Santiam Heritage Foundation Preserving the History and Heart of Stayton

At the corner of 1st Avenue and High Street stands an exquisite two-story Queen Anne style Victorian home. Named for the original occupants, Charles and Martha Brown, the “Brown House” has become a notable landmark in Stayton.

Its crisp white exterior, grand wraparound porch, and beautifully detailed mint green trim make the classic 1903 house easy to spot. Inside, visitors can take in the stunning architecture and imagine early 1900’s life as they learn about Stayton’s storied past.

But just over 20 years ago, the Brown House was scheduled for demolition. That’s when a group of locals determined to save the historic home came together—and the Santiam Heritage Foundation was born.

Since 2000, the Santiam Heritage Foundation has been instrumental in preserving the history and heart of Stayton. Centered around the Brown House, the nonprofit foundation is the keeper of the Victorian home and many artifacts central to Stayton’s history.

Saving the architectural gem from demolition was no easy feat. In its early days, Santiam Heritage Foundation struggled to secure the funding needed to purchase the Brown House property. The organization turned to the local community for support, and SCTC immediately stepped in.

“SCTC originally purchased the property and allowed the newly formed Santiam Heritage Foundation one year to raise the money to buy it—at their cost with no markup. They’ve also given us grants over the years, installed our security system for free, and provided us with one year’s monitoring of the security system,” says Wendy Stone, President of Santiam Heritage Foundation.

With more time to fundraise, Santiam Heritage Foundation successfully purchased the Brown House. The nonprofit organization was able to begin its mission to teach local history by preserving and showcasing treasured relics from our community’s past.

Through Santiam Heritage Foundation’s sustained efforts and SCTC’s support, the house once slated for demolition is now a thriving cultural center for Stayton. Today, locals and visitors can enjoy guided tours, public events, educational programs, and private event rentals in the Brown House’s one-of-a-kind historic setting.

Santiam Heritage Foundation hosts a variety of unique community events on the property including Victorian-style teas, live music, exhibits from the Oregon Historical Society, and their ever-popular ghost tours in October.

The local organization will continue restoring the Brown House, while adding more educational programs in the coming years. And SCTC will be there to support the Santiam Heritage Foundation’s important work along the way. Foundation President Wendy Stone says, “We feel very lucky to have SCTC and their community-minded management and employees in this community.”

Community members hoping to join the foundation’s mission shouldn’t hesitate to jump in. “We welcome volunteers to further our work and encourage students to get involved. Volunteers help us maintain the house and grounds, organize and publicize events, and keep everything running behind-the-scenes,” says Stone.

To learn more, plan a visit, or donate to Santiam Heritage Foundation and the Brown House, go to