The Avery Table
The Avery Table
Fifteen years before Oregon would become a state in 1859, Joseph C. Avery and his wife, Martha, immigrated from Illinois to what was then “The Oregon Country”. In 1847, Avery began laying out a town at the confluence of Marys River and the Willamette River, and called the place Marysville. The following year Avery went to California to try his hand at gold mining. He stayed only long enough to fill a wagon with mercantile goods from his gold profits and bring it back to Oregon where he used it to open a store.
Over the next several years Avery would be instrumental in mapping the land, serving as the first postmaster for the community and finally as a legislator in the provisional Oregon government. In 1853, with the consent of the fledgling Oregon legislature Avery changed the name of the town of Marysville to Corvallis to avoid confusion with Marysville, California. He had coined the name Corvallis by compounding Latin words meaning “Heart of the Valley”.
Shortly before his death Joseph planted four walnut trees to mark the corners of his Corvallis holdings. These trees were a hybrid of black and English walnut also known as a Paradox Walnut and are renown for their relatively fast growth, beautiful patterns, and figured grain. Two of the walnut trees are still alive today and in order to recognize them as historic landmarks they have been named “Heritage trees” by the Benton County Heritage Tree Program. Part of the land that he settled and planted his Walnut trees is now 75 acre Avery park in fertile, picturesque, Corvallis Oregon.
On August 15, 2015 a local arbor care company donated their time to thin out some of the branches and add some wire supports to the 139 year old tree which had lost one of its three main trunks years earlier and was therefore unbalanced. One of the branches removed that day was large enough that they decided to have it turned into slab lumber. The slabs were then kiln dried and sold to recoup some of the cost of the operation. The three slabs used on this table were, of course, from that tree.
I am honored to have been able to not only make this table from the slabs of such significant tree, but to have been made aware of its history in the first place! I feel blessed and humbled to be able to impart some of my talent on this project and am pleased to pass on the history of the tree, its planter, and the area in which it can still be found growing. For these reasons I have chosen to call this The Avery Table.