and watercolor and incorporates elements found in many of his paintings: shapes reminiscent of woodworking tools and pieces overlapping and erupting out of the paper.
Donor: Earl Newman, in memory of his wife, Jean
Over a 50-year career, Summit artist Earl Newman has created many silk-screen prints, most notably those for Monterey Jazz Festival. The Raven was commissioned by Dorothy Matthews for the Tcha Teemanwi invitational show in 1989.
The museum hosted a retrospective of Newman's works beginning September 10, 2010.
Donor: Dorothy Mack
Guilford and Catherine Barnard traveled the Oregon Trail from Illinois in 1852. The hand-made shoes belonged to their two-year-old son Landy, who died along the trail and is buried in Kansas.
Donor: John Baker
This watercolor shows the field house and parade grounds at Camp Adair. Newport artist and photographer E. Douglas Sheldon gave this picture to author John Baker to use in his presentations on Camp Adair history.
Donor: Stev Ominski
Shedd artist Stev Ominski focuses on the natural world of the Pacific Northwest with landscapes such as this print of "The Open Field: Mary's Peak". His paintings depicting scenes from the end of the last ice age have been exhibited in natural history museums, at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, and for the Washington State Parks Ice Age Floods interpretive sites.
Donor: Marvin Gloege
Marvin Gloege donated many color slide transparencies depicting late 20th century Benton County scenes.
With collections he solicited from his many acquaintances around the state, plus those already possessed by various campus departments, OSU Professor John Horner created the "Museum of the Oregon Country." The museum, which opened in 1925, focused its early collections on the natural history of the state and pioneer artifacts. After Horner died in 1934, the museum was renamed in his honor. The collections grew to include items from other countries and from the Victorian era, plus those documenting campus life. By the 1980s, thematic exhibits, school tours, and special events attracted as many as 45,000 to 50,000 visitors per year.
Budget cuts necessitated by Measure 5 led OSU to eliminate its support for the museum in 1992. Although local groups financed an additional year of operation, the lack of long-term financing shut the museum's doors in 1993. Volunteers and staff began inventorying the collection and packing it for storage with final closure of the museum in 1995. Originally, OSU planned to send individual items to other places, but donors and area supporters objected. In 1998, the Benton County Historical Society offered to take the entire collection to keep it in the community. Because legal issues arose over the transfer of state property, a final agreement wasn't signed until 2003. That agreement transferred 60,000 objects from the Horner collection, once the historical society had arranged for proper storage. Completion of the Peter and Rosalie Johnson Collections Care Facility meant that the Horner collection was able to move to its new home in 2008.
Donor: Public Works of Art Project
Darrel Austin painted "Machine" while employed as an artist for the Works Progress Administration during the 1930s. During that time he painted large murals at the Oregon Medical School and Tongue Point Naval Station and 16 oils -- four of them hang at Timberline Lodge and another four are in the Horner collection. In 1938, he left Portland, experimented with a different style, and earned national recognition.
Donor: Wallace Weltzin
According to the Corvallis Weekly Gazette, for 25 cents, a visitor to the 1914 Benton County Fair would see "Corn twelve feet high", "punkins" too big to lift, grains and grasses comparing with anything anyone ever sees anyplace, fruit beautiful in color and of all varieties, vegetables that are record-breakers in size and beauty, many fine horse and colts, a creditable display of sheep, cows, and calves, a magnificent game farm exhibit, a hundred pens of prize chickens, canned fruit till you can't rest, beautiful flowers at the Corvallis booth, extensive school fair exhibits, a half score of individual exhibits and community showings, a large number of booths of merchants and manufacturers and Corvallis clubs - all put together attractively - this is THE BENTON COUNTY FAIR.
Added to this on the outside [of the buildings] are the Pattin Carnival Shows - the merry-go-round, Ferris wheel, insane hospital and Animal Show. Also the big Tractor-Biplane, the flying machine that will fly Friday and Saturday."
Cash prizes of nearly $1000 were awarded to the top three in each category. Great Northern Railroad donated a silver cup for the best community exhibit (won by Irish Bend) and a clock worth $75 for the best school exhibit (also won by Irish Bend).
Donor: Starker Forests
The Starker Forest Community History Project collected oral histories from local people. Individuals whose interviews were recorded on the donated DVDs include:
Arletha Baumann George and Lois Best
J. B. Bielman Monte Boggs
Gene and Jessie Cooper Cy Davis
Don and Eunice Davis Homer Davis
Marie Davis Jim and Betty Denison
Boyd and Wilma Eagleson Ralph and Stella Eagleson
Richard and Dorothy Gassner Andrew and Dan Gellatly
Fran and Carroll Gerding Woodrow Holderman
Bob and Margaret Kintigh Linn and Ruth Moser
Mike Newton Jean Roth
Marvin Rowley Thad and Gary Springer
Elmer and Dorothy Taylor