Newsletter Button

News Service Button
Donate Button

166 Active Guests

Get notified when
this page is changed.

It's Private!

Powered by

Get Acrobat Reader

Nation 4-H Center History
    Show More or Less


Please note… This document is incomplete. If you are able to provide some of the missing information, please contact us at: Additionally, other sections on this history website, and references in the Books & Printed Materials Archive and the Films & A/V Archive on this website have expanded information on this topic.

National 4-H Youth Conference Center

Now one of the largest non-academic youth education and conference facilities in America, the National 4-H Youth Conference Center has a colorful history that dates back more than a century.

In 1893, Francis G. Newlands built the Chevy Chase Inn on a large plot of farmland. In 1903, the property was converted into a college for women, an identity it maintained for nearly half a century.

In 1951, the National 4-H Club Foundation, established two years earlier, bought the school to house its national training center. However, due to the growing conflict in Korea, the U.S. Defense Department immediately requested the use of the property for an Operations Research Office.

The property was returned to the 4-H movement in 1957, and promptly underwent renovations with the aid of the Ford and Danforth Foundations, among other funding sources.

On June 16, 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower presided over the opening ceremonies for the National 4-H Center, which quickly became the national home for 4-H, hosting annual 4-H conferences and year-round training programs for youth, volunteer leaders and professional staff.

During the late 1970s, the National 4-H Foundation merged with the National 4-H Service Committee in Chicago to become the National 4-H Council - the non-profit entity which now owns and operates this exceptional facility.

Contemporary History

As recognized early in its history, The 4-H Center is "more than a group of buildings." As articulated then, "the Center is a nucleus of creative learning for youth and adults who come from around the nation and around the world to gain new insights, develop creative ideas and practical skills." This continues to describe the Center now.

Today, the National 4-H Youth Conference Center continues its rich history of hosting a variety of youth groups in a safe, enriching environment during visits to our nation's capital, Washington, D.C.


Becoming Acquainted

For additional information on the National 4-H Youth Conference Center visit the website at While on the site take a virtual tour of the campus, of guest rooms, conference facilities, recreation opportunities and things to see and do in the area.

Nation 4-H Center History

Early History

The site where the National 4-H Youth Conference Center now sits was first developed in 1893 by Francis G. Newlands, later a senator from Nevada, who had just formed the Chevy Chase Land Company to develop the farmland northwest of Washington, D.C. It was hard to get to Chevy Chase in those days. Rock Creek Park, now a scenic drive, was a perplexing wilderness. Newlands had to build two bridges to extend Connecticut Avenue. By 1893 the Rock Creek Railway had opened an electric streetcar line out to Chevy Chase and a Washingtonian could ride all the way to the new Chevy Chase Inn, a resort hotel - eventual site of the National 4-H Center. The cost was 25 cents. Originally called the Spring Hotel, some of the major attractions of the Chevy Chase Inn included its spacious grounds, comfortable rooms and outdoor bowling alleys.

Newlands had built the Chevy Chase Inn as a refuge for Washingtonians during the hot and humid summer months. While the Inn was popular in the summer it became a white elephant in the winter. By 1903 the hotel's days were over - even the summer hotel business could not offset the expenses of operating the hotel year-round. That year the property was sold and became the home of Chevy Chase College for Young Ladies, later changed to Chevy Chase Junior College for Women. Even as early as 1895 the Inn had been leased to the Young Ladies' Seminary - for one term only. On October 1, 1895, Miss Lea M. Bougliny established a Young Ladies Seminary, where the daughters of diplomats and proper Southern families studied French. But, like the Inn, the school had its problems. Groceries were hard to get; thy had to be brought in by streetcar from Washington. And youthful enthusiasm being what it is, the girls wanted to take frequent trips into the city. The school closed its doors after one term.

It was the same year that Newlands sold the Inn that he became a United States Senator representing Nevada from 1903 until 1917 when he died. His statue is located at the center of Chevy Chase Circle on Connecticut Avenue which encompassed part of Newlands land dealings. As a bleak part of history, Newlands both in overseeing his Chevy Chase Land Company and as U.S. senator, was a devout segregationist, including The Chevy Chase Club, which he founded, and the early days of Chevy Chase, itself, which was a segregated community with Newlands's land stretching all the way to Wisconsin Avenue..

The Chevy Chase College for Young Ladies was taken over by Dr. Frederic Ernest Farrington in 1917 and was renamed Chevy Chase School; and, changed again in 1927 to Chevy Chase Junior College and Senior High School. Although two years of advanced work had always been offered to qualified high school graduates, a persistently increasing demand was met in 1927 by reorganizing the curriculum and strengthening the faculty so as to command recognition as an institution of junior college grade. In 1947 the Senior High School was discontinued. Because of Dr. Farrington's wise leadership and high scholastic standards, Chevy Chase Junior College attained a national reputation which remained until its closure.

The Chevy Chase College changed the appearance of the 12-1/2 acre campus, adding a brick facade to the white frame colonial structure of the original inn and two new buildings: now known as Turner Hall and Warren Hall. The school attracted daughters of diplomats and proper Southern ladies and appeared to be the epitome of elegance, with the young ladies dancing around the maypole, playing hockey on the front lawn, and according to its 1950 yearbook "experimenting with the wonders of chemistry" in the laboratory. But that year the Chevy Chase Junior College for Women abruptly closed, due primarily to declining enrollment as other colleges and universities developed in the Washington, D.C. area.

National 4-H Foundation Buys Property

Prospectus for a National 4-H Club Center.

"The idea of a National 4-H Club Center is not new. State 4-H Club Leaders and others interested in 4-H have for years dreamed of such a center to accommodate the annual encampment of selected 4-H Club delegates from every state in the Union and its territories, that for 20 years has been held in the Nation's capital. Appreciating the fact that the building of such a permanent center could not be justified for a 10-day 4-H Club encampment, the idea embraces the use by related groups - state, national and international - to fully justify its establishment and insure full year-round use. The sponsor of the Center is the Cooperative Extension Service. It will be established in the name of and its conduct in keeping with the sound idealism, worthy accomplishments and co-educational nature of the 4-H Clubs of the United States of America. "The annual National 4-H Club Camp had long been the outstanding 4-H Club event of its kind for 20 years. During these intensive citizenship training periods in the Nation's capital where shrines inspire; where national government functioning is centered and studied; where official national and international representatives live and are met, where the heart of democracy beats strongest and is felt - these 4-H Club delegates and leaders are in reality guests of the United States government. Yet for 20 years almost every conceivable sort of accommodations from pyramid tents with other facilities in keeping, to hotels with all the ordinary conveniences, have been utilized as available. None of these facilities have been entirely adequate or conductive to efficient and orderly conduct of this event that has now assumed a position of permanency in the minds of national, state and county personnel. Nor have they been in keeping with the dignity that characterizes both the city of Washington as the capital of the Nation or the government of a great nation acting as host."It has been difficult to find accommodations for related national groups, who visit the Nation's capital for other than sight-seeing purposes. Groups of international visitors will increase in number. Such a Center could be utilized to house such visitors who come to the United States of America to observe methods and study our way of life."A National 4-H Club Center located in Washington, D.C., and in which all concerned can take justifiable pride, IS THE ANSWER. "Since 4-H Club work is an important and proven part of the Cooperative Extension Service of the United States Department of Agriculture and the Land Grant Colleges, it is natural that the idea of the Center has had wide-spread endorsement by agricultural leaders interested in youth. These include United States Department of Agriculture officials, particularly those in the Extension Division; and Association of Land Grant Colleges and Universities, particularly the State Directors of Extension and State 4-H Club Leaders. 4-H Club delegates attending the National 4-H Club encampment have also expressed themselves as favorable to the idea. Educators, judges, bankers, ministers and industrialists, from time to time, have testified as to the educational and practical worth of the 4-H Clubs and have given both active moral and financial support to its programs."Ownership shall be vested in the National 4-H Club Foundation of America, Inc., with control vested in its Board of Trustees."The name shall be the NATIONAL 4-H CLUB CENTER.

The search for a site continued through 1949 and 1950. Then word came of the availability of the Chevy Chase Junior College property just north of the Washington, D.C. boundary on upper Connecticut Avenue. There were two problems, however. The purchase price was considerably more than Extension officials had anticipated spending. A second complication arose when it was discovered that the Department of the Army was considering the campus for a project. The two problems were attacked at the same time.

Certainly money was the paramount problem for Extension personnel. A first mortgage for $200,000 was obtainable from the Equitable Life Assurance Society, but that left the Sutton committee short of the purchase price of nearly $400,000. Ed Aiton set about securing loans to finance the rest of the purchase. He asked a wide range of institutions how they could raise the money. Then, one day he went to the Riggs National Bank in Washington, D.C., to seek a loan. He received a friendly reception at the bank, but their officers explained that they did not usually make such loans, particularly unsecured loans. Aiton returned to his office, feeling that he had not lost anything by trying. Later in the day, a bank official called Aiton and asked him to come to the bank to discuss the loan further. Apparently, the banker had telephoned fellow bankers in Frederick, Maryland, and Des Moines, Iowa, to ask them about 4-H work. All of the local bankers said that they knew of 4-H clubs in their areas and that it was one of the best youth organizations they had seen. A Des Moines banker told the Riggs official that if 4-H came to him, he would not hesitate to accommodate them the best he could. Similar responses came from bankers in Maryland. Shortly after his first visit, the Riggs Bank loaned $40,000 to the National 4-H Foundation on a note signed by Aiton and A. G. Kettunen of Michigan. The loan was originally for 16 months, but donations from 4-H club members from around the nation made it possible to repay the money in less than eight months.

While Aiton was securing loans to finance the purchase of the property, Federal Extension Director Wilson negotiated with the military. Wilson convinced the Department of the Army not to condemn the property for government purchase, but instead to allow the 4-H Foundation to buy the school on the condition that it would lease the property to the Army until 1955. Since the Department of the Army was looking for a temporary site to conduct an operations research program, it was an equitable arrangement.

Grant Shrum explains that "Ed Aiton was a 'driving force' in early development of the Center. Aiton's connection would be when he came to the Federal Extension office as Northeast Region 4-H representative about the time Gertrude Warren retired and the 4-H department was established in Extension, USDA. That put him with the 'Center committee' headed by Al Haefer, New York. Aiton was the staff innovator and 'driver' through the whole effort that led to IFYE, the Center purchase and the creation of the National 4-H Club Foundation."

In 1951 the Chevy Chase Junior College sold the property to the National 4-H Foundation for $376,356.03 including most of the necessary furnishings and equipment. On Valentine's Day of that year the Foundation dedicated the campus to the service of 4-H but held the keys for less than half an hour. The nation was gearing up for the Korean conflict and the Defense Department, as arranged, asked to lease the buildings for an Operations Research Office operated by Johns Hopkins University. The Defense Department held the property until near the end of the decade. The Army leased the property from the 4-H Foundation for $43,000 a year. The lease receipts constituted a major portion of the mortgage payments.

On February 8, 1951, E. W. Aiton, Executiv Directory, National 4-H Club Foundation, announced that there would be a Dedication and Founders Day on February 14 at the Center. It was at this event that the Founders Scroll was signed by Directors of Extension and presented. The wordage on the scroll states:

"Let all men witness that on this fourteenth day of February, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and fifty-one, there is founded and dedicated a National 4-H Club Center at 6410 Connecticut Avenue, Chevy Chase, Montgomery County, Maryland.

"Founded on faith in God and the democratic ideals of our republic, and dedicated to the fourfold development of rural youth, this Center is established to contribute to knowledge, character, love, honor, and dignity among all peoples.

"Whereas we have hereby affixed our signatures, we will henceforth devote our efforts to these purposes."

Some 219 people signed the founders scroll. It is believed that Ed Aiton is the author of the Founders Scroll message.

Later that spring - June 16, 1951 - there was a special dedication of National 4-H Club Center buildings in honor of Clarence Beaman Smith, Gertrude L. Warren and Ray A. Turner. The program assembly took place in "The Dell" on campus with 4-H'er James W. Pfefferkorn of Howard County, Maryland serving as Master of Ceremonies. A. G. Kettunen, State 4-H Club Leader, Michigan, led the dedication of Turner Hall. W. A. Sutton, State 4-H Club Leader, Georgia, dedicated Warren Hall, and Albert Hoefer, State 4-H Club Leader, New York, gave leadership to the dedication of Smith Hall.

During this period, the National 4-H Foundation set out to raise the rest of the funds to pay off the mortgage and then, once 4-H could occupy the property, to renovate the buildings, add more dormitory space and landscape the campus. In what was called the "Share and Care" program, 4-H'ers were asked to contribute 10 cents per member. Each local club that contributed at least 10 cents per member with a $1.00 minimum would be listed as an associate founder and would be eligible for a modified copy of the Founder's Scroll. In a short period of time, 4-H raised $250,000. Impressed with this interest and commitment from the grassroots level, the Ford Foundation and the Danforth Foundation then gave significant private contributions, as well. The royalties from the sale of national 4-H calendars also contributed to purchasing the Center. Opportunities to establish memorials were offered to the states and approximately $30,000. was pledged by the time the Center became operational.

From the beginning plans for the Center, 4-H leaders emphasized the requirement that every state be identified with the establishment. The "Share and Care" program provided the opportunity for participation in funding and various memorial and donor recognition opportunities were identified.

At the June 1954 National 4-H Camp the delegates took a special trip out to the grounds of the future National 4-H Center in Chevy Chase where, during the program, five states and Hawaii went "over the top" with their Share and Care quotas for the National 4-H Club Center in outdoor ceremonies. Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, South Dakota and Vermont, together with Hawaii, presented checks totaling $10,732. to complete their quotas and bring the Center mortgage that much closer to termination. (Shortly thereafter, New Jersey joined the "paid up" ranks by sending in a check to complete its investment in a National 4-H Home.)

Plans to pay off the mortgage on the National 4-H Club Center were announced by J. O. Knapp, Chairman of the Foundation's Board of Trustees, before more than 200 National 4-H Camp delegates and leaders during a special program at the 4-H Center on June 19, 1955. The decision to pay off the mortgage had been made by the Trustees at a meeting that morning. As a result, the National 4-H Club Foundation would pay off the mortgage balance of $72,486.03, which was owed to the Equitable Life Assurance Co.

In his remarks at the 4-H Center, Knapp said that the decision to pay off the mortgage was a tribute to the support of 4-H Club members who are helping to develop the National 4-H Center through their contributions to the Share and Care Program. (Nearly half of the Share and Care goal of approximately $214,000 had been raised, with additional money for paying off the mortgage coming from 4-H Calendar royalties and rent paid by the Department of Defense, which had a lease until June 30, 1957.)

The headlines of the December 1955 National 4-H Club Foundation Journal were bold: "4-H CENTER 'MORTGAGE' BURNED." It was an historic ceremony on November 16, 1955; and, finally, the Center now belonged, free and clear, to the more than two million 4-H members.

J. O. Knapp - a leader in the establishment of the Center - lighted the mortgage with an assist from such 4-H Center pioneers as R. A. Turner, E. W. Aiton, W. A. Sutton and R. F. Poole. Others who witnessed the ceremony, which was held in the Kellogg Center at Michigan State University during the annual meeting of the Association of Land Grant Colleges and Universities, included State Extension Directors, members of the Foundation's Board of Trustees, and Foundation staff members, Norman Mindrum and Grant Shrum. Six 4-H Center pioneers, who were recognized, though not present, were A. G. Kettunen, Miss Gertrude Warren, Russell Thackrey, Walter Conway, Walter Brown and Albert Hoefer.

e Max Benne and Evelyn Carlson. Max, a 9-year 4-H Club member and former delegate to National 4-H Club Congress, was then a sophomore at Michigan State University. Evelyn, a freshman at MSU had a record of 10 years in club work and had been a delegate to both National 4-H Club Congress and National 4-H Club Camp. In opening the ceremony, Max said, "...through the Share and Care program we, the 4-H members, have had an opportunity to help with the realization of this dream. We have helped to build upon the foundation laid by those whose vision made this occasion today a reality." Max then paid tribute to the 4-H Center pioneers and pointed out that E. W. Aiton and A. G. Kettunen, had demonstrated their faith in the idea of a National 4-H Home by signing the mortgage.

At the halfway point in the ceremony, Evelyn Carlson spoke for all club members, when she said, "This is a moment unique in the history of 4-H Club work... As we symbolically burn the mortgage on this 4-H Center today, we pay tribute to the early leaders responsible for the planning of the National 4-H Home. We speak, too, for the more than two million 4-H Club members and nearly 300,000 leaders who have shared in making this dream come true."

She then called upon Director Knapp of West Virginia to light the mortgage, and, as the mortgage burned, said, "...let us look to the future... may this Center wrought in the image of those, like you, who over the years have strived to make the best better, contribute not only to progress in 4-H Club work, but to knowledge, character, love, honor and dignity among all people."

Completion of the Share and Care quota received a good boost during the next year's National 4-H Conference program with contributions from delegates of 11 states presenting checks totaling approximately $5,500.

  • An array of interesting methods were used to raise the Share and Care contributions. Those states paying off their pledges during the first year or two of the program documented their approaches:
  • In Indiana, those counties that met their quota 100% received a special certificate of recognition, as did the clubs that met their quota. Clubs used different money making schemes to finance the program. These included such activities as bake sales, concession stands, minstrel shows, sale of greeting cards and sponsored shows at a local theatre. In several counties, the Junior Leader organization took care of the contribution.
  • Massachusetts reported a good response to their appeal for a 10 cent contribution from each member or $1 per club or both. Some counties sent in as much as $200 under this plan. Each contributing club received a scroll and a letter from the state 4-H Club Leader. Another source of contributions was a collection bowl used at County 4-H Girls Days when each girl was encourage to drop in a penny for each year of her age. The bowl had a label, "Share and Care" and along side of it was a cutout of the front of Smith Hall. As the pennies piled up they attracted more. This plan was used in seven or eight counties and yielded anywhere from $10 to $40. An unexpected source proved to be unclaimed accounts in banks which had been deposited by 4-H Clubs of years ago. One of these totaling $6 came from Essex County, Massachusetts, the coins blackened with age but valuable as ever.
  • Minnesota found that the success of their Share and Care drive rested largely on getting the story told to the members, their parents, and local adult leaders. Clubs contributed on the basis of 10 cents per member, many from 4-H Club treasury funds that had accumulated from earnings of various club activities.
  • South Dakota met its quota with contributions from five sources: (1) 10 cents per club member, (2) county Extension agents and Home Demonstration agents, (3) State 4-H Office personnel, (4) State 4-H Leaders' Association, and (5) a few personal contributions from church and civic groups.
  • In Vermont, the State Leaders' Council and the County 4-H Club agents agreed to raise the funds through county quotas based on the number of members and leaders in each county. Most of the clubs held special money raising activities. These included food sales, community suppers, plays and other public entertainment. Some clubs raised money through commissions on sales of seed, cookies, and other items.
  • 4-H Organizations in Hawaii used several unique methods of raising their contributions. One of the most unique was the sale of an Hawaii food, called the "laulau." This required the cooperation of every member for it involved a tremendous amount of work. A piece of salted fish, pork and several taro leaves were wrapped in ti leaves. Several hundred of these were baked for several hours in an underground oven. The "laulau" sale was both popular and profitable.
  • New Jersey took its quota from: a general 4-H account that members raised in several ways: including the sale of baked goods; scrap and newspapers; greeting and holiday cards; Club donations; and money made from operating milk bars at county achievement days and fairs.

A grant of nearly half a million dollars from the Ford Foundation to the National 4-H Club Foundation to develop the National 4-H Club Center was announced on June 19, 1956. The announcement, which came during National 4-H Camp, climaxed several months of intensive planning and negotiations by the National 4-H Club Foundation with the Ford Foundation. The Ford Foundation grant was for $490,000. It was made on a partial matching basis with the 4-H Foundation required to raise $245,000. from other sources in order to obtain the money. (Much of the matching funds came from the Share and Care program. National 4-H Camp is one of the many 4-H activities that will be held at the Center when it is in operation and the delegates were transported out to the future site of the National 4-H Center during the week. While there they received a welcome by Norman Mindrum, Executive Director of the National 4-H Foundation and a discussion of the National 4-H Center by E. W. Aiton, Director, 4-H and YMW Division, Federal Extension Service, and H. B. Taylor, Indiana State 4-H Leader. The 1956 4-H Camp delegates from Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina and Puerto Rico made contributions to their Share and Care pledges during the program. Twenty-five states and Hawaii had reached their Share and Care goals by this time.)

During 1957, National 4-H Conference (formerly 4-H Camp) delegations from seven states made an investment in the National 4-H Center during the special program on June 20. The contributions in behalf of the 4-H members in the respective states totaled $4,353.93. Rhode Island completed its Share and Care quota, while the following states moved closer to completion: Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Hampshire and North Carolina. Twenty-seven states and Alaska and Hawaii had completed their quotas by this time with a total of $127,000. contributed by 4-H members and leaders through the Share and Care program. At the 1957 program W. W. Eure, Program Director and Manager for the National 4-H Center, told the group "the remainder of the goal is urgently needed for scholarships, operating funds during the first two years and certain items of equipment."

The Danforth Foundation made a $200,000 grant to the National 4-H Foundation in 1957 for the National 4-H Center renovation and remodeling.

Early promotional publications describe the 4-H Center this way: "This unique facility and memorial to the 4-H movement is located in a suburb of Washington, D.C. Operated by the National 4-H Club Foundation on behalf of the Cooperative Extension Service, the Center will provide facilities and opportunities for broad training in the responsibilities of citizenship and fellowship among people. It is a 12-1/2 acre campus with adequate parking area, wooded grounds and quiet dignity. Conference groups may use the Center to suit their special program needs and a staff will be available to assist with program planning. The Center will be operated on a non-profit basis."

A National 4-H Center Advisory Committee was established in 1957 by the National 4-H Foundation's Board of Trustees and held their first meeting on April 8-9 of that year. The Committee consisted of four state 4-H Club leaders, representing the four Extension regions; one county agricultural agent; one county home demonstration agent; and one county 4-H agent.

Members included: Allen L. Baker, State 4-H Club Leader, Pennsylvania, Eastern Region; H. W. Harshfield, State Leader, Boys' and Girls' 4-H Clubs, Ohio, Central Region; Audrey Sandstead, Assistant State 4-H Club Leader, Colorado, Western Region; Dorothy El Gentry, Assoc. State 4-H Club Agent, Virginia, Southern Region; Delbert T. Foster, County Agent, Rockville, Maryland, County Agents Association; Kenneth Pickett, County 4-H Club Agent, Bridgeton, New Jersey, 4-H Club Agents Association. W. W. Eure, Program Director and Manager of the National 4-H Center; and Mylo Downey and Tena Bishop, assoc. Leaders in 4-H and YMW Programs, Federal Extension Service, acted as ex-officio members of the Committee.

This committee had as its responsibilities, to: (1) Advise on uses to be made of the 4-H Center; (2) propose a set of program regulations; (3) develop possible criteria for determining priorities for use of the Center; (4) develop ways through which the Center, its facilities and opportunities may more readily become an integral part of and best serve the Cooperative Extension Service; and (5) recommend policy on memorials, including recognition of donors to the Center.

Early Renovations and Center Dedication

The Center property was returned by the Defense Department in 1957 and the National 4-H Foundation staff moved from their Silver Spring office to offices in Turner Hall at the 4-H Center at the end of June in 1958. The staff relocated from their offices in Silver Spring to the Chevy Chase campus, setting up business in what is now Turner Hall, while the main building, Smith Hall, undergoes extensive renovation. Staff members were proud to announce both their new address - 7100 Connecticut Avenue, Washington 15, D.C. - and new telephone number as: Oliver 6-9000.

On May 16, 1958, Grant A. Shrum was named Executive Director of the National 4-H Club Foundation by the Foundation Board of Trustees. Shrum succeeded Norman C. Mindrum, who resigned to become Director of the National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work (later National 4-H Service Committee) in Chicago. Mr. Shrum had been on the Foundation staff since October, 1955, as Executive Secretary of the 4-H Builders' Council, which provided leadership to the Foundation's total fund raising effort.

Bids for the renovation of the Center were opened on May 26, 1958 and the contract was awarded to Hill and Kimmel, Silver Spring, Maryland. Work on the Center began immediately with workmen razing the central and right wings of Smith Hall, preparatory to replacing them with new brick, fireproof wings. The roofs of Smith and Warren Hall were being recovered and the interior of Warren Hall completely renovated.

The planning and architectural services of Harry Barrett were obtained to do preliminary planning and schematics for renovation and construction. Mr. Barrett served as an architect for the new York World's Fai and as an architect for the Riggs National Bank in Washington, D.C.

Demolition and construction work continued throughout the remainder of 1958 and into 1959 with the schedule for the Center to be open and operational by late spring, 1959.

The December 1958 National 4-H Club Foundation Journal (newsletter) indicates that the following memorials had been established at the Center: Arkansas, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. (Needs research; not sure what this means... named rooms, memorials or something else)

On April 3, 1959 the first group to use the Center facilities were the 1959 IFYE's heading to Northern Europe and Central America.

The National 4-H Club Center was formally opened on June 16, 1959. The opening coincided with the 29th annual National 4-H Club Conference. Delegates to the Conference from the 50 states and Puerto Rico were the first large group to use the Center. Top agriculture and government leaders participated in the opening ceremonies. Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson; Administrator C. M. Ferguson of the Federal Extension Service; J. O. Knapp, Director of Extension in West Virginia and Chairman of the Board of the National 4-H Foundation; J. D. Sykes, Chairman of the Foundation's Builders Council, and Donald Danforth, President of the Danforth Foundation, were featured on the program.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower was on hand to officially open the National 4-H Center by cutting the green and white ribbons - beginning a chain of events which was to extend beyond the early dreams of 4-H.

Ceremonies began in front of the portico of Smith Hall where the formal opening took place. More than 800 persons gathered on the lawn just before noon to witness the event. During the ceremony, the United States and the 4-H flags were flown for the first time atop the twin flag poles.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower was on hand to cut the green and white ribbons for the formal opening of the Center - beginning a chain of events which was to extend beyond the early dreams of 4-H.

The President, smiling, stepped onto the portico of Smith Hall and cut the green and white ribbons hanging between the two center pillars, officially opening the Center. He had just finished addressing the large audience at which time he said, "I am here just because I like the 4-Hers."

"... because they are dedicated to do things better. As long as we have young people of these characteristics, devoted with their hearts and their heads and their hands and their health to doing these things, America cannot be anything but successful."

The President was assisted in cutting the ribbon by Miss Anita Hollmer, 4-H member from New York, and Larry Dilda, 4-H member from North Carolina. Miss Holmer presided during the ceremony and Dilda gave the invocation. Greeting the President upon his arrival at the Center were 4-H members Sarah Ramsburg from Maryland and Ronnie Gollehon from New Mexico.

Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson, who escorted the President onto the platform, and who introduced him, said: "Here at this Center we have a working demonstration of the philosophy of the 4-H movement and of the free enterprise system."

"Helping people to help themselves can take place only under conditions of freedom. The National 4-H Center will make a significant contribution toward training better citizens and better leaders," the Secretary added. The Secretary went on to say that the Center will fill an international as well as a national need, as it will house the 4-H Foundation offices, including the International Farm Youth Exchange staff.

Many of the rooms at the Center had already been furnished by state groups honoring prominent leaders and friends of the 4-H movement. The lounge in Warren Hall had been dedicated earlier to Albert Hoefer, State 4-H Leader in New York from 1943 to 1955. As part of the Center opening event other rooms were dedicated in individual state ceremonies. The entry lobby to Smith Hall, the largest of the Center buildings, was dedicated to the memory of George L. Farley, who served from 1916 to 1941 as the State 4-H Leader in Massachusetts.

As J. O. Knapp, chairman of the Foundation's Board of Trustees, pointed out in his greeting during the ceremonies, "4-H Club members and leaders have worked and planned for more than 30 years for this occasion. Those of us on the Board of Trustees feel the National 4-H Center represents the highest ideals of citizenship and leadership which characterize the 4-H movement. This Center provides a place where members and leaders may continue this tradition.

"This is the first visit for many of you to the National 4-H Club Center. I know it will not be your last. It is our hope that each time you come, it will be with a sense of 'returning home'."

Later that same dedication day, a statue symbolic of American Rural Youth was unveiled in a courtyard in the rear of Smith Hall. It was given in honor of the late William H. Danforth, who spent most of his life challenging young people.

"The world has need for tall people, tall in character. The 4-H Club movement is one of the best steps I know toward becoming a bigger and better person." Secretary of Agriculture Benson concluded his talk with this statement as he accepted the Danforth Rural Youth Statue which was unveiled at 4 p.m. on June 16 during the formal opening of the National 4-H Club Center. The bronze statue of a typical American farm youth in all of his strength and vigor was presented to the Center as part of the gift of the Danforth Foundation.

The Center opened with a mandate to enrich 4-H through testing, experimenting and demonstrating innovative programs. Emphasis was clearly on the development of the individual as a productive citizen. To accomplish this 4-H designed a comprehensive leadership training concept for 4-H members, adult volunteers who are directly responsible for guiding 4-H groups and professional staff who administer and implement 4-H at the federal, state and local levels.

The first program participants, 40 teenagers from Buchanan County, Iowa, arrived by bus shortly after the Center opened... and from that point on the Center became a focal point of creative learning for thousands of youth and adults every year. Using the vast educational and cultural resources of the nation's capital, plus the expertise of professionals from land-grant universities across the nation, the Center offered unique opportunities for short term training. National 4-H Conference - traditionally held as a camp on the Mall near the Washington monument - moved its site to the National 4-H Center and each spring hundreds of delegates assembled to help 4-H determine its future course.

Later that year, approximately 700 persons attended an open house November 15, 1959 at the National 4-H Center for residents of the Chevy Chase community and other friends of the Foundation. Guests were given tours of the campus to better acquaint them with the 4-H Center and the other Foundation programs.

In less than 10 years after it opened, the steady growth of 4-H and the effective impact of the training signaled an increasing need for expanding the facilities. During the summer Citizenship program the participants had already overflowed the building and many had to be housed elsewhere. In 1967 a record 21,000 persons participated in 300 educational conferences and training classes at the National 4-H Center, a 20 percent increase over the number of persons taking part in Center activities just the year before.

1970-1990... Renovations and Enhancements

By 1969 overflow summer Citizenship program participants had to be housed at the University of Maryland. It was apparent that Center expansion was needed. Raymond E. Rowland, Chairman of the Board, Ralston Purina Co. laid out the case for expanding the National 4-H Center:

This is the Challenge. With two and one-half million young Americans diligently working in or on 4-H projects; looking for a way of life and a path to travel; searching for guidelines to success as a citizen; for the way to choose a career, earn a living and raise a family... it behooves us to support their efforts. One place where they can focus their attention on the future and where their leaders can count on no-nonsense guidance to help them, is the National 4-H Center.

The continued growth of the Center and of its staff competencies depends to a large degree upon the answer given to this challenge. In its comparatively short history, the National 4-H Club Foundation has established a record that stands alone. In no other youth-training organization has any group been so eminently successful in carrying out its programs or attaining its objectives. 4-H leaders, both professional and volunteer, have acclaimed the Center for its contributions to the program.

It is expected that this enthusiasm for the expansion of the 4-H Center will result in active participation on the part of the 4-H clubs across the country. But neither youthful buoyancy nor the dedicated efforts of volunteer 4-H leaders can be expected to raise the full amount of $5 million. In fact, it is estimated that even with unprecedented support, the 4-H'ers could only raise approximately half of the goal.

The rest must come from individuals, philanthropic foundations and business corporations that are willing to make an investment in the 4-H future. The Center's record of achievement is impressive. Its programs are judged superior. With this record and with its far-reaching plans for the future, the National 4-H Club Foundation seeks your support in the firm belief that it has earned its place in America as a vital partner in the education and training of our nation's leaders of tomorrow.

A fund raising program was launched asking for support from the 4-H family and from the private sector. Response was quick and generous. On April 20, 1970 pledges made it possible for construction to begin. Ground breaking took place on that day (during National 4-H Conference) with Tricia Nixon (representing her mother, Mrs. Richard M. Nixon, as Honorary Co-Chairman of the National 4-H Club Foundation Advisory Council) and National 4-H Advisory Council Chairman Howard C. Harder, chairman, CPC International, Inc., turning over the first shovels of sod.

By the end of 1970, Phase I of the expanded Center was not only off the ground... but roofing had been completed on most of the buildings and in January windows were installed. By February work was proceeding rapidly on the interior of the buildings with installation of piping, tiles and partitions. In July 1971 the first two buildings were completed and overnight capacity of the Center jumped from 300 to 650. During the decade of the '60s the main building, Smith Hall, contained 64 bedrooms, several conference rooms, a large recreation hall, dining room, photographic and sound laboratory, administrative offices, and a large terrace.

In 1976 expansion of the main building, Smith Hall, began. With contributions of more than $8 million from corporations, foundations and individuals, the restoration was completed in the fall of 1977. Restoration of the main administration building, now called J. C. Penney Hall, had been completed. The project took longer than early planners had envisioned and in the end it took more money, but nonetheless, on September 22, 1977 completion of the expansion program was celebrated with a dedication ceremony to recognize the heritage of the past and to serve as a prologue to the future. The Center had become a modern conference facility with the expanded main administration building, J. C. Penney Hall, and the residential and dining hall, W. K. Kellogg Hall, together with the residential and conference halls named for Cyrus H. McCormick and Harvey S. Firestone.

The original Capital Expansion Plan also called for a Seminar Center to be called "The J. C. Penney Youth Hall" to be placed near the front of the campus property on the left as you faced in from Connecticut Avenue. Announced by the National 4-H Foundation on November 16, 1970, this structure -- designed to be cultural and educational in nature - was to include an 800-seat auditorium, a library/reading room with youth education material from around the world, and eight seminar rooms. The J. C. Penney Company and the J. C. Penney family pledged $500,000 for the project, representing a significant portion of the total cost of this building in honor of the late Mr. Penney who passed away on February 12, 1971. It was to also include significant mementoes of Mr. Penney's relationship with 4-H, a non-denominational chapel for personal meditation, and a large exhibit/recreation area. Zoning problems and other obstacles eventually stood in the way of this building being constructed. Additionally, an operating cost analysis was a factor in that the separate building would be essentially non-revenue producing but a major cost to operating the Center. Changes in the Expansion Plan resulted in the new "main building" which replaced Smith Hall would become J. C .Penney Hall with some features of the earlier plans merged into the design. .Penny's agreed to switch to the main administration building and eventually - over a decade later -- with the construction of Ketner Hall, the Center would finally realize it's dream of having a first class auditorium - Aiton Auditorium.

On February 1, 1977 a merger of the National 4-H Foundation and the National 4-H Service Committee had taken effect. The National 4-H Center became the property of National 4-H Council and under its operation became the national training site for 4-H citizenship and leadership development programs. During its first 20 years - from 1959 to 1979 the Center had hosted over 2.5 million young people and adults.

The expanded Center offered new opportunities for training and development programs. To the 4-H members who had long been the nucleus of the citizenship program were added many high school students, and members of other youth groups who used the Center for citizenship and government study. Volunteer 4-H leaders, homemakers, and a vast array of other groups related to Extension found the educational facilities and programming at the National 4-H Center an effective way to gain new skills and knowledge.

September 19, 1990 marked another milestone in the history of the continued expansion of educational facilities at the National 4-H Center. A new four-story building was dedicated - Ralph W. Ketner Hall. Ralph and Anne Ketner of Salisbury, North Carolina, symbolized the dedication and generosity exhibited through individual commitment to 4-H and youth development. With their $1 million commitment to 4-H, National 4-H Council was able to begin construction on a new, and needed addition. A key part of the Ketner addition was Aiton Auditorium. An auditorium had been in the plans for the earlier renovation but had to be scrapped due to the escalating costs. Now, the visions of the earlier plans had become a reality.

Operating a youth conference center means continual upgrades and maintenance on an annual basis. Also, during the decade starting in 2000, a continual process of attempting to make the entire campus more "kid friendly" centering in the key audiences of teenagers and pre-teens became the focus. Starting in 2013, plans by Council's Board to undertake the next major Center renovation were in place. Wherever this takes us, it will undoubtedly be for the purpose of continuing to keep the National 4-H Youth Conference Center at the forefront of being one of the best facilities of its kind in the entire nation.

W. W. Eure was named Program Director and Manger of the National 4-H Club Center on January 1, 1957. In this new position, Mr. Eure became responsible, as a member of the National 4-H Foundation's staff, for the development of educational programs at the National 4-H Center as well as for operation of the physical plant. Eure formerly was employed by the 4-H Foundation, serving from November, 1952, to June, 1955, as project leader for a special, experimental discussion program with rural young adults. Since completion of that project he had been associated with the Foreign Agricultural Service. Prior to his first appointment with the National 4-H Foundation, Mr. Eure had served as Virginia Extension Specialist in charge of Young Men and Women's work.

National 4-H Center History Walking Tour

The National 4-H Youth Conference Center belongs to 4-H youth, volunteers, Extension staff and 4-H friends throughout the nation. From individual 4-H members in the 1950s each giving 10 cents... to corporate donors and national foundations giving hundreds of thousands of dollars, their gifts were important, enabling the Center to open in 1959 and today serving as a major educational conference center.

4-H friends and groups also demonstrated their pride in the Center through special gifts to remodel or upgrade specific areas at the Center, enhancing the experience of visiting or living at the Center through collections of artifacts, artwork and memorabilia. Over the decades both the facilities - and the special gifts they hold - comprise a 4-H history story unique to this location. Gifts to the Center were made with honor and pride by literally thousands of people who firmly believe that 4-H is something special.

This National 4-H Center History Walking Tour takes participants on a journey through the campus and points out some of these gifts that are so special.


J. C. Penney Hall was constructed during the early 1970s with a groundbreaking ceremony taking place on April 20, 1970. It sits in the central location of what had originally been Smith Hall which was torn down to make room for the new Penney Hall.

Smith Hall included the Minnesota Room, Missouri Room, Ohio Room, Pioneer Room, Wisconsin Room, a Library... The first three of these rooms remain today with the same names as they had in Smith Hall. Portraits of 4-H pioneers were displayed in the Pioneer Room; for example, an oil painting of L. R. Harrill, State 4-H Leader, North Carolina, was unveiled and dedicated during National 4-H Conference in 1964 for hanging in the Pioneer Room.

Prior to 4-H purchasing the property, this was called the main building for the Chevy Chase Junior College and included wings known as Barker Hall, Main, and the Bowery. When planning for moving into the new property, the National 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees designated the honor of renaming this main building Smith Hall in honor of C. B. Smith, Extension pioneer.

When built, J. C. Penney Hall was considered a working memorial to James Cash Penney - his concern for youth and his belief that 4-H builds responsible, creative citizens.

As honorary co-chairman of the National 4-H Foundation Advisory Council, Mr. Penney took an active role in the expansion of the Center and attended many functions, including the groundbreaking ceremony. Following her husband's death in 1971, Mrs. Caroline A. Penney and the J. C. Penney Company continued their active interest and support of 4-H. This support included not only major contributions to Center expansion, but also funding for regional volunteer leader training programs and other 4-H activities.

When completed, J. C. Penney Hall was a stately building with its graceful Ionic pillars, serving as the main administration building for the National 4-H Center. The first floor included a comfortable lobby graced by a mural depicting the close affinity of the history and growth of 4-H with Mr. Penney's ideals. A small chapel, given by his wife Carolina A. Penney, served as a quiet place for meditation and reflection. A library contained memorabilia reflecting Mr. Penney's life long interest in youth and in rural America. This room also served as a reference gallery named in honor of Kenneth H. Anderson who devoted his career to 4-H service. Four major conference rooms, the Missouri Room on the first floor and the Ohio Room, Minnesota Room and an assembly hall on the lower level provide educational, exhibit and recreation facilities. The second floor was devoted primarily to administrative offices of National 4-H Council. Wings at the rear of J. C. Penney Hall provided dormitory style housing facilities.

Major enhancements have been made to J. C. Penney Hall on a continuing basis over the past nearly 50 years and more are planned for the future.


Recreation Center

Originally in the old Smith Hall there was no lower level where the Recreation Center is now located. When W. K. Kellogg Hall replaced Smith Hall, this area, outside of the Minnesota Room was usually called the Assembly Hall; sometimes Minnesota Recreation Area.

In 1982 this area became the Beatrice Assembly Hall, the only major conference area of the National 4-H Center accommodating the 600 persons who could be housed at the Center. The multi-purpose room was used not only for seminars and workshops, but also for exhibits, dramatic presentations, dances and special banquets. In 1980, Beatrice Foods Co. had made a major contribution to improve this assembly hall and make it even more versatile in serving the 4-H program. The assembly hall symbolized the company's corporate heritage and the strong partnership between Beatrice Foods Co. and 4-H, including its sponsorship of the National 4-H Home Management Awards Program. The project was spearheaded by James L. Dutt, CEO, Beatrice Foods Co. and Chairman of the Board, National 4-H Council. Dedication of Beatrice Assembly Hall took place on March 3, 1982.

The audio system in this room was an earlier gift of the Redskin Foundation of Bethesda, Maryland.

With the addition of the Aiton Auditorium in the adjoining Ketner Hall, there was less need for the Beatrice Assembly Hall to be used for assemblies. Major renovation was again done in 1993 changing the area into a user friendly, appealing recreation-lounge area targeted to the teen audiences which comprised the largest group of overnight guests at the Center. This included fresh food vending machines, a large screen television, video machines, air hockey, a jukebox, and numerous tables and chairs.

Campus Gift Shop

A special place where Center visitors, as well as staff, can purchase personal needs, no matter if you have a headache or a need for chocolate. Also available is a wide assortment of 4-H logo items and Washington souvenir items for the out-of-town tourist., everything from T-shirts and jewelry to postcards and children's items. Originally in a small room off the Penney Lobby, this greatly expanded, more modern shop was created in 1993.

Minnesota Room

The Minnesota Room was the contribution of Minnesota 4-H when the National 4-H Center was opened in 1959. At that time, it was one of the larger conference rooms and was in constant use for meetings, small assembly groups, Leaders' Forums and various other events as international workshops; exhibits; parties; and square dancing. It was also frequently used for special buffets and banquets to supplement the space in the Cafeteria of that time (the Ohio Room was the Cafeteria).

In the early 1970's, when more conference room space was available in the expanded 4-H Center, the Minnesota Room gradually became the center for recreation equipment and leisure activities and included TV viewing. This included a pool table, ping pong equipment and a "Foozball" game.

There were several changes of decoration throughout the years, but in each change Minnesota 4-H, through statewide contributions or county and group gifts, has provided steady financial support.

Wall murals in the Minnesota room depict the four seasons. The artist was Dale Reed, a Minnesota 4-H alumnus, and at one time an intern on the staff as well as an international representative in Barbados. The mural was completed in 1977 with Dale Reed as the artist/designer and several Maryland 4-H'ers as assistant painters. Their signatures could be found in the striped part of the mural and, in their honor, the artist also provided a dogwood blossom in the design although dogwoods are not a part of seasonal changes in Minnesota!

Later the room was occupied by Ameriscribe, accompany contracted by National 4-H Council for mail handling and printing/reproduction services.

Now, the Minnesota Room is again in full use as a conference room for meetings. No Minnesota art, nor artifacts remain in the room.

Ohio Room

The Ohio Room was one of two original state-named rooms in what was then called Smith Hall which still remain today in Penney Hall. Initially this area served as both the 4-H Center cafeteria and an all-purpose meeting room when the building was Smith Hall. It was the main assembly-dining room, serving as both a cafeteria and meeting room... often requiring "routine" moving of tables and chairs to transform a dining hall into an assembly hall... and, then back again for the next meal.

The Ohio pledge of $10,000. provided tables, chairs and other furnishings for the room, plus an endowment for two annual scholarships to the National 4-H Conference or a similar event. The effort honored two Ohio 4-H pioneers - A. B. Graham, pioneer club leader, 1902 and W. H. Palmer, Ohio's first State 4-H Club Leader, 1916-1951. The Ohio Room Committee, as it was called, suggested that 4-H members raise 5 to 10 cents each toward this project. A club contribution of $5 would buy a chair, $6 would buy a place setting, and $50 a table. The goal from club members was $5,000 and the other $5,000 coming from friends of 4-H... particularly of Mr. Graham and Mr. Palmer.

After Smith Hall was totally renovated and replaced by J. C. Penney Hall, the Ohio 4-H Foundation pledged $30,000 in 1978 for remodeling the Ohio Room. This was matched by a similar amount from the National 4-H Council. A large mural painting was chosen that would depict some high points of Ohio's history and the state's physical features. Lee Garrett of Columbus, Ohio, was the artist selected to do the work on the 74 feet long, 6 feet high design. A new ceiling structure and new lighting enhanced the look of the room.

The wall mural was a busy design, encompassing everything from images of Ohio's eight U.S. presidents and a massive state seal to A .B. Graham and Chris Clover (who was created in Ohio), and the successes of Ohio's famous sons - Thomas Edison, the Wright brothers, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, Jr. and others. Eventually, the mural was replaced as it dominated the room, almost over-shadowing functions taking place in the room. A complete renovation of the Ohio Room took place in Summer, 1993.

Heritage Hallway

The Heritage Hallway (sometimes referred to as the 4-H Hall of Fame) separates J. C. Penney Hall and Ketner Hall. As you enter the hallway from the Recreation Center the Aiton Auditorium is on the left. The Schruben Board Room and John Deere Room is on the right.

The hallway currently has two glass cases containing historic artifacts on display by the National 4-H History Preservation team.

On the walls are original pieces of artwork from the National 4-H Calendar Program and the National 4-H Poster Program, plus a few other significant prints or artwork. A large recognition display outside of the Schruben Board Room lists the charter members of the National 4-H Heritage Club and is dated September 30, 2009.

Luke M. Schruben Board Room

The Luke M. Schruben Board Room was dedicated on February 26, 1991. Luke Schruben, a very special friend of National 4-H Council, was not a 4-H member. Not because he didn't want to be, but because he left his native Sheridan County, Kansas five years prior to 4-H becoming actively established there.

His life-long career with Extension Service began in 1933 as Schruben progressed through the Kansas Extension Service, entering the Federal Extension Service in 1943, and served as assistant administrator for Extension until retiring in 1968. His distinguished, volunteer service with National 4-H Council began in 1960 as a member of the Board of Trustees of what was then the National 4-H Foundation.

Since 1960, Schruben was instrumental in funding several dormitory rooms, remodeling the secretary's conference room, creating the Center's flagpole area, purchasing comfortable chairs for the board room, and even providing a piano in the Tennessee Room and building the mail boxes in use in J. C. Penney Hall.

As an active member of the $50 Million Campaign for 4-H, Schruben helped not only in identifying potential supporters, but in making his own substantial personal commitment. All of Luke Schruben's gifts - volunteer and financial - came from his personal devotion to the youth whom 4-H serves. Schruben and his wife remained active in 4-H Council activities until their deaths. Because of Luke Schruben's personal convictions and commitments to 4-H the new board room was named the Luke M. Schruben Board Room.

When dedicated, the Schruben Board Room was impressive, having the "look and feel" of a top class corporate board room. A number of corporations and individuals contributed generously to the furnishings in the room. Robert B. Gill donated the credenza and the firm, Deloitte and Touche contributed funds for the board room table.

Board room chairs were the contributions of: Roger C. Beach, Marcius R. Butterfield, John A. DiBiaggio, John A. Dillingham, Susanne G. Fisher, Robert B. Gill, Gail T. Hamilton, Charles A. Hayes, Ira C. Herbert, Vance E. Huneycutt, William G. Lowrie, Donald MacNeil, John D. Rock, Richard J. Sauer, Grant A. Shrum, Gene L. Swackhamer, Anne E. Thompson, Hendrik A. Verfaillie, David I. J. Wang, and Janet E. King Aiton in honor of Edward W. Aiton and Marvin Morrison in honor of Kenneth H. Anderson.

John Deere Room

Deere & Company provided generous support for the John Deere

conference room along with the following items for display on the walls: framed photo of John Deere; 10 framed historic posters; a painting of a rural scene.


J. C. Penney Lobby

For most visitors to the National 4-H Youth Conference Center, walking through the doors of J. C. Penney Hall into the lobby area is their first exposure to the Center. In this lobby is located the registration desk for lodging, often the registration tables for current functions taking place, the security desk, and the area where guests are usually met by staff or other visitors. It is the central point of destination.

J.C. Penney Mural

Gracing the spacious lobby of J. C. Penney Hall is the mural - Head-Heart-Hands-Health. Painted by the eminent muralist, Dean Fausett, in the American genre, the mural captures the evolution of 4-H and the J. C. Penney Company during the 20th Century. Prominent in the mural is James Cash Penney, founder of the company that bears his name. He stands with a youth and his blue ribboned dairy heifer, reflecting Mr. Penney's benevolent support of 4-H and the 4-H tradition of recognizing excellence.

A legend in his own lifetime, James Cash Penney was born on a small farm near Hamilton, Missouri. Mr. Penney supported 4-H for the last 45 years of his life. He took an active role in the expansion of the National 4-H Center, serving as honorary co-chairman of a National 4-H Advisory Council. Since his death in 1971, Carline A. Penney and the J. C. Penney Company have continued interest in and support of 4-H. The family and company contributed generously to the expansion of the National 4-H Center, including J. C. Penney Hall, completed and dedicated in 1977. J. C. Penney Company also supported volunteer leader training and other 4-H activities for many years.

Mrs. Caroline Penney, widow of J. C. Penney, paid tribute to her husband at the dedication of J. C. Penney Hall and the Penney Mural on September 22, 1977. She shared her husband's interest in 4-H and carried on his tradition of support. Together with her daughters, Mary Frances Penney Wagley, headmistress of St. Paul's School for Girls, Baltimore, Maryland at that time, and Carol Penney Guyer, then vice president of the Henry Street Settlement House, New York, Mrs. Penney devoted many hours of time and talent to the plans, progress and interior decoration of J. C. Penney Hall, including the mural.

The left portion of the mural shows boys and girls at work in corn growing and tomato canning clubs. These clubs, that sprang up in rural America at the turn of the century, were the forerunners of 4-H. Toward th center the muralist has caught the changing scene of 4-H as the program diversified and expanded to serve the needs of youth in urban as well as rural America and around the world. The right hand portion of the mural features many of the projects and activities that typify contemporary 4-H in the 1970s, when the mural was created.

The background of the mural depicts Penney's first store, opened in Kemmerer, Wyoming in 1902, called the Golden Rule because of his conviction that it is possible to combine a high order of ethics with economics. Mr. Penney never wavered from that principle as he worked to expand his company. The skyscraper headquarters of the J. C. Penney Company, one of the major retail enterprises in the nation, shown at the right of the mural, stands as testimony that James Cash Penney was right in his conviction. Some of Mr. Penney's grandchildren are represented as youth in the 4-H mural.

The 8 ft. by 16 ft. mural was painted in oil tempera on four gesso panels in the artist's studios in Dorset, Vermont and transported to Maryland where the panels were joined in place.

Dean Fausett was commissioned by members of the Penney family to paint the mural as a tribute to James Cash Penney and the close affinity of his personal life with the history and ideals of 4-H. Mr. Fausett, a native of Utah, received many awards and world-wide recognition for his murals, his portraits and landscapes.

For additional information on the J. C. Penney mural visit the segment on the mural on the 4-H history website:

Gertrude Warren Portrait

Gertrude Warren was the Assistant Program Leader in Boys' and Girls' Club Work, Federal Extension Service, USDA 1917-1952. Miss Warren grew up on a farm in New York State and as a school girl she belonged to one of Liberty Hyde Bailey's nature study groups.

Gertrude Warren was introduced to Extension when teaching home economics at Teachers College, Columbia University, in New York. One program receiving special attention during the war years was the expansion of canning demonstrations and promotion of food conservation. Gertrude Warren was brought to the USDA in 1917 to organize the program.

By the time of the 1919 meeting of state 4-H leaders in Kansas City, Miss Warren had decided that American young people had canned enough and it was time to move on to other projects. At the meeting, she suggested club projects in clothing and garment making, along with cooking and baking. In the process, Miss Warren developed a method of promoting club projects that would come to characterize later project development. The 1919 meeting was one of the most important in the history of the 4-H movement. The general structure of local clubs was firmly established, an expansion of projects was encouraged and relations between club work and vocational education in the schools were defined. Much of this was at the hand of Gertrude Warren.

She wrote many bulletins and publications and is credited with first using the 4-H name in a federal publication in 1918. While some preferred the name "Junior Extension Work," Miss Warren's perseverance and the fact that the term "4-H" had become a part of common usage for club work prevailed. By 1924, 4-H was recognized universally as the name of club work in the United States.

Miss Warren is often called the "Mother of 4-H." She was instrumental in initiating the National 4-H Club Camp on the Mall in Washington, D.C. in 1927, and was involved in the establishment of National 4-H Foundation and National 4-H Center.

Honors bestowed upon Gertrude Warren include the USDA Superior Service Award in 1949 and National 4-H Hall of Fame laureate in 2002. She was President of the Women's National Farm and Garden Association. Warren Hall at the National 4-H Center is named in her honor. Miss Warren was presented the Order of the Three Stars from Latvia for fostering 4-H work there.

Upon Gertrude Warren's retirement in 1952 the state 4-H leaders recognized her by arranging to have her portrait painted and hung at the National 4-H Center. C. B. Wadleigh, New Hampshire state leader and chairman of the Extension subcommittee on 4-H Club Work made the presentation.

Salute to Excellence Volunteer Recognition Program On the wall of the elevator lobby in front of the Missouri Room is a large Honor Roll acknowledging winners in the 4-H Salute to Excellence program. These eight large plaques recognize outstanding volunteers in 4-H, including Monsanto's support.

U. S. Presidents and 4-H. Planned for the very near future is a wall exhibit showing a century of U. S. Presidents and their direct, active involvement in 4-H... (Add more)

W. A. Sutton Conference Room

The Sutton Room was named for W. A. "Bill" Sutton, Georgia State 4-H Leader (1942-1954) and founder of Rock Eagle 4-H Center. Sutton also led the purchase of land for the National 4-H Center, chairing a committee established by ECOP to determine Extension's interest in and support for a permanent "camp."

The Sutton room was located at the far end of the J. C. Penney Lobby in the area that now provides the entry into Ketner Hall on the lobby level. The small conference room, dedicated in 1978, included a rectangular meeting table and approximately eight chairs. The autographed photo of President Eisenhower cutting the ribbon to officially open the National 4-H Center, and what was known as the "Eisenhower Chair," were located in this room. The room was demolished in 1989 to make room for Ketner Hall.

Missouri Room

The Missouri Room was one of the originally state-sponsored rooms in Smith Hall designated at the time the National 4-H Center was dedicated in 1959. Finances for the room came from contributions of Missouri 4-H and friends at that time. It was the largest assembly room (with the exception of the Ohio Room which was in daily use as the Cafeteria) and was in constant use as the site of Citizenship Short Course programs, Leader Forums, National 4-H Conference assemblies, and many similar activities.The area remained the Missouri Room upon the completion of J. C. Penney Hall.

Early in 1983, 4-H leaders in Missouri initiated a fund raising effort in the state to support renovation of this major conference room, prominently located just off the lobby of J. C. Penney Hall. A totally transformed Missouri Room and adjacent Danforth Court were dedicated on February 13, 1984. The renovation project was supported by funds raised by the Missouri 4-H Foundation. Among the guests at the afternoon ceremony were 4-H leaders from Missouri and state 4-H leaders and staff from throughout the country, who were attending conferences at the Center.

Chester Black, director, Extension Service, North Carolina State University, and a native of Missouri, pointed out that the Center not only played an important role in leadership training for 4-H youth, volunteer leaders, and staff but also served other Extension groups, who held conferences and workshops at the Center. National 4-H Council board member Charles W. Lifer, assistant director, 4-H, Ohio State University, reminded the audience that the Center belongs to 4-H Extension, which has an obligation not only to improve the facility but also to take full advantage of its existence.

Representing the Ralston Purina Company, a longtime supporter of 4-H, Charles E. Ehrhart, director of government affairs, said: "We are especially pleased that a grant from our company will not only beautify this courtyard but also make it more accessible and useful to participants who come to this Center.

Missouri also used the occasion to pay tribute to Frank Graham, longtime state 4-H leader in Missouri and a former member of the Board of Trustees of National 4-H Council. Graham's son Jerry contributed a podium to the renovation project in his father's honor.

Paintings in the Missouri room were from selected Missouri artists. The State seal was made from linden wood and was created by crafters at Silver Dollar City. An original wildlife scene presented by the artist, Leland D. Schaperkotter, has a prominent position in the Missouri Room, as well as a picture of former President Harry Truman, a native of Missouri. The walnut paneling in the room was the gift of Missouri walnut growers.

Today the room continues its usefulness as a conference room, but is also the setting for receptions, special exhibits and luncheons.

Kathleen's Corner

Kathleen's Corner is dedicated to the foresight... the vision of Kathleen Flom, longtime staff member of National 4-H Council who continued to be involved in 4-H Center activities on a daily basis for years even after retirement. She was key to maintaining historic records, working with commemorative gifts, and conducting tours of National 4-H Center for visiting groups and new staff. Kathleen was the "walking encyclopedia" of 4-H Center history.

Kathleen Flom was a "4-H'er" for over well over half a century. She participated as a junior leader, the leader of her local Canning Club, and county 4-H Extension Agent. Kathleen became the first Home Economics Extension Agent in Nobles County, Minnesota. She soon served as the Assistant State 4-H Leader and State Older Youth Leader in Minnesota. In 1954, a five-month assignment as Regional Leader in the International 4-H Farm Youth Exchange (IFYE) resulted into her joining the staff of the National 4-H Club Foundation (later becoming National 4-H Council). She worked heavily in international programs, visiting 40 countries around the world, and then started the role as "unofficial hostess" of National 4-H Center which became her life.

Kathleen's Room was planned and dedicated in 2008. With generous gifts from many friends, this room became a focal point for 4-H history. A team comprised of Sue Benedetti, Eleanor L. Wilson, Sue Fisher and Gwen El Sawi planned the room and secured the funding to make it possible.

Photo Mural of 4-H History

The history of 4-H is one of the most significant and far-reaching stories in America: a story of youth education, community pride and responsibility, personal leadership, and volunteerism. Truly unique - born at the grassroots level and involving special public-private partnerships at the local, state and national levels - it represents the very essence of America's growth...(add more).

President Eisenhower and Center Dedication

Memorabilia itemization in Kathleen's Room (Add more)

4-H Club Charter

Explanation of the history of club charters. (Add more)

Kathleen Flom Display

Itemization of Kathleen's items in wall case.(Add more)

Chapel Stained-Glass Window

A small chapel, given by Caroline A. Penney, wife of J. C. Penney, was directly off the Penney Lobby to the left of the large mural. The intent was to provide a place which would serve as a quiet place for meditation and reflection. A large stained-glass window to one side of the chapel, designed and executed by Rambusch of New York, provided soft light in the chapel area. The Rambusch window was a gift from the oldest Penney son. This stained-glass window is the only remaining part of the chapel physically on display in Kathleen's Corner.

J. C. Penney Room

The J. C. Penney Room originally was the Pioneer Room in old Smith Hall, then became the Bookstore in the replacement Penney Hall prior to its move to the lower level when it became the Campus Gift Shop.

J. C. Penney Room is fairly small, being capable of accommodating up to 20 people at most at a meeting with tables. One wall of the room is comprised of show cases containing various mementoes from the life of J. C. Penney, on loan from the Penney family.

(Share some of the key items. Add more)

Contemporary 4-H Exhibit

The Contemporary 4-H Exhibit was designed to help us remember the national 4-H events, programs and happenings of today and the past 10 years - "That the Future might Learn from the Past".

How do we define Contemporary 4-H History? What happens in 4-H today and what we did yesterday is already 4-H history. It's everything that goes on in 4-H from the moment after it happens. The Contemporary 4-H History exhibit focuses on national events, programs and happenings over the past 10 years. If we don't save our history now, the 4-H leaders and members of tomorrow cannot profit from it. The time to recognize and preserve it is today!

In late 2010, the National 4-H History Preservation team was asked by National 4-H Council Leadership to create a "Contemporary 4-H History" exhibit at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center; it was inaugurated at the National 4-H Hall of Fame and National 4-H Heritage Club events on October 8, 2010 at the Center. Items in the display change on a regular basis.

Kenneth H. Anderson Gallery

When the Kenneth H. Anderson 4-H Appreciation Committee honored Ken Anderson at the Opening Assembly of the 1973 National 4-H Congress - Grant A. Shrum, Chairman - the two major parts of the recognition were: 1) Ken Anderson Educational Scholarship presented to a 4-H Citizenship winner each year starting in 1974; and, 2) The National 4-H Center in Washington, D.C. soon will include the Kenneth H. Anderson National Reference Gallery. The gallery is already planned for the soon-to-be constructed J. C. Penney Hall. It will provide space for a reading-reference area, an art collection and a series of permanent 4-H exhibits. Members of the Anderson Appreciation Committee included: Grant Shrum, Executive Director, National 4-H Foundation, chairman; James Patterson, Manager of Public Affairs, Amoco Oil Company; Leonard L. Harkness, 4-H, University of Minnesota; Jack Tyree, Former Chairman, 4-H Sub-Committee, ECOP; E. Dean Vaughan, Asst. Administrator, 4-H, Extension USDA; Donald Osburn, Director, Program Services, National 4-H Service Committee; and Marilyn F. Wessel, Consultant.

The Kenneth H. Anderson Reference Gallery, dedicated on September 22, 1977, was made possible by contributions from his friends and associates to honor his leadership and contributions to the 4-H program, inspired by the visions of the Anderson Appreciation Committee for a significant gallery of 4-H art and artifacts.

Kenneth H. Anderson, associate director, National 4-H Council, retired in 1977 after devoting his career to service to youth. Affiliated as a 4-H member, volunteer leader and staff member in South Dakota, Ken Anderson was one of two National 4-H Fellowship recipients in a new program sponsored by The Payne Foundation through the National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work (later to become National 4-H Service Committee). The other recipient was a young lady from Vermont, Winifred Perry, who later became Mrs. Kenneth Anderson.

Mr. Anderson began his work with the National 4-H Service Committee in 1938, the National Committee's first staff member with Extension and 4-H experience. Since that time he helped to channel more than $20 million of private support to strengthen and enhance the growth of 4-H. He played a vital role in helping 4-H expand its members and reach out to serve all youth. Anderson was a key player in orchestrating the annual National 4-H Congress in Chicago, in initiating the youth division of the National Safety Council, establishing the National 4-H Commodity Marketing Symposium and other project-oriented 4-H events, and in establishing 4-H-type programs in Latin America. He was a 4-H historian at heart, making the planned recognition even more significant.

Documents in1992 indicate that some of the items on display in the Anderson Reference Gallery include the large painting of Gertrude Warren by Lloyd Embry (now hanging in the J. C. Penney lobby area); a portrait of C. B. Smith on loan from the Smith family; memorabilia from the 95th birthday of J. C. Penney and from his early business years, plus framed personal photos; a steel sculpture of an Indian Head by South Dakota artist, honoring the retirement of V. J. McAuliffe;

This area originally was the Wisconsin Room in old Smith Hall.

Massachusetts Lobby

Dedicated on April 11, 1984 as the Farley Memorial Foyer, named in honor of George L. Farley, Massachusetts State 4-H Club Leader, 1916-1941. He is credited with starting some of the country's earliest urban 4-H gardening projects in 1913. In 1944, a liberty ship was named after Farley in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the youth of Massachusetts and across the nation.

The sum of $15,000 was raised by 4-H members, adult volunteers, and 4-H agents to honor "Uncle George" (as he was known) Farley's memory and achievements. Farley was Superintendent of Schools in Brockton, Massachusetts when he started the gardening projects in 1913. By 1914 "Uncle George" had presented the very first known 4-H horticultural award pins, and his 4-H urban gardening work started spreading to other cities.

Farley wrote in "Uncle George's Philosophical Thoughts (1937): "If I have had any success in leading young people, it is because I have believed in them, trusted them, and encouraged them to go out and do things for themselves."

The All Stars 4-H Alumni in Massachusetts presented an oil painting of George Farley for the recently named Farley Lobby during the 1985 National 4-H Conference.

The Massachusetts Lobby is directly across from the Anderson Gallery, leading out to the Danforth Courtyard. In the old building - Smith Hall - Farley Lobby was the entire entry lobby and lounge of the building.

Guy Noble Breakfront

The Guy Noble Breakfront is located in the Massachusetts Lobby. Guy Noble was the first Director of the National 4-H Service Committee starting in1921 (initially the National Committee on Boys' and Girls' Club Work). He built the public private partnership, which resulted in 4-H donor awards programs, scholarships and trips to National 4-H Congress in Chicago; also, the National 4-H Supply Service, National 4-H News, and other major program enhancements.

Mr. Noble left a successful career with Armour & Company meat packers with a commitment to the potential of what business could do to support Cooperative Extension and Land-Grant Universities. He started the Service Committee in 1921 in a borrowed room in the offices of the Farm Bureau's national headquarters in Chicago and was its first - the only - staff person with no salary for the first year or two. He later was loaned a temporary secretary. He was a visionary leader in every Service Committee role during its first three decades: National 4-H Congress; 4-H donor awards programs, county medals and trips; National 4-H Supply Service; National 4-H News, the national 4-H leaders' magazine; promoting major public funding through the United States Congress; enhanced 4-H visibility, including the National 4-H Calendar Program, national network radio programs beginning in the 1920s, the first national 4-H poster (the first item ever offered by the Supply Service); all this through uncharted waters. Noble wasn't afraid to think big. He involved some of the very biggest corporate executives in America on the Service Committee's Board, and secured the President of the United States - starting with Calvin Coolidge - as Honorary Chairman of the Board, a tradition that continued through future presidents for years to come.

This Breakfront was a gift from the Board of Directors on his retirement in 1958; it initially graced the Service Committee Conference Room in Chicago and was moved to the National 4-H Center when the Service Committee and National 4-H Foundation merged into the National 4-H Council. The breakfront includes copies of many of the 4-H history books and biographies of early 4-H pioneers. The complete listing is located on this 4-H history website under National 4-H Repositories. Also, a more complete biography of Guy Noble can be found in the National 4-H History section of the same website as part of the history of the National 4-H Service Committee.

Danforth Courtyard

Danforth Court was given in honor of William H. Danforth, founder of the Ralston-Purina Company and the Danforth Foundation. The spacious garden area, surrounded on three sides by J. C. Penney Hall and Ketner Hall contains two statues, "American Farm Boy" and "American Farm Girl" by sculptor Carl Mose, dedicated in 1959 and 1963 respectively.

The Danforth Foundation was one of the first two major gifts in support of the remodeling of the National 4-H Center. (The other was the Ford Foundation.) While both donors were strong supporters of 4-H, the amount of money already given by 4-H members, leaders and staff around the country in the "Share and Care" program certainly enhanced their support.

William H. Danforth had a great interest in young people and wrote the book "I Dare You" to challenge and inspire them. Mr. Danforth and his wife established the Danforth Foundation in 1927 as a personal family trust fund to work through schools and colleges to aid young people in their development toward becoming wholesome and useful citizens. As a sickly farm boy in Southeast Missouri, William H. Danforth was dared by his teacher to become "the healthiest boy in the class." He lived that dare and used it to challenge youth to newer goals and higher ideals. In 1924, Danforth and a group of friends, organized the American Youth Foundation to train young men and women in Christian ideals and help them to prepare for a life of responsibility and leadership. As president of this Foundation, Danforth helped establish Camp Miniwanca near Shelby, Michigan. At the time of his death in 1955, he had spent more than 30 summers as a counselor at this camp. Danforth advocated the "Four Square" philosophy of life. H believed a person had not one, but four lives to live. He would draw the familiar checkerboard to illustrate this philosophy. On the left side of the checker he would write "physical;" at the top he wrote "mental;" on the right side went "social;" and at the base of th checker was "religious." Danforth believed that a man's ingredients for life are a body, a mind, personality and character, and that all four must grow in balance with each other. This philosophy is further memorialized on the base of the statues in Danforth Court at the 4-H Center.

In 1959, Ralston-Purina commissioned sculptor Carl Mose to execute the statue of "American Farm Boy" to be symbolic of the country's rural youth for the grounds of the Ralston-Purina Experimental Farm at Gray Summit, Missouri. Donald Danforth, then president of Ralston-Purina, gave a bronze copy of that statue to the National 4-H Club Foundation. It was placed in the space between the middle and north wings of the original main building as they were being remodeled to open as the National 4-H Center.

Danforth Court was dedicated the same day as the 4-H Center was officially opened by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and two 4-H'ers: Anita Hollmer Hodson (New York) and Larry Dilda (North Carolina).

The "boy" statue was unveiled by 4-H'ers Marilyn Vieira (California) and Marshall Wheelock (Vermont), followed by Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson's acceptance and prayers of dedication by the Reverend Luther D. Miller, Canon Precentor, Washington National Cathedral.

"The world has need for tall people, tall in character. The 4-H Club movement is one of the best steps I know toward becoming a bigger and better person."

Secretary of Agriculture Benson concluded his talk with this statement as he accepted the Danforth Rural Youth Statue which had just been unveiled. The Secretary quoted the four inscriptions on the monument base of the statue, stressing that there are challenges aplenty for us all:

  • Aspire nobly, adventure daringly, serve humbly.
  • I dare you to be your own self at your very best all the time.
  • What next?
  • I dare you to stand tall, think tall, smile tall, live tall.

In making the presentation of the statue, Donald D. Danforth, president of the Danforth Foundation, said it was appropriate that a memorial to his father be erected at the National 4-H Center. "My father," he said, "had a unique ability to challenge youth, to make them dream big dreams, and to stimulate them to make those dreams come true."

"Stimulating young people is a tradition in the Danforth family," said C. A. Vines, Director of Extension in Arkansas, as he introduced Donald Danforth, during the dedication presided over by 4-H Club member, Edwin Turner.

Later, Donald Danforth commissioned Carl Mose to execute a new bronze statue of "American Farm Girl" to be placed at the National 4-H Center. Dr. Margaret Browne, then Director, Division of Home Economics, Federal Extension Service, USDA, dedicated the statue at the 1963 National 4-H Conference. "Through the years," she said, "this will challenge young people to stand tall, smile tall, think tall and live tall. I think it's especially fitting that this figure of a girl joins the figure of the boy in this beautiful garden - symbolic of the equal opportunity that young people enjoy in our wonderful nation. Today, both girls and fellows can have [as] their goal a career in science, in education, in art, in government."

Each statue base displays the distinctive Ralston-Purina checkerboard design as well as quotes from William D. Danforth's book "I Dare You."

Other sculptures by Carl Mose includes an 8' bronze statue of Stan Musial at bat, located in downtown St. Louis; a 12' bronze statue of St. Francis of Assisi in Forest Park, St. Louis; and a limestone and bronze Jewish Tercentenary Memorial 20' sculpture, also in Forest Park. One of his earliest pieces, called "Family Group," was created during the depression of the 1930s as part of the federal government's program to provide work for artists. The 20' relief sculpture depicts a working class family, the father lounges with his head in his wife's lap, while their child, sitting on her shoulders, reaches for a bird. Mose, born in Copenhagen, Denmark, was an art professor at Saint Louis University, dying in New Windsor, Maryland in 1973,

Danforth Court was reconstructed in 1984 through a grant from the Ralston Purina Foundation and provided additional space for meetings and special events.

Japanese Stone Lantern

The Japanese stone lantern, also located in the Danforth Courtyard, is a gift from Dr. And Mrs. Rudy Monosmith. Dr. Monosmith was a State 4-H Leader in California and Director of Educational Programs at the National 4-H Foundation.

See also: http://4-HHistoryPreservation.Com/History/Danforth_Court/


Administrative Offices

(Add information)

The Upjohn Boardroom

The boardroom, located at the far end of the second floor of J. C. Penney Hall, was dedicated in 1980 as The Upjohn Board Room, finances made possible through a $50,000 gift from The Upjohn Company. Following the creation of the Schruben Board Room, this area was eventually transformed into two small conference rooms.

Additionally, there was an Executive Directors Lounge funded by Nestle Company for $10,000.

Guest Bedrooms

There are 26 bedrooms located in J. C. Penney Hall. A number of rooms in Penney Hall are furnished with funds donated by states or individuals.


Ralph Ketner, born in Salisbury, North Carolina in 1920 is truly a self-made man. After several mis-steps, he became co-founder of Food Town Stores Inc. (Now Food Lion, Inc.) In 1957. By 1990 the business had grown to 725 stores and 48,000 employees. Ralph and his wife Anne had a long interest in 4-H which attributed to his personal gift of $1 million toward the construction of Ketner Hall. Ralph Ketner's personal philosophy is, "You Make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give." Ketner served on the National 4-H Council's board of trustees.

The Kresge Foundation made a challenge grant to 4-H in the amount of $400,000 toward the completion of Ralph W. Ketner Hall. Previously, the Foundation had donated $100,000 toward capital expansion of the National 4-H Center in 1973 and another $250,000 toward expansion in 1977. Sebastian S. Kresge, the foundation's sole donor and founder and chairman of the board of the S. S. Kresge Company, the predecessor organization of K-mart, however the foundation is not associated with K-mart Corp. Marriott Corporation also generously contributed a $250,000. gift toward Ketner Hall. Over 100 Ketner Hall partners contributed to the building fund.

Ketner Hall replaces the old Wing A of Smith Hall and J. C. Penney Hall (remaining from the Chevy Chase Junior College days) which was demolished in 1989 for construction of the new building.

Ralph W. Ketner Hall was dedicated on September 19, 1990.


North Carolina Entrance and Foyer

North Carolina 4-H and its parent Extension program have been most active in support of the National 4-H Center. The state had previously committed funds to Center building campaigns, and continued with the dedication and naming of the North Carolina Lobby in the new Ralph W. Ketner Hall in 1990. The North Carolina foyer represents the extensive individual support of the state's 4-H family.

The marble floor provided in the lobby was provided through the generosity of Dalton and Ruby Proctor, North Carolina, in 1990. The lobby area includes a portrait of Ralph Ketner, the North Carolina state flag, a recognition plaque to Dalton & Ruby Proctor, a breakfront containing North Carolina books and pottery, and several framed North Carolina scenes on the wall.

Edward W. Aiton Auditorium

A significant addition to National 4-H Center is the Aiton Auditorium which seats 550 and has a state-of-the art sound system and teleconferencing abilities

A special program allowed individuals to purchase auditorium chairs to be named as a gift of $500. Although new chairs were purchased for the auditorium in 2010 (?) The individual brass plaques from the original gift chairs are mounted for display in the rear of the auditorium.

Edward W. Aiton was Director of 4-H Club and Young Men's and Women's Programs in the Federal Extension Service, USDA. He proposed the idea of International exchanges that led to the IFYE Program and secured the bank loan to help purchase the property for the National 4-H Center. He served as the first director of the National 4-H Foundation. Aiton was also the driving force in the profession of 4-H work and the training of 4-H agents in the social sciences in addition to agriculture or home economics.

A large portrait of Ed Aiton is in the back of the auditorium. Also displayed with the portrait is a plaque about the Aiton Auditorium and another honoring Ed Aiton, presented at the 50th anniversary celebration of 4-H International Programs Seventh World IFYE Conference September 5, 1998, Chevy Chase, Maryland. Edward W. Aiton was born in 1910 and died in 1997.


Amoco Lobby

Amoco Lobby was a gift from the Amoco Corporation.

America Room

(Add information)

Iowa Room

The Iowa Meeting Room, on the ground floor of Ketner Hall is divided into room A and room B and can be used as a larger A-B room. It was renovated and built at the same time as the America Room and Clover Meeting Room, all three replacing the original Council administrative offices which were located in Ketner Hall.

The original Iowa Conference Room, a beautiful glass-enclosed room located on the administrative level of Ketner Hall was in the approximate same location as the current Iowa Room. Dedicated on September 5, 1990, the room was made possible by matching support of the Iowa 4-H Foundation and Edwin T. Meredith Foundation. The oval-shaped room, made completely of glass, was often referred to as the "fish bowl" since meeting participants could see everything happening around them outside the room; and, likewise, those passing by could view the meetings in session inside the Iowa Room.

In 1916, Edwin T. Meredith, then publisher of "Successful Farming" magazine and later U. S. Secretary of Agriculture, first became involved in boys' and girls' club work, forming a department of his corporation to support such efforts, including publishing a youth magazine and making hundreds of loans to young boys and girls desiring to purchase a project animal, hybrid seed, bee hives, start an orchard, or whatever. Meredith was a founder of the National Committee on Boys' and Girls' Club Work, a predecessor organization of National 4-H Council. In 1921, he became the Committee's first president. Since that time, Edwin T. Meredith himself, the Edwin T. Meredith Foundation, and the Meredith family have been active supporters of the 4-H program, nationally and at the state and local levels.

Highlighting the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Iowa Room were remarks by Bill Reed, publisher, Better Homes & Gardens, WOOD Magazine; Melissa Christie, 1989 Edwin T. Meredith scholarship winner; K. Russell Weathers, vice president, National 4-H Council; J. Charles Morris, interim state leader, Iowa 4-H and Youth Programs; Florine Swanson, executive director, Iowa 4-H Foundation; Corene Schwartz, state 4-H council member, Iowa 4-H Program; and Edwin T. Meredith, III, president, Edwin T. Meredith Foundation, chairman of the Executive Committee of Meredith Corporation.

Clover Meeting Room

(Add information)


Agricultural Cooperative 2nd Floor Lounge

The second floor lounge was funded by Agri Industries, American Crystal Sugar Company, Atlantic Dairy Cooperative, Farm Credit Services, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Mississippi Chemical Corporation, National Cooperative Refinery Association, Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc, St. Paul Bank for Cooperatives and Texas Agricultural Cooperative Council.

Most of the sleeping rooms on the second floor were also sponsored by cooperatives including: Land O'Lakes, Inc; 21st Century Genetics; Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, Inc.; Agway, Inc.; Milk Marketing, Inc.; CoBank; National Rural Electric Cooperative Association; Countrymark Cooperative, Inc.; Southern States Cooperative, Inc.; Farmland Industries, Inc.; Sunkist Growers, Inc.; and GROWMARK, Inc.

Texas 3rd Floor Lounge

The third floor lounge was funded by Texas Extension and Texas 4-H.

Guest Bedrooms

At the time of dedication there were 32 bedrooms located on the second and third floors of Ketner Hall. A number of rooms in Ketner Hall are furnished with funds donated by states or individuals.


Kellogg Hall first opened in July 1971, and was officially dedicated on September 22, 1977 along with J. C. Penney Hall, McCormick Hall and Firestone Hall.

Kellogg Hall recognizes the extensive contributions of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Battle Creek Michigan, to the 4-H program of the Cooperative Extension Service. The Kellogg Foundation is the largest single private sector contributor to 4-H Center expansion and a major supporter of the development of 4-H educational programs in this country and abroad. Major areas of program support include staff development and training programs for professional staff, teen and adult volunteer leaders, plus generous support for youth development programs in Latin America.

Founded in 1930 by the breakfast cereal pioneer, W. K. Kellogg, the Foundation is one of the largest private philanthropic organizations in this country and supports programs in areas of education, health, and agriculture around the world. Kellogg Hall honors W. K. Kellogg who in 1906, at the age of 46, left his job as a hospital administrator to stake his future on the ready-to-eat cereal manufacturing business. When this venture proved successful, Kellogg determined that his fortune should be distributed through a foundation dedicated to helping people help themselves - The W. K. Kellogg Foundation.

W. K. Kellogg Hall pays tribute to the lifelong interest of Mr. Kellogg in youth and his devotion to educational goals similar to those of the 4-H program... to build responsible initiative and develop concerned and effective citizens. It recognizes too the worldwide interests of the Kellogg Foundation in programs which give young people an opportunity to learn practical skills and apply them to help improve their own lives and those of the people in their community, their nation and their world.

Dr. Russell G. Mawby, president of the Kellogg Foundation at the time of the dedication, was personally involved in many phases of the development of the 4-H Center. As a former 4-H member, he was an IFYE delegate the first year of the International Farm Youth Exchange program. Mawby was also the State 4-H Leader in Michigan and has contributed much experience to the development of 4-H programs both in Michigan and nationally. He was a member of the Board of Trustees for National 4-H Foundation when the Center Expansion program was introduced and was instrumental in securing funds from the private sector for completion of the educational and training facility.

W. K. Kellogg Hall serves as a residential and conference facility on the 4-H Center campus. The first floor is devoted primarily to the large dining hall, seating 600, and a private dining room, originally called the Secretary's Room in honor of the Secretary of Agriculture. The lower floors include six major conference rooms, seating from 30 to 200.

When W. K. Kellogg Hall was dedicated, the lobby displayed an impressive art collection contributed by the Kellogg Foundation and providing an interesting study of works by Michigan artists.


Michigan Room

Dedicated in 1979, the room was made possible through gifts from 4-H members, leaders and friends in the state of Michigan. This room is considered a replacement for the Michigan and Heritage Rooms in Turner Hall that were provided by Michigan in 1959-1962.

As an extension of the Michigan artists' collection displayed in the W. K. Kellogg Hall lobby, the following were displayed in the Michigan room: 4 watercolors by Leone Saxton and seven watercolors by Phyllis Reynolds. Parts of both of these collections may have been on display in the Kellogg Hall lobby area.

The Michigan room was renovated during the 1980s and additional artwork provided for display in the room.

Kentucky Room

The Kentucky Room was made possible through gifts from 4-H members, leaders and friends in the state of Kentucky, dedicated in 1972 Three framed race horse notables, a framed image of the state flower and another of the state bird, plus a framed print of an oil painting, Kentucky Tobacco farm; and, a framed image of the "Old Kentucky Home" music score were provided for the room

Colorado Room

Dedicated in 1973, the Colorado Room was made possible through gifts from 4-H members, leaders and friends in the state of Colorado The state provided four original oil paintings of Colorado scenes, a pastel print and a large framed "leather painting" at the time of dedication.

Wisconsin Room

The "new" Wisconsin room, dedicated in 1977, served as a replacement for the old Wisconsin Room in demolished Smith Hall, which was given in 1959. The new room was made possible through gifts from 4-H members, leaders and friends in the state of Wisconsin.

A Wisconsin committee in 1986 provided funding approximating $7,000 for artwork in the room A quilt, "Interrelating Support," graced one of the walls of the Wisconsin Room along with a watercolor, "River Valley Farm" and a second watercolor, "Landscape 8" which were both provided by Wisconsin 4-H for display in the room..

West Virginia Room

Dedicated during the 1996 National 4-H Conference in April of that year as the West Virginia "Room with a View," funding for the room came from many friends and supports of West Virginia 4-H. Additional financial support came directly from the West Virginia Society of Washington, D.C. The Thomas Seely Furniture Company donated two beautiful pieces of furniture for the room. The conference room is a reflection of the beauty and historic significance of West Virginia from J. O. Knapp's early vision and commitment to his wife, Gladys's recommitment in the completion of the dedication project.

Washington Room

The Washington State Room was dedicated in 1979. It was made possible through gifts from 4-H members, leaders and friends in the state of Washington .The room was completely renovated in the 1980s with financial support from Washington 4-H, plus providing artwork for the room. This included a collection of framed Washington State color photos and a relief map of the state.

In 1986 Orville Young donated $500 for improvement to the Washington Room.

Louisiana Room

This room, dedicated in 1978, was made possible through gifts from 4-H members, leaders and friends in the state of Louisiana When dedicated, Louisiana provided a limited edition signed reproduction of "Family Reunion" by Robert Malcolm Rucker and a limited edition signed reproduction of "Forest Harmony" by Mark Pettit. Also, a print of the Louisiana Capitol signed by the state governor and three large framed posters.


Kellogg Lobby

The lobby of W. K. Kellogg Hall, at the time of the dedication of Kellogg Hall, became a small art gallery honoring Michigan artists. The art work was purchased with funds given to National 4-H Council by the Kellogg Foundation.

Some of the items included were: Stained glass window by Peggy Davis; framed portrait of W.K. Kellogg, Daffodils painted by Randall Higdon, Ground Foliage oil painting by Abigail Hadley, Cloud Series Sixteen painted by Lorraine Chambers McCarthy, two watercolors by Dee Knott, George Rickman House stitched drawing by Marie Combs and 10 Serigraphs, a part of the Michigan Wildflower Series by Denise Lisiecki.

Clover Café

(Add information on when/why area became Clover Café; does patio outside Clover Café have a "name" )

When W. K. Kellogg Hall was opened, the new campus dining facility was dedicated as the Howard C. Harder Dining Room, having a seating capacity of 450. The dedication was in 1980. The dining room was funded by a generous $200,000+ contribution from CPC International, Inc. in memory of Howard C. Harder, former chairman of the company and a member of the Board of Trustees of National 4-H Council and chairman of the Center Expansion Program. As chairman of the Advisory Council he was responsible for raising many millions in funds from the privat sector for the expansion of the 4-H Center.

At some point, the Harder dining room was remodeled and the name changed to the Clover Café.

The granite-floored large patio outside of the Clover Café, near Connecticut Avenue, apparently does not have a name. At one point it was envisioned to become an adjoining "Florida Room," providing additional space for dining or for other functions, however this idea never materialized.

Tennessee Dining Room

Initially called the South dining room, this is an extension of the larger dining area capable of seating 200 people for banquets or special occasions. Several years later Tennessee 4-H became the sponsor of this special dining room. The dedication took place on June 21, 1989. Nearly 50 Tennessee Extension administrators and university officials joined 185 Tennessee Citizenship Washington Focus delegates to dedicate the room.

During their dedication program several pieces of art and other artifacts were presented to National 4-H Council for use in the Tennessee Dining Room. This included artwork entitled "Places Wild and Free" by Phil Lavely, an educator, hunter and conservationist; "Old Bakery" by Ted Jones, a professor in the art department at Tennessee State University in Nashville; "Golden Days" by Ralph McDonald, a nationally known wildlife artist; "The Original Volunteer" by Marvin Thompson, donated by the Tennessee 4-H Foundation in honor of M. Lloyd Downen, dean of the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service 1977-89; and others.

An original oil painting, "Discovery" by Joan Derryberry, Cookeville, Tennessee, was commissioned by the Tennessee 4-H Foundation especially for the Tennessee Dining Room and presented by W. H. Hale, state 4-H foundation president. One hundred signed and numbered prints of the painting, which depicts a volunteer leader and 4-H member discovering natural resources, were made and offered to the first 100 people who pledged $500 to the Dining Room Fund. A Tennessee flag that had flown over the state capitol building in Nashville was presented by Gov. Ned Ray McWherter and a 4-H flag that traveled to outer space on the 1989 mission of the U.S. Space Shuttle Atlantis by Astronaut Mary Cleave was also donated for display in the dining room.

Indiana Room

Initially dedicated as the Secretary's Dining Room on July 29, 1975, a small private dining room that could accommodate up to 50 people, the room was sponsored by 4-H in Indiana and named for the Secretary of Agriculture in honor of Earl Butz, a native of Indiana and former 4-H member, who was Secretary of Agriculture at the time of the naming. The dedication is by staff and friends of the Indiana Cooperative Extension Service, Purdue University School of Agriculture, and Indiana 4-H Foundation, Inc., honoring Secretary and Mrs. Butz. Mrs. Butz was a former 4-H member and Extension agent from North Carolina. She and her husband often told of their first meeting as delegates to the national 4-H camp (now known as National 4-H Conference.) At the dedication it was announced that the room honors the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture, "For Leadership to the 4-H Youth Program of the Cooperative Extension Service."

Center gifts initially housed in the Indiana Room from groups and individuals included the Lennox china (Mansfield pattern), a gift of the Maryland Extension Homemakers' Council, and 50 place settings of silver-plated flatware given by the family of a long-time president of the Maryland Homemakers' Council. A porcelain figure by the renowned artist, Cybis, was in the breakfront. This art piece was a gift of the New Jersey Extension agents. The antique Russian samovar, cream and sugar servers, and a matching silver tray were presented by Mr. Lindley Cook, former Extension Director of New Jersey, and an early member of the Board of Trustees of the National 4-H Foundation. A corner cupboard was the gift of Tena Bishop Klein, a former Extension 4-H staff member in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In the cupboard was a tulip-pattern silver centerpiece and candlesticks, the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Kirby of Ohio. Mr. Kirby was previously Administrator of the Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Some additional silver pieces are part of a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Luke Schruben of Maryland. Mr. Schruben was formerly Assistant Administrator in the USDA Extension Service. The furniture was by the Kittinger Company.

Delaware Lounge

The last room on the main hallway in Kellogg Hall prior to going out on to the Gorgia Terrace heading towards McCormick Hall is termed the Delaware Lounge. It was dedicated in mmory of James O. Baker, State 4-H Leader in Delaware.

Georgia Terrace

Sponsored by Georgia 4-H, the area includes a brick-arched walkway between McCormick Hall and Kellogg Hall on the ground level. Signage shows "Georgia Terrace" Above the arches. The terrace is covered with slate tile. "Georgia 4-H Established 1904 on My Mind" w/outline of state is embossed in the tile.


Arizona Lounge

A new Arizona lounge area and adjacent bedrooms in W. K. Kellogg Hall were dedicated by youth and volunteer delegates, led by Berl Burt, Arizona State 4-H Leader and Kenneth H. Anderson, representing the Arizona 4-H Youth Foundation, at the 1984 National 4-H Conference. Specially-designed furniture, together with Indian artifacts, a mural of the Grand Canyon, paintings and woven hangings, plus interior design in the warm colors of the southwest combined to make the area attractive and functional.

Guest Bedrooms

There are 69 bedrooms located in W. K. Kellogg Hall, most of them on the second and third floors with a few on the ground floor. A number of rooms in Kellogg Hall are furnished with funds donated by states or individuals.


Cyrus H. McCormick Hall is named to honor Cyrus Hall McCormick. His invention of the first successful mechanical reaper in 1831 was the worldwide foundation for mechanized agriculture. It improved the quality of life in the United States and particularly in rural America, where 4-H has its roots. McCormick Hall was made possible by generous gifts from International Harvester Company to honor its founder and the 4-H program. International Harvester Company's support for 4-H dates back to 1919, including sponsorship of the National 4-H Agricultural Awards Program and international exchange programs.

The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company had a traditional and long-standing interest in the well-being of the farmer and the quality of life in rural America. Harvey S. Firestone, the Company's founder, developed and introduced the pneumatic tire to "put the farm on rubber," a significant advancement that had lasting effects on increased agricultural productivity. Throughout the years the Firestone Company consistently demonstrated its belief in the value of 4-H principles and program to develop young people as effective leaders and good citizens. Firestone's leadership and support contributed to the progress 4-H has made over the years, including the sponsorship of the 4-H Automotive Awards Program and a major event at National 4-H Congress in Chicago. The association of the name of Firestone with this Hall is a permanent tribute to the historic partnership between the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company and 4-H.


Oklahoma Room

The Oklahoma Room was made possible through gifts from 4-H members, leaders and friends in the state of Oklahoma. It was dedicated in 1977 with more improvements being made in 1980.

A number of pieces of artwork produced by Oklahoma Indian artists were on display in the Oklahoma Room at the time of dedication. These included: Seven framed prints and first editions by Jerome Tiger, "Oops," "Innocent," "Little Arrow Fixer," "Buffalo Hunt," "Roughing It Up," "Never Get Away," and "Beginning." Five artist's proofs by Johnny Tiger, Jr. were also on display: "Stickball Legend," "Preparing the Medicine," "Dancer's Dsire," "Dancer's Devotion," and "Buffalo Spirit." Two works of Enoch Haney - "Owl Transformation" and "Freedom's End" -- were displayed.

Additionally, there was the painting, "Buffalo Hunt on the Plains," by Paul Pahse-Tosah and oil paintings: "Cherokee Syllabus" by Maudie Bazille, "Trail of Tears" by Lu Celia Wise and two oil paintings by Shirley Sommers of the same subject, "Young Cherokee Warrior." the poster, "Comanche Warrior" by Larry Daylight was on display, plus the Trail of Tears Collection by several artists: William Wolfe, Lee Joshua, Solomon McCombs, Johnny Hawk, Mike Winner and David Williams. The Oklahoma Territorial Map and the seals of five Civilized Tribes were also displayed.

Alabama Lounge

The lower level lobby area in McCormick Hall was designated as the Alabama Lounge in 1991, funded by Alabama 4-H. An adjoining bedroom was also purchased by Alabama to honor Dr. J. Lem Morrison.

Arkansas Room

This room was made possible through gifts from 4-H members, leaders and friends in the state of Arkansas. It was dedicated in 1973.

California Room

Dedicated in 1980, the California Room was made possible through gifts from 4-H members, leaders and friends in the state of California The state provided state and 54 county seals for display in the room along with a gold framed photo of the state capitol..

Utah Lounge

A large lounge area and adjacent bedrooms on the lower level of Firestone Hall greatly improved the looks of the area as a result of a check presented by the Utah delegation headed by John Paul Murphy, assistant program leader, at the 1984 National 4-H Conference. During the 1985 National 4-H Conference, John Webster, a Utah delegate, presented Grant A. Shrum, president, National 4-H Council, a $5,000. check to complete their pledge for improvement of the Utah Lounge in Firestone Hall.

Montana Room

The Montana Room was dedicated in 1979, funded by gifts from 4-H members, leaders and friends in the state of Montana Montana 4-H also provided an original painting by C. M. Russell, two original scenes by state artists and four framed historic print for display in their room..

Idaho Room

4-H members, leaders and friends in Idaho made possible the naming of the Idaho Room, dedicated in 1979.The room was completely renovated in 1986 with the state working on a project to provide artwork for the room. One of the pieces was a large framed color photo of Idaho State Capitol reflecting from a nearby building, "The Hall of Mirrors" photo taken by Harry Guenther, Director of Extension, University of Idaho.

Additional items offered for Idaho Room included a collection of 20 framed scenes of Idaho and agricultural enterprises, a limited edition color photo of "The Sawtooths" and a large framed Marilyn Monroe promotion poster for Potato Growers of Idaho.

Illinois Room

The Illinois room was dedicated in 1978, made possible through gifts from 4-H members, leaders and friends in the state of Illinois. In the 1980s Illinois provided artwork for the room. This included a collection of 16 pieces by 1991 outstanding 4-H artists for exhibit at Illinois State Fair, plus an antique news photo of Abraham Lincoln.

New York Room

Before being named the New York Room, this area consisted of two small rooms - the A.V. Room and the Foundation Room. The Foundation Room was dedicated in honor of W. W. Eure by his friends and associates to commemorate his outstanding service to youth as a staff member of the National 4-H Foundation upon his retirement in 1975 As the New York Room, the state provided a few items for their named area including a large carved state map and tow framed prints of Cornell University scenes..

Kansas Courtyard

At the 1987 National 4-H Conference the Kansas delegation announced its funding for a courtyard between McCormick and Firestone Halls. At that time Marilyn Gallee, trustee, Kansas 4-H Foundation, presented a check to Grant A. Shrum, president, National 4-H Council. The Kansas Courtyard was completed in September 1991 and dedicated in June, 1992.

(Add more)


Colonnade Entrance

The Colonnade Entrance, joining McCormick and Firestone Halls... and, overseeing the Kansas Courtyard, was officially dedicated on October 23, 1980. Walter R. Peirson, chairman, National 4-H Council Board of Trustees; Dr. Mary Nell Greenwood, Administrator, Science and Education Administration-Extension, USDA; and Dr. Eugene Williams, Deputy Administrator, SEA-Extension 4-H, USDA all took part in the program. Ben H. Warren, President, Agricultural Equipment Group, International Harvester Company and Richard A. Riley, Chairman, Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, both spoke on "Our Investment in Youth."

Voss Lobby

Voss Lobby, the entrance to McCormick Hall, is named in honor of Omer Voss and his wife, Annabelle. As vice chairman of the International Harvester Company, Mr. Voss joined the National 4-H Service Committee's board of trustees in 1967. He was appointed to the Joint Committee on Organization and Operation, which addressed the issues surrounding the merger of the National Committee with the National 4-H Foundation. Later, as president of the National Committee, Voss played a major roll in leading the transition of the two organizations into what became the National 4-H Council, and then served as the founding chairman of the National 4-H Council's board of trustees. A strong supporter of 4-H, Voss said, "4-H is one of the finest examples of the positive impact that can be made through the partnership of federal government, private industry, and individual supporters." Omer Voss was married to Annabelle (Lutz) Voss for 69 years prior to his wife's death in 2009. Mr. Voss passed away in February 2012 at the age of 95.

Onizuka 4-H Flag

Lt. Col. Ellison S. Onizuka, NASA astronaut and Hawaii 4-H alumnus, was very active supporting and promoting 4-H at both the national level and in Hawaii during the mid-1980's. Unfortunately with the great tragedy of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986, 4-H lost a great friend. The Onizuka Fund for Excellence was established at the National 4-H Council to honor Ellison Onizuka and the crew of the Challenger. During the opening assembly of the 1986 National 4-H Congress in Chicago that year, Mrs. Lorna Onizuka presented the 4-H flag her husband carried on the Space Shuttle Discovery mission in 1985 to 4-H, stating: "The activities Ellison participated in and learned from in 4-H, the friendships he developed, were treasured throughout his life... please accept this flag on his behalf. I know that he's pleased to know that it's being returned to you." The flag is currently on display in a framed glass case in the Voss Lobby.

New Jersey Area

On July 9, 1987 the New Jersey Area was dedicated to Dr. John Gerwig and in memory of his wife, Margie, in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the 4-H Youth Development Program and Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service. Dr. Gerwig was Director, New Jersey Cooperative Extension Service. More than 200 New Jersey friends of 4-H traveled to the National 4-H Center to participate in the dedication. In addition to introducing and recognizing major contributors, special recognition of donated gifts were highlighted, including photo albums, artwork, the New Jersey state flag and state seal. Brevoort Conover, chairman, Department of 4-H Youth Development, Rutgers University, served as master of ceremonies.

Guest Bedrooms

The McCormick and Firestone Halls have sleeping accommodations located on all four floors of both buildings for a total of 118 bedrooms. A number of rooms in McCormick Hall and Firestone Hall are furnished with funds donated by states or individuals.


Mississippi Lounge

Mississippi 4-H provided a painting, baskets and ceramic pieces for display in the Mississippi area.

Rhode Island Lounge

Rhode Island 4-H provided a painting for display in the Rhode Island Lounge but no information can be found regarding the painting.

Oregon Lounge

The "Oregon living area," including a group of three bedrooms and a lounge on the third floor of McCormick Hall, were dedicated in summer, 1993. Sponsored by Oregon 4-H.

Maine Lounge

(information needed)


Turner Hall has an interesting history. Built to accommodate needs of the Chevy Chase Junior College, the building was called Effa Funk Muhse Hall - the science building. It included biology and chemistry laboratories and a large lecture room with the second floor being devoted to the Home Economics department where the clothing laboratory occupied a large, well-furnished and well-lighted workroom. There also was a foods laboratory, composed of individual working units for groups of four, providing the latest facilities in the field of nutrition.

After the National 4-H Foundation purchased the Junior College site, the Board of Trustees decided to rename the building Turner Hall in honor of Ray Turner, retired 4-H Extension official. (Add more about Turner)

Since the purchase by National 4-H Foundation, the building has been used in a variety of ways. At one time it held the apartment of the 4-H Center resident manager. The village of Chevy Chase Manager, Section IV, had their offices in the building for a number of years. In 1980 it became the offices for both the National 4-H News magazine staff and the National 4-H Supply Service when those operations were moved to the Center from Chicago. The Supply Service staff remained in Turner Hall for nearly two decades.

A brochure issued shortly after the National 4-H Center was opened states that "Turner Hall contains six modern, well-equipped conference and demonstration rooms."

The upper level of Turner had two named conference rooms, the Iowa Room and the Heritage Room (earlier the Maryland Room which had been dedicated in honor of Miss Dorothy Emerson). Michigan contracted for two rooms on the second floor, sponsored by 4-H members and leaders in Michigan, in 1962. The two rooms were named the Heritage Room (later the 4-H Intern Office) and th Michigan Room (later the office of the USDA 4-H staff). In 1978 when additional office space was needed, Michigan selected a conference room in Kellogg Hall as their commemorative room and the two rooms in Turner Hall became offices rather than conference rooms. The Iowa Room was dedicated in 1961 and redecorated in 1971-72, furnished by 4-H members past and present and friends of 4-H in Iowa. The International Conference Room was on the lower level and was supported by the IFYE Alumni Association from 1961-1974.

In more recent years Turner Hall also contained a fitness center and in 2014 the Supply Service once again moved into new, refurbished offices in Turner Hall.


Located in a "niche" between W. K. Kellogg Hall and McCormick Hall, this building is named in honor of Miss Gertrude Warren, first leader of girls' 4-H Club work in the Federal Extension Service.

For more information about Gertrude Warren, visit the section of this history walking tour for the Gertrude Warren Portrait under J. C. Penney Hall.

During the days of the Chevy Chase Junior College, Warren Hall was known as Scudder House, home of the President and other members of the faculty and staff.

The lounge area and most of the bedrooms in Warren Hall were originally named rooms, including the Hofer Lounge, Marston Room, North Carolina Room, Louisiana Room, Sutton Room (Georgia Room), Brown Room, West Virginia Room and Maine Room.

Albert Hoefer Lounge

The Albert Hoefer Lounge was dedicated on May 26, 1959. Named in honor of Hoefer who had been New York State 4-H Club Leader from 1943-1955, the room originally served as both a lounge and dining area. The presentation was made by A. George Allen, president, New York State 4-H Club Agents Association, and Wilbur F. Pease, State 4-H Club Leader, New York. Hoefer Lounge was improved in 1979 through a $1,000 gift from the New York 4-H Agents' Association and other 4-H Center funds.

Burton W. Marston Room

This room honored Burton W. Marston, Wyoming State 4-H Leader 1928-1958, furnished by those he served so well - Wyoming 4-H Club boys, girls and leaders. The room was dedicated in 1959.

Louisiana Room

Dedicated in 1959, the room was originally furnished by Louisiana 4-H Clubs and dedicated to the pioneers of the state who started this important youth program in Louisiana in 1908.

North Carolina Room

The North Carolina Room was dedicated in 1959, sponsored by the former North Carolina delegates to National 4-H Camp.

Sutton Room

Formerly dedicated in 1963 by Georgia 4-H, the Sutton Room was furnished by Georgians in honor of W. A. Sutton, State 4-H Club Leader 1942-1954 and then Director of the Georgia Agricultural Extension Service.

Brown Room

Formerly dedicated in 1963, the Brown Room was furnished by Georgians in honor of W. S. Brown, Director, Georgia Agricultural Extension Service 1937-1954.

West Virginia Room

The West Virginia Room was furnished in 1959 by 4-H members, leaders and Extension workers in West Virginia in honor of J. O. Knapp, Director of Extension.

Maine Room

The Maine Room was furnished in 1959 by Maine 4-H Clubs in memory of Lester H. Shibles, State 4-H Club Leader from 1920-1935.


"Daddy Jenks" Park

A very special wooded area directly behind Turner Hall was dedicated in memory of Edward G. Jenkins "Daddy Jenks" 1873-1956 by the Maryland Chapter, 4-H Club All Stars on August 30, 1959. Edward Jenkins was Maryland State 4-H Club Leader from 1919 through 1943.The official dedication program references the area as the "Daddy Jenks" Meditation Area. It sometimes is referred to as Jenkins' Park or nature area, Jenks Garden or Daddy Jenks Woods. The name doesn't matter. The stone walk leading from the back parking lot at the 4-H Center is short... a matter of just a few steps, but places you in the midst of tall trees and solitude, a wonderful place to come and clear your mind on a hectic day.

Now, well over half a century later, Daddy Jenks Park is still very much present and still maintained by the Maryland 4-H All Stars.

Flag Ceremony Courtyard

The dual 40' high flag poles in the courtyard in front of J. C. Penney Hall were the gift of Virginia 4-H, contributed in 1959. The original first flags for the flag poles were a United States flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol, a gift from Congressman John R. Foley, 6th District Maryland; and, a 4-H flag, a gift from the National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work, Inc., of Chicago.

Luke Schruben financed the brick patio in the flag ceremony courtyard. See Schruben Board Room for more information on Mr. Schruben.

When the brick patio needed replacing, National 4-H Council offered the opportunity for supporters to buy a brick for the patio... a brick with their name on it, or someone they were honoring.

Trees, Shrubbery and Landscaping

Over the past half century there have been numerous gifts of shrubbery and tree planting ceremonies by various groups on various occasions. Azaleas, rhododendrons and hemlocks added to the beauty of the 4-H Center campus, thanks to West Virginia. In May 1959 105 plants of these three varieties were a gift from 4-H Club members and their families in Barbour, Tucker and Randolph counties.

Boxwood shrubbery planted in front of J. C. Penney Hall - donated by Luke Schruben and Andy Eure.

The first tree ceremony at the National 4-H Center was the presentation October 7, 1960 of 500 pine trees from Maine. State 4-H Leader K. C. Lovejoy made the presentation which was accepted by Grant A. Shrum, executive director of the National 4-H Club Foundation. Forty Maine 4-H'ers attending the state's first Citizenship Short Course in the Nation's Capital, participated in the planting.

Ohio 4-H donated two buckeye trees to be planted on the 4-H Center property in 1964.

During the Ground Breaking Ceremony for the expansion of the National 4-H Center on April 20, 1970 a National Tree was planted and dedicated. Art Linkletter, Vice Chairman, National 4-H Advisory Council and C. A. Vines, Director of Extension, Arkansas, made remarks regarding the tree dedication

The Maryland state tree is the White Oak. The largest White Oak in the nation was known as the Wye Oak, located at The Why Oak State Park in Talbot County, Maryland. On June 6, 2002, the tree was felled during a powerful thunderstorm. Nearly 500 years old, the tree measured 31 feet, 10 inches, in circumference, and stood i96 feet tall. Two seedlings from the Wye Oak were given to the National 4-H Center sometime during the 1980s, arranged by Maryland 4-H, and planted in front of J. C. Penney Hall..

Two red oak trees placed in front of J. C. Penney Hall were gifts from New Jersey 4-H; date of presentation unknown.

One of the most recent tree planting ceremonies took place on June 30, 2009 when the National 4-H Heritage Tree, a red oak, was planted in the front area of the campus. Planted by charter members of the National 4-H Heritage Club, the tree is a symbol of strength, change and hope for the 4-H movement. It is an enduring tribute to individuals who have designated a gift in support of 4-H's future.

4-H Center Entrance

During National 4-H Conference, April 22-28, 1961, delegations and friends from many states joined in North Dakota's presentation of gate signs for the National 4-H Center.


For many visitors to the National 4-H Youth Conference Center, they agree that the Center... the campus, is truly a "very special place." Visitors are invited to send their quotes, reminiscences, impressions about their experiences at the Center to:

for consideration in this section.

Principal author: Larry L. Krug

Compiled by National 4-H History Preservation Team.

Free counters!

free counters

Free Sitemap Generator

The feeling of replica handbags uk is noble and gucci replica , but hermes replica black replica hermes bag will not give this handbags replica. The black Hong Kong-flavored shoulder replica handbags is engraved with a delicate kitten pattern, giving a kind of Playful and cute feeling.