5 Things You Didn’t Know About Corbett, Oregon

Located just off the Columbia River Historic Highway between the Sandy River and Crown Point, Corbett, Oregon sits twenty miles east of Portland. Known for its close proximity to stunning waterfalls and famous landmarks, this quiet little burg of 2,300 residents is one of Portland’s many desirable suburbs offering a serene lifestyle next to nature.

We took a close look at Corbett to see what it has to offer and discovered these five notable aspects of this unique locale.

5. Corbett Boasts Renowned Attractions and Landmarks

Okay, maybe you did know about this one. It’s impossible to miss.

Cruise down the Columbia River Highway to Corbett and you’ll be wrapped in one of Corbett’s biggest and most stunning attractions—The Columbia River Gorge. Eighty miles long and up to 4,000 feet deep, this breathtaking river canyon winds through ridges and cliffs and offers some of the most gorgeous scenery found in Oregon.

Image from USDA.gov

Designed in 1915 by Portland architect Edgar M. Lazarus and opened in 1918, Vista House exemplifies the German Art Nouveau style, with the rock work surrounding Vista House (as well as the retaining walls and bridges for the Columbia River Highway) built by native Italian craftsmen. Alaskan marble and cream and pink limestone grace the interior of the structure. The purpose of Vista House, as deemed so by Multnomah County’s Assistant Highway Engineer, Samuel Lancaster, was to inspire travelers on the natural wonders of the gorge. A visit to Vista House guarantees spectacular views, situated 733 feet above the Columbia River. Learn more about Vista House.

Image by Josh B—Flilckr—CC BY-SA 2.0—Wikimedia Commons

For a stunning view of Vista House, stop by Women’s Forum, also known as Chanticleer Point. The organization responsible for the preservation of this viewpoint was the Portland Women’s Forum, created in the 1940s to preserve the Columbia River Gorge, a response to heavy logging in the area at the time. Funds raised by the organization were used to purchase this land, which was then donate to Oregon Parks Service.

Image from Wikipedia

4. Corbett is Home to Agriculture and Farms

Farm to fork is a cinch in Corbett with a handful of farms that serve the surrounding area all year long.

A Century Farm founded in 1904, Kerslake Farms sells beef, hay, straw, corn, berries, and pumpkins. The farm is recognized by the Oregon Century Farm and Century Ranch Program, a state program that honors ranchers and farmers who have worked the same area of land for at least 100 years.

Old MacDonald’s Farm combines agriculture, gardens, farm animals, and natural resources to offer enrichment programs to kids and at-risk youth in a safe farm setting. It is the only non-profit of its kind in the State.

Family owned and operated for over fifty years, Sturm’s Berry Farm devotes over 100 acres to berries of all kinds. At Sturms, you can order frozen berries or treat yourself to u-pick in the summer. You can also pick up the perfect Christmas tree for the holidays from Sturm’s.

3. Corbett is a Haven for Retreats and Camps

Corbett is home to retreat centers and plentiful natural spaces, perfect for communing with the great outdoors on your own or for gatherings.

Camp Angelos is a Corbett venue available for retreats, camps, weddings, school events, reunions, and more. Set in a beautiful natural surroundings, the camp offers cozy cabins, a lodge (which can be used as an event space), trout ponds, and hiking trails.

Menucha Retreat and Conference Center is a sacred space for purposeful work, offering an array of classes and workshops, like painting and sewing, harmonica playing, an acoustic blues guitar camp, and a bluegrass workshop, to name a few. Menucha also welcomes individuals looking to create their own personal retreats, as well as larger events and gatherings.

When you want to set out on your own, you won’t be at a loss. According to Alltrails, here are the top ten trails in the Corbett area.

  • Latourell Falls Trail—a moderate 2-mile hike in Guy W. Talbot State Park
  • Angel’s Rest—a moderate 4.5-mile hike with a spectacular view of the gorge from the top
  • Wahkeena Falls Loop Trail—a 5.1-mile hike to one of the best waterfalls on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
  • Latourell Falls—an easy .2-mile to falls in Guy W. Talbot State Park
  • Bridal Veil Falls Trail—an easy .5-mile hike in the Shepperd’s Dell State Natural Area
  • Wahkeena Spring—a moderate 3-mile out-and-back hike
  • Coopey Falls Trail—an easy 1-mile hike in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
  • Devil’s Rest and Foxglove Way East Loop—a difficult 7.6-mile hike in Shepperd’s Dell State Natural Area
  • Sandy River Trail—a moderate 3.7-mile hike in Oxbow Regional Park
  • Shepperd’s Dell Falls—an easy .1-mile hike to falls

2. Corbett is a Small Town With a Big Commitment to Community

From the Crown Point Historical Society to 4-H to the Grange, Corbett has an abundance of clubs and organizations that encourage life enrichment and community connection. Corbett also has a Garden Club and the Windy Quilters, formed in 2000.

In addition, there’s the Corbett Education Fund (CEF), formed in 1997. The CEF has been responsible for raising funds for a local jogging trail and various greenhouse projects, to name a few. The organization is currently focusing on making scholarships to students planning to pursue education beyond high school.

Columbia Gorge Food Salvage Program, founded in 2000 and located in the basement of Corbett’s Grange, is an outreach program that provides food assistance to Corbett and neighboring residents east of the Sandy River.

1. Corbett is Brimming With History

From early pioneers whose visions for Corbett and its surrounding areas that came to fruition and still remain in the form of historic buildings to more contemporary residents, Corbett is home to both historical places and historical people.

Historical Places

Named for prominent pioneer Senator Henry W. Corbett, who purchased a farm in the area in 1885, Corbett underwent several name changes before the post office was created and named after him.

Corbett is also home to a few historical structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places. One is the Andreas Graf House, a private farm residence built in the Queen Ann stick style in 1885 for the first Graf family in the area. Located on 153.74 acres, which the original Grafs homesteaded in 1883, the home remains in the family to this day. Learn more about the Andreas Graf House.

Image by Ian Poellet—Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0—WikimediaCommons

Springdale School is another of Corbett’s National Register of Historic Places. The first was built in 1899, with a second to follow in 1919, and a third in 1931. When the Springdale and Corbett school districts were consolidated in 1960 and the school ceased to be used as a school in 1966, the space became a venue residents could rent and, eventually, the present Springdale School Community Association.

Image by Finetooth—Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0—WikimediaCommons

Thanks to the 2008 filming of the prom scenes in the first Twilight film at the Viewpoint Inn (built in the Arts and Crafts style in 1924), the venue saw an increase in business. But a fire in 2011 destroyed the second floor, and due to lapsed insurance, plans to rebuild lagged. The Inn was listed on Restore Oregon’s Endangered Places in 2012, and by 2014, plans to renovate were shelved. However, in 2016, Dr. Heiner and Sheron Fruehauf purchased the property and came to an agreement about the use of the land and the proposal to renovate and reopen the inn and restaurant, with plans to add a Chinese spa and wellness retreat center for day visitors and inn guests. While progress has been slow in the new venture, groundbreaking finally happened in 2021. Read more about the plans and progress for the new venue, which will bear the name of “The Healing Order.”

Image by Ian Poellet—Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0—WikimediaCommons

Historical People

Corbett is not without its notable people, two of which are Billy Oskay and Fritz Springmeier.

Musician Billy Oskay was born in Kingston, New York but made Corbett home when he took a job as music department head at Mt. Angel College, then later joined the swing combo, Everything’s Jake. Oskay later founded the musical group Nightnoise with Irish guitarist Michael O’Domhnaill. The two recorded an album in a home Oskay owned in Portland. Oskay came to Corbett in 1993 when he purchased twenty-six acres of land and built Big Red Studio from 1997 to 2000. Oskay still produces albums from Big Red and occasionally performs violin with Seattle-based singer-songwriter Jim Page.

Fritz Artz Springmeier, born Viktor E. Schoof, is an American author of conspiracy theory. He has written several books on the subject of the global elite who, according to him, are conspiring to take over the world. Springmeier’s life took a scandalous turn in 2002, landing him in prison for several years. While it isn’t clear where Springmeier currently lives, he formerly called Corbett home.

Curious About Owning a Home in Corbett?

If the color and character of Corbett appeals to you, get in touch with our top 1% buyer’s agents. We’d love to show you available homes in this unique community and make your real estate dreams come true. Call us at 503-773-0000 or chat with the bot on our site. We look forward to showing you what Corbett, Oregon has to offer!

October 21, 2022

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. A Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington, he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales. Call his team in Oregon at 503-714-1111 or in Washington at 360-345-3833.

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