Building Description Children's Farm Home School, Corvallis Oregon

The Children's Farm Home School represents the humanitarian efforts of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in Oregon. Constructed during 1925-1926, the school has long been the icon of the Children's Farm Home, the most visible landmark from Highway 20. The building was used as a school until it was condemned in 1978 and has been vacant since then. The currents owners are in the process of beginning rehabilitation of the building so that it may be used for much-needed office space, meeting space, and classrooms.

The Children's Farm Home School is located at 4455 Highway 20 NE, just north of Corvallis, Benton County, Oregon. The building sits just east of the highway facing west/northwest at the west edge of the Children's Farm Home campus.

The campus is situated in a rural setting between Highway 20 and the Willamette River. There are approximately twenty buildings and structures on the campus. Some of these include The Oaks (1910), Oregon Building (1923), the Matheson Building (commonly called The Util, 1928), Cooley Memorial Pool (1930), Frances Elizabeth Cottage (commonly called F.E., 1939), Mary Mallett Cottage (commonly called The Mallett, 1949), the Chapel (1962), the Administration Building (1964), the New Powers Cottage (1975), the Cummings Cottage (1976), the Lakeside Shelter House (1980), the Multi-Purpose Building (1989), a new school (2004), and a small number of agricultural barns and shops. Most are arranged around a loop drive with the agricultural buildings located at the east end of the drive, the administrative and clinical buildings at the west end of the loop, and the residential cottages primarily clustered around the south side of the loop. The chapel is located south of the loop drive near the highway. The historic school is located north of the loop. The building currently used as a school sits behind (east) the historic school. A small pool is located inside the loop drive at the east end.

The campus landscaping includes several mature trees and some of its original layout. The original farm fields, gardens, and orchards, however, are no longer present. The landscaping immediately surrounding the Children's Farm Home School building is minimal. There is a sizable deciduous tree located near the southwest corner of the building. There are a few small shrubs located near the foundation on the south side of the building. An expanse of lawn stretches in front of the building west to the highway. The greater campus area includes several mature trees and landscaping, as well as the loop drive around which most of the campus buildings are located.

The Children's Farm Home School is a one-story building set on a raised basement. It is basically H-shaped with a central portico on the west facade. There are 8,450 square feet of space on the main floor and 8,910 square feet of space in the basement. The basement level is constructed of poured concrete, and the exterior walls of the upper floor are hollow clay tile. The interior walls, roof, and floor systems are wood-framed. The roof, which is covered with composition shingles, is an interesting combination of forms. The central long axis is gabled; the end wings are hipped on the front (west) facade, and gabled on the rear (east) facade.

Stylistically, the school is a good example of a twentieth century revival of Georgian Colonial Revival architecture. Characteristic of the style, the building includes a pedimented, projecting front portico, multi-pane windows, and a cupola on the roof.

The exterior concrete face of the basement level of the Children's Farm Home School has been rusticated with a series of horizontal reveals, which provides the appearance of a substantial and solid base for the building. The exterior walls of the upper level of the building are covered with a combination of brick and stucco. The front-facing (west) walls of the end wings and the portico bay are faced with brick, primarily set in a common running bond. As the brick wraps around the end corners, it is laid in a pattern that creates the effect of corner quoins. Located in the center of the end wing walls, however, is a decorative basket-weave pattern formed with the brick. The remaining exterior walls are covered with painted stucco.

The building features several multi-pane windows. Those on the front (west) and end (north and south) facades of the upper level are six-over-six double-hung wood-sash set in pairs. Each of these is topped by a six-light transom window. The remaining windows on the upper level are single multi-pane windows, also with multi-pane wood sashes. The basement windows are six-over-one double-hung wood-sash. On the front facade, there are also four rounded arch wood-sash windows, the upper sash has seven lights, the lower sash has six lights. Some of the windows have been damaged over the years by vandals and most are currently covered with plywood to protect them from further damage.

The projecting front portico has a pedimented gable supported by four Tuscan columns. An elliptical fan light is located in the pediment. The front door, which enters the building between the basement and upper-level and is accessed by a set of concrete steps, is topped by a broken pediment. The original double-leaf door has been replaced with a more substantial security door. There are also entrances from each end of the building into the north and south wings. These centered entries also include double-leaf doors accessed by a set of concrete steps. Both have small hoods projecting from the walls of the building. The entrance on the south end has been partially enclosed. There are also entrances on the back (east) side of the building, the steps to both have been removed, and both are boarded over.

The entablature of the building is relatively simple with modest moldings at the cornice. The slightly overhanging eaves are boxed with a wood soffit. The entablature wraps around the ends of the building on the rear (east) sides of the end wings, creating a characteristic eave return.

Perhaps the most notable feature, however, is the cupola centered on the roof over the portico. The wooden Cupola is octagonal with louvered vents set in arched openings. It is topped by a domed roof structure. The cupola originally served as a bell tower. The bell, however, was removed in 1953 for use at the new chapel.

The auditorium/gymnasium, which was located on the rear (east) side of the building, was demolished in October 2000 when it was determined that the extreme deterioration rendered that portion of the building unsalvageable. The crawlspace beneath the auditorium/gymnasium was filled in at that time. A small new addition is planned at this site to house the necessary upgrades for mechanical systems as part of the rehabilitation.

The upper level of the school consists of the front (west) entry way that leads to a lobby and central corridor that runs along a north and south axis. Flanking this entry are two small offices on the west side of the hallway accessed from the lobby. There are a total of six classrooms on the upper level, and all are accessed via the central hallway. Two classrooms are located in each of the end wings, one of the west side, and one on the east side (of each wing). On the west side of the hallway, between the offices and the end wings, are two additional classrooms, one north of the lobby, and one south of the lobby. Each classroom includes a bank of windows along one wall, a chalkboard, a cork tack board, and a closet (much of which is intact). In addition, there is a boys restroom and a girls restroom off the main hallway (some of the fixtures are intact). The wall on the east side of the lobby is what was the back of the stage of the auditorium/gymnasium. A small janitor's closet is located near the girls restroom. The hallway terminates at each end (north and south) at the side entrances. Stairways to the rear entrances lead from the hallway to the back of the building.

The basement level includes two rooms that were used as classrooms, both are lit by daylight windows on the west side of the building. One classroom was used for domestic science, the other for manual training. Rooms called the girls basement and the boys basement are located under the north and south wings, respectively. Adjacent to these rooms were the girls and boys locker, shower, and toilet rooms. Storage rooms are located below the small offices that flank the main entrance on the upper level. In the center of the basement is the boiler and fuel room. The original boiler, although not in working condition, remains in its original location.

The interior construction is wood. Posts and beams support the 2 by 10 floor joists of the upper level and site-made trusses of 2 by 6 lumber forms the roof. The interior walls are also wood framed on both the basement and upper levels. The walls are covered with painted plaster and lath, and fir tongue-and-groove wainscoting, some of which has been painted. The upper level floors are fir covered with early floor tiles. The basement floor is concrete. The plaster and lath ceilings have been covered, in most rooms, with an acoustical ceiling tile. The opening between the entrances and the hallways are coved and arched, all of which are intact.

The most substantial change to the Children's Farm Home School building was the demolition of the auditorium/gymnasium. Even after the school was condemned in 1978, and was no longer used for classrooms, the auditorium continued to serve as a gym until about 1989. After that time, it was vacated and not maintained. Unfortunately, the deferred maintenance resulted in an extremely deteriorated condition. When it was evaluated for possible rehabilitation in 2000, it was determined that the structure was beyond salvage and the decision was made to demolish it and fill in the crawl space beneath it. Because the rehabilitation of the school will require new mechanical systems and many upgrades, the current plans call for building a small addition on the rear of the building at the location of the previous auditorium/gymnasium.

Other changes in the building over the years included the installation of floor and ceiling tile, and the painting of some of the wainscoting. Undoubtedly, a number of the window lights have been replaced as glass has been broken. Several of the lights are currently broken, as are some of the muntins, all of which will be restored during the rehabilitation.

In addition to changes directly to the school building, the campus grounds have changed over time as well. A number of historic buildings have been demolished and several newer buildings have been constructed. Many of the extant historic buildings have been altered and modernized to meet the changing needs of the facility, leaving the school building as the most intact historic building on campus. Some of the historic buildings that have been demolished include: Willard Cottage (the original cottage construction in 1923, razed in 1964); Portland Cottage (built in 1924, razed 1967); Multnomah Cottage (built 1925, razed 1977); Powers Cottage (built 1925, razed 1967); Lane Cottage (built 1927-1935, razed 1980); Unruh Cottage (built 1929, razed 1976); New Office (built 1934, razed - date unknown); Wayside Shelter (built 1937, destroyed when a car drove through it - date unknown); and Marion Cottage (also known as the hospital, built 1938, razed 1974).