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Oregon Historic Sites Database

address:3037-3041 N Williams Ave historic name:Rinehart Building
Portland, Multnomah County current/other names:Cleo-Lillian Social Club Building
assoc addresses:
block/lot/tax lot:
location descr: twnshp/rng/sect/qtr sect:
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:c.1910 second date:1957 date indiv listed:12/24/2013
primary orig use: COMMERCIAL: General orig use comments:
second orig use: Clubhouse
primary style: Commercial (Type) prim style comments:
secondary style: Vernacular sec style comments:
primary siding: Brick:Other/Undefined siding comments:
secondary siding:
plan type: architect:Brooks & Downing
builder:Brooks & Downing
comments/notes:
Survey/Grouping Included In: Type of Grouping Date Listed Date Compiled
   African Americans in Oregon, 2014 Thematic Grouping
NR date listed: 12/24/2013
ILS survey date:
RLS survey date:
Special Assessment
Status Term End Yr
Active 1st Term  2023
Federal Tax Program
Status Start Compl
In Progress 09/01/2012  
106 Project(s): None
(Includes expanded description of the building/property, setting, significant landscape features, outbuildings and alterations)
The Rinehart Building is located on the southwest corner of North Williams Avenue and North Monroe Street in Portland, Oregon. The building was rehabilitated from 2012-2013. It is a remnant of a once-vibrant mixed-use neighborhood built around an important streetcar route on Williams Avenue. Immediately adjacent to the building on the south and west are surface parking lots. Directly across the street on Williams are several two-story residential buildings. The Rinehart Building is two blocks from the Legacy Emmanuel Hospital campus, which covers more than 20 blocks in the neighborhood. Built in 1910, the Rinehart Building is two stories with a full basement and constructed of beige-colored brick with contrasting details in a cream-colored brick and painted concrete. The building is 7,000 square feet above grade and measures 50 feet north and south, and 70 feet east and west. Horizontally the facade is a two-part commercial block building as defined by Richard Longstreth in his The Buildings of Main Street. The primary facade faces east onto Williams Avenue and features a wood storefront system with bulkhead, plate-glass windows, and large transoms above. Other decorative features include a prominent corner turret and parapet cornice with dentil pattern. The building has two ground-floor commercial spaces and five one-bedroom apartments on the second floor. The apartments are entered from a double-loaded corridor fed by a wood staircase accessed from Williams and a service staircase accessed at the rear of the building from N. Monroe.
(Chronological, descriptive history of the property from its construction through at least the historic period - preferably to the present)
The 1910 Rinehart Building, located in the historic Albina area of Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon, has local significance under Criterion A for both Commerce and Ethnic Heritage. The period of significance begins with the building’s date of construction in 1910 to 1930, with a second period of significance from 1957 to 1968. As it relates to the area of Commerce, the Rinehart Building is significant for its association with the streetcar-related commercial development in Portland’s Albina neighborhood. It is the only remaining property on North Williams that reflects the types of commercial buildings that characterized higher-end development along this important streetcar line between 1888 and 1930. As it relates to Ethnic Heritage, the Rinehart Building is significant as one of the few remaining commercial buildings in Albina associated with the social and cultural fabric of the African American community. This community was established during the first half of the Twentieth Century due to discriminatory housing practices, which funneled these new residents into the Albina neighborhood. One African American building tenant—The Cleo-Lilliann Social Club—was a particularly important social and entertainment venue for Portland’s African American community, in addition to being a notable charitable organization. The Rinehart Building is locally significant under Criterion A in the areas of Commerce and Ethnic Heritage. It is significant for its association with the streetcar-related commercial development in Portland’s Albina neighborhood and, later, for its connections with the African American community in Albina. The property was listed as a City of Portland local landmark in 2007. Historically, the City of Albina was characterized by an area along the river that included rail and industrial uses and a commercial/residential area to the northeast that centered along streetcar arterials, of which North Williams was one of the most significant. Albina was consolidated into Portland, along with the City of East Portland, in 1891. Many of the land use patterns that are present in the Albina area today were fueled by streetcar expansion. Corner properties along streetcar lines—like the Rinehart Building property—were highly desirable for their visibility and accessibility to riders. In 1889 Portland’s first electric streetcars began crossing the newly-constructed Steel Bridge with a line that ran on Williams as far north as Stanton Street. In the early 1900s, the line was consolidated into the City & Suburban Railway Company with service connecting downtown Portland to St. Johns. This resulted in “main street” style, mixed-use commercial districts of primarily two-story buildings that ran along Williams Avenue, Mississippi Avenue, Union Avenue (now MLK), and Russell Street in Albina. As it relates to the area of Commerce, the Rinehart Building is the only remaining property on Williams and one of the best in the Albina area that reflects the types of commercial buildings that characterized higher-end development along this important streetcar line between 1888 and 1930. Portland’s population growth on the eastside of the river, particularly beginning in 1905, fueled investment in real estate development and brought about more capital-intensive projects that resulted in buildings of a higher caliber. While one- and two-story wood-frame commercial buildings were the common, small-scale commercial building type before the turn of the century, Albina’s growth and the potential for investment return resulted in buildings of greater permanence that utilized masonry construction and as well as thoughtfully-designed and costly decorative details. The Rinehart Building’s two-story form is a classic expression of a two-part commercial block as defined by Richard Longstreth. The building’s two floors are divided by design into two distinct zones following their interior uses—retail on the ground floor and apartments on the second floor. The style was a logical response to economics of the building’s location along a busy streetcar line. This Rinehart Building’s design also appears to have been influenced by other important commercial buildings along or near Williams—such as the Hill Block—which employed a projecting corner turret as a key design element to establish the building’s prominence on the block (Figure 9). Like the Hill Block, the design of the Rinehart Building responds directly to corner location along a busy streetcar line, capturing the attention of passersby with its stately masonry construction, detailing, and especially the corner turret. As it relates to Ethnic Heritage, the Rinehart Building has significant ties to the African American community in Albina. As early as 1939, Albina was home to the majority of Portland’s African American population. With the rapid expansion of shipbuilding at Swan Island during World War II, the African American population of Portland swelled to fill the large number of new war-time jobs. Discriminatory housing practices funneled these new residents into the Albina neighborhood. During the post-war era, the African American community developed a strong social and cultural fabric in Albina. African American-owned businesses flourished, including “mom and pop” groceries, dry cleaners, shoe repair shops, nightclubs, and other service-type businesses. Most of these were located along Williams Avenue. However, by the mid-1940s, the City expressed growing concern about blight in the neighborhood and identified its potential for redevelopment due to the close proximity to downtown. Major urban renewal projects at the south end of Albina such as Memorial Coliseum and the construction of Interstate 5 resulted in significant building demolition, displacing residents and shifting the Albina commercial core farther north along Williams. The Rinehart Building was located in the heart of Portland’s African American community during the mid-century era and became home to several neighborhood businesses and social centers during this time, beginning with Cleo’s Tavern and Rudy’s Billiards in 1957. In 1968, the Cleo-Lilliann Social Club took over the building’s south storefront. The Club, which began in the 1950s, was a community and charitable organization that provided entertainment, social support, fundraising, and a forum for community activism for the African American residents of Albina. The Club hosted notable African American musicians such as B. B. King and George Foreman. In 1969, the federally-funded expansion of Emmanuel Hospital caused further demolition in the neighborhood. One hundred and eighty-eight residences and businesses were lost and almost half of the neighborhood’s residents displaced—over 3,000 people between 1960 and 1970; the majority were African American. Despite these loses, the Cleo-Lilliann Social Club remained a fixture on North Williams until 2001. Its membership peaked at 5,000 in the 1970s and when the club finally closed it was considered to be one of the oldest African American social organizations of its kind in Oregon.
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Bibliography:
Bosco-Milligan Foundation. Cornerstones of Community: Buildings of Portland’s African American History. Portland, OR: Bosco-Milligan Foundation, 1995. Consumers Review. "CleoLillianne Organization Invites You." February 28, 1958. Dietsche, Robert. Jumptown: The Golden Years of Portland Jazz, 1942-1957. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2005. Foster, Tonya Y. "Club Faces Closure: Establishment under pressure from neighbors to curb noise." The Skanner, January 6, 1999. Gies, Martha. "Historic Elks Lodge Grateful for Volunteers." Eliot Neighborhood. July 21, 2009. http://eliotneighborhood.org/2009/07/21/historic-elks-lodge-grateful-for-volunteers/ (accessed August 14, 2013). Gonzales, Christine. "Relics Tell Story of Black History in Portland." Portland Tribune, December 14, 2001. Johnson, Steven Reed. "The Evolution of Civic Activism in the Albina Neighborhood." n.d. www.stevenreedjohnson (accessed June 2012). Keefe, Lloyd T. "Correspondence between Planning Director Lloyd T. Keefe to Carvel C. Liden." City of Portland Archives, November 13, 1956. Loving, Lisa. "Portland Gentrification: The North Williams Avenue That Was – 1956." The Skanner, August 9, 2011. Multhomah County Tax Assessor Records. 2012. www.portlandmaps.com (accessed May 2012). Oregonian. "Building is Good." September 1909, 1909: 11. _____. "East Side Scene of Large Deals." March 20, 1910: 5. _____. "Obituary for Robert E. Menefee." October 6, 1954: 23. _____. "Pioneer of 1849 Dead." December 15, 1914: 7. _____. "Rebuilding Underway." October 24, 1909: 10. _____. "Weather Aids Realtors." February 24, 1929: 4. Poe, Janita. "Role Of Social Clubs Changes With Times." Chicago Tribune, February 9, 1994. Portland Bureau of Development Services. "Final Findings and Decision by the Landmarks Commission for 3045 N Williams." 2007. Portland Bureau of Planning. History of Portland’s African American Community 1805 to the Present. Portland, OR: Portland Bureau of Planning, 1993. Portland State University. History of the Albina Plan. Portland, OR: Portland State University, 1990. Pratt, Gary. "Long-Time Residents of E-R Site Reluctant to Leave; Others See Merit in Clearance." The Oregonian, April 7, 1957: 7. Ritz, Richard. Architects of Oregon. Portland, OR: Lair Hill Publishing, 2002. Roos, Roy. The History of Albina. Portland, OR: Roy Roos, 2008. Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. Vol. 6. 1924-1928. The Skanner. Portland, Or., Gentrification Map:The North Williams Avenue That Was--1956. August 9, 2011. http://goo.gl/NnAsW (accessed July 24, 2013). Williams, Eddie Dee. Justified License to Kill. AuthorHouse, 2013. Wollner, Craig, John Provo, and Julie Schabilsky. Brief History of Urban Renewal in Portland, Oregon. PDF, Portland: Portland Development Commission, 2001