A publication of the Cedar Mill Business Association
Volume 1, Issue 10


November 2003

Historic JQA Young house to be park

by Virginia Bruce, Editor

A small white salt-box style house sits, rather forlornly, at the edge of a parking lot south of Cornell Road near 119th. It has been boarded up for years. But a lot of Cedar Mill history is embodied in this modest structure. It’s one of the oldest buildings in our area, and it’s about to be transformed into a community resource after years of effort by local citizens.

Built in 1869 by John Quincy Adams Young, a prominent Oregon pioneer, the house became Cedar Mill’s first post office and served as a general store. It is being acquired by Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District, and will be developed as a park. It may become a facility to host meetings and parties, similar to the Fanno Farmhouse. Some residents would like to see it become a history center, perhaps in partnership with Washington County Historical Society. Further along in the process, the Park District will issue a notice seeking members for an ad-hoc advisory committee. Committee members will be selected and appointed by the Board of Directors of the Park District.

John Quincy Adams Young was the youngest of six children when he arrived in Oregon with his family from Ohio in 1847. Near the end of their journey the family was part of a group who were captured and held by Indians during the Whitman massacre in eastern Oregon. After about a week the group was ransomed by Peter Skene Ogden of Hudson ’s Bay Company at Fort Vancouver. After this ordeal they made their way to Oregon City, and then finally to the Tualatin plains, where they settled on a Donation Land Claim near Orenco.

By 1869 JQA had married and moved to the Cedar Mill area, where he partnered with William Everson, another Ohio native, to purchase a sawmill from the Jones family, who had established it around 1855. The 32 foot high Cedar Mill Falls powered the overshot water wheel that ran the mill.

Young and his family first lived in a log cabin on the mill site. He then built a salt-box style house nearby, where he and his family lived until around 1874, when he sold his interest in the mill to Everson, and moved his family to a larger house across Cornell.

On January 29, 1894, JQA Young was appointed postmaster for the growing community. Cedar Mill History says, “Young’s small store, on the ground floor of his two-story former home, served as the first post office. Here the postmaster constructed a pigeonhole cabinet where patrons received mail delivered weekly from Portland. For his postal duties, Young received a commission based on the number of 2¢ postage stamps and 1¢ postcards sold."

The post office was later moved to other establishments, but the house survived. The property was eventually purchased by Stanley Russell, who built a new house next door and rented the salt-box to a Mr. Peterson. It was added to the Washington County Cultural Resource Inventory in 1983.

In 1993 the Russell property was bought by the Cedar Mill Bible Church. The church, which was incorporated in 1945, adopted a master plan for expansion in 1997 which included plans for moving the house off the property.

Members of the community were alarmed to learn that the church had advertised the house to be free to any party who would move it to a different location. They felt that part of the historical value of the house was its location adjacent to the mill site. In November 1997 Sue Conger, who lives on the old Kieni farm nearby, helped form a group that came to be called “Friends of the JQA Young House.” The group contacted the church to request them to preserve the house. Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District expressed interest in acquiring the house plus the adjacent Cedar Mill Falls in order to develop a unique community park.

Eventually the church decided not to move the house. They are working to acquire land south of the church property to meet future church growth. About two years ago THPRD entered into negotiations with the church to acquire the house . The church has now agreed to donate the house and sell just under two acres of land to the District. “It’s been a good negotiation and is definitely a win-win solution,” says Rich Berry, CMBA Board member and Business Manager of the Bible Church.

As of press time, the land has been surveyed and is currently being appraised. Once the price has been agreed on, the property will be transferred to THPRD. Ron Willoughby, THPRD General Manager, says “It’s our intent, if the Board agrees, to spend $200,000 of the $13.3 million in development fees (SDC) to start renovation of the building and grounds. Cedar Mill Falls is situated on property belonging to the Teufel family. It is hoped that whenever this property is developed, the Falls can be acquired and added to the park,” says Willoughby.

“ We’re just chomping at the bit to revitalize our “Friends of JQA Young House” group,” exclaims Sue Conger. “We may be separate from the park district committee – it depends on what they want us to do. We may be able to raise funds as a non-profit better than as an advisory committee,” Conger notes. The Friends group would probably exist as an ongoing support group after the District’s ad hoc committee is done with their work of outlining the Park’s future.

Further developments will be covered in The Cedar Mill News. For more information on the Park District’s role, contact Ron Willoughby at 503-645-6433 or rwilloughby@thprd.org . For more information on the Friends, contact Sue Conger at 503-292-1415 or sue.conger.iyqf@statefarm.com.

An excerpt from JQA Young's journal is online at www.rootsweb.com/~orgenweb/bios/johnqayoung.html