Remembering Camp Adair

April 15, 2008

We travelled the scenic Peoria Road to Avery Park in Corvallis where we met four riders from Lincoln City, and Keith and Evelyn (Hile) Claycomb from Portland. It was a chilly morning for our coffee and goodies, served on the famous 100 foot long one piece picnic table.

We left for the Benton County Museum in Philomath, where our guide, John Baker, introduced us to Camp Adair, with an excellent slide show-talk. Dr. Baker is the finest authority on this WWII Cantonment, and several of us bought his book, now in its fifth printing.

We went next to the exceptionally nice Polk County Museum in Rickreall, where during our lunch hour, Pat Smith related how the establishment of the camp forced many families to relocate. Also, 90 year old John Pfaff remembered his experiences as did our Keith Claycomb, who helped in the construction, and after the war, was an Army Officer present during the dismantling.

We then went south on 99-W for a drive through the remnants of Camp SWAMPY as the G.I.s renamed the place. Only a few foundations are visible — the center-piece is the Memorial Garden dedicated to the four infantry Divisions which trained here. A recruit from Eugene, Bob Schmieding, kept a diary of his basic training — excerpts of his story were distributed. It was quite a rigorous experience for an 18 year old, who later served in the 91st Div. in Italy.

Then on to the Museum in Albany, a favorite town for the soldiers on pass. All three museums contain excellent memorabilia, and the videos in Albany were very good. We then went back to Philomath to say farewell to our excellent guide, John Baker, who earned our appreciation and applause.

Finally, using back roads, we went to Hazelnut Hill for ice cream and more, where owner Sally Hilles related the cycle of hazelnut from Nursery seedling to the delicious candy treats. Sally, the fifth generation on this site, with husband Rob, have developed a remarkable business and we wish them continued success.

New driver, Bob Brown, was excellent, and once again, our thanks to leader Mary Ellen West for planning a great trip.

Riders were: Ethel Allen, John Baker (guide), Barbara Beard, Paul Beard, Louise Behnke, MaryLee Cheadle, Barbara Chinn, Evelyn Claycomb, Keith Claycomb, Judy Dobell, Bob Eaton, Rose Mary Etter, Rachele Fiszman, Barbara Flanders, Dennis Flanders, Susan Frasier, Donna Halker, Marc Hansen, Janet Jacobsen, Ben Jeffries, Paul Jensen, Ray Jensen (co-leader and reporter), John McManigal, Lenore McManigal, Barbara Payne, Don Payne, Carolyn Rayborn, Liz Reanier, Edith Rode, Barbara Sheldon, Viola Stults, MaryEllen West (leader), Vera Wooley, Ellen Zimmerman and Kenneth Zimmerman.

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