Forest History Center – Salem OR

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Description

This small, rustic structure was built by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers as the administrative building for Oregon’s CCC headquarters. Today it serves as the Forest History Center of the Oregon State Department of Forestry.

Oregon had as many as fourteen CCC camps under the jurisdiction of the State’s Forester during the corps’ operation between 1933 and 1942. When plans for construction of a State Forest Department headquarters began in 1935, a 4.5 acre site had already been acquired to the east of Salem to accommodate the state’s CCC headquarters.  Located on the eastern banks of Mill Creek, the CCC headquarters and camp consisted of the administrative office, barracks and recreation hall, kitchen and mess hall, three warehouses, and a machine shop and oil house. Across Mill Creek, on its western bank, 7.25 acres was purchased in 1937 to develop the Oregon State Forester’s Office complex. Although their functions were distinct, the CCC camp and the State Forester’s Office complex were linked by an equipment bridge across Mill Creek.

CCC workers completed the construction of their administrative building in 1936 using the US Forest Service’s standard design for CCC buildings. Other camp buildings, also constructed by CCC workers, were completed by April 1937. When the CCC ended operations at the beginning of World War II, the State took the camp buildings as surplus and the CCC Administrative Building became the home of the KEEP OREGON GREEN organization. It served that purpose for fifty-five years. Over time, the other CCC structures were replaced by new Department of Forestry buildings.

To preserve the CCC Headquarters building, in 2001 the Department of Forestry moved it from the east side of Mill Creek to its current location adjacent to the State Forester’s Office near the complex’s entrance on State Street. One year later, the Oregon Alumni of the Civilian Conservation Corps erected a statue in honor of the CCC worker. The basalt stones that form the statue’s base were salvaged from the original landscaping.

Dedicated formally in 2008 as the Forest History Center, the building serves as a museum and archive with a general interest in Oregon forest history and a particular focus on compiling lists of CCC crew members and collecting a history of the workers and camps.

Source notes

Historic American Buildings Survey Pacific West Regional Office (2004) Oregon State Forester's Office Complex HABS OR-186: Photographs and Written Historical and Descriptive Data. https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/or0533

Project originally submitted by Judith T Kenny on January 15, 2020.

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Location Info


2600 State Street
Salem, OR 97310

Coordinates: 44.93, -123.008

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