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History

The City of Adair Village was incorporated in 1976, on site a rich military history. It is located on the site of two former military bases, one Army and one Air Force. In early 1941 the War Department was looking for a place to build new training facilities. The site needed to have 50,000 acres of land, a good water supply, decent electrical power, and railroad access. The Adair Site was ideal and was chosen in September 1941. To make way for the new construction, many families had to give up their homes. The government purchased farms, rerouted railroad tracks and roads, and completely wiped out the small town of Wells, Oregon. Even cemeteries located within the camp boundaries had to be relocated. A total of 414 grave markers, some dating back to the 1850’s, were relocated. Construction began in spring of 1942, and by winter the camp was in use. The Army built 1,700 buildings including barracks, machine shops, stores, dining halls, theaters, a post office, hospitals, and chapels. Camp Adair was officially dedicated in September 1943.

Camp Adair was named for Henry Rodney Adair. He was a native of Astoria, Oregon and a member of a prominent Oregon pioneer family. After graduating West Point, he became a cavalry lieutenant. He was killed during the Pancho Villa Expedition at the Battle of Carrizal on June 21, 1916.

The main purpose of Camp Adair Military Reservation during World War II was to train Army troops who were destined to fight overseas. Four divisions trained at Camp Adair, two of which fought in Europe, one fought in North Africa and Europe, and one in the South Pacific.  At one time 30,000 to 45,000 soldiers and civilian employees lived and worked at Camp Adair, making it Oregon’s second largest city during WWII.

For a short while part of the Camp served as a prisoner-of-war (POW) camp. The POW camp housed German and Italian prisoners. This was not well publicized information, and most residents in Benton and Polk counties were unaware of the Camp. Being in 1946, the former hospital buildings of Camp Adair served as faculty and student housing to accommodate the growth at Oregon State University brought on by the returning GIs.

Camp Adair was eventually converted into an Air Force Base. The Adair Air Force Station was in existence from about 1957 – 1969. The AAFS was home to the regional SAGE Support Facility, a Cold War radar defense system. At one point, there was plans to put in a missile silo in the area that is now the Pacific Region Composting site, just north of Camp Adair Road.

After the Air Force Station closed, all of its lands and buildings were either deeded or sold to other groups. They now form the nucleus of the modern day City of Adair Village. The original residences, which consist of houses on Willamette, Laurel, Columbia, and Azalea Streets were the used as Officers’ Housing for the Adair Air Force Station. In addition the Air Force Station occupied  buildings currently used by Santiam Christian School, Oregon/SW Washington Laborers’ School, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Block Building.

The City of Adair Village was platted in 1973 and incorporated in by election in May of 1976. The Officers’ Housing used by the Air Force was in the area platted to become Adair Meadows, but a clerical error on the documents changed the name to Adair Village. The originating founders decided to stay with the Adair Village name rather than start the process over again.

 

More information about the History of Adair Village and Camp Adair can be found on the following sites

Adair Living History

Benton County Museum

Camp Adair – a Geocacher’s Guide to Camp Adair