By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

McMinnville, McMinnville

Several similarities between the W.T. Newby's hometown and the town he founded

My story about the visit Chuck and Lorraine Biederman’s history group paid to McMinnville, Tennessee, brought back memories for longtime McMinnville resident Ray Fields.

Fields has been a member of the McMinnville Rotary Club for many, many years, since the days he owned the local radio station. And in 1971, he was among Rotarians greeting a group of visitors from the McMinnville, Tennessee, Rotary Club.

“They sent people here in May for our 50th anniversary,” he recalled.

“Our McMinnville Rotary was chartered on May 1, 1921. It’s Tennessee counterpart was chartered a few months earlier in the same year.

“They knew more about our town than we did,” Fields said. He remembered being impressed at how much they knew about McMinnville, Tennessee, native W.T. Newby, who came west, built a grist mill, founded a town and named it after his birthplace.

Fields saw those visitors again when he flew to Tennessee himself. Another representative of the Oregon club, Norm Goss, flew there as well, in his own plane.

Then, and now, Fields was impressed by the similarities between the two McMinnvilles.

In addition to both having Rotary clubs chartered in 1921, they cover a similar amount of land, although the Oregon

McMinnville has more people. They’re both located in agricultural areas. The old Yamhill County Courthouse was almost identical to the Warren County Courthouse on McMinnville, Tennessee’s main square. And the parent company that operated the McMinnville, Oregon, hospital back then had its headquarters — where else? — in McMinnville, Tennessee.

“Little things make the world tiny,” Fields said.

By the way, here’s one more similarity: McMinnville, Tennessee, like McMinnville, Oregon, has not one Rotary Club, but two. Like Oregon’s Sunrise Rotary Club, Tennessee’s Breakfast Rotary meets in the morning.

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