Historical Buildings

Construction of Wood-Mar Hall in 1910

Wood-Mar Hall

Wood-Mar Hall is George Fox University's “Old Main,” playing a dominating role with the university and the surrounding city of Newberg. Built in 1910 and opened in 1911, it is the tallest building on campus and the most visible to the general public.

For generations of George Fox students, it was nearly the entire college - at least for classrooms and offices. So commanding was its presence and so central was it to campus life, that at one time Wood-Mar Hall was the university's identity logo, used on college letterhead stationery and publications.

The three-story brick building, with its distinctive Spanish-style cornice, is one of just two remaining buildings from the university's opening decades.

It owes its existence to Newberg residents - and specifically to two Newberg women who led a campaign for its construction. Longtime Quakers and friends Amanda Woodward and Evangeline Martin canvassed the Newberg countryside in horse and buggy, raising funds. The building's name honors their leadership.

Immediately upon the building's opening, the third-floor auditorium became the community's cultural center, with recitals, plays, concerts, lectures, and debates.

Nine decades later, it continues to fulfill that function, assisted by a major renovation in 1994. The first and second floor originally became the college center with classrooms, library, and faculty and administrative offices. Over the decades, all classrooms were turned to administrative offices and service areas. Renovation in 2002 restored the period look of the main floor as it returned to being the Office of the President and Academic Affairs. Engineering department classrooms, labs and offices were created on the first and second floors.

Jesse Edwards House

Jesse Edwards House

The Jesse Edwards House is the second-oldest residence in the city of Newberg, Ore., built in 1883 by the “Father of Newberg” and one of the founders of George Fox University, Jesse Edwards. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The only older local house – by two years – is the Hoover-Minthorn House, preserved as a national and local landmark because it served as a boyhood home for U.S. President Herbert Hoover. It also is on the National Register.

The two houses are interconnected. When Jesse and Mary Edwards built their two-story wood house, they sold their first home to Dr. Henry Minthorn, who came to Newberg to become the first superintendent of Friends Pacific Academy, which became George Fox University.

The 2,550-square-foot stick-style Victorian house is prominent in the area's history. Its spacious music room once was used as a meeting place for the early founding Quakers. The Edwards House was built 100 feet from its current location, moved in 1905 to allow a street extension.

Jesse Edwards was a member of the first Pacific College board and was still a member at his death in 1924, serving 39 years.

The house was purchased by descendants of the Edwards family and given to the university in 1998, to become the home for university presidents. Extensively restored, it features a wrap-around porch, turned Tuscan Doric porch columns, bracketed cornices, shuttered windows, a distinctive gable roof, and original interior entrance hall and stairway.

Minthorn Hall

Minthorn Hall

Minthorn Hall is George Fox University's oldest building, a place where U.S. President Herbert Hoover lived and played as a boy in Newberg.

Constructed in 1887, the building is older than the university itself. It was constructed for Friends Pacific Academy, the forerunner of the university, and was moved to its present site in 1892, one year after the university was founded. When constructed as a two-story building at the original site, it was a boys' dormitory and gymnasium. At its new location (for the last 110 years) a third level was added - a daylight basement.

In being named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997, the building was cited as "a classic illustration of adaptive use of one of the oldest private college buildings in Oregon." It is described as "the sole physical link tying together (the) entire academic history from infant Friends Pacific Academy to thriving George Fox University." It is said to meet the National Register's Criterion A as the symbolic "Old Main" of George Fox University. It is said to be "significant locally and regionally as the only building associated with the complete history of Quaker secondary and higher education in the Pacific Northwest."

The 31st president of the United States resided in Newberg from 1883 to 1889. It is believed he lived in the dormitory for a few months in the 1887-88 school year and played in the gymnasium. After being orphaned at the age of 8 in Iowa, he came to Newberg to live with his uncle Henry John Minthorn, the first principal of Friends Pacific Academy, and his wife, Laura. Their home, two blocks from the George Fox University campus, now is the Hoover Minthorn House museum, also on the National Register of Historic Places. It is their name that is perpetuated on George Fox's first building.

Pennington House

Pennington House

For nearly six decades, the address of 1000 Sheridan Street was almost synonymous with George Fox College (now University). The Dutch Colonial-style house, constructed in 1899, is the former home of university president Levi T. Pennington, who lived at that address from 1917 to the end of his presidency in 1941. His 30-year tenure that began in 1911 is believed to be the longest for an Oregon college president. When he died at the age of 99 in 1975, he was still living in the home.

After his retirement, for the next 34 years, he continued to write - and write - in all, more than 50,000 letters at the rate of 1,000 to 1,500 per year. They all had what became nearly a trademark for the longtime educator, lecturer, minister, humanitarian and presidential confidant: his name in small black type at the upper left. On the next line was the familiar 1000 Sheridan Street.

Even at his death, the address was so strongly identified with Pennington that the opening line of the printed memorial service program started: "1000 East Sheridan was the Newberg home." The program recalled that many "remember vividly the comfortable residence with the large yard where President Pennington and his gracious wife, Rebecca, so often entertained."

Former President Herbert Hoover was among the visitors in the house, part of a friendship that spanned more than 50 years. Their relationship grew until they became fishing partners as their time would allow. Hoover shared in confidence details of his political career that few ever knew. Declining to ever reveal the nature of their talks, Pennington kept the confidence to his death.

Purchased by the university in 1993 to make it a permanent part of campus, Pennington House is being maintained without exterior changes and with restricted interior changes. It now serves as the office for the William Penn Honors Program.

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