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
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
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.
For additional information on the National 4-H Youth Conference Center
visit the website at http://4HCenter.org.
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
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
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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
J. C. PENNEY HALL
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
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,
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.
J. C. PENNEY HALL LOWER FLOOR LEVEL
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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 HALL GROUND FLOOR LEVEL
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
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
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
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.
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 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
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
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,
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
See also: http://4-HHistoryPreservation.Com/History/Danforth_Court/
J. C. PENNEY HALL SECOND AND THIRD FLOORS
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.
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 W. KETNER HALL
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.
RALPH W. KETNER HALL LOWER LEVEL
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
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
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.
RALPH W. KETNER HALL GROUND FLOOR
Amoco Lobby was a gift from the Amoco Corporation.
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
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
Clover Meeting Room
RALPH W. KETNER HALL SECOND AND THIRD FLOORS
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.
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.
W. K. KELLOGG HALL
Kellogg Hall first opened in July 1971, and was officially dedicated
on September 22, 1977 along with J. C. Penney Hall, McCormick Hall and
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.
W. K. KELLOGG HALL LOWER LEVEL
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
W. K. KELLOGG HALL GROUND FLOOR
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
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.
(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
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
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.
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
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.
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
W. K. KELLOGG HALL SECOND AND THIRD FLOORS
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.
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
McCORMICK HALL/FIRESTONE HALL
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.
McCORMICK HALL/FIRESTONE HALL LOWER FLOOR
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.
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.
This room was made possible through gifts from 4-H members, leaders
and friends in the state of Arkansas. It was dedicated in 1973.
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..
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.
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..
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.
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..
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.
McCORMICK HALL/FIRESTONE HALL GROUND FLOOR
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, 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.
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.
McCORMICK HALL/FIRESTONE HALL SECOND AND THIRD FLOORS
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.
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.
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
A brochure issued shortly after the National 4-H Center was opened
states that "Turner Hall contains six modern, well-equipped conference and
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
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.
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.
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.
Formerly dedicated in 1963, the Brown Room was furnished by Georgians
in honor of W. S. Brown, Director, Georgia Agricultural Extension Service
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
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.
4-H CENTER CAMPUS GROUNDS
"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.
STAYING AT THE 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