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Old photo of the poor farm

78th St. Heritage Farm

Farm history

Previous farm
Original poor farm building, burned down in 1922.
Long shed
Old house on site
Poor farm now
The poor farm today is used as the Heritage Farm administrative building.

The Anderson family forfeited the property to the county.


Clark County operated a poor farm on the site.


A large two-story colonial revival house was located at approximately the location of the existing building.


Fire broke out destroying the main building. Residents of the poor farm were relocated to the county poor house on Fourth Plain Road.

"Poor Farms" were organized for impoverished people to live and work. The people who resided on poor farms often helped raise their own crops and tend the livestock. There people were homeless, elderly, mildly handicapped men, women and children.


Clark County hired an architecture firm DeYoung and Roald to design the new poor farm building. DeYoung and Roald also designed the Heathman Hotel and Paramount theater in Portland Oregon.

June 1926

Residents moved back into the new structure.

  • Construction cost was approximately $21,000.
  • Scaled down style from Italian Renaissance commonly used for government buildings.
  • Progress was made to cultivate 50 acres in hay, grain and potatoes.
  • A large garden was planned to supply food for the residents.
  • Livestock was maintained at the farm which included cows, chickens and hogs.


Several improvements were made to the building and property.

  • Separate milk and vegetable storage houses to the east were built.
  • Basement of the main building was subdivided into small rooms where residents slept.
  • Showers were installed


Clark County negotiated a lease with Washington State College to convert a portion of the facility from a poor farm into a research and experimental farm. They agreed to 28 acres.


For a short period of time the main building was remodeled to serve as a nursing home.


Washington State College was deeded the property and moved into the main building and assumed control of all but 21 acres of the original 100 acre tract. The remaining acres were owned by the county and included the cemetery and existing park.

1949 to 2008

Washington State College and now Washington State University owned and operated the property as an experimental agricultural station.


Clark County assumed ownership and agreed to maintain the partnership with WSU.


A master plan was adopted based on the following community guided principals

  • Celebrate our agricultural heritage
  • Maintain WSU's presence on the site through programs, research and office facilities
  • Showcase and promote sustainable agricultural and building practices
  • Support agricultural research that supports sustainable farming practices
  • Enhance community wellness and inspire life-long learning
  • Promote community volunteerism
  • Integrate a variety of activities and resources that provide community access


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