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Oregon Historic Sites Database

address:95 S Nehalem St historic name:Clatskanie IOOF Hall
Clatskanie, Columbia County current/other names:
assoc addresses:
block/lot/tax lot:
location descr: twnshp/rng/sect/qtr sect:7N 4W 8
resource type:Building height (stories):2.0 total elig resources:1 total inelig resources:0
elig evaluation: eligible/significant NR Status: Individually Listed
prim constr date:1926 second date: date indiv listed:03/07/2012
primary orig use: Meeting Hall orig use comments:
second orig use: COMMERCIAL: General
primary style: Commercial (Type) prim style comments:
secondary style: sec style comments:
primary siding: Concrete: Other/Undefined siding comments:
secondary siding:
plan type: architect:
builder:
comments/notes:
Not associated with any surveys or groupings.
NR date listed: 03/07/2012
ILS survey date:
RLS survey date:
Special Assessment
Status Term End Yr
Active 1st Term  2022
Federal Tax Program
Status Start Compl
In Progress 06/01/2009  
106 Project(s): None
(Includes expanded description of the building/property, setting, significant landscape features, outbuildings and alterations)
The Clatskanie IOOF Hall is located on South Nehalem Street, the primary commercial street which intersects with US Route 30 in the center of Clatskanie, Oregon, a town of approximately 1,800 people in Northwest Oregon. The former lodge hall of the local chapter of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF), the building sits on the hillside above the main commercial district, overlooking the Clatskanie River. The 14,000 square foot two-story building of reinforced concrete with a brick façade was built in 1926 and was designed by prominent Portland architect Ernst Kroner. Stylistically, the building is an eclectic two-part commercial design, three bays across. The remaining facades are board-formed unpainted concrete. Most of the interior finishes and many of the architectural elements and walls have been removed, but the building retains the original separation of space between the theater and retail space on the first floor and the offices and gathering space on the second. At the time it was constructed, the IOOF Hall was the most architecturally impressive structure in Clatskanie, and it quickly became the center of the town’s life. The ground floor contained a theater showing movies and staging live performances, as well as the town Post Office. On the second floor were five professional offices, the Odd Fellows meeting rooms, a kitchen and dining room, and the lodge hall/ballroom.
(Chronological, descriptive history of the property from its construction through at least the historic period - preferably to the present)
Constructed in 1926 the Clatskanie IOOF Hall was built as the town’s first large concrete building, and remains the most imposing structure in town. The building is eligible for listing on the National Register under Criterion A, Social History and Recreation. The construction of the new highway in 1918 and the booming economy of the 1920s made Clatskanie more connected and prosperous than any other time in its previous 75-year history. It is at this opportune time that Clatskanie’s IOOF Lodge decided to build a grand building to be designed by noted Portland architect Ernst Kroner. Krone previously completed the design for the Portland IOOF Grand Lodge two years earlier, and was responsible for a number of institutional buildings. Immediately upon its opening, the building became the community's social and cultural center. With the movie theater and Post Office on the first floor, and dental and law offices, meeting spaces, and the lodge hall itself on the second, the IOOF Hall soon became the community gathering place. The building retained the distinction throughout its period of significance. Whether it was to attend a vaudeville show in 1927, watch the first local “talkie” in 1930, meet to organize Oregon’s first People’s Utility District in 1940, attend a war bond benefit dance in 1945, participate in a Grange or Kiwanis meeting, pick up the mail, or consult a lawyer, the IOOF Hall was central to life in Clatskanie. Here one accomplished life’s business, was entertained, and ran into friends. The period of significance begins in 1926 when the Clatskanie IOOF Hall was constructed and ends in at the 50-year guideline 1962 when the importance of the hall faded as more residents traveled outside the town for entertainment and professional services, and interest in social organizations such as IOOF began to wane. The building continued to house a theater, community gatherings, and retail spaces and professional offices for several more decades. From its founding in the mid-nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century, Clatskanie was a relatively isolated rural town and its social life revolved around local organizations. The Clatskanie IOOF Hall was built by one of these social organizations during the economic optimism of the 1920’s and soon after a new highway connected the town to the outside world in 1918. The IOOF Hall was the first, and by far the most grand, of five fire-resistant concrete and/or masonry commercial structures built in the late 1920’s. During the mid-twentieth century period, the IOOF hall was the venue for a continuous round of organizational activities, dances, dinners, parties, and gatherings of up to 400 persons. The retail space on the northern side of the ground floor was the home of the Clatskanie Post Office throughout the building's period of significance. The theater was the venue for vaudeville shows, boxing matches, silent movies and then "talkies" shown six days a week from 1927 until 1962. The upstairs professional offices housed a lawyer, dentist, naturopath, and justice of the peace. The Veterans of Foreign Was and American Legion met in the building for many years until they finally built their own buildings. All of these uses provided income to the Lodge and made the Clatskanie IOOF Hall central to the community’s daily life. As the twentieth century progressed, new members were less drawn to small town fraternal organizations. Improvements to Highway 30, which began in the mid-1950’s and continued into the 1960’s, made outings to theaters and other entertainment events in larger towns much easier, eroding the Avalon Theatre's audience. The theater finally closed shortly before the Clatskanie IOOF Lodge dwindled to three members and then disbanded in the late 1980’s. Only a floral shop, occupying the retail space, continued to draw community members to the building into the 1990’s. Even though the IOOF Hall has lost many interior features, its exterior remains virtually unchanged. Further, the building remains Clatskanie’s single most impressive historical commercial structure and was at the center of community life throughout much of the twentieth century. It is therefore worthy of preservation.
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Historical Society: Other Respository:
Bibliography:
Capitol's Who's Who for Oregon 1936-1937. Portland, OR: Capitol Publishing Company, 1936. Clatskanie Chief, (Clatskanie, OR) various articles dating from 1926-1962. Davis, Ellis. Davis New Commercial Encyclopedia, The Pacific Northwest: Washington Oregon and Idaho. Seattle, WA: Ellis A. Davis Publishing, 1909. Emery, George and J.C. Herbert Emery. A Young Man's Benefit. The independent Order of the Odd Fellows and Sickness Insurance in the U.S. and Canada, 1860-1929. Montreal, 1999. Grosh, Aaron B. The Odd-Fellow's Manual: Illustrating the History, Principles, and Government of the Order, and the Instructions and Duties of Every Degree, Station, and Office in Odd-fellowship. Philadelphia: H.C. Peck & Theo. Bliss, 1860. BiblioBazaar, LLC reprint. Kaufman, Jason. For the Common Good? American Civic Life and the Golden Age of Fraternity. Oxford, 2002. Lockley, Fred. Oregon Journal (Portland, OR). "Impressions of the Journal Man" May 14, 1933. Meidell, Pamela S. ed. Oregon Style Architecture from 1840 to the 1950s. Portland, OR: Professional Book Center, Inc., 1983. Oregon Journal (Portland, OR). "Who's Who Among the Architects", October I, 1925. Oregon Journal (Portland, OR). "Ernst Kroner". November 11, 1955. p. 6 Oregon Sunday Journal (Portland, OR). "Kroner Defends His Loyalty at Attacks of Department Head". April, 1917 p10. The Oregonian (Portland, OR). "Kroner Rites Set Saturday". November 11,1935. p 31. Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, Clatskanie, Oregon 1911, 1921, 1943, 1950. Ritz, Richard Ellision. Architects of Oregon: A Biographical Dictionary of Architects Deceased-19* * and 20th Centuries. Portland, OR: Lair Hill Publishing, 2002.