From Our Vault: Walling family's legacy lives on
George and Frances Walling left a major legacy in the Lake Oswego area: Part of their donation land claim became the campus of Marylhurst University and the nearby Marylhurst neighborhood. In fact, the old Walling home served as a dormitory for students for many years.
George Washington Walling was born Dec. 18, 1818 in Ohio and moved with his parents, Lucy and Gabriel Walling, to Iowa in 1828. Restless, the senior Wallings and their son George, his wife Frances and other members of the family headed west in 1847. Albert, the eldest son of George and Francis, was born on the Oregon Trail in Pacific Springs, Wyo.
The Wallings settled in Oregon City, where they lived for two years while seeking a donation land claim. George worked as a shipbuilder. In 1849, he and his wife selected a 640-acre property on the west bank of the Willamette River, a short distance upstream from Sucker (Oswego) Creek and adjacent to the land claim of his parents.
Residing on the land claim were George and Francis, their children Albert and Adam, 11 single men, several farmers and carpenters, and George's brother Albert. (The senior Albert later became one of Oregon's most prominent printers and publishers in the 1880s. He established the printing house of A. G. Walling, where he published the Oregon Farmer and the North Pacific Rural Spirit.)
George established Willamette Nursery on his farm and operated it for nearly 40 years before he turned it over to his sons. He was well known for the quality of his fruit trees and ornamental shrubs, and was one of the early developers of the Major Francis cherry and the Champion prune.
The Wallings had several competitors nearby. One of them, Henderson Luelling, established a nursery near the mouth of Johnson Creek in Milwaukie in 1848. He brought 700 cuttings of fruit trees in a special wagon box filled with soil to keep the plants moist as he made his way from the East Coast. The Luelling Nursery is now the site of Waverly Golf Course and Country Club.
Another competitor: JB Pilkington and Sons Nursery, which also specialized in growing and selling fruit trees.
In addition to being a nurseryman, George Walling served for more than 15 years as Clackamas County Superintendent of Schools. He died June 10, 1891. His sons Albert and Adam were longtime residents of Oswego. Albert took over the operation of Willamette Nursery in the 1880s, changing the name to Oswego Nursery and running the operation for 25 years.