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Forest History Center

75th Anniversaries

2008 marked the 75th anniversary of two significant events in Oregon's forest history - the creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the first Tillamook Fire. 
A special display commemorates these events, including a brief chronology of the fire spread, what is known as "the blow", and suppression activities, and the roles the CCC played in both suppression and support. 
More information briefly describes the rehabilitation and CCC accomplishments in Oregon during the nine years the CCC was in existence.
Also related and on display:
  • fire training and tools: showing some of the firefighting tools used by the CCCs and firefighters in general during the 1930w. Some of the tools, such as the Hazel hoe, Pulaski, shovel, and ax, are still used by today's firefighters.  The difference in clothing and protective gear worn by the firefighters of the 1930s and the firefighters of today are illustrated.  And also included in the display are some tools used in the fire rehabilitation efforts, such as the brush hook and shovels used to dig holes to set telephone poles.
  • Map of CCC Camps - located around the state that were administered by the Oregon Department of Forestry
  • CCC items - miscellaneous items donated by CCC alumni
  • Items donated by Martin Rosback - includes the actual hand-written menus and Lt. Rosback's diary he kept during his work at fire camp on the Tillamook Burn

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Mission, Goals, and Objectives

Forest History Center
Forest History Center
The mission of the Forest History Center is to preserve and make available to the public the history of forestry in Oregon, and to provide a place and opportunity to research and publish information related to Oregon's forest history.

To have an informed public that understands the history, people, and development over time of Oregon's forestry legacy.

  1. Provide a place and an opportunity for the public to view and learn about the history of forestry in Oregon.
  2. Provide a central location for the storage and preservation of historical items relating to forestry in Oregon.
  3. Provide a center to conduct forest history research, and produce and publish historical information relating to foresty in Oregon.

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Background and History

Moving the building in 2001
Moving the building in 2001
The Forest History Center building was originally constructed in 1936 as the headquarters building for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) operations in Oregon.  In 1942, with the disbanding of the CCC as the nation entered World War II, the headquarters building - along with the rest of the CCC compound, which were all located on the east side of Mill Creek - was turned over to the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF).
From 1942 through 2001, the building housed the Keep Oregon Green Association and various other ODF functions.
The concept for an Oregon Forest History Center was developed in 2000 by ODF during discussions with the State Historic Preservation Officer concerning the design and reconstruction of the department's headquarters in Salem.  At this time, ODF decided to preserve the building that was the former CCC headquarters, and in 2001 it was moved from the east side of Mill Creek to its current location on the west side of Mill Creek across from the State Forester's Office building which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Roundtop Lookout in 1935
Roundtop Lookout in 1935
The Forest History Center is a place to preserve, remember, and provide an opportunity to learn about Oregon's forestry history and its legacy before too much is lost.
The center's displays will cover all aspects of the forestry profession, from early logging by oxen and early lookout towers, to the latest use of aircraft, computers, and satellite imagery.
Every three to six months, some displays will change and new displays will be installed.  This will allow for people to see new things each time they visit the center.
Currently on display:
  • Firefighting Tools
  • Logging Tools
  • Reforestation
  • Keep Oregon Green Association
  • Kilchis Incline Railroad (near Tillamook)
  • Moving the Logs - From the Forest to the Mills
  • Lookouts Towers of Oregon
  • Fire Finder
  • Early radios and telephone
  • Oregon's State Forest 
  • Klootchy Creek Giant spruce
  • Large Forest Fires in Oregon
  • The 75th Anniversary of the Creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps and the first Tillamook Fire
  • Civilian Conservation Corps Camps in Oregon
  • Oregon's Forests During World War II 

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Civilian Conservation Corps in Oregon

This is a photo of the Civilian Conservation Corps statue which is located at the Forest History Center.
CCC Statue at the Forest History Center
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCCs) – President Franklin Roosevelt’s “Tree Army” – made significant contributions in Oregon from 1933 to 1942, working on forest fire fighting crews and forest reclamation projects.  During its nine year history, the CCCs would average 60 camps and 8000 members a year in Oregon.
The long-standing relationship between the Oregon Department of Forestry and the CCC led Oregon’s then Chapter 4 of the CCC Alumni Association to choose the Department’s Salem campus as the location for Oregon’s CCC worker statue.  Installed in 2002, it was the 16th statue to be dedicated across the country. Stone used to construct the base for the statue was salvaged from stonework done by CCC workers during the Salem department headquarters construction in the 1930s and 40s.
Because of the connection the CCC’s had with ODF, which ranged from fighting forest fires to constructing many of the Department’s buildings and lookout towers, the Forest History Center’s staff is working on preserving the history of the CCCs and their accomplishments in Oregon. This work started with preserving the very building the Forest History Center and its museum are housed, which is the former CCC headquarters building for camps administered by the Department.  Along with forestry-related displays, the museum contains displays showing the camps and work of the CCCs throughout the state.
 In addition to its CCC displays, the Forest History Center receives questions from relatives of former CCC members about their camps and work in Oregon.  To help answer these questions and preserve the history of the CCC’s in Oregon, the Forest History Center is developing the following: 

Civilian Conservation Corps Camp Nehalem
  • A data base of all enrollees, military, and civilian personnel that lists their camp, company, and years they served in Oregon.
  • A wall map showing locations of all CCC camps in Oregon along with an information and picture page for each camp.
  • Displays about the CCCs in Oregon.
  • A repository for CCC information, photos, and artifacts to aid in preserving and remembering the history of the CCCs in Oregon. 

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Keep Oregon Green Association
The other former tenant of the Forest History Center building, Keep Oregon Green Association  (KOG), was established in 1940.  The mission of KOG is to promote the dissemination of information to and education of the public in the prevention of wildfires in the state of Oregon.  KOG and ODF have had a long working partnership since its inception by then State Forester Nels Rogers and others, and the Association is still physically located on the Salem campus of the department.  KOG and its members will continue to be important partners in the Forest History Center project.

Oregon Forestry Retirees
Retirees of the Oregon Department of Forestry have contributed greatly to the Forest History Center, with contributions of artifacts and information.  These retired employees and their families will continue to be crucial in the center's operation through their in-kind contributions and voluntary support.

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Location, and Days and Hours of Operation

Oregon Department of Forestry Headquarters
2600 State Street
Salem, OR  97310 
Days and Hours of Operation:
Summer Hours (May, June, July, and August): The center is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and at other times by appointment.

Fall, Winter, and Spring Hours:  The center is open on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and at other times by appointment.

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Contact Us

To find out more, call 503-945-7208, or e-mail fhcinfo@odf.state.or.us

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