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Sidebar: Our Research Reveals…

February 05, 2010

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Here are some of the intriguing details revealed in Pamplin Professor Stephen Dow Beckham’s latest book, Fortune and Friendship: Lewis & Clark’s Heritage Properties.

  • Lewis & Clark owes its unparalleled location and beautiful Fir Acres campus to the generosity of the family that founded the Meier & Frank department store (now Macy’s) in downtown Portland.
  • Frank Manor House, long before its current life as home to the president’s office and other administrative offices, served as a women’s dormitory. At one time, a cafeteria even operated in the basement.
  • Frank Manor is subtly decorated with animals including a water buffalo, eagles, dragons, sea serpents, and Chinese Fu dogs.
  • The outdoor swimming pool on lower Fir Acres campus was originally surrounded by white sand imported from the Caribbean.
  • Lewis & Clark boasts one of the largest collections of works by Oscar Bach, a premier artisan in metalwork in the early 20th century.
  • Corbett House on South Campus was home to the Sisters of St. Francis, a Catholic teaching order, for some 57 years before the property became part of the campus in 2000. Twenty-five nuns earned their bachelor’s degrees from Lewis & Clark.
  • Hamilton Corbett, the first owner of Corbett House and a golfer, used the unfinished third-floor ballroom, lighted with dormer windows along its south expanse, as a chipping range.
  • The gift of Cooley House for Lewis & Clark’s presidential residence had a string attached: if the college ever sold the property, the proceeds must go for scholarships at Reed College.
  • Each of the three estates was the work of an illustrious architect. The landscape design for two of them was by Olmsted Brothers, the firm that designed New York City’s Central Park.
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