Silver Falls State Park – South Falls Historic District, OR 2019


Join HistoriCorps in the “crown jewel” of the Oregon State Parks system this fall to continue preserving its historic resources!

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Project Site Description & History

PROJECT PARTNER: Oregon State Parks

SESSION DATES: September 8-13  |  September 15-20  |  September 22-27  |  September 29-October 4

ARRIVAL/DEPARTURE TIMES:  Plan to arrive between 5pm and 7pm on the first day of your project session, and depart after lunch on the last day. Work will generally start around 8am each day, and we’ll wrap up around 4pm.



SITE INFORMATION:         Indoor lodging provided   showers available

LOCATION:  We’ll be staying in traditional summer camp cabins in the YMCA Camp Silver Creek!

Map to Camp Silver Creek

GOOD TO KNOW: No prior experience is required. HistoriCorps will provide all meals, tools, training, and equipment for volunteers on this project. Volunteers are responsible for their own transportation to and from the lodging site. If a project requires a commute, we will plan to carpool to and from the jobsite. More general information is at the bottom of this page. 

HistoriCorps does not charge for its volunteering projects. The majority of project costs are covered by our project partners and grants, but as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, HistoriCorps relies on donations to continue engaging volunteers to save significant historical sites across America for generations to come. Your donation of any amount will make an incredible difference! Increase your impact – make a generous gift today.

Project Site Description & History

Volunteers on this project will get to experience and contribute to what’s called the “crown jewel” of Oregon State Parks. According to the State Park website, “Silver Falls State Park is the kind of standout scenic treasure that puts Oregon firmly onto the national—and international—stage. Its beauty, boundless recreational opportunities and historic presence keep it there. Nestled in the foothills of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, less than an hour east of the state capital of Salem, the sprawling 9,200 acre property is the largest state park in Oregon, and one of the most popular.
“Where else can you walk behind a waterfall? Check out the famous South Falls and see what a 177-foot curtain of water looks like from behind. It’s part of the Trail of Ten Falls, a spectacular, nationally recognized hiking trail that weaves through a dense forested landscape. The trail passes a series of breathtaking waterfalls along a rocky canyon, and descends to a winding creek at the forest floor.”

Combination Building

Main Lodge

This project is the second of two we’ll be undertaking in Silver Falls State Park this year. In April 2019, volunteers preserved the Camp Silver Creek Dining Hall; and this fall we are returning to the park’s South Falls Historic District to preserve the Combination Building and Main Lodge.
Silver Falls State Park has a long and storied history. Our partner shares, “The Kalapuya and Molalla, whose ancestors came to the Willamette Valley about 14,000 years ago, were the native people in the Silver Falls area when whites arrived as early as 1812.  Natives numbered about 15,000 in the Willamette Valley prior to white settlement, but populations began to decline due to European diseases against which natives lacked immunity.  By the early 1840s, their population dropped to about 600 and whites were coming in large numbers.  By 1850 hundreds of whites lived in and around the Silver Falls Area before completely displacing all the natives in western Oregon when they were relocated to reservations in 1854.”
In 1888, Silver Falls City – which was more of a conglomeration of loggers and homesteaders – was platted. The beautiful area has always drawn tourists – at that time, one could pay admittance and experience thrilling sights such as “pushing cars over the falls and even … a stunt with a daredevil riding over in a canoe” (source). Just a few decades later, the Great Depression landed in Oregon, and the once-profitable timber industry took a nosedive. The US government established the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which employed young men in public infrastructure projects across the country – building amphitheaters, bunkhouses for youth camps, trails, shelters, bridges, and more – in an effort to lessen the impact of poverty and instability in society at that time. The CCC constructed several buildings in Silver Falls State Park, including the Combination Building. 

The park grew over the years and now features more than 9,000 acres of public land. Every year, more than a million people visit this “crown jewel” of Oregon State Parks. Add your contribution to this park’s past and future by volunteering on this project!

Scope of Work

In late July, the scope of work changed from primarily window and masonry work to approximately 90% roofing (wood shingles). Volunteers will work alongside field staff to contribute to the preservation of several buildings’ roofs! 

Please note: Tasks vary by day and by week, depending on a variety of factors including: weather, project priorities, previous groups’ work, and more. Though it is likely you will get to learn and practice most or all of the above tasks, it is not guaranteed. The higher percentage of the scope a particular task is, the more likely you will get to practice it.

Logistics & More

  • Read our Volunteer FAQ! If you still have a question that’s not answered there, above, or below, please email us at We’re always happy to help.
  • Each project session has one volunteer slot for a Kitchen Helper. If you’re interested in lending our Crew Leader & Camp Chef a hand in meal preparation, choose the “Kitchen Helper” position when you register. Kitchen Helpers are welcome to participate on the preservation work if they like, but are not necessarily expected to.
  • Volunteers are responsible for bringing their own tent (unless indoor lodging is provided), as well as sleeping gear and other personal gear including sturdy work clothes and work boots. Volunteers are also responsible for their own transportation to and from this project. 
  • All volunteers are required to review and agree to the HistoriCorps Waiver & Release and Code of Conduct during the registration process.
  • We help you prepare for your preservation project through providing a “pre-arrival packet” via email. The packet contains a lot of information like: logistics, safety precautions, a suggested packing list, benefits for volunteers, and more.
  • HistoriCorps projects are multi-day sessions, where you will develop your skills over the course of the session, as well as build camaraderie with your crew and make a significant contribution to the preservation of this building. We can only very occasionally accommodate volunteers who require a shorter session. Please email us at for more information.

We are always ready to answer your questions. Once you register, expect us to be in touch a few times before your project begins to confirm attendance, offer advice, and share updates. Thank you always! Really, we can’t do it without you.

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