Monday, June 14, 2010

Song & Dance on Broadway: Not Beer, but Worth a Toast

Grant Neighborhood Association leader Sam Skillern turned a sweet phrase when he said "To know that kids and adults will be dancing and singing on Broadway gives us a smile."

That was in today's paper in Barbara Curtain's piece about the sale of Temple Beth Sholom on NE Broadway and its conversion into a dance and performing arts studio.

Though Curtain didn't go into detail, the space the studio is vacating is the old Salvation Army building at 241 State Street. Curiously, though it is part of the downtown historic district, there don't appear to be any old photos of it in the library's historic photo collection. In any event, it was built around 1930 and the ghost outlines of "Salvation Army" can still be read above the door. The downtown historic district nomination form is particularly rich with language redolent of heraldry's obscurities:
This is an unusual three-bay, two-story brick building with some Gothic Revival architectural details, including stark geometric pinnacles mounted atop the parapet and stepped arches above the central entryway.

The second-story fenestration is embellished with blind lancet arches filled with patterned brickwork immediately above each of the windows....

In 1919 the Salvation Army purchsed a two-story wood frame building at the site of 241 State street from G.H. and Addie Dunsford and the Joseph Bernardi family.
A 1928 Statesman article mentioned their plans to replace the wood building with brick. The historic nomination research did not determine when it was built, but concluded it was around 1930. This is very interesting since the stock market and economy generally was up in 1928, but down considerably in 1930. So to erect a building right after the Crash would be a doubly great accomplishment!

(Image: Robert D. West's Salem, Oregon Places)

Of course the Salvation Army in Salem is now ensconced in the Kroc Center.

The former Temple Beth Sholom was built in 1948 and vacated in 2006. The building has been for sale and Curtain's article points out the creative collaboration - including government and creative maneuvering around "red tape"! - that enabled the building to be reused in a way that satisfied the City and the planning code, the neighborhood associations, and the dance studio.

Hopefully something equally creative will replace it on State Street in between Pioneer Trust (see Fred Legg) and Cascade Bakery (1870 Smith & Wade Building). There's a neat cluster of old buildings there, and it, being a gateway to the Carousel, deserves more life. Normandy Guitars (Boise Building and also Fred Legg) was a great step, but sometimes that block is seems sleepy!

Congratulations to the new studio and a toast to the creative reuse of old buildings!

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