Ruth McBride-Powers Preservation Award

Ermatinger House - Saved by Ruth PowersThe Historic Review Board awards the Ruth McBride-Powers Preservation Award yearly during May Preservation Month to citizens, building/business owners, and others who show passion for preservation.

Ruth McBride Powers (1903 to 1995)

Ruth McBride was born in Michigan in 1903, graduating from Stanford University in California. According to a 1980 OHS oral history interview, she became interested in history when "as a young bride" she moved to the Coos County lumber town, Powers, Oregon, named after her husband's family. She began studying the history of her adopted state, especially its architecture and pioneer furniture. Her initial preservation project, in 1956, was the reconstruction of the badly-burned 1852 Robert Newell house at Champoeg, subsequently given to the Daughters of the American Revolution to operate as an educational site. Albert H. Powers Jr., her husband, died in 1961 in Portland.

She continued her efforts, using her financial resources to save many of Oregon's oldest buildings; sometimes they were purchased outright, and at other times she provided major underwriting. In addition to the Ainsworth House, Rose and Locust Farms also known as the (Morton Mathew McCarver House), she is credited with saving the Philip Foster house and barn, Horace Dibble house, David Wagner log house, Murray Wade house, Lake Oswego IOOF hall, Pleasant Grove-Condit Church, John Boon house, and Francis Ermatinger house. In 1975 she received national recognition for her work from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

In the final 25 years of her life, Mrs. Powers divided her time between The McCarver House and the Rose Farm. She often opened the latter for fund-raising tours and it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. The McCarver House (Locust Farm) in 1852, the 1847 William and Louisa Holmes House ("Rose Farm"), and the Captain John Ainsworth House built in 1852. There are three remaining settlement-era houses built in the Mt. Pleasant area of Clackamas County. The survival of all three is due to the preservation efforts of a single benefactor, Mrs. Ruth McBride Powers.