On Thanksgiving Day, 1910, Jacob and Henrica Van Well arrived at the Perrydale railroad station, with their 4 children in tow. They originally immigrated from Holland to South Dakota in the late 1800’s. Before coming to Oregon, they lived in Alberta, Canada ten years. Upon arrival in the Dallas area, they were taken by wagon to their farm, now Van Well Rd., just north of Dallas, by their new neighbor. They had a small dairy herd and raised prunes, hay, and grain, and corn for silage on a two hundred acre farm. Carl still has parts of the wagon that brought the family to the farm.
Jacob was proactive in community affairs and was progressive in helping get a Farmers Union as well as a Federal land bank started, in Salem. He was active in improving roads. Henrica was more timid and it was difficult for her transitioning from the Dutch to English language. Their two children, Joseph and Willamina, never married and stayed on the farm until it sold in 1966, when the family moved to Dallas.
Peter, Herman, and Dorothy all married and moved respectively to Woodburn, and Salt Creek area.
Herman, much like his father, served Polk Co. in various ways. He was elected and served as Polk County Judge, for 12 years. He also served as the only full time commissioners along with two part time members on the Board of Commissioners. At that time their responsibilities included getting money appropriated for the bridge that now crosses the Willamette River in Independence, as well as a plan to pave the county roads. That plan was well in place before hand the two others left office.
As the Juvenile Judge, he would bring home a boy or two and give them a better environment, possibly a new lease on life. It was after these years of service that the county changed the name of lower Salt Creek Road, to Van Well Road in honor of Jacob and Herman.
Herman and Dorothy’s two sons, Paul and Carl, were born in Dallas. They lived at the edge of town on West Clay, and attended Dallas schools. At the age of 25, Paul died in a logging accident. Carl has continued to live and raise his family in Dallas. Carl graduated Dallas High School (Class of ’62), attended WOU and held various jobs in the area. In 1969, he was employed full time for Povey Builder’s Supply and Oil Co. and purchased the business in 1976 after Neale passed away. He then renamed the business Van Well Building Supply, once located on the corner of Ash and Holman (where the current Weekday Bible building serving Dallas High students) now stands. Because loading/unloading deliveries and freight, was done in the middle of Ash Street, it became increasingly more important to move the business. 1985, Van Well Building Supply moved to SE Uglow and after an extensive remodeling continued to serve Dallas with much needed building materials. “Thanks to our great community and loyal customers, another expansion was necessary in 1995.” Now, a full garden supply as well as many upgrades, changes and new products. Through 41 years, in business and many upgrades, “we pride ourselves on our quality employees along with quality materials as our mainstay.” Van Well’s is affiliated with ACE Hardware, is a member of the Western Building Materials Assoc. of which Carl has served a term as President. In 2006, the Dallas Chamber honored VWBS as the Business of The Year.l
Carl and Patty were married in 1972. Their son, Tom, and daughter, Heidi, were born in 1974 and 1976. Patty was raised in Eugene. She taught school in Salem and says she had reservations about “moving to such a small community”, but has made the adjustment, and became committed in her involvement in their church and in the community. They have recently moved, after 38 years “in the country” to a house close to town.
Both Tom and Heidi, along with their spouses, have continued to make Dallas their home. Their children attend Dallas schools as the parents did, and are active in sports and various activities. Tom and Jill Van Well both own and operate their Dallas based businesses, as do Ken and Heidi (VanWell) Rodli.
Tom is owner and operates Van Well Timber; Jill does photography as Jillustrated. Heidi owns Piece and Joy Quilting (long arm quilting) and Ken owns Redhill Investigations. All four businesses are an asset to our community.
Carl and Patty both attest to “Community is important to us. We have been members of the Chamber for 41 years and have supported their activities; Summerfest, Sounds of Summer, serving on the Board, and more. Carl belongs to Dallas Rotary, has served on the board, had a term as President. Both of us are busy serving at Evangelical Bible Church in various capacity. We’ve participated in various fund raisers and try to donate to help make Dallas a better, healthier, and safer in which to live. We support the school bond measures and tax levies because we believe our youth are our future and they need the best education possible. Good schools with good academic programs; good sports programs…all help draw people to the community and make it a more viable place to live and play.”
Fifty-five years ago, Carl graduated from DHS. He and his classmates have kept in close contact. Many still live in the local area and are proud of their years as a Dragon. “We want to see the current and future generations of Dallas School students be proud of their schools as well. And we want them to stay in Dallas, or return, after more education, to help make this an even better place to live.”