Sunday, September 23, 2007

ARSI's First HQ: National Historic Monument?

The Board of Directors of the Advanced Rutabaga Studies Institute is pleased to announce that our first corporate headquarters near Forest Grove will soon be nominated for the National Register of Historic Places. This designation will mark the beginning of a $1.2 million fundraising drive to purchase and renovate this historic property, which has been sadly neglected since it was partly consumed by a fire of suspicious origins back in 1977.

ARSI's headquarters was originally homesteaded by Aloysius P. Weatherspoon, Founder Obie MacAroon's great-grandfather, in 1878. MacAroon relocated to the farm and founded ARSI in 1954 after soil analysis revealed that the Forest Grove location offered ideal conditions for rutabaga cultivation.

As stated on Our Founder's home page:
"MacAroon was born on June 16, 1904, at the family homestead near Trout Lake, Washington. As a child of five, he began to explore the intricate world of horticulture in the rutabaga patch adjoining his humble one-room cabin. Entirely self-educated, he went on to conduct experiments in rutabaga hybridization that attracted the attention of several neighboring farmers.

"After an unsuccessful attempt to persuade the Pentagon to add rutabagas to C-Rations during World War II, he moved to Forest Grove, Oregon, and planted his first commercial rutabaga crop in 1951. After three years of successful harvests, he founded the Advanced Rutabaga Studies Institute in 1954."

Though the arsonists who set fire to the farmhouse were never charged, investigators suspected that the turnipite cabal was directly involved. Our Founder turned necessity to advantage when ARSI's state-of-the-art laboratory complex opened in 1986.

Major gifting opportunities will soon be available for wealthy benefactors who wish to support ARSI's purchase and renovation of the historic Weatherspoon homestead. As the top photos (click to enlarge) reveal, the structure was extensively damaged and will require major repairs. The $1.2 million campaign will also enable ARSI to purchase the adjacent 360 acres (left) and dedicate them to rutabaga cultivation once again.