The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Ted Cox Oral History Interview

June 7, 2016 – 11:00a.m.

Video: “From Sierra Leone to Downtown Corvallis” . June 7, 2016

Location: Cox residence, Corvallis, Oregon.
Interviewer:  Tiah Edmunson-Morton

1:59:15 - Abstract | Biography | Download Transcript (PDF)


Tiah Edmunson-Morton: OK, go ahead.

Ted Cox: Well, my name is Ted Cox – that would be Theodore William Cox. I was born January 15th, 1947 in Eugene, Oregon, and I lived in Eugene for three years. How we wound up there was, during the war, my folks went from Bend to Portland, Oregon to work in the shipyards before I was born, and my father worked on Liberty ships with building the Kaiser Shipyard stuff by St. Johns. And right after the way, they moved to Eugene and that's when I was born.

And they were there – my dad was involved with logging operations there and got into a really bad accident, and it through our family into a tailspin by 1949. In fact, the largest settlement for problems with loggers was settled in, I believe it was 1949, with the case of my father. He had his head smashed in about seven-eighths of an inch from a swinging boom log – I guess that's what you call it – that hit him. And that kind of actually was the largest settlement since World War I. And I just mention that out of interest because I believe it resulted in insisting that men in the woods wear the protective hats after that, it was a big deal. But because of that tailspin, our family moved to Cucamonga/Ontario, California where my auntie had sold her logging – well, she had sold her interest in Preston Logging Company out of the Eugene area, and did a swap for some property, forty acres of peaches in Cucamonga/Ontario. So we were invited to come down while this settlement was going on and manage that ranch.

And so I spent my kindergarten years actually at Cucamonga Elementary, was kindergarten. Interestingly enough, it was all immigrant children so my first experience of school was being in the minority of maybe six or seven of us kids, and all the rest were Chicano or Mexican immigrants that were on the Bracero Program that were there.

TEM: They were the kids of the Bracero workers?

TC: Oh yeah, the children of.

TEM: So, did you have brothers and sisters? Or was it just you and your family? Did your dad survive the accident?

TC: Yeah, that was pretty amazing. The side of his head was pressed in seven-eighths of an inch and the doctors were able to save him. I affected him the rest of his life, obviously, and they were able to somehow pull that out a bit. But he always suffered from headaches and personality – he was always a pretty serious guy but that would make anybody grumpy, to survive that kind of a trauma.

Yes, my older brother is eleven years older. My older sister is eight years older. I have a half-brother who was sixteen years older. And interestingly enough, families that work in the woods always have problems – he lost an eye working down in the Eugene area from splicing some wire. And my dad's uncle back in 1900 – he was born in 1899 – actually my father was born three centuries ago, you might say; he was already an old man when I was born. His brother lost a leg. So I never got involved in logging but knew about all the hazards just from those awful stories.

Then I also have a half-sister who lives in Veneta. The half-brother who's passed away, many years lived in St. Helens, and then Goldendale, and then wound up moving to northern California for a short time because of his wife's work, my sister-in-law. And then passed away up in Vancouver in the hospital. And that would be all the siblings.

TEM: OK, sorry for the diversion from schooling. [laughs]

TC: Oh no. Well, I think I diverted.

TEM: No, that's all right. So you were at school, starting school down in California. So presumably your siblings were with you but they were in older grades?


TC: OK, my brother who is eleven years older and my sister who is eight years older and myself and my mother and father, that was our nucleus that went to California. We only worked that ranch for one year and actually he did a number of interesting things. God, my dad built a swimming pool for her in addition to and he did all this cement work in colored cement, and he got patents on it. He did star work and different designs and color. And when people in Hollywood wanted to do the Walk of Fame with the stars, my dad was one of about five people that had special patents. And we had people from Hollywood come out and look at the pool and talked about the significance of the patents my dad had on that. But it never went anywhere as far as monetary compensation, but we've got really interesting family archives about that time. And that was just right there. We had an aunt that was, at the same time, was the senior secretary for Lucille Ball and so there were these connections in Hollywood, just indirectly. And I was too small to understand all that.

Actually, Howard Hughes Aircraft, after the war, took work there in Ontario. This is a different story but my aunt who had the ranch that we came down to work for, a fellow named Odekirk, Howard Hughes's right hand man for years talked her into investing in Hughes Enterprises. And they were, at that time in Ontario after the war, they were taking military planes and converting them for use in Alaska for people that wanted to go to the Outback and do hunting and that. I forget the name of the aircraft. So she was invested in that for a short time, through this Odekirk. And then he unfortunately talked her out of her money. My dad hated this. He said Odekirk was kind of a scam artist. But he talked her into divesting out of Howard Hughes and investing in some mines in Montana, and she wound up losing pretty much all of her money and became subsistence after that.

So there was that dynamic but it wasn't involved directly with us. We were only on that ranch for one year and the settlement money, I think it was around $20,000 – a large sum of money in 1951 – came in and we, for a short time, moved by Santa Monica, Sawtelle – it's a community about seven miles from Santa Monica – and took over an ice cream shop, like a Dairy Queen, only it was a Frosty Freeze; it was called Ted's Frosties, I believe. And that was my year between going from kindergarten to first grade.

And then within just a few months, that summer of '51, he bought into another Frosty Freeze in Eagle Rock, California. Eagle Rock is a community that's between Pasadena and Arroyo Seco. Where the Rose Bowl is and Glendale, the main road goes through Eagle Rock Boulevard, so a pretty well-traveled road. We lived there for nine years. That's where I went to grade school and up through Eagle Rock High School, so I was brought up in a restaurant environment until about 1957, '58 when they had to – well, I don't know what the reason was, but just got out of that business. Well, I know what happened. My dad was working on changing an engine block on a car for a family member and he severely ruptured a disc in his back and had an operation for that. It was about 1957. If you can imagine, the doctors pretty much butchered him up and that was another woe he had to deal with. So he was crippled in that regard. He was able to walk but the rest of the life was just living on Social Security and my mom picking up odd jobs sewing.

Interestingly enough, when we were in Eagle Rock after the restaurant time, she got a job as a seamstress and did work on the Harlem Globetrotters, their uniforms, among other things at the shop that she worked at. I just remember that as being interesting at the time because they were a famous team and that was fun to talk about.

TEM: Did you meet them?

TC: No. It was just my mom saying that was one of the various things that she worked on.


So at that point, we actually – it was 1959-60 and I was twelve years old – and I have family in Albany, Oregon that had a business there since after the way from 1945. Like we went to Eugene and California, they came to Albany. And they bought the Albany Iron Works, a cast-iron foundry that had been in business since 1865. It was a main business in Albany up until the Depression era, which kind of devastated it. And it was pretty much, I believe for a short time, had been out of business when my uncle – my mother's brother – drove through with a load of potatoes from Bend. He brought them down and saw that foundry, and he had worked for the Bend Iron Works since 1936 – he was born in 1913 – and just on a whim went in and talked to the people, this one guy who was in charge of the building, and talked them into selling that to him and his brother. His brother, my mother's other brother – Art Patty – had experience and had been from Bend but he was in Klamath Falls working at that time.

So they came together and bought the Albany Iron Works in 1945 and ran it through 1971. If you want to see a great YouTube video on the history, which I donated to the Albany Regional Museum, look up "Ted W. Cox YouTube Albany Foundry," and there's a very accurate historic account of that foundry. The reason I mention that is I started coming up, first with the family, in 1957 I guess; it was after we got out of the restaurant. We drove up for a summer visit and for the next seven years, I spent my summers working in that foundry. So I was brought up at like 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and learned about making Oregon State University there are grates, if you knew where they're at, cast-iron grates for drainage – that would actually be in the video that I put together – that I poured and did the castings for and poured this.

So anyway, back to 1960 when we left Eagle Rock, my folks had pulled their money together and they bought a tract house in Ontario. So we moved back to Ontario and that was where I spent the seventh and eighth grade, going to Montclair Junior High and then Montclair High School. And had a real good experience there; it was very positive, successful. Sports was the main thing. It wasn't that I had a lot of brains to be intellectual, but I was a success in sports and led to just doing people-oriented stuff and popularity and having a great high school experience.

TEM: Were you interested in all sports? Were you generally interested in athletics or were their sports that you really gravitated towards?

TC: I really liked track and field, and shotput. For junior high and high school, I was a good shot-putter – had the school record at the time. But you've got to be a big guy to go on. You get to college and all the sudden I was really a small fry. But I carried on and I did do shotput through junior college and a little senior college, and also javelin. And then football. I played nine years of football – one tag in junior high and then four years of high school and four years of college. And then later rugby, which I'll come to – I played four years of rugby overseas and also here in Corvallis.

And so because of that, in those days and even today, California has a wonderful junior college program. I graduated in 1965 from Montclair High and in Alta Loma, California – a ten-, twelve-mile drive from our home – was Chaffey Junior College. And the first term was like Grade 13 in high school. Everybody, it seemed like, showed up at college.

TEM: Everybody from your high school?

TC: Well, yeah. It seemed. And from all the competitors we used to play against.


And that lasted about one term. And probably – I don't know, this wouldn't be accurate but it's the right idea of what really happened – everybody seemed to be partying and all the partiers, after a term, got weeded out, and the kids that were serious stayed on. And that as just how that worked. But because of that, I got a two-year degree from that college. And thanks to football again, and working hard academically, I got some financial assistance to go on to La Verne College, which is now the University of La Verne. It's in the Claremont school area; La Verne is an entity of its own but you would think of other places like Harvey Mudd and Pomona College, there's a cluster of colleges in the Claremont area. That was like ten miles from Ontario.

So I spent two years there and had another great time. And the senior year, I was looking at, my options were graduate in June of 1969, was either go into the military or go to grad school, which I did not want to do because I felt I was just to here in academics. And then a Peace Corps representative came by and talked about the possibility of Peace Corps. And so I did check out the Marines as a possibility, not understanding that there was such a thing as the Tet Offensive and really bad times in Vietnam at the time. I just went and looked into it. That probably would have been not the safest move for me.

TEM: So were other people that you were in school with having those same considerations? Thinking about whether they would go? Obviously it's a very active time from a military standpoint, from a war standpoint. Were there people who you graduated with who went that direction? Went into the service?

TC: Well, yeah. Of course the mood of the country was anti-military and Vietnam protest and stuff. I was so much into just doing my school stuff, I didn't get caught up into that. The reason I went down to check out the Marines was an influence of classmates who were in, they were in a program at La Verne. So I went down but to get in to see the Marine recruiter, we had to push through – this was downtown L.A. – there were protestors flooded. I remember the day we went and we just had to kind of wade our way through them to get inside. And of course, at that time the Marines were desperate in a sense to get people. Because, I mean, I needed glasses at the time and none of that was going to be a problem. I was physically healthy in other regards.

But right at that same time, I also put in an application for the Peace Corps. And I got an invitation to go to West Africa, and it seemed like a no-brainer to go to West Africa and continue what I was doing; I would be a teacher there and that sounded terrific. So I went ahead and accepted that. In those days, there was a real screening of the volunteers. I remember I had one friend who had gone on to another college and he was even approached at that college about me. They came in at La Verne. I remember having one of my classmates from a class I was having, nobody knew why, and I talked him later and he said, "oh, they called me out because these Secret Service guys were asking about you," because of screening for the Peace Corps. I don't think that kind of anal stuff went on and on, but at that time, that happened.

Anyway, so I graduated from La Verne and went to Sierra Leone.

TEM: Did they do preparation work before you went? Were there classes you had to take or things you had to read to prepare you to go to Sierra Leone?

TC: Yeah, actually if you want, I will give you my book on that experience. Have you seen that?

TEM: I've seen it. I haven't read it but I've seen it.

TC: Yeah, I'll give that to you. I talk about all that.

Yeah, of course they did all the screening – the Secret Service stuff, just the general things. But then we had, at that time, staging for Peace Corps Africa was a week's staging in Philadelphia. We stayed at the Sylvania Hotel and I've got another YouTube video, kind of a silly one, on that experience. But the Sylvania today is a condominium-type place. And for one week we filled out all the paperwork, talked about cultural differences, took physicals – eye check-up, blood and everything. And a lot of classes on cross-cultural experiences, culture shock, things we would be expected to see. And that went on for one week and then, which was really unique, they had started in-country training at that time. So I felt really fortunate. I think we were the second group to go for in-country training in Sierra Leone. So we showed up there and had stayed at Fourah Bay College up on the hill overlooking Freetown for a week, stayed in the dormitories, and got more indoctrinations, training.


And then because I going to be trained to be a science high school teacher, the assistant director found out that I had training in physical education, I was one of very few at that point, and I believe at that time there were six or seven teacher training colleges in Sierra Leone and they needed a physical educator was requested for one – health and physical education. So I was approached about that and I couldn't believe my good fortunes on that. I would have gladly gone into the high school, but to do specifically physical education and health, it was like a dream come true. And there were very few of us that got invited for that. So after six weeks of teacher training in Freetown – we taught at the premier high school there, it was Albert Academy, and taught science – that's when the invitation came to go and I spent two years in Bo Teacher Training College working with primary school teachers. And I was the sports master at that school also.

And about the second year, I had been doing a lot of volunteer work in the community and got involved with a boxing club and the rugby club. It was kind of like a dream come true – I was able to kind of call the shots on the different things as well as my responsibilities at the college. I got involved with the Sierra Leone National Sports Council and started tinkering with the idea of, because I was suggested, of working with clinics with the National Sports Council with my third and fourth year. So I looked into that and made an application for that through the Sierra Leone Sports Council. And that did work out, but at the same time, because of that, I talked to a fellow named Woody Pollen, who was some sort of assistant director with the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone. He knew about British Honduras and the program there and he knew that they were actively seeking a national track and field coach. So that really piqued my interest; that sounded too good to be.

So I made a direct contact in Belize – British Honduras at that time – and contacted Peace Corps Washington, and they looked over my papers and I got accepted as the national track coach. So I just didn't lose a skip beat. I had one month off-

TEM: Before we go to British Honduras, I do want to ask, did you feel culture shock? In those first few months in Africa, what was that like for you? Can you talk a little bit about that?

TC: Sure. No different than, let's say, if you're a young kid at eighteen going into the military or a twenty-two-year-old guy who's four years older and more mature, going overseas. Culture shock, if it's the first time that you're out of the country for a serious investment other than of a holiday, culture shock is going to affect you, either minor or major, and everybody handles it a little bit differently. For me, generally what happens is you get thrown into a new situation and, like in the case of the Peace Corps, there's all the different aspects of training and all the different exciting new tastes and feels. And so you may not really experience any culture shock that's really serious for, it could be six weeks, could be a month. Or it could be pretty much straight on.


In my case, the culture shock hit me after I went through six weeks of basic training and then went into my new job in Bo at the college. And then everything was just like new, new, new. And then when I got settled down, I got depressed. And it was like "oh." And it took about, I'm guessing, maybe – and you're writing letters home and you're just like, "oh my goodness." You wake up in the morning, you hear the strange sounds. But you can bounce out of it if you just move forward. It took me maybe a month or less, and then I just forgot about it. I was just having such a good time being part of it. I knew other volunteers that, if they were in, say, an isolated situation where they couldn't be around other Americans and they weren't totally interacting with the locals, they could get into trouble. I've heard about people just introverting into books and just reading and then going out and being depressed that way. That's kind of a trap you don't want to get into. Most volunteers adjusted like I said, and they're off and running. Either that or they quit.

Now, there was in those days, during training – this is 1969, I'm sure in '68, '67 before me, but you didn't see it afterwards – they had a shrink, a psychologist, come in with the program. I saw it both in Sierra Leone and when I was between Sierra Leone and Belize, I went for cultural training that, at that time, was in Ponce, Puerto Rico. People going to Latino countries, in those periods they would go to Ponce to the Catholic university and do their training. And it could be any country. Belize was an English-speaking country, but because it was an oddball thing they threw us in for training with that and I got six weeks of Spanish, which I loved, I had a great time, even though I was going to be speaking English. The reason was they didn't quite know where to put Belize. That's different than in-country training in Sierra Leone where we went to in-country, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, whatever. In-country. In this case, in 1971, for Latin America you went to Puerto Rico and then went out after. You became competent in the language. I lost the train of thought there.

TEM: I think I was just asking you about the adjustment for you even arriving in a different country, kind of initially that first transition period from being in California to being in Africa.

TC: Oh yeah, it was total excitement. It was like a big holiday, a paid vacation. I couldn't believe it when we got our first stipend from the Peace Corps and you go out on the town and get the smells and the sights. I made a lot of videos at the time, so some of those are in the Internet, you can see them, from my African experience. I kind of tweaked them into being silly videos mostly, but you can see the Sierra Leone stuff is mostly on that.

Yeah, once you're cruising – I remember in Africa going to rest houses where there would be volunteers from different countries. Canadian volunteers or British. There were Irish volunteers; I remember the Irish volunteers in Belize. But I just remember a couple of times – and of course the Vietnam War is going on and Americans are kind of like the topic of the horse's ass on all the naughty stuff that was going on, so I didn't really hang out at those places because I'd get in and it would be like negative talk. And it was basically talk about "thumbs down with the Americans" sort of thing. Even the kids, they would be because the Vietnam War was so bad. So I just didn't care to be involved with that, so I would jump in because I was having a great time with the locals. My best friend – well, I had some Peace Corps friends who are some of my best friends still, but the majority of the people that I hung out with were locals, whether Sierra Leoneans or Belizeans, I identified with. I mean, that's why I was there anyway.


TEM: Did you have an apartment? Did you live by yourself in an apartment when you lived there?

TC: In those days, we were – in Sierra Leone there was another volunteer that was with me and we taught at the same college. And the college was a government college and they were building a brand new compound at the time which, if we would have stayed another year, we would have moved into. But because they were like renting, it was the United Brethren Church compound, and that's where we had our classes, we lived in town. So the school rented, in this case, they rented a place for us. And that, to me, was great because I was with the locals; I mean, I was right in town and that was a lot of fun. And really got total immersion with Sierra Leoneans. If we'd been stuck out on a compound, it would have been fine but we would have missed so much of the culture.

In Belize, we were given, in those days, a stipend and we had to go out and find our own accommodations. And I lived with other volunteers in Belize City and then worked all over the country. Today – I was down a year and a half ago to Belize with my book on my experiences there, I gave a talk at the Peace Corps office there in Belmopan, and they basically, I believe, said that the volunteers, they try to place them with Belizean families. And that was a different philosophy than what I experienced. We were, they said, "here, get your own place," and that would be a difference between now and then.

TEM: So you finished in Sierra Leone and then went to Belize in 1970? '69?

TC: Yeah, I finished in Sierra Leone in 1971.

TEM: Oh, OK.

TC: I left, had a month off, made contact with relatives in Norway a couple years before that and I found out that one of my cousins was getting married. So the timing was perfect: I went to Norway for two weeks, went to that wedding. And I came to Oregon and I knew the foundry that I was talking about earlier was closing down, so I went in, I worked there for a couple of days and made some videos; part of the video that I made on the history of the foundry. And they closed up later that year, so that was good timing. And then I took a bus to southern California and stayed with family there until it was time to go to Belize. Well, I take that back, I went to Puerto Rico for six weeks of fun and games. I was more fun than work. I was spoiled; that was just too much good stuff.

TEM: So you had six weeks of being with other volunteers who were going to the Latin American countries, learning Spanish?

TC: Yeah, there were about seventeen of us going to Belize, so I was with the Belizean group.

TEM: Oh, OK.

TC: But yeah, people could be going to Costa Rica, Panama, San Salvador, Chile, wherever. And they were all there at the Universidad Catolica in Ponce. That was the training center in those days, not today.

TEM: You had a different job though going into Belize, so did you have special preparation for this new job that you had? What was that transition like?

TC: That job was made for me, really. It was a grass roots – I was the national track and field coach. My stronger points were more on the grass roots side of it. And the volunteers I talked to – now, the book that wrote goes into detail on all this – but the volunteers that I talked to that were already there and were helping us in our transition said they were betting against my position. They said, "there's no way in hell this thing is going to work, because Belize is a tiny country, they don't have enough work for a track coach. He's going to be sitting around doing nothing. The guy's going to get depressed and move away." And to me, it was like a big plate of candy that I could choose the candy and eat.


They gave me five goals to work with. Now, a lot of volunteers, depending on what you're doing, in general – I get myself in trouble here – but in general, the ones that have maybe the highest success rate of finishing two years of service – and this is a little bit dicey – but say, would be the teachers. Because if you're right out of college and you don't have work experience, you're kind of structured, even though you think, "I've been trained to be liberal minded." So a teacher though has curriculum and a set thing at a school. But if, say, you're thrown into an agricultural situation and they say, "set up co-ops and here's some tools to work with," and it's up to you to work with these people and make something happen, unless you're really focused – and a lot of people are creative – your chances of failure kind of go up.

And that's kind of what they thought about this track and field thing was, "this is totally unstructured and there's not enough work. He's going to be sitting at a desk and he's going to wind up going home." And anyway for me, it was heaven on Earth, it was a paid vacation doing exactly what I wanted to do. The goals were I was to train potential Olympic athletes; I was to set up track meets in the school level, which I did do, I worked with elementary and high school and open competition. I was to work with training athletes, was to help with getting track and field equipment, a limited amount. And there was a fifth goal. Anyway, I approached all of them, including one more, because between Sierra Leone and Belize I had talked to a physical educator in Illinois – Eastern Illinois University – and they said, "you know, Belize, do they know about the AAHPER Fitness test?" Doing the test that we have here in our country, where you do sit-ups and pull-ups and stuff. And I said, "well, I don't know." And he said, "well, possibility you might want to do that there."

And so the second year I took that on and I tested over a thousand high school boys and girls. I didn't have as big of a female population, so I wound up doing this physical fitness pamphlet, but I made one for Belize at the end of it. I even did my master's thesis here at Oregon State on it. And Belize has its own physical fitness. When I went down this year and a half ago, I made copies of all that and reminded people, after forty years, I said, "a lot of this stuff is still valid, and your grandparents are still in there, and anybody can give these tests." And here were norms where a twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen-year-old kid can do it and then they can compare and then say, "well, it may not be kids from 2015 but it's what our grandparents did, and how do we compare with that?" And I tried to get some excitement with that, it's totally valid. It's in the book too, so you'll see it. But that was a secondary thing I did in my second year.

So I worked with, like I said, the first thing I did when I was there, I needed to get to know people and I needed coaches and I needed people to help organize. So I spent the first four months giving a track clinic throughout the country. It was a ten course clinic, and I started in Belize City. Well actually, before that I went to all the high schools in Belize City, introduced myself, and checked out the facilities and made a record of all that, and said I was at their service. And then I organized these track clinics and had a real success with that, and everybody got a certificate. And the people that would take the clinic would be people that were interested in track and field, which was a lot of Belizeans. In those days, track was a big deal. So I had police, teachers, ordinary citizens or people working in other fields, sign up to take it; teachers of course.


And then I sent out notices to all the districts we went out and visited. There were five districts that I worked in, there was one out on the Ambergris Caye, and in the north there's a place called Corozal and Orange Walk, that's where they grow a lot of oranges, sugarcane – well, more sugarcane in the north. And Belmopan, the center part of the country where the capital is; San Ignacio on the Guatemalan border. And there are all different cultural groups that live in these places. In the north, mostly mestiza folks with Belizean mix and immigrants that have come down from the Yucatan over the years. In the south, Dangriga was the Garifuna people that I worked with and organized stuff there. And then in the far south, Punta Gorda. All those names that I gave – and there's no reason for anybody to know what the heck I'm talking about unless you know Belize – but those would be like saying I went to Oregon, California, Montana, all except on a much smaller scale. And I gave clinics and they had over – I forget, it's in the book – but dozens and dozens of people took that course.

So that was the first four months, now I knew a lot of people. Soon on, we were organizing track meets in the elementary schools, inter-school. It was great. In the eastern part we had four and then eleven schools, elementary, it just unified the people from the villages and in San Ignacio. In the north, we had Orange Walk/Corozal come together and multiple – this place called Yo Creek – multiple schools. And then in the south, with the Garifuna population, multiple schools.

Then on the secondary level, we did the same thing. Organized track meets in all the districts and I traveled for the track meets and helped them. And then we said, "we're going to do a national track meet." We held two national track meets – high school track meets – when I was there. And I think they might have held one the year after I left. Unfortunately, it kind of fell apart and wasn't carried on like we had hoped.

And then on the open level, the British Army was still there in those days, so when I first came the resident guards that had come in were the Grenadier Guards. I worked with them and they were focused on track and field, so we revived what was called the Triangular Track Meet. It was a big deal. I worked with the local citizens, track athletes, and then we had the British Army, and then the Belizean Volunteer Guard, that was the triangular thing. Big track meet in Belize City; we did that the two years and then it carried on for a time after I left.

And then I did work with a gal who had success in the Caribbean Games back in 1972, a young lady who would have gone to the Munich Olympics; I was training her for the Olympics. I was strung out really far and wide at that point and anybody else would have said, "you're crazy Ted, you've got a chance to walk in the Olympics," but I worked with her and she just wasn't focused. Girls softball was a big deal in the high schools then and I couldn't hold her attention and she wouldn't follow through, to her unfortunate demise – or, not demise, but to her disadvantage because she would have been really famous in Belize if she had been.

[phone rings]

TEM: OK, so we left off with you talking about the young woman who did not go to the Olympics.

TC: Darla Flowers. Unfortunately. And again, that's a whole story in the book. That was the only I did not accomplish was get that young lady to the Olympics. And I really feel bad because I found out she just had kind of a tough time in life and I believe she's passed away now, and that would have been really nice. But I was kind of being a little bit too strict. I should have gone along with her whims as a teenager and we still could have gone to the Olympics and walked in, and she probably would have done fine.

TEM: So that was in your first year and then the second year things transitioned a little bit and you moved toward testing, is that right? When you were starting to gather data about physical fitness in the country? Am I remembering that correctly?


TC: Yeah, I approached the ministry that I worked under about doing this project and told them what it would entail, and they were real excited about it and gave me permission to do that. And it turned out to be a real keeper, because there's very few countries in the world that have their own physical fitness manual that was tailored for them. Belize is one of them.

TEM: At that point, were you thinking about coming back to the States and going to graduate school and doing more academic work around the experiences that you were having? I mean, you were data gathering, was that a goal that you had that you knew you wanted to return to graduate school?

TC: Well, I didn't know how much trouble I would have getting into a graduate school, but yeah. That always seemed like a natural progression. Everything else that – I had already accomplished all of the requirements and we were still, like the second year, we still did bigger and better elementary school competitions and the high school stuff, the Triangular Track Meet, everything that I could have hoped to do. Mind you, in those days, the only entertainment that you had in Belize, other than private home entertainment, that was broadcast, was Radio Belize. One radio station, no television stations. So there wasn't kids playing around with all this Internet crap and stuff that's really screwing up a lot of countries' youth right now, because they're not getting out and getting involved.

Anyway, the point being that track and field, spectator sport and a sport that the athletes – like the girls' softball, the high school thing? That was big in the Caribbean in those days. I mean, it was followed. And basketball was a big sport. And Belizeans would support all that stuff. Today I doubt you would have, like in the case of track and field, the stadium filled with a lot of people excited. And I think, like to get in, they did charge to get into some of these track meets, but would be like two-and-a-half cents. It was affordable for them.

[phone rings]

TEM: So, second year in Belize, you are doing assessments and then, as you were thinking about leaving, what were your thoughts toward the end of that second year? Did you think you wanted to stay in the Peace Corps or were you pretty clear that you were done and you wanted to return to America?

TC: No, I was – as opposed to staying Belize for a third year and carrying on, after four years overseas, I was ready to come back. And the only question was, where would I come back to? And I had made an application at Eastern Illinois University – I can't even remember why there. It's a small university. And Oregon State University, because of my ties with family here in Oregon, it seemed natural and I have family members who have attended and graduated from Oregon State previously. I had sent out one basic application and didn't receive a reply, so one of my cousins who was in education came in, and I asked her if she could come down and ask just what's going on. So she got me an application and I sent that in – that was after a year or so in Belize – and fortunately for me, the head of the Physical Education department at Oregon State, Charlotte Lambert – who is passed away now, rest in peace – she was interested in recruiting graduate students with international experience. So I fit in the criteria and that led to me getting an acceptance and a teaching assistantship to come to Oregon State.


So I made my plans and I forget when I got my acceptance, but when I left Belize, it would have been August – let's see, I finished my term of service as the track coach in June and then I was hired as a Peace Corps trainer for the second year in a row, and helped the new volunteers. I was hoping to work with my replacement volunteer, which never happened, but I worked with those volunteers and left in August and came to southern California, and I bought a car and drove up to Corvallis.

TEM: This is 1973, right?

TC: 1973.

TEM: So you arrive in Corvallis, late summer 1973, what was Corvallis like then?

TC: Well Corvallis, when you go to the university – I was going to live on campus, I lived in Snell Hall, so when I came to town, the first thing I did is I spent the night in Albany with my relatives from the foundry. And then I came over and my first approach to campus was to go to Gill Coliseum; I was curious about the program and the people, I had seen their names, like Dr. Pat O'Shea and Chuck McNeil and Bernie Wagner and different people who are famous in the Athletic Department today. I drove right by Gill Coliseum and I looked around and today there's more development, but pretty much what you see then I saw now. And then I drove over to Snell Hall, that blue building, and at that time it was for students over twenty-one, and so it was kind of like I was in the Eiffel Tower and the town was separate, and the two didn't really mix. And they haven't for many years; it's only been recently where there's been kind of an outreach going more both ways. Generally, students don't even – like where we're at now down on 2nd, students don't walk this far. They go across the street and Monroe and that's where they're going to hang out. If they come this way, maybe 6th street.

In those days, what was really different was there were more dance clubs to go to and off-campus, more bars. We have some bars now but it was a little bit looser as far as people drinking when they shouldn't be. So the town was driving the police maybe a little bit crazy with that, whereas today, you're nuts if you touch alcohol and go out.

I spent my first two years pretty much dedicated on campus and working on my thesis. My world revolved around Langton Hall and the Women's Building. I became heavily involved with women's athletics and Langton Hall, which was the old stalwart of the Men's Gymnasium. And at the time, the leader of Health and Physical Education was not real strong and the P.E. department was hoping that Dixon Recreation Center, which hadn't been built, and the golf course across the river, which hadn't been built, would be under the umbrella of the Physical Education program. And then there was, of course, student funding and everything which built most of these structures, had a whole different idea. And they kind of let go of that. But at the time, there was that.

Also, I felt an awe and privilege to be with part of the department there. At Langton and the Women's Building, the reputation for Oregon State University on the West Coast and maybe – I can't speak for the rest of the country – in the activity areas, what was available and the quality: the best. And how they did that, for example, if you were to go to U of O at the time as opposed to Oregon State and you took any activity class, whether it was how to fly cast or free weights or volleyball or conditioning classes, if you went down to U of O, there was a good chance you would be assigned a graduate student, like me, to teach the class that could be really good or they could be really bad. They didn't have a reference.


Here at Oregon State, they had a full staff of professionals. They didn't all have doctorates – I don't know how many did – in the activities program, but they were the best, the highest quality. From the late '60s and '70s, these people had come on from other universities, had already come on, and they developed such a high quality. And then any – a guy like me that comes along, if I was assigned by Don Martin to teach a class I didn't know about, I could go and sit in and mimic what was there, and give the same high quality to any student. And you don't see that – a lot of places, they bring a graduate student in to work and they say, "ok, you're going to do this class." And if they don't have any good teaching skills, you could really get some garbage.

TEM: It sounds like there was a good mentor program.

TC: Oh yeah, that's the word, mentor. It was the best. I can't tell you how many classes I sat in on on stuff that I would be ask to do. I'd already been teaching first aid – I did it in Belize and a little bit in Sierra Leone – but I would come and I would sit in on the classes here and just soak up so many different ideas. And then when I taught – well, I never taught first aid here, but at Linn-Benton, when I taught there, I had all the best ideas. In fact, I even took some of the ideas that I learned at Oregon State, when I was teaching at Linn-Benton, and I incorporated it into their program. Especially in the conditioning room, I had learned some techniques and record-keepings that I was able to pass on. And I know they used them for a number of years; I don't know if Linn-Benton still has that. But it was all this consistency.

And so I was really wrapped up into that. And to ask me about what Corvallis was like – I was up there and that was my focus. Especially, almost in a heartbeat, I was asked to be the women's volleyball coach.

TEM: Yeah, I was going to ask if you could talk about that. I want to hear about your educational side, but if you can talk about your involvement with that. We'll do volleyball first.

TC: OK. Yeah, Pat Ingram – what was interesting about '73 was Title IX was the big topic in those days. Title IX, you know, equal opportunity for women's athletics. And the Northwest Women's College Association that was organized. And Pat Ingram was appointed as the Director of Women's Athletics. And within two or three weeks of me being here, we had the faculty meet up at Peavy Arboretum for a pre-school faculty get-together, and Pat knew I had some experience with volleyball and she approached me up there about being the women's volleyball coach. And I go, "whoa, this sounds like a lot." And I wound up taking that job, I got part of my T.A., it was $2,500 to be the women's volleyball coach. So I really jumped in feet first and worked with really a good team. The athletes that came as walk-ons were really good. In fact, I have some pictures here that should have probably gone in this book, of those athletes that first year.

TEM: Did you have to recruit? Or was there sort of an open call for people who were interested? What was your role in forming that team?

TC: The team was already there. The young ladies came in and the next year I had some walk-ons that came from Newport and McMinnville, and they were really good athletes. So I didn't have a problem; they were just laid before me and really had a good experience. Pretty much all Oregon women, I believe.


And one of the nice things, other than we did win more matches that we lost... Oh, so the point, the point is that I was the first women's volleyball coach at Oregon State to be hired under the new collegiate conference. And one of the rules that Pat Ingram made was stellar, was that the young women, when they went out, in any sport, they were to be presentable. They were to dress accordingly and look sharp. And there was no other college that I recall at the time doing that. And time and time again, we would get comments from the coaches and other athletes at how sharp Oregon State looked. And it was an honor to hear that, but it was because of Pat Ingram's insistence that they were going to look like representatives of Oregon State University. If you go down, we'd go to a tournament, say, with U of O or Portland State, good teams, really good teams, and the young women were nice, nothing different than our young women, but they would be dressing sloppy. And it would be noted. So that was a note of pride. Plus, I had good athletes.

TEM: So that professionalism was built in. Is that fair to say that it was appearance but also attitude?

TC: They had a great attitude, that had nothing to do with it. It was the rule that if you were going to compete for Oregon State, you were going to represent our college and look sharp. The whole attitude then with Vietnam, laissez-faire, a lot of young women-

TEM: Oh, I see. OK, now I'm connecting. That makes sense.

TC: Yeah. You know, on campus it would be real common to see gals dressed anti-feminine. They were dressing in just kind of Levi's and, I don't know, the dress in general. I could get in trouble with that because a lot of people did care and they did dress sharp. But you would see a lot of hostility towards the whole thing about, "hey, Title IX's come on for sports, women have been getting the jinx, and women's liberation," and part of that was not dressing up sharp. It was just the way it is and everybody kind of accepted it and you didn't worry about it.

TEM: Did you feel like there was – what was the climate like on campus as it relates to Title IX? Was it a smooth transition?

TC: OK, first of all, you're talking Title IX in sports, so you're just talking about a segment of the university, you're not talking about the whole thing.

TEM: Right.

TC: Well, our world was the Women's Building. The men's world was Gill Coliseum. We weren't even allowed – you know, Sylvia Moore couldn't do a gymnastics meet down there at the start. You held them at the Women's Building. We held our volleyball matches not at Gill, it was at the Women's Building. And that was that first couple of years. And that was changing really quickly. In fact, you want to look at Sylvia Moore or Pat Ingram's talk, because I'm talking about stuff where I – they are the experts and you've probably interviewed them, haven't you?

TEM: I'm not sure if they have or not.

TC: Oh boy, you better get them. Pat's getting up there in age. They're both sharp, but they won't be around – well, who's to say. Probably they'll outlast me. They are stellar people for women's athletics at Oregon State; you've got to get them in your interviews. Well, they're all in here; here's Sylvia right here. [gestures toward documents off camera] More than this, an interview would be awesome.

TEM: So was there resistance then, from the men's teams to allow that equal access? You said it was transitioning quickly, did it feel smooth?


TC: I wasn't really in the politics on that. But the women had to move forward and if it wasn't for the law, things wouldn't have happened. Title IX was wonderful and things changed, and they had to change because that was the law.

TEM: So how long were you involved with volleyball in the coaching capacity?

TC: Well, I coached the two years at Oregon State and then one year at Linn-Benton. They just started a program, I don't know if they even have it today, but I had their first-year program. And I did that and I also taught activity classes out at Linn-Benton. I was half-time out there until I started this restaurant.

TEM: So in the meantime you're going to school, you're getting your degree, so can you talk about what the program was like, what your thesis was on, kind of the academic side of being at OSU?

TC: Well, I was doing a master's in Education. So there was no master of Physical Education, so it was a minor in Physical Education. So I was taking classes in Education Hall as well as other buildings – Kidder and whatever. But primarily Education and Physical Education. Turns out that was a good move. By having a degree in Education, it was the same as a union ticket to teach at a community college, which I didn't know until I went over there. So that was a nice degree to have. And...what was the question?

TEM: I was just wanting to know more about your degree program here.

TC: Yeah, I wrote a thesis on Belize. What I did, I took the AAHPER Fitness in the United States, there had been national testings in 1957, '65, and I think in '71 maybe. And so I took information from that and I was fortunate enough to meet Dr. Paul Hunsicker, the guy who started the whole thing back in the '50s, he came out here to visit Arnie Flath was the instructor in the P.E. department. And Hunsicker came out, they were visiting, I was really quite fortunate. So I got to meet him; he was the godfather of the AAHPER Fitness program. And I did a comparison of the results of the American children with the Belizean children, and that's what the thesis was about. And last year, when I went back to Belize, I had the original shuttle blocks and softball and thesis, and I gave it to the archivist in Belize so they could hopefully put that in a safe place, as well as copies of the Belizean fitness manual.

TEM: I'm curious, were you interested in history and writing throughout this time? Because you've done so much work reflecting on your time... [phone rings] Were you always a writer? Were you always sort of tracking the history and the stories of the things you were doing? Were you always interested in history?

TC: I'd say so. I think I got it from my mother, who kept really detailed scrapbooks from the time way before I was born. And in my childhood and adulthood, up through college, she made beautiful scrapbooks and recorded just about anything that she felt was significant. So unconsciously I had that instilled in my brain. So from the start, when I went to Africa, I knew Sierra Leone was going to be unique and so I did keep a diary. A lot of what I was able to go back and why I can remember a lot of this was through letters I had sent her. And I've transcribed them since then, a whole stack of them. And then a lot of pictures. When I went to Puerto Rico I bought a camera at that point, and I had taken a lot of pictures in Sierra Leone, but I was developing my own photographs and keeping kind of a log, not knowing if I would ever use it. Just doing it. I think a lot of people do that; they do their diaries and stuff.


So I was able to record and have key names and that. So when I finally decided to write my books and that, I was able to start looking back in newspapers and things to double-check, because I had reference points, a lot of reference points.

TEM: So you buy Old World Deli or start this business in 1977, in a historic building as well. Was that an intentional choice to kind of link up and marry with the history of the town?

TC: Well, what happened was I was planning on returning to Belize to start an outdoor school for elementary schoolkids. And that was in the process and one of my mentors from Oregon State said, "Ted, I don't know. It's like you want to take all your eggs and put them in one basket. I'm not so sure doing that and going to Belize is such a fantastic idea." And he put the idea in my mind of trying to have the best of two worlds.

And so, right at the year I graduated, I was an unemployed teacher. I was at Linn-Benton, part time. And I went over the Athletic Department because I needed to get some kind of a job, and teaching jobs were really scarce; even substitute teaching was difficult to get here in Corvallis unless you had an in. So I went to the Athletic Department because I had volunteer coached with the track thing. Other than the women's volleyball, in the men's department, I worked with the men's and women's track program. And so Paul Valenti was still there helping out – he was retired at that point – and he got me a job at a local restaurant in town, the Big O restaurant just up on 4th and Adams. And I worked there for a year and I found out that this Old World center was being developed, and I was encouraged to maybe try to open a business and go to Belize and come here, which makes no sense at all. You have a smaller restaurant, there's no way you can turn your back without failing. I didn't know that though.

So I came in and bought into a lease and opened the first food service in this building. We call it kind of the poor man's shopping center. And nine years later, wound up buying the building and building – this old abandoned hotel up here – remodeling it and building the home that my wife and I live in today.

TEM: When did you get married?

TC: In June, '92.

TEM: Oh, ok. So she was not part of the original set-up; she wasn't on the scene yet.

TC: She wasn't on the scene. She was on the scene to get us to build our home here though.

TEM: Talk about what it was like to start a business here. What was your vision? Did you think about what you wanted to serve or what the community was clamoring for? What was that like to start a business here?

TC: Well, I had some money to invest and I didn't want to lose that money. And I did go around Corvallis and Eugene and Portland, and I looked at different places and tried to figure out what I could sustain. And buffets didn't seem like it was going to cut it. Family lunchtime outfits seemed do-able. And I didn't really have much training on anything, not even on making soup or chili or salads. So I chose to keep it very simple and tried to figure out – one of the early decisions with the sandwiches was to use a steamer or a microwave or a grill top and how do you make that work? Anyway, I decided on a lunchtime outfit and got a three-year lease with Kent – Kent Buys – he helped get the wallpaper in and the basic plumbing in place. I had to buy all the equipment and the sinks and stuff. And kind of just stumbling into it.


The first day we opened was April 7, 1977, and I think basically we ten dollars in sales, but there were no employees. And then over the next month, it went to about twenty, twenty-five dollars, thirty dollars. It was really hand to mouth, and it was really tough. It was a struggle for the first two years. I had to choose where I was going to sleep. [laughs] It took about two years for the place to catch on. At that point, I was just too stubborn to quit. When business just wasn't enough for an employee – in fact, my first employee was my mom. I was panicked, I called her and I said, "I'm over my head here and I can't afford anything." She came and helped me for about a month, and would just work those eighteen-hour days. It was really tough because after a few months you're totally burned out and you can't smile and you can't even hardly pick up a dish to wash because you're so tired. But as the revenue increased a little bit, I could hire a part-time person to help and then if the business disappeared, they they've got to go away and you just make it work. But the main thing was just being too stubborn.

Definitely the way I approached it was very risky. If I had been married at the time, big mistake, it wouldn't have worked. No way it would have worked. It had to be one person; just the little engine that wouldn't give up.

TEM: So Old World Deli and this whole complex is so known as a community gathering spot, was it always like that? Was that something that developed over time?

TC: That was the intention that Kent had. So it always had an arena, always had a stage. The current stage was not there, it was where the brewery's at; it was a raised stage in that corner. Music was always part of the scene and activities; that was the idea, to have an arena that could be community-based and used. Cobblestones, whimsical Renaissance village, if you would call it that.

TEM: What about the homebrewing supplies? You sold homebrewing supplies – was it from one of the storefronts?

TC: Well, what happened was in 1977-78, there were two places you could buy homebrewing supplies in town. One was from Gerding's supermarket, located on Western – there's a London Automotive in that building now. And Ruby, who owned her unique little shop-

TEM: Golden Crane?

TC: Yes, Golden Crane. She sold supplies. And I did my shopping at Gerding's to buy produce and a lot of stuff. That's where, when I first opened, they said, "go to Waremart for canned stuff, go to Gerding's for produce," that's kind of how that happened. Waremart later become Kinko's and the Waremart people moved up on the hill, it became Cub Foods and then WinCo, that's kind of how that progressed. But in those days, you could go to Waremart, you'd get a crayon and mark the price on your can and stuff.

Anyway, Gerding's went out of business in about 1980, '81, and I knew that they sold homebrew supplied and I was fascinated by it. So I thought, "you know, we could do that as an extra form of income at the deli." So we started up and I approached Steinbart's in Portland; they're the ones that they bought pretty much everything from. And John DeBenedetti, got to know him in Portland. And I set up an account and we started selling homebrew supplies. And then to promote it, early on there used to be classes available through Oregon State University called The Experimental College, and that was great. I think about 5,000 people would take advantage of that. So I signed up to have the curriculum, homebrew-making, in that. And so I taught classes there through The Experimental College and also through the OSU Extension Service, winemaking. And I taught classes in beer tasting at the deli, and winemaking. And I studied all I could up on that at the time, got to know about it.


And also because we were doing it and I wanted it to be a big success, and take it a notch up anywhere from where Ruby or the Gerding's were at, we started a homebrew club in 1981. Which eventually, I think that year, Claire Keith, who was the fire marshal at the time, her and her husband submitted a name – we were having a competition for names at our monthly meetings – so we called it Heart of the Valley Homebrewers. It still as the vestiges of that today; still goes on. And I organized a homebrew competition at the county fair, and then we started getting bigger for our britches and we said, "hey, we can do an Oregon homebrew festival." So we got the Portland Brew Crew, they just didn't have it together then, so we organized it here and started the Oregon Homebrew Festival and even invited people from Washington. And that was all done through the deli. The other person I worked with at that was David Wills, who had Fresh Hops and he's part of the Oregon Trail Brewery today.

I did that for eighteen years. And today Joel at Oregon Homebrew, when he came to town was his lucky day for me, because I was having some problems with alcohol and my heart and I just decided to get out of it. So I sold him all our supplied and sold him some wonderful old antique equipment that he has over there. And just passed the torch on to him. For years I had people coming in looking for stuff and we sent them up that way, to where he was at.

TEM: Did you have any interest in homebrewing before that? Thinking again back to the early '80s. Or was it sort of, "this seems interesting, I want to learn about this."

TC: No, I wanted to learn about it. It was a transition. What happened before that was, because the homebrewing was just getting off the ground in the late '70s, and it was illegal. So the laws had to change and what we saw before the homebrewing, in Oregon, was interest in different flavors of beer. And what you pretty much, the only thing you would get in, say, 1977, in Corvallis, other than Blitz-Weinhard – Coors wasn't even here then, I don't think – Blitz-Weinhard or Olympia, would be two imports. And that would be Guinness in the bottle, which is different from the formula for Guinness in a keg, and Heineken.

And so when I got my beer license in 1979, that was the start of different styles of beer coming to the United States, coming to Oregon, and I watched that whole thing happen. It was like every week, our distributors would bring in a new type of beer, a new type of beef. So it went from like ten types, twenty types – all over the world – thirty types, forty types. And of course, I just said, "keep bringing them in." And we only had room in our case, after three years or so, for about – I think at one time we had maybe fifty or sixty types of different beers here at the deli. But that just exploded even more to over maybe 200. The place where you could get the whole shebang would be Walt's 11th Street Market. And even today, it's a different – Walt's dead now – but they're still noted as a beer locker place up there.


So this is before I got into homebrewing, I'm thinking, "if I'm going to sell all these beers and we want people to come here, I should know what I'm dealing with." So I got beer books. The most important one was the World Beer Book, premiered by Michael Jackson – the British man, not the rock and roll artist. And that is the classic book even today. And I studied that and whatever else I could get my hands on, and I started teaching a beer-tasting class of the styles of the world, and that was like a three-hour class. I didn't want to bring people back again and again, so we would just have limited sips and then I would talk about the beers. And that became very popular; I taught a lot of that.

And then the homebrewing, Gerding's was getting out so that led me in to asking them if they minded, I wanted to start it up and approached Steinbart's. So then we were selling homebrewing, and then I had to learn how to make it. So I started by studying the different styles of beer and why they were different. And then actually, while I was doing those classes, I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Al Haunold; I just saw him the other day, he's like ninety-six years old and still going. He did fantastic research over the years, developed a number of varieties, names you would be familiar with – Cascade hops, Willamette hops, on and on – and over the years, he's brought hop growers from every part of the world here to the deli. He would bring them because he liked the deli and would bring them in for lunch when he was having small conferences or meetings with them. Because this was like one of the research capitals of the world, here at Corvallis. In fact, if you go over to Peoria Road, there's a repository over there of different plants and fruits, trees and stuff, and one of them is over two-hundred varieties of hops all stored there. So when the great calamity happens, they can pull that out of deep freeze and start over then. Anyway, that was quite a privilege.

And then I went up and interviewed different brewmasters and stuff. I remember Blitz-Weinhard went up and other places to find out about beer. And then started making beer and teaching classes about beer and winemaking. And like I already said, I dealt with The Experimental College on that and OSU Extension.

TEM: Did you ever think about opening a brewery yourself?

TC: No. I had a restaurant.

TEM: You never thought, "maybe I could do this professionally."

TC: No, but in a sense I did. The Oregon Trail people were looking for a place to locate that brewery. This was absolutely the last place they wanted to come. They tried everything and this was the only thing that was going to work for them. Because it looked almost impossible – in the corner here, you know, here's a restaurant and how are you going to build a brewery? And then [motions upward] go right up, do the gravity feed and work your way down like an old traditional brewery. But when they finally chose to have it here, I think the first three years they didn't even pay any rent. It made it all real feasible for them to get started and now, thirty years later, they're still here.

TEM: What's it been like? They are one of the oldest breweries in Oregon, so what's it been like to have a brewery as your, not even next door neighbor – from the counter you can see into the brewery – what has that been like to have an operational brewery next to your restaurant?

TC: Well, it gives you diversity. You can say, "hey, we have our own microbrewery that's right here." And you can look in and see. They've always been really friendly to people knocking on the door and going in, almost to the point of being too friendly. Very cordial. And of course, we promote their beer because it's part of the health of our little shopping center. That's what we want to do is all be a success here. And it's added to the diversity of interests in making the place a fun place to be.


TEM: As brewing in Oregon has really exploded, have you seen, from a landlord perspective or from the restaurant perspective, more tourism of people wanting to come in and look at the brewery? Have you noticed an uptick of business tourism?

TC: People have always been interested in the breweries. Looking at it from a different – not answering your question specifically – I see the brewing phenomenon as going through two big tidal waves. The first one was, when we had this built, it was very popular. First of all, it was the Northwest that really took off. I kind of think – I'll have to double check on this – but I think that, other than there wanting to be a push, that strangely enough, Coors had a little bit of an input on that. I remember that, for years, if you wanted to drink a Coors, they wouldn't sell it in Oregon because it wasn't pasteurized. You had to go across the border into Idaho or northern California and smuggle Coors in. It was a big deal to have it. And I believe some changes in the law were put in place because of that pasteurization issue that liberalized us here in Oregon enough for the microbrew revolution to start. And that was like one tiny step in the right direction. And then once things happened, it caught on here in Oregon.

Cartwright was the first microbrewery. Well, the first one on the West Coast was down in California, northern California. And then Cartwright in '81, he made crummy beer, it didn't last that long. And then it was BridgePort in '94, Widmer and I believe Rogue, and we might be the fifth one that came on. And then it just exploded that summer after this, Oregon Trail, there was Hood River and Deschutes. And then stuff happened over in Siletz. And as all this happened, that wave hit the dead end because it peaked out and it was a hard business, because it was becoming saturated and then people were going out of business and it was really tough. And it's only, what, been in the last ten years that the second great wave has come, and even bigger than the first wave. Corvallis has finally exploded. It took a long time for it to be more than just Oregon Trail here, but now we're all over the place and we're kind of looked at like the old guys.

McMenamins, interestingly enough, initially wanted to open one of their first satellite breweries here in Corvallis, at the same time as Oregon Trail. And for whatever reason, they chose to open an extract brewery over in Lincoln City, it's the Lighthouse Brewery. But if Lighthouse hadn't opened, they probably would have done something here in town.

TEM: That's interesting. So you've now been doing this for thirty-three years, thirty-four years?

TC: The restaurant?

TEM: Yes.

TC: Thirty-nine.

TEM: Thirty-nine years. That was some good math on my part; I've got my good math recorded. So what is happening now? What is the transition? The whole building, the whole complex, is up for sale. What do you think about your legacy and your impact on Corvallis? What are you thinking about these days?


TC: Well, the building is for sale and the deli's for sale. Now, if we sell the deli – and, mind you, it's only because I'm almost seventy, and you can only go so long as the mind slips and you get goofier, you better move on. So there's a possibility we sell the restaurant and stay the king of the hill and just manage the place, because we've got the best house in town as far as I'm concerned. But if we sell the building, the deli definitely will go too because we're not going to keep the deli if I don't have the building. So those options are up and nothing, from my perspective, it wasn't meant that it was necessarily going to sell overnight. We just needed to put it out there because that was an appropriate thing to do.

TEM: And this end of downtown is really shifting with the new museum being built and the new hotel being built, how do you think that that might change this end of downtown?

TC: Well, for Oregon State it's a big deal, because the hotel is another addition that they need to help draw in conferences to Corvallis. The hotel is going to be a beautiful structure. If you were to go the total opposite extreme would have been if a benefactor would have bought that for $2 million, which is what that ground sold for, and made a park out of it. I would have supported that; most business people wouldn't, because that hotel is going to generate a whole bunch of money and it's going to be beautiful. But I think a park there, just as if you can imagine the downtown Portland, where they have that beautiful park along the front in Northwest, well, those were all like cast-iron old buildings there a hundred years ago, and they were all tore out. Did they put up a bunch of condominiums and houses there? No, a huge park. And do Portlanders enjoy that? Yeah, you bet they do. And so I think this could have been pretty awesome, because that would have been a whole block on this side of town as opposed to up here. [points to the north]

But that obviously wasn't the case and so with the museum coming across the street tied in with this, it's going to be a financial or a commercial big boost on a long-term basis. The museum's going to be totally stellar because they have not only a showcase but they're going to be rotating people, school groups through. Adults will have tours starting from out of there. I remember when they had the Horner Museum at Gill Coliseum, we used to deliver sandwiches for the tours and the buses would come in and that was their staging point. And people would go all over Oregon on different tours. Horner will, I'm sure, get back to that stage again and it'll be across the street. And also, it'll be a real destination point for tourists that come through town. Everybody will be recommended – whether the chamber of the Downtown Corvallis Association, you've got to go down to the museum because it's one of the nicest ones in the valley.

And the people that go through that hotel, a large percentage of those people, almost every day, after they have their breakfast – maybe they don't want their breakfast, maybe they want to walk out and see Corvallis. It's just a natural, they walk out and they explore, and some of the best parts of downtown are all within a five-minute walk, anything, whether it's Saturday market, whether it's the Starbucks little coffee center up here, whether it's the Old World Deli right across the street, or the museum, there's a lot to see in our town. And that's going to be, boy, between the museum and the hotel, wow. Especially, it's the highest quality one on the whole riverfront, so we feel really privileged to have that as opposed to just a three-story kind of tear-it-down-in-fifty-years kind of funky place.

TEM: What did we not talk about that you wanted to make sure that you said in this interview today?


TC: Well, I think we already did; I was talking about the volleyball. We didn't talk about the history of beer; you were interested in beer.

TEM: Yeah, I think we could do a whole separate thing on Corvallis brewing history. I think that would be fun to have a beer-dedicated interview where we didn't just talk about you and your role, but the history.

TC: Well, I could probably do that in ten minutes.

TEM: Go for it. If you're up for it.

TC: Oh yeah, because I know the story so well.

TEM: [laughs] Once upon a time, there was a brewery in Corvallis...

TC: OK. Well, I might miss some points and then I do have pictures and stuff if you wanted to come back later; this will pique your interest in that. Corvallis was started up in the 1840s and there were two settlers that came here – it was J.C. Avery and William, I think, Mr. Dixon. Two families. Avery was on this south side and Dixon was up on the north side. Avery had the first claim and he had the Marys River, which needed a way to get across. And so Dixon wanted this down here but he wound up with the northern half and also the ferry rights, where our bridge is going across. Within a very short time, a competitive town across the river, called Orleans, was established. And by 1855-56, this would be the gold rush was in southern Oregon and was still very much causing a boom for Corvallis because miners that would be – during the summertime and they would be mining – they would come up here for the winter because there was no train and there was no easy riverboat down there. So they would bring their mills and stuff, and they would hang out in this area; spend their money in Corvallis and buy supplies. Because the riverboats, basically up until 1855, stopped in Corvallis. After that, the side-wheelers got down as far as Eugene on the higher water.

So thus this competitive community and they built the first brewery, as I know, in town. And the reason we know that is because a fellow that had that – oh, his name's skipping me, he's got his name written up there in front of the Peacock restaurant, he sold guns after this tragedy that I'm about to tell you about. Anyway, in 1856, after the Rogue River Indian Wars, the Native Americans that were gathered up after the hostilities came three ways up to the Siletz and Yaquina Bay area. Some came by boat that went up the Columbia River and back, and then they had to go over through Dayton and march over. And others were marched up the valley here under hostile conditions, and there was another way they were brought in too. But basically, the Siletz area was not too many original Native Americans left because of disease and problems that they had about twenty years earlier.

So the idea was to contain the Native Americans on this reservation and also to keep things like undesirables, like whiskey peddlers and that, from going over. So three forts were set up: the Yamhill to the north, Fort Hoskins over here by Kings Valley, and then down in the south there was another fort. Fort Hoskins, which had a path foraged out over the hill and getting down into the Siletz River Valley, early on the guy that was supplying the quartermaster was a fellow named Phil Sheridan. And he became famous during the Civil War as a Civil War general. And Sheridan, because of his fame, people go back and talk about his days in Corvallis. Well, he would come in from Hoskins and he would go down and pick up beer kegs – or he did on at least one occasion that's documented – from the brewery in Orleans, and then take it out to the forts. So we know the fort was there and we also know when Orleans washed away in 1860, that listed among all the different things in their little town over there, besides stables and saloons and that, the brewery washed away. So that was swished away.


Then a set of other people during the 1860s established their breweries here. One of the first ones was the Corvallis Brewery, and it was over here where they're building this Marriot Hotel. And unfortunately, that burned down around 1870 or '71. There's an old article that you can find in The History of Benton County that talks about that brewery and building burning down.

TEM: That's on 1st street, right?

TC: Yeah, it was right over here. And why, I'm pretty sure, that was the location is because when OSU was doing so archeology work there, they found some burned-out stubs down below. And from reading in the newspaper articles and the location, that's almost one-hundred percent sure.

OK, so then that went down. So then the next brewery that I'm aware of would be the Centennial Brewery, 1876 – well, I take it back, 1873. A cast-off of that brewery, the Corvallis Brewery, was another Corvallis Brewery, which was on this corner here where the post office is at. And I have all these legal records of a lawsuit in 1874, because the brewmaster, the owner of the brewery, had got into some swindling stuff with a guy that involved about a thousand dollars. So it went into litigation and all the depositions on that, I've got it right here, I could show you. Perfect condition. So that tells you all about the Corvallis Brewery and what was going on in 1873. So that was probably the next one that was built, was here. And we've got the stamp. If you go into Joel's, you'll see a copy of the 1874 Internal Revenue, that was one that I had given Joel. But I have the original on that; it went together with all these depositions.

Then the Centennial Brewery I mentioned was somewhere up the street here on 2nd, and that was the centennial of the United States of America, 1776, 1876. The Centennial Brewery, it was only mentioned in those depositions so I don't know how long it lasted. And then over on 4th and Western there was the U.S. Brewery, and that was there and there are some historic pictures of that when it became an ice house about ten years later. And the beers brewed in those early days, for example the Corvallis Brewery, when they were going just right here on this block – oh, I didn't mention that ten years later they went out of business, and ten years later a second Corvallis Brewery was built on this other corner. So Oregon Trail Brewery is actually the third brewery on this block.

TEM: Oh, that's cool.

TC: And we have – well, you're over there in the archives, look at the Sanborn maps, and you'll see these breweries listed there. And there's pictures too, of them.

TEM: Where were they getting their ingredients? Do you come across information about – any testimonies, anything about where they were sourcing their ingredients? The assumption, of course, that hops grow here so you get them from here. But have you come across anything about ingredients?

TC: Well, grain was produced here from the get-go and then you have, starting with the time of the Indian Wars, you've got all these German immigrants coming in and joining the Army. The Army had to be provided with beer, that's what they wanted. So it was local. The Willamette Valley was the Garden of Eden, you know that. And then, of course, why would they plant hops if it wasn't for the Germans? It wasn't the Brits, it was the Germans coming in and setting up traditions they knew from Germany. And the brewmasters, I mean if you look, they're all German. In those court testimonies they didn't speak English as their first language in that brewery over there. If there were no Americans going in, and they were new Americans, they were immigrants, they were talking German. Even their fellow who was the assistant helper there, he was one-hundred percent German. What happened in those days when you came here in the 1850s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, is you cast off your language and you learned to speak English. But when they were by themselves, they were speaking all German. I know that from the court records. Really good – this is like t.v. turned on to these guys, really nice.


TEM: Are they talking about other breweries in Oregon? Or are they sort of focused on what's happening in Corvallis?

TC: No, this is all Corvallis but there were breweries everywhere. One of the deals was, at this warehouse down here that burned down, at the time – I'm not sure if that was really 1870 that it burned or if it was a little bit later – but they were doing distilling. They had some out of Kings Valley. They were getting pears and other fruits and they were fermenting that and then distilling it down here. And then they were taking that distilled stuff by wagon over to Albany and south to sell. And I think they were trying to get it over to the coast. That was in these depositions that I'm talking about.

TEM: Were there tighter regulations for distilling? Like federal or state regulations?

TC: There were federal, yeah. I have documents that show the federal stuff. All that was taxed. That goes back to 1790 – look at the guy on the ten-dollar bill, Alexander Hamilton almost caused our country to go into civil war from putting a tax on alcohol. So no, taxation was a big deal about alcohol, it's a big revenue thing. That's why moonshine is such an evil term.

TEM: Have you come across other records of distilling in Corvallis? Or is that one of the only ones where there was an operational business? An official operational business?

TC: No, I have no other records but I wouldn't doubt it though. It's just a wonderful fluke of history that I have these records. I mean, they need to go to, I guess to you guys.

TEM: They could come to us. [laughs]

TC: Yeah, if anybody's going to write a history of brewing in Corvallis they should be seeing me. Because I have pretty much – what I'm telling you, nobody else has.

TEM: What about Prohibition in Corvallis? Were there speakeasies in Corvallis?

TC: Well, first of all, Oregon went dry earlier than the other states. I think there were eight states that went dry and starting enforcing it in 1914. Corvallis, I believe, officially was dry, I think in 1905. So you have this quirky thing where, say in 1910, people would take the summer trains in the fall, go to Newport, and they would come back and they would have this mysterious headache thing, I forget what they would call it, the something sickness, the coastal sickness. It was a hangover; you know, partying over at the coast. You could get, in Corvallis, alcohol. Alcohol was allowed to be mail ordered in up to a certain point, I forget the year, and if a person wanted some alcohol and wanted to go to the extreme, they could get a doctor's prescription and go to a pharmacy and get it for medicinal purposes.

The speakeasy stuff, probably. The little bit that I do know – this has to do with Portland but this is fascinating – we have that wooden beer barrel downstairs. OK, take one like that during Prohibition, and let's say there was a speakeasy in Portland and somebody wanted beer, not just a moonshine shot. They'd take a hypodermic needle and fill it with moonshine and put it through the bine and shoot it into the beer keg. And that way you could make a legally produced near-beer and turn it into an alcoholic beer. Joe DeBenedetti from Steinbart's, the father, he told me about that.


And also, he was saying that, very popular were these lightning caps – that's the pop-off cap for homebrew bottles – because they were super popular all through Prohibition and their popularity dropped off dramatically afterwards, because people were making bathtub beer. Yeah, I don't know any naughty stories about here.

TEM: I haven't come across any either. [laughs]

TC: Well, they're there.

TEM: They're there. [laughs]

TC: Definitely. Well anyway, that was the ten-minute teaser on that.

TEM: Well, thank you so much.

TC: Oh, one other thing. The beers that you would see produced, say in the 1870s and '80s, there wasn't Bud Light. They were producing all the – first of all, they didn't have the cooling system back in the 1870s and that, so they would have done what's called steam beer, like Anchor Steam, cooling it off. And they produced ales, porters, wheat. They did all the different varieties for their palate. And actually, if you know about it from the after-Prohibition in the 1930s, and '40s and '50s, especially from the late '40s, '50s, '60s, the whole thing with the American-flavor palate, went down to lighten it more and add adjuncts, whether it was rice or corn, and make it lighter and lighter. So like if you were to buy a Blitz-Weinhard say in 1950 and buy one in 1960, it would be a different formula. It would be from heavy beer to much lighter. And that whole thing went that way until people started saying, "well, we don't want this, we want something with flavor," and then the pendulum swings the other way back.

TEM: Do you know, were they producing multiple recipes in the breweries in Corvallis? Or did they have the style that they made or have the recipe that they made? How much did they experiment – I guess that's what I'm thinking – how much variety was there coming out of one of the breweries?

TC: I think they probably were shooting for a standard but would have had difficulty. Small batches, no refrigeration, you're at the whim of bacteria. In fact, in those days, they didn't check for bacteria in yeast and that, so it would probably vary from batch to batch, but not by desire. And that's only a guess; if you had a brewmaster who was very anal and very careful, you'd still have the problem of mutated yeast and that.

TEM: Yeah, that's been my sense too.

TC: Yeah, Pasteur and his influence and refrigeration. I mean, the Germans had it on because in Germany they would have their cellars and stuff, and they could pull in ice and keep it for months and months. But in a small town like this, it would be a challenge in the summer.

TEM: Or in the late spring. [laughs]

TC: Drink it fresh. It's like in the Bible, the Romans came with barrels, but before that you would offer your guests the fresh wine, the stuff that had just fermented, because that was sweet and it wasn't infected. And the old wine would be the stuff that has oxidized and stale and maybe has some cidery flavor, and you'd hold that back until after you're drunk and drink that, I guess.

TEM: [laughs]

TC: So we did cover pretty much everything.

TEM: Yeah, that's awesome. And I will say thank you.



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