Dorris Ranch is a national historic site, a working farm and a public park complete with walking trails and natural areas. Dorris Ranch also serves as the western access point of the paved, 4-mile long Middle Fork Path, which runs to Clearwater Park. The park is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
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Dorris Ranch is recognized as the first commercial filbert orchard in the United States and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Oregon's history with filberts started in 1892 when George Dorris and his wife Lulu bought 250 acres of fertile land along the Willamette River and dedicated their lives to farming. After experimenting with a variety of crops, George established the first commercial filbert nut orchard in the United States. Over the next 50 years the Dorris family planted 9,200 trees at the ranch and harvested more than 50 tons of nuts each year.
Now, more than 100 years later, Dorris Ranch continues to make history as a fully-productive commercial filbert orchard. More than half of all the commercial filbert trees now growing in the U.S. originated from Dorris Ranch nursery stock.
Owned by the Willamalane Park and Recreation District, this 250-acre farm operates as a nonprofit organization.
Each of the 11 separate orchards was named in order to help hired hands know where to work each day.
The approximate age of each orchard may be determined by looking at the spacing between trees. In the earliest orchards (planted beginning in 1903) the trees are planted very close together. As the years went by, spacing between the trees became greater. Dorris Ranch has a total of 9,250 filbert trees planted in 75 acres.
Most of the trees in the Dorris Ranch orchards are of the Barcelona variety. Because the Barcelona is self-sterile, other varieties—the DuChilly and the Daviana—are planted as pollinators every third tree in every third row.
Filberts are considered a "self-husking" nut. The husk falls off when the filbert drops from the tree. Machines can then pick up the filberts and take them directly to the drying machines. A local orchardist maintains the Dorris Ranch orchards.
Help Fight the Blight at Dorris Ranch
It’s time to write a new chapter of living history in the orchards where Oregon’s filbert industry was born, and you can help.
When George Dorris planted the first filbert trees at Dorris Ranch in 1903, he chose to focus on the heavy producer ‘Barcelona.’ His trees grew into the beautiful park and productive orchard we enjoy today. But ‘Barcelona’ is also highly susceptible to a fungal infection called eastern filbert blight. The blight infects and kills trees over a period of years. Efforts to fight the blight at Dorris Ranch with selective pruning and other methods have failed. The best way to counter the infections, according to experts at Oregon State University, is to replant orchards with resistant varieties.
Willamalane plans to remove trees from affected orchards in stages over the next 18 years. Orchards will be replanted with new varieties, such as ‘Jefferson’, which shares many of the same qualities of ‘Barcelona’ but is resistant to eastern filbert blight.
Through this campaign, friends of the ranch, individuals, businesses and local organizations can help Willamalane FIGHT the BLIGHT — by sponsoring a tree, a row or an orchard. Together, we can preserve the historic character and scenery of Dorris Ranch for generations to come.
Getting engaged is easy, and donation levels start as low as $25!
Sponsor a Tree: $25
Replant Dorris Ranch one sapling at a time. Your donation will fund a healthy young tree that will grow and produce savory filberts.
Sponsor Five Trees: $100
Orchardists will plant ‘Jefferson’ filberts in rows, capped off with pollinating varieties. Your donation will produce tons of filberts over the following decades.
Sponsor 30 Trees: $500
Help Willamalane secure a lasting future for the valley’s agricultural heritage by sponsoring 30 trees.
Sponsor an Acre: $2,500
Secure a lasting future for the valley’s agricultural heritage by sponsoring an entire square acre (approximately the size of a football field). Your donation will produce tons and tons of filberts over the following decades!
Sponsor a Historical Orchard: Price varies
The 258-acre property includes 75 acres of filbert trees — 9,809 trees in 12 separate orchards. Your donation will help sustain living history activities for children at Dorris Ranch and preserve the scenery and recreation opportunities the community values.
In addition to financial engagement, Willamalane offers many channels for volunteers to work, and the opportunity for our community to invest in the future of our land. Please contact Kate Reid for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now taking reservations for fall 2016 and spring 2017!
Costumed living history interpreters lead students through a historical adventure, emphasizing relationships between people, the environment and the past.
Note: School tours are subject to cancellation due to orchard maintenance. To ensure best use of staff time, groups of five or less may be paired with other groups.
Lewis & Clark and the Voyage of Discovery
In this two-hour hands-on presentation, your group will be mustered into the Corps of Discovery to join Capt. Meriwether Lewis and Capt. William Clark as they travel across the continent in search of the Northwest Passage. Along the way you will document your discoveries in your very own journal, navigate with your own personal compass, have tea with Capt. Lewis’ mother and spend time among the Chinook tribe of the Pacific Northwest.
Dorris Ranch Detectives
In this two-hour program your group will engage in hands-on activities that explore all the different ecosystems found right here at Dorris Ranch. From the plants and animals that make the ranch their home to those things not visible to the naked eye, your group will take a new approach to looking at the environment around them. Activities include animal track casting, bark rubbing and plant pressing, in addition to explorations with magnifying glasses and microscopes.
People of the Land: Kalapuyas, Trappers and Pioneers
Who lived in the Willamette Valley before us? During this educational tour, students experience the lives of Kalapuya Indians, Hudson’s Bay Co. trappers and Oregon Trail pioneers. Learn the traditional hunting methods of the Kalapuya. Visit the trading post and examine furs. Lend a hand at the pioneer cabin.
Pioneer Homestead: Life after the Trail
Experience the life of an Oregon Trail immigrant at the Masterson homestead. Step back in time to 1852 when William, Eliza and their five young children settled their donation land claim on what was to become Dorris Ranch. Visit their log cabin, help tend crops, grind grain, bake cornbread, split firewood, pump water and more. We provide poke bonnets and straw hats.
A FIELD TRIP TO DORRIS RANCH INCLUDES:
• A packet of guidelines for teachers. Download the packet now
• Classes are invited to bring a sack lunch to eat at the ranch after the program.
• We can accommodate up to 35 students each day.
• $3.50 per Springfield student.
• $4 per student for all other areas.
• Adult chaperones/teachers are free.
Payment: one check made payable to Willamalane Park and Recreation District. We cannot accept cash, multiple checks or purchase orders.
Let us bring history to you! Costumed living history interpreters transport the excitement of learning to your group, wherever you are. This one-hour interactive activity explores events or time periods in Oregon History. All traveling trunks include hands-on artifacts and activities. Choose from four different “trunks” for your special experience!
Be transported back to Ms. Agnes Stewart’s classroom in 1850. Recite lessons, solve math problems and take a test, all under the watchful eye of Ms. Stewart. Be sure to raise your hand before speaking — you wouldn’t want to end up with a dunce cap on your head!
What was life like for those who braved the journey west and settled the Willamette Valley? Spend time with Mrs. Mary Skinner and her friend Mrs. Susannah Bristow as they relive those first hard years. Learn how to construct your cabin and start a life from scratch.
The First People
When the pioneers made their way to the Willamette Valley, people had already been living here for hundreds of thousands of years. Learn how the Kalapuya lived, hunted and gathered throughout this region and what became of the tribe.
Life in the Victorian Era
The Victorian era was a time of great opulence and overindulgence. Spend an hour with Lulu Dorris as she recalls the toys, books, plays, clothes and other items from this era that were precursors to some of the items we use today.
Visitors to the Historic Village at Dorris Ranch can tour three areas of importance in early Oregon history.
Masterson Pioneer Homestead
Step back to 1852 and discover what life was like for a newly arrived pioneer immigrant family in the fledgling town of Springfield. William and Eliza Masterson and their five young children set out on the Oregon Trail for their "free" land. As part of the Homestead Act they staked out their 320-acre donation land claim on what was later to become Dorris Ranch. They settled their growing family in a simple, 12-foot-by-16-foot log cabin like this one. A nearby blacksmith shop shows children how the father of the family may have fashioned his tools, and a freight farm wagon depicts the mode of transportation.
Northwest Coast Native American Plank House
This 20- by 16-foot plank house is built of cedar planks, like the homes Native Americans built in this area before 1820.
This replica of an 1830s fur trapper's cabin helps students learn about this important era of Oregon history.
Dorris Ranch is host to a variety of plants, flowers and birds. Come for a visit and enjoy a walk through this 250-acre historic site and natural area at your own pace with one of our self-guided tours.
Brochures with all the interesting facts, historical sites and a map of area paths are available at the entrance kiosk.
Dorris Ranch is open to the public weekdays and weekends from 6 a.m. till dusk for self-guided tours.
Click on the map for a guide to Dorris Ranch trails.
About the Facility
A great location makes for a great event! Convenient yet secluded facilities and picnic areas. Ideal for weddings, reunions, retreats, conferences, and more. Tables and chairs may be included with facility rental. Additional equipment and services, such as canopies and parking attendants, can be provided for an extra charge.
The quaint setting makes the Tomseth House the ideal place to hold events from weddings to business meetings. The main rooms can accommodate up to 40 people in the lovely atmosphere of this renovated turn-of-the-century home. The Tomseth House is equipped with accessories to make any event a success. A kitchen with oven, microwave, four-burner range, freezer and refrigerator make it easy to handle food preparation.
The exterior is as inviting as the interior, with the front porch overlooking 250 acres of filbert orchards and a nature preserve. You won’t believe that you're only two miles from the center of Springfield!
Capacity: 35 indoor, an additional 100 outdoor
Hourly fee: $75-$150
Features: Historic features, kitchen, restroom
Dorris Ranch Barn
Surrounded by open pastures and filbert orchard groves, the Dorris Ranch Barn is part of a historic farm right inside the city! The rustic setting and spacious natural grounds make the Dorris Ranch Barn perfect for family celebrations or business gatherings. The renovated 1892 barn retains all the charm of its historic origins while providing modern conveniences such as electrical outlets, water, benches and tables.
Capacity: 40 indoor, an additional 300 outside
Hourly fee: $75-$150
Features: Rustic setting. electricity , water
Black Walnut Meadow
Hourly fee: $75
Features: Scenic and serene outdoor space