Independent School
The Independent Community Club will host an open house at its historic schoolhouse on Saturday, May 14. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Benton County will celebrate Historic Preservation Month throughout May with a series of special events, including a handful of tours in the Philomath vicinity. A collaborative effort by the county and Corvallis historic resources commission, each event is free and operated by volunteers.

This year’s event is being promoted with the theme, “More Than Ever, This Place Matters.”

Independent School near Philomath will host an open house event from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., on Saturday, May 14. Independent Community Club members will be on hand to provide information on one of Benton County’s few remaining one-room schoolhouses.

The Independent School was constructed in 1919 and represents the Craftsman style of architecture with a bungalow floor plan.

The school is located on the corner of Airport Avenue and Fern Road.

Lumos Winery in Wren, home of the historic H Bar H Dude Ranch, will also host an open house on Saturday, May 14. Tours with winery owner PK McCoy will run on the hour at 3, 4 and 5 p.m.

The Lumos Winery tasting room is located in an old dude ranch barn and represents what visitors typically only see on a visit. However, McCoy will provide a behind-the-scenes look and lead a tour through one of the property’s original ranch cabins.

Lumos Winery is located at 24000 Cardwell Hill Drive.

The Samuel Whiteside family house and barn, located at 6154 Bellfountain Road, will offer a tour on Friday, May 27. Autumn Peterson will lead a tour of the 1880s Whiteside house and 1901 Skipton barn. The program will feature a basic history of the structures and farm outbuildings with discussion of the plan for their restoration, preservation and adaptive reuse.

Jay Sexton will lead tours at Willamette Community and Grange Hall on Saturday, May 7. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Elsewhere in the immediate vicinity, the Willamette Community and Grange Hall will host an open house on Saturday, May 7, with Jay Sexton leading free tours. The tours last roughly 15 minutes and will start at the top of the hour, 20 minutes after the hour and 40 minutes after the hour.

The building was constructed in 1923 and has been undergoing a massive restoration project, most notably a new roof structure. 

Willamette Community and Grange Hall is located at 27555 Greenberry Road.

In other planned activities, the Benton County Historic Resources Commission is partnering with Conundrum House to bring the past to life through “Spectres of Benton County Past” —  a clue hunt and historical adventure game from the imaginations of Adrienne Fritze and Mark van der Pol. A “relaunch” of Season 1 of Spectres occurred in April and Season 2 will follow in May — the finale set for May 28 at Corvallis Museum. Check the Conundrum House website for all of the details.

On Thursday, May 26, the Corvallis Museum will be the site of the Historic Preservation Awards Ceremony with a program scheduled to run from 6-8 p.m. William G. Robbins, history professor at Oregon State, will be the event’s keynote speaker. Robbins will discuss his soon-to-be-published book about the history of Benton County. Awards will be presented to preservationists and educators.

Other Historic Preservation Month events outside of the Philomath vicinity:

• May 4 — South Central Park Walking Tour. Meets at 4 p.m. in front of the Art Center, 700 SW Madison Ave., Corvallis.

• May 8 — Oregon State University Tour, Mothers Day. Runs 2-4 p.m. and meets on the east side of Benton Hall, SW Pioneer Place, Corvallis. Reservations required through email with the tour limited to 25 people.

• May 14 — Adair Barracks Building. Runs 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The barracks building is located near 6030 William R. Carr Ave., Adair Village.

• May 14 — Palestine Church. Runs 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The church is located at 7273 NE Arnold Ave., Adair Village.

• May 15 — North Central Park Walking Tour. Meets at 1 p.m., at SW Eighth Street and Northwest Monroe Avenue, Corvallis.

• May 16 — Franklin School Neighborhood and Tree Walking Tour. Runs 2-3 p.m., at 750 NW 18th St., Corvallis.

• May 17 — Benton County Courthouse Tour. Meets at noon at the elevator inside the courthouse, 120 NW Fourth St., Corvallis. Tour limited to 15 people. Sign up through email.

• May 21 — Owens Farm History Walk. Runs 9 a.m.-noon. Registered attendees will receive directions and details on where and when to meet. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required. Register online.

• May 25 — Historic Downtown Corvallis Walking Tour. Runs 1-3 p.m. Meets at Corvallis Museum, 411 SW Second St.

• May 29 — Van Buren Bridge Video and Guided Tour. The video, “Van Buren Bridge: A Visit From the Past” will be screened at 1 p.m. at Majestic Theater, Corvallis. The guided tour will begin at 2 p.m., and meet in front of Kinetic Bagel, 250 NW First St., Corvallis.

For more details on all of the programs, read the Historic Preservation Month program.

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