The 4-H Center land was purchased from the Stewarts at a reduced cost. Ivan and Merle Stewart met as students at Oregon Agricultural College (OSU) in Corvallis and were married after he returned from the Marine Corps in 1920.
Ivan went into the seed business and during the 30's began acquiring old homesteads that totaled 720 acres. He was deeply interested in conservation--building ten ponds and planting 200,00 trees, including deer, raccoon, opossum, red fox, grouse, china pheasant, squirrels and song birds.
It also became a collecting place for his life long hobby of collecting rocks and "horse-trades" for cut and polished stones. The "ranch" became a show place for their display in fireplaces, walls, and in the resin panels incorporated into the Chapel he built to honor Merle.
In 1968 the 4-H of Oregon with 42,700 youth and leaders acquired the property as a center that would continue and share the love of the land.