Category Archives: Buildings

Friday Feature: rolling in the new accessions

It’s that special time of year when archivists get all sorts of wonderful gifts. This year we had an especially good haul from the Facilities Services department, which added many boxes of campus building plans!

Want to know more about campus planning?

In addition to the Facilities Services Records, 1888-2003, there are also several great places to look for information. The Memorabilia Collection includes brochures and general information about Facilities Services, about individual structures, and materials pertaining to campus planning. More detailed information about the construction of some major buildings is available in the records of the corresponding office or department; for example, information about construction and remodeling of the Valley Library (and its predecessors, the Kerr Library and Kidder Hall) are available in the Library Records (RG 009).

Capital Construction Funding Records, as well as other materials pertaining to buildings and facilities, are part of the Business Affairs Records (RG 017). Additional correspondence from Gordon V. Skelton is available in the Civil Engineering Department Records (RG 030).

We also have several great online exhibits for your viewing pleasure including OSU Building Construction and Holsteins, Horses, and Hogs: the Barns of Oregon State. Another resource is the Chronological History of OSU, which is invaluable for those landmark dates, developments, and events.


The Day Peavy’s House Rolled Away…

Peavy House

Peavy House

Last weekend the 101-year-old Peavy House moved to an open lot at Northwest 30th Street and Northwest Johnson Avenue!

The original owner was George Wilcox Peavy. He headed the forestry department in 1910 and in 1934 was named president of what was then Oregon State College. He also was elected the mayor of Corvallis in 1947. Peavy lived for many years in the house with his wife and children; he died in Corvallis on June 24, 1951.

Read more about the move and the plans for the site on the Gazette-Times web site.


Be Local

Benton County Courthouse with pruned trees

Benton County Courthouse with pruned trees

To celebrate Oregon Archives Month 2011 we’re heading home (again) with a new collection called “Be Local: some things to note…” and an innaugural set called “Be Local: some places in Benton County.”

Oregonians are passionate about our state, and Corvallis-ites and residents of Benton County are no different. Starting as the first territorial capital, at the confluence of the Marys and Willamette Rivers, and arriving now at this place in the 21st century, with an ever-expanding community and university, it’s always fun to take a look back over our shoulder to see where we were. And yes, for me, that’s means to read more about our history.

Joseph C. Avery settled a land claim at the mouth of Marys River where it flows into the Willamette River in 1845. In 1849, Avery opened a store at the site, platted the land, and surveyed a town site on his land claim, naming the community Marysville … In 1853, the legislative assembly changed the city’s name to Corvallis, from the Latin phrase cor vallis, meaning “heart of the valley.” Corvallis was incorporated as a city on January 29, 1857 … [and] the town served briefly as the capital of the Oregon Territory in 1855 before Salem was eventually selected as the permanent seat of state government. Corvallis, Wikipedia

Territorial capital at Corvallis, Oregon

Territorial capital at Corvallis, Oregon

Though you can find great contemporary books on Corvallis and Benton County, I encourage you to consider David Fagan’s 1885 A history of Benton County, Oregon including its geology, topography, soil and productions (call no. F882.B4 F2), the 1890 Benton County, Oregon: the heart of the famous Willamette Valley (F882.B4 C6), and the 1912 Corvallis and Benton County, Oregon (F884.C6 S6 and available electronically on ScholarsArchive). Each is available at OSU Libraries’ main library in Corvallis. Fear not, there is plenty more research and reading to be done!

  • The Benton County Historical Society is the ideal place to start! “The Benton County Historical Museum artifact collection comprises approximately 66,000 items that illustrate the diverse themes of our Benton County, Oregon heritage.”
  • Search the Oregon Encyclopedia site for Corvallis and you’ll find a plethora of information about the people, places, and amazing things that have happened here. Want to know about the Women’s Land Army, Corvallis and Eastern Railroad, or Bernard Malamud (1914–1986)? All there – plus much more about both our great state.
  • The City of Corvallis website has a very informative Historical Narrative (1811 to 1945), which includes a historic walking tour of downtown and a historic property inventory.
Campus store

Campus store

  • Because I love Wikipedia, check out the article on Corvallis. The info there isn’t limited to our history, but gives all those delicious up-to-date details. Wikipedia also has a great article on Benton County.
  • Finally, in the spirit of historic renovation, we’re delighted to see the Whiteside Theater coming back to life! It opened to the public on November 9, 1922, but closed in winter of 2002. The Whiteside Theatre Foundation is currently raising funds to rehabilitate and reopen the Whiteside Theatre, and they have shared the history of this gem on their site.


Oregon Archives Month: Celebrating archival anniversaries at OSU with tours, film, and food!

Honoring 50 years of the University Archives and 25 years of the Special Collections at OSU, we’re celebrating our merger this year with a palette of events highlighting Beaver history!

Lace up your sneakers and join us Saturday, October 1 from 2:30-4:00 for a fabulous outdoor historical walking tour of campus buildings! Some lost, some forgotten, some just moved to another spot… OSU Archivists Larry Landis and Tiah Edmunson-Morton will walk you through history to discover the “forgotten landscapes” of campus.

Using historic maps and photographs, Tiah and Larry will reveal what’s here, what’s gone, and what is somewhere else. We’ll bring places like the campus gazebo, brooder house and octagonal barn back to life! Please let Tiah know if you want to join us!

Meet in the Valley Library on the 3rd floor in Archives reference room.

Hello fall, we’ve missed you …

… and the hustle and bustle of a full campus!

Students going to class

Though we’ve made it to the second week of classes and things are settling down a bit on campus …


The leaves are turning and fluttering down through crisp fall mornings …


In the OSU Archives it’s another wild and wacky Wednesday!


Are you asking “why is it wacky?” (or “where is that fountain?!“) Well, while we returned to Oregon last month for our Flickr Commons releases, with two great sets from the Pendleton Round-Up, this month we are really back home!

Waldo Hall

Though we’re still looking at lantern slides from the Visual Instruction Department Collection — the one that keeps on giving — we’ve found a lovely set of images from the days of yore at OAC (OSU for you newbies).


Meander around our campus, and if you want a 2.0 trip, check out our historical walking tour, aptly named

Beaver Tracks

And make sure to stop, take a breath, and enjoy.


OSU Buildings Named for Women

aerial-osc-2.jpgThanks to the OSU Retirement Association for compiling this list!

The exact number of OSU buildings named for women is not as clear cut as one might hope. To paraphrase a recent U.S. President, it all depends on how you define the phrase “named for.” Under the strictest possible criterion, “named for” requires naming in honor of a single, specific, identifiable person.

Using that criterion, here is their list of thirteen (13) qualifying buildings, in alphabetical order.

  1. Azalea House: Named for Azalea Sager, a Home Economics Extension leader who raised the money to build this women’s co-op.
  2. Bates Hall: OSU Home Economics graduate Mercedes Bates went on to become not only the original Betty Crocker but also the first female Vice President of General Mills.
  3. Callahan Hall: Ida Burdette Callahan taught English for 40 years, lived in women’s residence halls, and was one of three women responsible for starting the Corvallis Public Library.
  4. Dawes House: This house was the home of Melissa Martin Dawes, Professor of German.
  5. Gladys Valley Gymnastics Center: Named for Gladys Valley, who was a huge fan of gymnastics.
  6. Heckart Lodge: Zelia Heckart ran a local boarding house for men for many years.
  7. Kidder Hall: Ida Angeline Kidder, librarian from 1908 to 1920, fought constantly for better library facilities for the growing campus.
  8. Milam Hall: Ava Milam Clark was Dean of Home Economics for four decades, from 1913-1952.
  9. Plageman Hall: Named for an early staff member who was a nurse for student health services.
  10. Richardson Hall: Ms. Richardson donated the resources which allowed for this facility to be built.
  11. Sackett Hall: Beatrice Walton Sackett was a member of the Board of Regents.
  12. Snell Hall: Margaret Comstock Snell, M.D., was Head of Household Economics from 1889 to 1909. The building now called Ballard Hall was the original Snell Hall and was a women’s dormitory. Dr. Snell established the first College of Home Economics in the western United States, which began as a single classroom on the third floor of what is now Benton Hall.
  13. Waldo Hall: Like Beatrice Sackett, Clara Waldo was a member of the Board of Regents.

If we range beyond the strict boundaries of the Corvallis campus, we can add a 14th entry: Potts Guin Library, HMSC: Marilyn Potts-Guin was the founding librarian at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, on the Oregon Coast at Newport.

Two buildings are named for couples or families which, of course, included women: Dixon Recreation Center: Jim and Jeanette Dixon were long time members of the Department of Physical Education and championed recreational sports. Valley Library: Our library recognizes the generous contributions of the Valley family, which includes Gladys (noted above) and her daughter, Sunny.

That brings the list to 16. But we aren’t quite done.

The list grows to 17 when we add the one building most recognized of all for acknowledging the women of OSU: The Women’s Building: This one speaks for itself!

**Larry Landis, University Archivist and unequivocal campus building expert, reminded me that Halsell Hall was named for Carrie Halsell, OSU’s first African-American graduate.**

[This listing organized by Gary Tiedeman, based mostly upon information gathered and assembled by Jo Anne Trow and partially upon additional material found in the OSU Archives.]