- Built: 1848
- Architect: probably James Watson
- Designation: National Register of Historic Places
- Significance: Hand hewn craftsmanship & engineering; pioneer agriculture
- Current Status: The building has suffered from deterioration longer than almost any other Oregon property and today faces structural and condition issues. It has a caring property owner, but urgently needs stabilization and rehabilitation.
News and Updates
Despite being the most intact Pioneer Farmstead, a financially viable preservation strategy continues to elude current owners
May 30, 2013:
Entire farmstead complex included in 2013 Most Endangered Places listing for 255 remaining Pioneer Homes and Farmsteads
April 4, 2013:
Preservation plan yet to be executed by owners.
Restore Oregon awards $2500 grant for development of preservation plan
University of Oregon students to present results of research to inform next steps in stabilization.
October 3, 2011:
Watson-Price Barn selected as focus of University of Oregon Field Notes documentation course.
August 15, 2011:
May 26, 2011:
Owner of Watson-Price Barn Near Philomath Finds Allies to Preserve it.
Outlet: The Oregonian
May 24, 2011:
In the late 1840s James and Mary Watson established a farmstead in what is now the Kings Valley area of Benton County. The Greek Revival house that stands on the property was built in 1852, the barn was built even earlier: 1848. It is a timber-framed structure with massive hand hewn members, with mortised and tenoned hand-hewn beams secured with wooden trunnels (trunnels translates to “tree nails”). The central truss is thought to be the largest hewn framing member in the entire Willamette Valley. The structural members are all hand hewn fir and include 12″x 12″ sills and posts and 10″x 10″ purlins. Truly, this structure is something unique.
Today, the house, barn, and seven outbuildings making up the property are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The farmstead James Watson developed has remained in continuous operation for over 150 years. Remarkably few changes have been made over time and the barn and associated house and outbuildings connect today’s Oregonians with the settlers of the 1840s.
The barn has seen 163 years of weather and use and it shows. The West and South elevations of the barn are in need of stabilization and restoration to minimize water intrusion and structural deficiency. The owners are unable to keep up the property, and are in need of outside assistance and a vision.