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Historic building at William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge lost to fire

December 14, 2023

On December 13, 2023, a historic building at William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge, known as Cabell Lodge, was completely destroyed by fire.

The building, unoccupied at the time, was a significant part of the refuge’s history.

Quick response from local fire crews

Fire crews from Adair, Corvallis, Monroe, and Philomath responded promptly, successfully preventing the fire from spreading beyond the structure and its immediate vicinity.

Their efforts were crucial in averting a larger catastrophe.

The refuge remains open to visitors, but the area surrounding the burnt building will be closed for safety reasons.

Impact and response to the fire

Damien Miller, the project leader for the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex, expressed gratitude for the quick and professional response of the fire crews.

He emphasized their role in ensuring the safety of the public and the preservation of other resources at the refuge.

The cause of the fire remains undetermined, and visitors are advised to heed any closure signs and stay clear of the lodge area.

The historical significance of Cabell Lodge

Cabell Lodge, built in 1912 as a hunting lodge and cabin, was an integral part of the refuge’s history.

Overlooking Cabell Marsh, it was a two-story, wood-frame building, one of several properties retained from the Failing-Cabell Estate.

This estate was part of a large-scale ranching operation that spanned the early 20th century.

The lodge served as the headquarters for the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex from 1979 to 2009 and was listed in the Oregon Inventory of Historic Properties and the Benton County Register of Historic Resources.

Its loss is a significant blow to the refuge’s historical landscape​​.

FSJA Comment

The destruction of Cabell Lodge at the William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge marks a significant loss of American historical heritage.

While the swift action of local fire crews admirably prevented the spread of the fire, the loss of such a landmark underscores the vulnerability of historical structures to unforeseen disasters.

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