Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
Phil Hays of the Benton County Parks Advisory Board advocated moving the Fort Hoskins Commander's House.
August 28, 2012
PEDEE -- The historic Commander's House in Pedee will hit the road, so to speak, this fall.
Supporters of relocating the 155-year-old structure from its pastoral setting off Pedee Creek Road about 10 miles southeast to the Fort Hoskins Historical Park near Kings Valley have secured the $52,000 to cover the project.
And just in time, too.
The owner of the property, Wombat Farms, donated the home to the Benton County Natural Areas and Parks Department, with the caveat that officials pay for hauling it away. It and the county wanted it moved before summer ended.
As such, the Alliance for Recreation and Natural Area has been fundraising for several months.
Phil Hays, chairman of the Benton County Natural Areas and Parks Advisory Board, said the two-story dwelling will be moved by semi truck in late September or early October.
"We just don't know the date yet," said Hays, who's been a vocal advocate for the move. "But it's going to happen.
"I can rest easy now."
The Commander's House is one of only two surviving military buildings from Oregon's pre-Civil War era -- the other sits at Fort Yamhill near Grand Ronde.
The dwelling was constructed at Fort Hoskins by eventual Civil War Gen. Philip Sheridan in 1857. The Army installation was one of three forts in Western Oregon where Coastal tribes were forcibly resettled in 1855.
It's uncertain exactly how long after Fort Hoskins was decommissioned in 1865 that the Commander's House -- the only surviving structure -- was transported to Pedee or how it happened.
Wombat Farms wants to build a modern home on the land, but can't because of exclusive farm use zoning; they would have to raze the old house to erect a new one. It donated the home to Benton County, which has developed Fort Hoskins into a park.
Civil War re-enactment groups, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz, the Kinsman Foundation in Milwaukie and others had donated almost $23,000 to pay for the move by mid-July. Recently, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department awarded the effort a $20,000 grant.
The Benton County Board of Commissioners has committed to covering the balance, Hays said.
"Even before we got the grant, the county said they would help if they had to," Hays said.
Hays said state archaeologists will be excavating and prepping the site for the move during the next several weeks. Notices will also go out for highway closures, he said.
You Can Help
* Contributions are still needed to offset the cost of moving the Commander's House from Pedee to Fort Hoskins. To donate, send a check to the Benton County Natural Areas and Parks Department, 360 SW Avery Ave., Corvallis, OR 97333. Mark attention to: Commander's House. Proceeds are tax deductible. For more information: 1-541-766-6871.