Scholls Valley Lodge started out as a barn built in the mid-1960s. The 24 acres where the lodge now sits was purchased in the late ’70s by a minister and his family. By 1986 they had relocated and put the property on the market. At that time, the Vial family was searching for a place nearer to Portland, where Rich Vial was practicing law. The family looked for nearly a year before Rich saw an ad in the Oregonian for the home in Scholls Valley, an area Rich had not yet discovered.
On a sunny afternoon in April, 1986, Rich drove from his office in downtown Portland to look at the property. As soon as he turned into the driveway, he knew he had found what he was looking for. That feeling dissipated, however, as he got to the top of the hill and saw a barn!
Rich and Paula had already remodeled two homes in Salem and one in Provo, Utah, while they were going to school. Rich had promised Paula their next home would not be a remodel project. He was conflicted when he saw the barn, but he rushed home to Salem, loading up the family and returning to Scholls that very evening. By the time they returned, the Oregon weather had turned to rain, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of the family as they felt the stirrings of real connection to the property.
The Vial family connection to this property began that night. As they pulled up to the top of the hill, son Hoa, a Vietnamese refugee member of the family, said he had seen this property in a dream, and his family was with him when he was standing on it. Though they had very little money at the time, the Vials purchased the property on a private contract and began immediately to do what was necessary to move the family into the structure.
The barn consisted of three floors: a basement where the animals had been kept, a second floor where the tractors and other equipment had been stored, and a loft where the hay was kept. A chute from the loft to the basement was located where the dining room is now. In the initial remodel, a couple of wings were added to the south side, and by August they moved in. When the family moved in there was no sheet rock, a blanket hung to provide privacy for the only bathroom, no windows, and very little siding. That September was the wettest in recent history, and water poured into the house, making the Vial family’s first winter in their new home a tough one. But they gradually got the home to the point that it was reasonably comfortable, and when they built a fire in the wood stove, it was warm enough to prevent frostbite!
Over the next 20 years, the family was raised (6 birth and 7 adopted children), the farm nurtured many cow/calf pairs and 4-H steers, and the house was improved as the family could afford it. Unfortunately, the things that were finished were subjected to the ravages of a bunch of kids, dogs, and their friends, so even the new stuff got worn out quickly. (Notice the pen gouges in the railing on the main stairway, placed there by children long ago.) As the children married, went to college or otherwise moved out of the home (sometimes to another structure on the farm), Paula and Rich decided that the home would be best used as a lodge. The home was completely remodeled, a project that took until 2011, to become the lodge you see today.