History

The following is an excerpt from a history of the Oregon 4-h Center. A detailed can be found posted within the walls of the Stewart Chapel located within the core area of camp and in electronic form here.


The Stewarts and The Oregon 4-H Center--A Brief History

 

 

Ivan Stewart was born in 1895 at Fossil, Oregon and his father came from Blairgowrie, Scotland in 1888 to become a sheep rancher--a newspaper editor--and Oregon State legislator.  His mother came over the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon.

 

Merle DuRette was born in 1898 at Fairfield, Oregon.  Her paternal grandparents came from West Virginia to farm the fertile Willamette Valley.  Her father was born in a dirt-floor log cabin in 1860.  Her maternal grandparents came from Turriff, Scotland.

 

Ivan and Merle met as students at Oregon Agricultural College (OSU) in Corvallis and were married after he returned from the Marine Corps in 1920.

 

Ivan went into the seed business and during the 30's began acquiring old homesteads that totaled 720 acres.  He was deeply interested in conservation--building ten ponds and planting 200,00 trees, including deer, raccoon, opossum, red fox, grouse, china pheasant, squirrels and song birds.

 

It also became a collecting place for his life long hobby of collecting rocks and "horse-trades" for cut and polished stones.  The "ranch" became a show place for their display in fireplaces, walls, and in the resin panels incorporated into the Chapel he built to honor Merle.

 

In 1968 the 4-H of Oregon with 42,700 youth and leaders acquired the property as [a] center that would continue and share the love of the land.