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Minthorn Hall is George Fox University's oldest building. It is also a place where U.S. President Herbert Hoover lived and played as a boy in Newberg. Constructed in 1887, the building is older than the university itself. It was built for Friends Pacific Academy, the forerunner of the university, and was moved to its present site in 1892, one year after the university was founded. According to the Newberg Graphic of July 1, 1892, the building was moved by Mr. Clark, a Portland house mover, who brought all his moving equipment up the Willamette River on the old Jefferson Street ferry boat which he had acquired a short time before. When constructed as a two-story building at the original site, it was a boys' dormitory and gymnasium. At its new location (for the last 110 years) a third level was added--a daylight basement. In being named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997, the building was cited as "a classic illustration of adaptive use of one of the oldest private college buildings in Oregon" and was described as "the sole physical link tying together (the) entire academic history from infant Friends Pacific Academy to thriving George Fox University." It is said to meet the National Register's Criterion A as the symbolic "Old Main" of George Fox University and to be "significant locally and regionally as the only building associated with the complete history of Quaker secondary and higher education in the Pacific Northwest."
Hoover, the 31st president of the United States, resided in Newberg from 1883 to 1889. It is believed that he lived in the dormitory for a few months in the 1887-1888 school year and played in the gymnasium. After being orphaned at the age of eight in Iowa, Hoover came to Newberg to live with his uncle Henry John Minthorn, the first principal of Friends Pacific Academy, and his wife, Laura. Their home, two blocks from the George Fox University campus, is now the Hoover Minthorn House museum, also on the National Register of Historic Places. It is their name that is honored by George Fox's first building.