Carson Homestead 1946-today
In 1948 Oregon State University acquired 6,200 acres of the former Camp Adair lands from the federal government, including most of the Carson lands and what became the Dunn Forest. Today much of the Carson land is open prairie, used for beef cattle grazing by Oregon State University’s beef ranch. There are no visible remnants of the Carson homestead or farm outbuildings; they were demolished, moved off-site, or allowed to deteriorate after Letitia Carson was forced to leave her homestead and the Carson Estate DLC was sold in 1857.
Although there are no visible remnants of the Carson homestead, the open prairie land, and tree-lined Soap Creek are a powerful reminder of the hard work and success achieved by many of Oregon’s early Black residents, despite the many obstacles that they had to endure.
Letitia Carson Legacy Project envisions creating, on Letitia Carson’s land, a 21st-century version of her Soap Creek homestead to inspire, educate, and nurture Oregon’s future generations of Black and Indigenous growers, gatherers, foragers, entrepreneurs, and leaders. Additionally, they imagine experiential learning and applied research opportunities for OSU students and faculty. This site is unique: nowhere else in the country can the public visit and participate in programs on land once owned by a Black pioneer.
In 2022, the LCLP celebrated Juneteenth on the site of the former Carson homestead, Soap Creek Valley, Benton County, OR. Many community members, team members, researchers, historians, and even a descendant of Letitia gathered to celebrate the occasion as well as our access to that land.