Sunday, March 22, 2009

Legislation & Word of Mouth

Over at Beervana, Jeff Alworth has been carrying the standard for an "honest pint." Turns out, he's got allies in the legislature! House Bill 3122 would make it easier for consumers to find an honest pint, a full 16oz measure of yummy, malt beverage. (So no 16oz glasses with big foamy head, and no 14oz "shaker" or "cheater" pints with much less than a pint.)

Alworth's also got lots on an effort to increase the excise tax on beer. House Bill 2461 is the relevant bill. Personally, I don't much like the bill as written, but I don't get quite so apocalyptic about its effect on the industry as some opponents are getting. Read it, and decide for yourself.

Stopped in at the Word over the weekend. Happily the TV was off! Otherwise it was its same comfy self. I craved more energy & novelty, though.

Three taps: Deschutes Black Butte Porter
Mirror Pond Pale Ale
Bridgeport IPA.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

From 1910

Here's the streetscape this describes.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Venti's this Weekend

Venti's has a new twitter feed and an updated blog. They're tweeting new taps, so that's pretty cool! They're also going to start having live music. Some excellent developments!

In beer.
Mt. Shasta Weed Lemurian Lager
Oregon Trail Smoke Signal
Rogue Dead Guy Ale

Elysian The Immortal IPA
New Belgian Mighty Pale Ale
Block 15 Ridgeback Red

With the crappy weather, though, I wish they had something rich, malty, and warming...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Adolph Block and Wild Pear

On Monday the 16th, the Adolph Block will be holding an open house. Virginia Green has the details. The Adolph building enjoys direct links to Salem's beer heritage! (Photo:

Samuel Adolph built it in 1880. He was born in Germany around 1835 and, like Henry Weinhard, was into applied fermentation! He had a bakery and Salem's first brewery.

According to the Salem Online History
Sam Adolph founded the first Salem brewery with John Brown at Church and Trade Streets in Salem in 1862. When Adolph's brewery burned in 1869, it was relocated to the southwest corner of Cottage and Trade streets. In 1885 Adolph joined with two of his employees, Maurice Klinger and Seraphin Beck, to build the Capital Brewery on the northeast corner of Commercial and Trade Streets, which produced mainly draught beer but also had a small bottling plant behind the brewery.
In the middle of all this, in June 1880, Adolph purchased land for a new commercial building with three storefronts. Three wood buildings had burned a short time before. Work commenced on August 20th. J.S. Coulter, a local architect, designed the building and managed its construction. An article of December 31st that year suggested it was almost done and would cost about $10,000. (By comparison, Deepwood, built in 1893, also cost around $10,000.) Adolph would have a saloon and there would be a butcher shop. Allowing for a bit of boosterism, the paper claimed Adolph's saloon would be "the finest and best furnished north of San Francisco." It would also serve wholesale customers.

A few years later, according to Ben Maxwell, his building was involved in the first stage of Salem's electrification:
Paulus and Klinger’s saloon, Staiger Bros. store, and Sam Adolph’s saloon received their electric lights in the summer of 1886
Adolph also arranged to have custom flasks made. Collectors of Northwest Brewiana prize them.

Sadly, on September 17, 1893, Sam Adolph died. The day before he'd been thrown from his carriage by a runaway horse. Shortly after midnight on Sunday the 17th he died. I believe he died in his home, also on State Street. (Here's his son's home on Commercial.)

Here's three views of the south side of State street, where his commercial building is located. From left to right are: Ladd & Bush Bank, the Patton Block, J.K. Gill Building, Adolph Block, and first the Gray then the Livesley Building.

1884. Here's the first address scheme. The middle part of the Adolph block, 53, has his saloon. On either side are a Stoves & Tinware shop, and the Smith & Millican Butchers.

1895. Note the saloon in 102 State. That's the J.K. Gill building. Christopher Paulus and E. Klinger (maybe a relative of M. Klinger?) had opened a saloon there in 1886. This is the saloon that was wired for electricity. By 1902 it was Talkington's - whom we saw in the 1908 Saloon raids. But saloons were everywhere! There's one in 110. That's where Wildpear is today. There were also a couple more directly across the street.

1926. Note the Livesley Building, the First National Bank Building, in grey because it was mapped from plans rather than completed construction. Here also we see the modern addressing, which took effect in 1904. In 362 State is the White House Restaurant, where Cooke's Stationery is today. By this time the long run of sporting goods stores had started in 372.

This flickr group has a number of nice architectural details, and one really handsome full elevation of the front and east side. The eastern third of the building has retained its facade; the exteriors on the other two-thirds have been covered in sheetmetal. The details are polychromed nicely, so you don't notice the quilted sheetmetal much.

Wildpear is a sweet space, but except for First Wednesdays, they aren't open for dinner. They have an afternoon Happy Hour that ends at 5:30, however. It's more of a wine and cocktail kind of place - a little scrubbed and genteel, if you know what I mean. They have no taps and only a few bottled beers. Eatsalem has a review of the lunch menu. More reviews at yelp.

Personally, I want to average Wild Pear and Pete's - one too clean, the other too scruffy - that would be the kind of place I'd go for a beer!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pugh, Hops, and a Tower in Independence

INDEPENDENCE NATIONAL BANKThe City of Independence once called itself the "hops capital of the world." It turns out that a historic bank, related even to a hops fortune, was designed by Walter D. Pugh. So there you go: That's the beer connection!

In The History of Oregon (1922), Charles Henry Carey writes of that in the late 1880s
H. Hirschberg* entered banking circles, establishing a private bank, which he conducted until January 7, 1889. He then organized the Independence National Bank, of which he has since served as president, with C. A. McLaughlin as the vice president and Ira D. Mix as cashier. The bank Is capitalized for fifty thousand dollars, has a surplus of fifteen thousand dollars and deposits amounting to four hundred thousand dollars. In 1890 Mr. Hirschberg erected a modern bank and office building which the bank has since occupied....On first coming to this county he invested in farm land and has since added to his original possessions, now owning fifteen hundred acres in one body, in addition to other farm property in the county. He is extensively interested in the growing of hops and in 1920 raised from three hundred and fifty acres, a crop valued at one hundred and eighty-three thousand, seven hundred and twenty-eight dollars. He has seventeen hop houses on his land and all modern equipment necessary for the proper production of hops...
Walter D. Pugh designed the bank! It still stands today. I believe it is a Sterling Savings Bank. For a larger photograph see the University of Oregon collection here.

Hops in Independence are making a comeback. Rogue Brewery notes that
The Rogue Nation's Department of Agriculture has entered into a strategic alliance with Heritage Hop Growers, the Coleman Family. The Rogue Hop Farm is on the Willamette River, south of Independence, Oregon on the former John Haas Alluvial Hop Farm. Four varieties are now being planted on 42 acres with an initial harvest in 2009. The four varieties are Perle, Sterling, Horizon, and Centennial. The hops will be processed and baled on the farm.
The historic bank sketch is from The Oregonian's Handbook of the Pacific Northwest By Edward Gardner Jones (1894).

*I didn't try super hard, but I wasn't easily able to find his first name.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Lost Towers of Walter D. Pugh

(Image of old City Hall and other images courtesy Salem Public Library Historic Photograph Collections)

The basic vertical unit of Salem's historic downtown is the two-story brick storefront. The only real exception that comes to mind is the Livesley Building. There are a few three-story buildings like the Reed Opera House and Montgomery Ward buildings on Liberty, but two is the basic meter.

But a steady procession of two is too much like a march. Our predecessors understood this, and in the first half of the twentieth century, one of the elements that gave the Salem skyline rhythm and variety was the clock or bell tower.

We've lost them. The transit mall has one, and I find myself looking to it often (the architect, alas, didn't plan the sightlines from Church street very well). But the really interesting historic ones are gone.

Walter D. Pugh (April 4, 1863 – Nov 23, 1946) has a special place in Salem architecture. Little is known about him. But he's responsible for some of the gems, lost and standing, in Salem architecture. Many of his buildings featured towers.

Towers, of course, weren't uncommon. The Eldridge Block, part of which remains today as Greenbaum's, had a tower called the Parvenue Tower. (You can see Daniel J. Fry's drugstore in the picture - his warehouse is being demolished this month.) The old Marion County Courthouse also had one. Even the Reed Opera House has an ornament to break up the horizontal roof line.

But Pugh had more of them, and his buildings were more integrally a part of Salem's architectural fabric. Consequently, his absence in memory and in stone looms as a greater void.

His obituaries said that
Pugh was born in a small house on the corner of Winter and Union streets, April 4, 1863. He attended Prof. Sellwood’s private school* and Willamette University and received his architectural training while in apprenticeship to McCall and Wickersham, Portland architectural firm. Later he established his own firm in Salem.
His most beloved building is lost. At the corner of Chemeketa and High, where there's a parking lot today, stood the old City Hall. A Romanesque brick structure with a tower, it was started in 1893 and completed in 1896. Efforts to keep it as a museum were unsuccessful and it was demolished in 1972.

Pugh's obituary also mentions the "old Salem high school." Dates are a little confusing. It's possible the school was the 1905 high school built where Meier & Frank's/Macy's stands today (original structure, and with additional wings), but other sources suggest it was an earlier school. The State Hospital National Register nomination form dates a school Pugh designed to 1893.** East or Washington school was erected in 1887 according to photo captions, and it has a tower. I believe the towers are a signature of Pugh's. Here's the old view and a view shortly before demolition.

The most famous of his lost towers was the dome of the old Capitol. It burned in 1935.

Though its tower is lost, one of Pugh's buildings that does remain is the Grand Theatre and Ballroom at High and Court, across from the old Court House. It was originally built as the Odd Fellows Hall. It had a more massive, Italianate and blocky square tower. Without the tower the Grand's facade is more static, a square and imposing box.

Pugh was active elsewhere in the city. His obituary notes that
As state architect under Gov. Penoyer [sic], he designed several state institution building, including Kidder hall at Oregon State college***, Halls at Chemawa Indian school and buildings for the Indian reservation at Phoenix, Ariz., were also part of Pugh’s work.
Another of his institutional works was an addition to the State Hospital. Pugh designed easternmost part of the J Building. That would be the wing called "building 48" and possibly building 47 (both in blue).

These currently house the forensic patients - the maximum security section of the hospital. The building follows the patterning of the original building, and does not appear to offer anything new. It is going to be demolished - though the original part of the J building, which has a tower, will be preserved!

An article celebrating Pugh's 80th birthday in 1943 suggested that "the original building at Fairview home" was one of his. Information on his buildings at Fairview was not readily available to me. Perhaps research at the State Archives would turn up something. Here's a photoset from Fairview, and his buildings must be among them.1

His obituary notes that he had designed many houses, too. The most famous is the Shelton-McMurphey-Johnson House in Eugene. Whether any of his houses remain in Salem is not known.

Buildings that do remain in Salem include the Bush-Breyman-Brey blocks on Commercial and the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill at Mission Mill. The wooden mill had burned in 1895 and Pugh designed the brick mill today standing.

Pugh died at his home in Salem on 18th street just south of Center street.

* It is almost certain that this Sellwood is part of the family who provided the second Rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church. For the educational situation generally in Salem, and a brief reference to J. W. Sellwood's private school see the Salem Online History article. For more biographical material see this 1901 biography and this 1889 article.

** Here's the National Register of Historic Place Nomination Form (big pdf!) for the State Hospital with a few additional details on Pugh.

*** Kidder Hall was named this only temporarily. It was first Cauthorn, then Fairbanks, then Kidder (but is NOT the structure now known as Kidder Hall!). This OSU alumni association article shows both Fairbanks (1892) and Kidder (1918) Halls. Note the tower on Cauthorn/Fairbanks/Kidder!

I'll try to find some way to link Pugh to beer, I promise! It's just that Pugh seems to have designed an unusually high number of important Salem buildings - and no one remembers him today! I keep coming across his name and he's worth remembering. So it seemed like I should write something.

[Update - here's a couple of other Pugh buildings:
Crook County Courthouse in Prineville
Whitespires Church in Albany]

1Update 2 - LeBreton Hall (1908) is the Pugh building. Here's one image and another.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

More on Speakeasies and Starkey-McCully

The Starkey McCully block was great! And the traces of the speakeasy more powerful than I expected.

Unrelated to the speakeasy, but interesting nonetheless, out in front were brass letters set in old concrete: E. S. LAMPOR(T). The T and part of the R had been cut out during some newer sidewalk work. The cast iron was lovely, though my compatriot noted it was painted in a high contrast, a "gay 90s" treatment.

The downstairs space was pretty dull. "Where the Sidewalk Begins" is a gift shop and cafe to fund grants to school teachers and support other educational projects. Noble goals, but the space is awkward. There's a great embossed tin ceiling and interesting moldings, but the offices in back made it essentially a fancy cube farm. The merchandising was utilitarian rather than alluring. The staff seemed indifferent to our presence. No one ever approached us to welcome us - and it was the first night! Do they want business from anyone other than "friends and family"?

But upstairs was a wonderful...doors with peepholes! They were 2 or 3 inches in diameter, and a pivoting cup sealed them over. Yes, full-on artifacts of a speakeasy and the passwords to enter.

We learned the "hooch house" was exterior. I think it might be the alley house, 233 1/2, shown on this 1926 Sanborn. The hooch was delivered to the house and brought upstairs with a pulley. I'll do more research - perhaps the second floor "sign painting" business was the speakeasy front?

You know, come to think of it, the speakeasy is poised for a renaissance. Between the new-school bartending & cocktailing of places like Mint/820 and the eagerly awaited Beaker & Flask, and the Recession (it certainly deserves the uppercase), I think boom & bust-era drinking is getting the soft glowing halo of nostalgia. There's a bar in San Francisco I read about, Bourbon & Branch, that operates as a speakeasy. With your reservation, you get a password!

Salem doesn't need places exactly like those in Portland or San Francisco, of course. And they're too expensive, anyway. Salem needs its own kind of places. But the fact the there's a Downtown Vision 2020 project suggests even the Mayor knows the downtown is missing some vital juice. More of the same isn't right, either. I think the success of Venti's downtstairs shows the need. Although that space is loud, it also has that cloistered speakeasy vibe. It's almost hidden.

The upstairs space in the Starkey McCully block would make a great bar. Maybe once the Boise Redevelopment project gets going (though you wonder how much of a hit the Recession will deliver to its pace), and there's a significantly larger number of people living downtown, more of these historic spaces can be bars or other venues full of character and charm - and that vital juice. Hooch, anyone?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Starkey-McCully Block Open House

Tonight see (in remodeled form, alas) the vestiges of a prohibition-era speakeasy in downtown Salem! In "Starkey McCully Block: New Life after 127 Years" (Marion County History, vol 15), Jordis Schick writes that during prohibition, the second floor held a "hooch house." During restoration folks had found a stash of bottles and other boozy detritus. I'm sure that's not the only time a saloon was there!

Over at the SHINE blog, Virginia Green posted a note about two March open houses. The Starkey McCully Block's is tonight, timed for First Wednesday, happily. Virginia included this terrific photo of commercial street between Court and Chemeketa. The photo is from 1887. It shows a wagon and a carriage, both drawn by horses. No cars. Commercial is mud. You can zoom in here.

Luckily for us, Sanborn mapped Salem within a year of the photo! Here's the 1888 Sanborn of the same building. Notes in from the Salem Online Historical Photographs Collection point out that
Edward S. Lamport has the harness and sadlery; Edward C. Small's Oregon Clothing House is at the left of the utility pole and Charles W. Hellenbrand has a restaurant to the right of it.
You can easily map these to bays on the Sanborn: Lamport's is the third bay from the left, 289 Commercial, with the Gent's and Rest'r't going right (north).

Only part of the Starkey-McCully block remains today. Here's a view from just after World War II and a view from 1992. The cast iron facade may be earlier than that of the Ladd & Bush Bank, and is believed to be the oldest in Oregon as originally installed.

For more on the Starkey McCully building see the entry in the Online Salem History.

Enrich your First Wednesday experience with some real Salem history tonight!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Venti's Cafe and Brown's - Quick update

Brown's has 6 Ninkasi taps. Sleigh'r is still on. Didn't find out who's out. Probably Tricerahops. The new seasonal, Spring Reign, is flowing, too. At the Oregonian, John Foyston has a poster for "Spring Loaded." I bet that label didn't fly! I like the desription there better too:
Spring Reign- Spring forward with this new ale! Biscuit malt provides a rich toasty malt note upfront that is balanced with bright hoppy noted [sic] from American hops. It is like a British Pale with American hops. Simcoe, Santiam, and Ahtanum hops round out the aroma and flavor. 6% alc./vol. 38 ibus.
PBR is also on tap and the 8th handle was out.

And At Venti's
California Cider Company ACE Apple Cider
Ninkasi Tricerahops had just blown
Rogue Dead Guy Ale
New Belgian Mighty Pale Ale

A Calapooia IPA - but not RIParian IPA...didn't get the full name
Mt. Shasta Weed Lemurian Lager
Bear Republic Hot Rod Rye