Borst Home

Borst Home Open House Schedule 2022

  • Saturday, April 9, 2022 - 1:30 to 3:30 pm
  • Saturday, May 14, 2022 - 1:30 to 3:30 pm
  • Saturday, June 11, 2022 - 1:30 to 3:30 pm
  • Monday, July 4, 2022 - 10 am to 2 pm
  • Saturday, August 13, 2022 - 1:30 to 3:30 pm
  • Saturday, September 10, 2022- 1:30 to 3:30 pm
  • Saturday, October 8, 2022 - 1:30 to 3:30 pm Volunteer Recognition and Living History program - No Open House

Books to Enjoy

If you can't join us in person to tour the Historic Borst Home, you can take a 'virtual tour' by accessing the website below. Sares Loveleigh created this tour in 2009, and makes it available through her blog: "Loveleigh Treasures".


Take exit 82 off of I-5 in Centralia. Head west on Harrison Avenue Turn left on Johnson Road, and go past the middle school and swimming pool. Follow the signs to the Borst Home.

Borst Home History

In 1854 Joseph Borst married sixteen-year-old Mary Adeline Roundtree. Her family had come west from Illinois in 1852 to settle in Oregon County. Joseph and Mary started their life together in a small cabin on Joseph's farm. When war broke out in 1855, with some local Indians, the Borsts and many other settlers moved into quarters in the stockade at Fort Henness, a local fort that has since been destroyed. After the war, the Borsts returned to their land and moved into the blockhouse that had been built during the war. Around 1860 or before (the exact year is not known), Joseph Borst started construction on the house Mary wanted so badly. Some say the house was built for Mary because of the numerous times the family had to move and the harsh conditions under which she had to live. Others say it was because of a promise Joseph had made in order to get her to marry him. Whatever the reason, the house was built and its construction took two years. This is the Borst Home that still stands, over one-hundred and fifty years later. More than a century ago residents of the area took pride in the stately white mansion which stood on the banks of the Chehalis River near Centralia. It was said Ulysses S Grant had once stopped to visit there. The great white house with green shutters and a balcony, built in the early 1860s, was the pioneer home of Joseph Borst. It was considered to be the finest house between Forts Steilacoom and Vancouver. At the time, Borst said the house and barn were so well built they would last for 80 years. Approximately 150 years later, the house is still standing and shows every indication of remaining there for another 100 years. Gone, however, is the large barn, into which one could drive a team and wagon, turn around, and drive out again without stopping. The aging structure was damaged in the 1962 windstorm which struck the Pacific Northwest. The reason for the house holding up so well is its construction. The lumber had to be hauled by horse and wagon from Tumwater and the casings and hardware shipped by boat from San Francisco. The lumber was dried and seasoned for about a year. To harden the wood and make the joints and corners waterproof, the ends of every board were dipped in a white lead before being put up. The house was built by plank construction, which was very unusual, rather than the box construction typical to the times. Every board was held in place with wooden pegs. A local Danish man painted all the woodwork and made it look grained by wiping it with rags. For the huge soapstone fireplace, Joseph found a special type of stone that, when quarried, was as pliable as hard clay and could be smoothed with a plane. The air and the fire-hardened the stone so it wouldn't crack. The furniture was handmade by another local man. There were six maple spool beds, and Mary had a special rocking chair made just for her. It was quite a home for those days. In 1921 the City acquired the Borst Home for $20,000.and later obtained the surrounding 101 acres. The Borst name also lends itself to an adjoining park, arboretum, one-room schoolhouse replica, and heirloom garden. This park contains, among other things, the old Fort Borst blockhouse, (a military structure erected in 1856), in which the Borsts' lived for a period following the Indian Wars.