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News Release
Hoya and Edith Yang
Hoya and Edith Yang
Class of 2018 Oregon Heritage Trees Officially Honored (Photo) - 03/21/18

News Release from from Oregon Travel Experience

The 2018 class includes a diverse group of trees, spanning the state. Two are in urban settings: the Yang Madrone in Corvallis and the McCall Magnolia in Ashland. The third, GeerCrest Orchard, is nestled in rich Willamette Valley farmland.

The 2018 class of Oregon Heritage Trees will be officially inducted at ceremony on Friday, April 6, during Oregon Arbor Week. The event will be held at McCall House Bed and Breakfast in Ashland, the site of the McCall Magnolia, at 1:00pm. Local dedications for the Yang Madrone and the GeerCrest Orchard are planned for Summer and Fall in 2018.

###SUB-HEADER### McCall Magnolia

The McCall Magnolia was planted 127 years ago in front of the renowned home of John M. and Mary Elizabeth McCall in memory of John's daughter Elsie, who died in 1890. While a southern magnolia's life span can be greater than 100 years, it is rare that this species can thrive in this climate for so many years. Recent photos show it towering over the grand home built by the McCalls in 1883. The McCall House still contains some of the original family furnishings and is a popular Ashland bed and breakfast inn.

John was a founder of multiple business enterprises and served in many public service capacities including as Councilman and Mayor of Ashland, member of the Oregon State Legislature (1876), a Captain in the First Oregon Cavalry (1861), and Brigadier General of the Oregon State Militia (1865). He formed the first local bank, woolen mill and the newspaper, Ashland Daily Tidings.

Nancy Appling, Oregon Heritage Tree Committee member and Ashland resident says, "As the first Oregon State Heritage Tree within the city of Ashland, the McCall Magnolia couldn't have been a better choice. It's an attractive, healthy tree, and is in such a prominent place for downtown visitors and locals to admire. As with all of the program's heritage trees, this one has an important story to tell about the Mc Call family's numerous contributions to early Oregon history."

###SUB-HEADER### Yang Madrone

The Yang Madrone was planted in 1950 to complement the Frank Lloyd Wright inspired home designed by Corvallis artist and architect, Edith Yang. Edith was the first Chinese-American woman to be a licensed architect in Oregon. She and her husband, OSU professor emeritus Hoya Yang, built the house in 1950. Hoya was a prominent food scientist who participated in the first Oregon Wine Board and the development of the Maraschino cherry. Edith resided in the house until her death in 2012. In addition to being part of the Oregon Heritage Tree Program, the tree was designated a Benton County Heritage Tree in May 2016. It is said by the city forester to be the largest madrone in Corvallis, and the second largest madrone in Benton County; the largest being in an inaccessible rural area. Madrone trees have a hard time growing in urban areas, which makes this large tree even more impressive.

"We love our tree." says John Wolcott, the current owner of the property. "Five years ago we bought the beautiful mid-century Frank Lloyd Wright style house. Almost every day a passerby would stop and say: " You have such a wonderful madrone tree!" The fascinating couple who designed and built the unique house and planted this beautiful tree and others, and made many other contributions to our community, Hoya and Edith Yang, have well earned a place in the memorials of Oregon."

###SUB-HEADER### GeerCrest Orchard

The third honoree in the Class of 2018 Heritage Trees is a historic orchard. The Geer Crest Orchard is located in in the farmlands between Salem and Silverton.

The GeerCrest Farm was established before Oregon became a US Territory though a donation land claim in December 1847. It is currently in the ownership of the fifth generation. The farmhouse is considered the oldest residence in the state to have remained in the same family. The fruit cellar is believed to be the last of its kind in Oregon.

There are 24 pear trees, four plum trees, one apple, one hawthorn tree, one butternut tree, and one hickory tree that are believed to date back to the original plantings in 1848. Ralph Geer started his orchard with apple and pear root stock from seeds that were brought over the Oregon Trail in 1847. He grew root stock from those seeds, which he traded to the pioneer Meek-Luelling Nursery for grafting wood. Their successful cooperation helped to establish the non-native fruit growing industry on the west coast.

About the Oregon Heritage Tree Program: The Oregon Travel Information Council (DBA Oregon Travel Experience) Heritage Programs include the Oregon Heritage Tree Program and the Oregon Historical Marker Program. OTE is a semi-independent state agency charged with promoting public safety, preserving the recreational value of public travel on state highways and promoting economic prosperity by directing motorists into nearby communities. This includes preserving the natural beauty and aesthetic features of rest areas, and providing information regarding and maintaining points of scenic, historic, cultural and educational interest.