The Beginning


“In early 1941, when the War Department decided to build new training bases, experts looked around the country for places with 50,000 acres of land, a good water supply, adequate electrical power, and a railroad. The government considered several Willamette Valley sites in Oregon. The final choice for the camp location came down to Eugene or Corvallis. John H. Gallagher, Sr. an Oregon State University graduate and engineer, went to Washington, D.C. to lobby for the Corvallis location. The Army chose the Corvallis site in September 1941”

Quoted from the Benton County Museum website

Though it was something that was much needed by our nation, the building of the camp was not viewed as a blessing to most who had to evacuate. The Polk County Museum books tell the personal stories of the local people affected by the presence of the camp.

The area surrounding us has its own rich history. Indian tribes lived in the area until forced to the reservations. Coffin Butte is said to be an Indian burial ground. The hill to the south of Coffin Butte has a Spanish name that translates to “Poison Oak Hill”.