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Cedar Mill News
Volume 7, Issue 7


July 2009

Historic house needs your help
by Virginia Bruce and Leslie Peterson

JQA Young HousePeople often ask when the historic John Quincy Adams Young House, on Cornell just west of 119th, will be open to the public. The answer is both simple and difficult—the house, built in 1869, will be restored once we raise about $3/4 million! Although the house and grounds are part of Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District (THPRD) the district needs the community to raise the money to renovate the house and develop the grounds.

The house was occupied more or less continuously up until the seventies, but after that it was repeatedly vandalized and finally boarded up. It will take a massive amount of work to turn it into a community asset, including raising/rebuilding the foundation and restoring the building from the walls in—new wiring, plumbing, insulation and interior finish.

Saving the house

The original Friends of JQA Young House was created in November of 1997 to prevent the house from being moved or demolished. The group, led by Sue Peterson Conger, gathered historical information about the house and property, and initiated discussions with the Cedar Mill Bible Church, which by then owned the property, and THPRD.

After eight long years of negotiations, THPRD acquired the house and about half an acre of surrounding property. In May 2005, THPRD appointed a 13-member ad hoc committee to create a Master Plan for its restoration.

Conger & willoughby
Ron Willoughby and Sue Conger at the house in 2005

The ad hoc committee worked for over a year to complete the restoration plan and then the group disbanded. Susan Conger, the chair of the Friends of the John Quincy Adams Young House and the hoc committee, succumbed to cancer in May 2006. In June 2006, THPRD general manager Ron Willoughby, who had been a great champion of the house, retired. With the initial goal of the Friends being accomplished, and with the loss of key personnel, momentum in the development of the property was temporarily slowed.

Since that time, largely through the efforts of former ad hoc committee members, interest in the house has been sustained, and there have been several fund-raising activities, most notably the first and second annual Cedar Mill Cider Festivals. Former ad hoc committee members gathered with some of the descendants of Susan Conger to discuss the future of the fundraising effort. The house was named to the National Register of Historic Places on December 31, 2008.

How you can help

This spring, a new Friends of the John Quincy Adams Young House committee was formed under the guidance of THPRD to raise money and continue community involvement. Funds are being collected and administered by the Tualatin Hills Park Foundation (thprf.org) a non-profit (501(c)3) adjunct to THPRD. We have created a website with information about the house, JQA Young and the fundraising effort (jqayounghouse.org).

The Friends committee could use a few more members, especially people with fundraising experience or contacts. See the website for an application form, or contact Lynda Myers at 503-629-6355.

Consider including the house in your will, trust or annual giving plan. This important community asset, once restored and enhanced with interpretive material, will serve as a center that links Cedar Mill and Washington County to its pioneer past for students, tourists, and everyone who visits. Contact Virginia Bruce at 503-629-5799 for more information.




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Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
PO Box 91061
Portland, Oregon 97291