Thursday, June 30, 2011

July is Craft Beer Month

July is Oregon Craft Beer Month! Do your duty and drink Oregon!

Here's the schedule for our area.

Local brewers and pubs are perhaps missing out on opportunities: The Ram and Widmer seem to be the only ones with events scheduled.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Addenda: Salem School Architecture and the Legacy of the Pughs

One of the small mysteries in Salem architecture is the identity of the "old Salem High School" attributed separately to Fred Legg and to Walter D. Pugh towards the end of their lives.

The mystery is small because, well, it's really probably not all that important. But the accounts are more than a little unclear, and the curious want to know! Our conclusion is that Legg designed no high school and the 1905 old high school is Pugh's. (This is also an especially baggy and meandering note, so be warned.)

Portland School Buildings in the Early 1900s

Over at Portland Architecture, Brian Libby has been running these terrific profiles of the Portland school buildings. Two of them, ones on Grant and Roosevelt, help point the way to filling in details on Salem's school history.

About Grant, Libby quotes from the Portland Public Schools own architectural history:
Beginning with the construction of the main building and a gymnasium in 1923 and closely followed by an additional auditorium unit and two wings between 1925 and 1927 Grant High School was part of a dramatic building program begun by the Portland Public Schools in the early 1900s. Two of the most influential district architects during this period included Floyd Naramore and George Jones, who designed a majority of the schools from 1908 to 1932. Due to the large number of projects conducted by the district in the early 1920s, however, the school board hired Knighton & Howell, a Portland architectural firm to create the designs for Grant High School.
Grant's design doesn't concern us directly, but a more-or-less concurrent design does. About the same time, in 1922, George Jones,
reused most of the architectural drawings from Franklin High School to lay out the plans for Roosevelt.
A decade earlier Naramore had designed Franklin. In 1919 he moved to Seattle, but before doing so Naramore designed 16 Portland schools, including the Kennedy School, whose single story layout was a response to fire safety.

North High, Parrish and Leslie

It turns out that what we might think of as a Portland "pattern book" for schools was useful here in Salem.

William C. Knighton is known in Salem for some really lovely buildings, perhaps the most elegant in Salem: the Richardsonian Romanesque Capital National Bank, Deepwood, the Bayne building, and the Supreme Court building - historic drawing here. (There are many others, and a full list would be useful!)

A tip from reader RC pointed us to his school designs, a group of more utilitarian works. The contracts for Parrish and North were substantial, if not especially stylish, commissions. He was also involved in the design of Leslie.

RC shared an image of North, on the left in the composite, from the October, 1940 issue of Architect and Engineer, in an article "Current Trends in Oregon Architecture." And you can clearly see the common Colonial Revival pattern in North and Roosevelt. If Jones patterned Roosevelt on Naramore's Franklin, it seems likely that Knighton modeled North on Roosevelt. It wouldn't be at all surprising to learn that the internal plans are similar - though the Depression-era WPA contract for North yielded a plainer facade than the more ornamented one of Roosevelt from the roaring twenties.

Parrish is also by Knighton and Howell - Robert West had noted this and it wasn't much in doubt, but it was something we could have confirmed easily, simply by walking by the front door and looking at the building dedication plate!

Finally, there's Leslie. It was never identified as a "high school," but we wanted to make sure Legg or Pugh wasn't involved. Its architectural pedigree is a little odd. There's no obvious cornerstone outside, but perhaps it was swallowed up by South High's theater and music wing that wraps around the northwest corner of Leslie. The Statesman of July 14th, 1926 has an article on the selection process: With a headline "BOARD DIVIDED ON ARCHITECTS," it continues "Knighton & Howell, Freeman & Struble Asked to Collaborate." Neither Legg nor Pugh had submitted a proposal. It seems that Knighton & Howell hadn't either, but the school board liked the Parrish work well enough that they didn't want to leave the commission solely in the hands of the Salem firm of Freeman & Struble. Or perhaps it's more accurate to say that the school board needed for political reasons to carve out room in the commission for a local firm. Either way, the building may be something of a red-headed stepchild, a design no one wished to claim.

The 1905 Old School is a Pugh

So the only "high school" buildings left for Pugh or Legg are the 1905 Salem High School and the 1887/1893 East or Washington School (at least two dates are attested).

The paper gives a clear trail on the 1905 and confirms it is Pugh's!*

On February 27th, 1905, the Capital Journal ran a piece about the school board awarding the school design contract to Pugh. At that meeting, and in the paper throughout March, there is much grousing about the potential for graft in a no-bid contract. In the March 20th paper, the school board formally accepted the plans, with Dr. Byrd first taking exception to the inclusion of a gymnasium and shower rooms. These were struck from the plans. No Physical Education for the good doctor! The plans did, however, retain separate "bicycle rooms" for the boys and girls.

Construction bids would be accepted at Pugh's offices and opened on April 1st, the building to be completed by September 30th. Pugh estimated a wood building would cost $34,000 and a pressed brick $41,500.

By summer, Fred Legg had joined Pugh's practice. On August 29th a notice appears announcing "bids will be recieved at the office of Pugh & Legg" for a "one-story frame school building to be erected in school district No. 61, Polk County." District 61 was in Airlie, and this two-story school building in Airlie (courtesy of Oregon Hoops History) could be it, though of course it's got an extra story (and solving this mystery is another story itself! and may be out of the CT purview).

So it seems pretty clear that Pugh drew up the designs for the Salem High School, and it was likely that Legg was involved in supervising the school's construction. It should not surprise us, then, that memories were fuzzy at the end of Legg's life, and that some or all of the credit for the school might go to him. But Pugh is very clearly the designer.

The school was dedicated on January 1, 1906. Welch and Mourer were the builders, and they also built the "Klinger and Schreiber Block."

This saloon ad from August 1904 references the Klinger block on the alley, between the Schreiber building and the Bligh. Another reference from about the same time mentions old, decayed wood, so it's not clear that at this time in 1904 there's a brick building there. More mystery!

East/Washington School

Back to the schools, the main remaining question is the 1887/93 school (at top).

Pugh's father, David Hall Pugh, is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery, and the biography they cite there is helpful.
Mr. Pugh became one of Salem's foremost contractors and builders and left many beautiful monuments to his handicraft.
He built the E. N. Cook mansion**, that has graced Court Street for over half a century. He also built the old Cumberland Presbyterian and the Presbyterian churches, besides many other public buildings and good residences of the early capital city. Always his work was of the best and he was heard often to remark that he was not afraid when his work was inspected.
It also notes that he
was a member of the immigrant train of 1845 that brought his father, David Pugh, Sr., his mother Jeanette and brothers William, John, Andy, Silas and sister Mandy Anne and a little sister to Oregon.*** The brother William was captain of the train, and other families in the caravan were Alva Smith, Commodore Rose, whose wife died on the plains and whose children, Commodore, Jr., Sarah and Nancy, went to live in the Pugh family.
Walter's uncle, William, appears in school history as the original superintendent of District 24J.

So it seems likely that Walter's father, David Pugh, Jr., was involved in the design and construction of East School. The Cooke mansion looks like a finer, more delicate version of the school, even! But we are not sure to what extent this reflects stylistic patterns common to the era and to what extent it might express a personal style of the Pughs. The Piper/Boothby Courthouse looks similar, too. (Walter himself was not even 20 at the beginning of construction for the school, and seems therefore too young to have led any of the phases, though he might certainly have labored on the project. On the other hand, by 1888 he designed the Shelton-McMurphey House in Eugene, and the National Register form suggests he was active as a carpenter in 1880 as a teenager.)

If it turns out not to be a Pugh, our old friend Wilbur Boothby is a likely suspect.

Construction for the school ran from 1883-87. (The 1893 date for a Pugh school cited in the OSH nomination form is wrong and is most likely an error for 1905.) There were financial difficulties and construction was delayed at least once. By fall 1886 construction was complete enough for students and teachers to use the building, though it didn't seem to be finished until 1887. We hope to have more on the school.

* Well, after we got into this a bit, we found an old-media note that would have simplified things! Drawing on her earlier 1932 dissertation, Constance Weinman contributed "A History of the Salem Public Schools, 1893-1916," to Marion County History, XIII: School Days I, and said clearly that Pugh designed the school. Weinman also added that among the chief cities in the Willamette Valley, Salem was late to develop high school education; she also felt Salemites were generally dismissive of education. It's an interesting antecedent to the So-Lame/Salemia meme.

** The Cooke-Patton house was razed for the State Library and Capitol Mall in 1939. Virginia Green's note on 1938 has some of the history and notes on the passing of Luella Patton in 2007.

*** This piece references a Reverend William Pugh as the patriarch, not David Pugh, Sr. The biographical material cited here in the cemetery records is in part compiled from the oral histories in the Book of Remembrance of Marion County, Oregon Pioneers, 1840-1860 by Sarah Hunt Steeves (1927). Drawing on material from Catherine Entz Pugh, the wife of David Hall Pugh, it contains several short biographies of Pugh family members, and identifies the father as David, Sr. The Reverend William must be interpolated from some other source.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Welcome Summer! A Poetical Toast

In honor of the first day of summer, here's some beer poetry!

It's very California, but the mood of late rain and waiting seems just right now here in Oregon.

We have felt neurotic ourselves!

An excerpt from "Psychoanalysis: An Elegy" by Jack Spicer.

What are you thinking?

I think that I would like to write a poem that is slow as a summer
As slow getting started
As 4th of July somewhere around the middle of the second stanza
After a lot of unusual rain
California seems long in the summer.
I would like to write a poem as long as California
And as slow as a summer.
Do you get me, Doctor? It would have to be as slow
As the very tip of summer.
As slow as the summer seems
On a hot day drinking beer outside Riverside
Or standing in the middle of a white-hot road
Between Bakersfield and Hell
Waiting for Santa Claus.
(Heat wave article here.)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Louis Hazeltine, Bligh Theater Architect

Here's a follow-up to our note about the Bligh Theater. This article from January 1, 1911 poses several questions for more research! It's important to remember this is advertorial rather than straight news, though. But while it may not be conclusive by itself, it suggests several new attributions.

"By his fruits ye shall know him." There is no more appropriate expression that could be used in praise or recommendation of Louis R. Hazeltine, Salem's new architect, than the biblical quotation above given. Although Mr. Hazeltine has been engaged in the business of architectural designing and drafting in Salem for considerably less than two years, he has been responsible for the creation of some of the handsomest business and residence structures in the city and has gained an enviable reputation in his line of work.

Mr. Hazeltine came directly to Salem from New York city, in March, 1909, and had no more than "hung out his shingle,: than he was flooded with business and has been buried in work up to his ears ever since. He was awarded the contracts for some of the largest state buildings during his first year of work in this city, and his work was of such a character than his bids are always given the preference by the state board of building commissioners, all else being equal.

Perhaps one of the most striking examples of his ability an ingenuity in the art and science of modern architecture is the almost miraculous transformation of the old and antiquated Willamette Hotel, into a hostelry of the most modern type, both as to design of architecture, inside and out, and the interior appointments, which places the Hotel Marion, the new creation, well up in the list of first class hotels upon the coast, and it is the pride of every loyal citizen of Salem - and they are all loyal.

Among the most important or prominent of the business and residence structures which Mr. Hazeltine designed and superintended the construction of during the past year, to say nothing of more than a score of dwellings of a minor character are the two-story business block for Catlin & Linn, on State street; residence for District Attorney John H. McNary*, at the corner of Center and Summer streets; the state sanitorium for the treatment of tubercular patients**; Bligh's new two-story theatre building, on State street; residence for B. C. Miles on Court street.***

Mr. Hazeltine designed and furnished the detailed specifications for all of the physicians cottages**** at the insane asylum, and many other state buildings last year, as well as numerous dwellings and business blocks in the city, all of which stand as monuments to his knowledge and skill in his profession, and just now, he is so overcrowded with applications that he cannot procure competent assistance sufficient to perform the work that is being heaped upon him and has been obliged to decline many of the applications made to him.
The downtown historic district nomination form lacks information on Hazeltine, and the attribution here for the Catlin & Linn building appears to be new.

* Here's a note on a heritage tree, a ginko, at the old site of his house.

** More here and here. It's not entirely clear whether Hazeltine did a remodel of the old deaf-mute school or designed new construction.

*** The Spaulding house, next door to the Miles house, and its neighborhood heat plant is discussed here in a fascinating note.

**** Information on the State Hospital cottages is hard to find, and the historic district nomination form has little. The library photo collection identifies the two largest and fanciest as Hazeltine's, however. (Modern view here.) One of the cottages resembles the Spaulding house next to the Miles house on Court street, but this might be coincidence.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Brewery Preview: These Mavericks offer Big Beer, not Big Basketball

Tired of the Dallas Mavericks? Them and LeBron, they're so yesterday. So how about David's Mavericks!

The Salem beeriverse is getting bigger, and there's a new brewery just about ready to launch.

David's Mavericks will be in north downtown focusing on big beers. They list Reconciliation Red, Prefunk Porter, and The Diplomat IPA. Apparently they wanted to brew "imperial" versions of each, but cannot do so:
Since our inception, state licensing restrictions have forced us to change our beer styles...
Discouraging yes, frustrating certainly; but we see this as an obstacle not a show stopper and we certainly will not let this stop us from doing what we set out to do. For the interim we'll remain Diplomatic and Reconcile with the regulators. We'll share with you a Prefunk, of what's to come, by bringing you the best 6.0 abv beers. I'm sure you'll enjoy our current lineup and with your support we'll find deliverance; eventually bringing you our select monster ales.
This is a little strange, as plenty of Oregon brewers seem to be able to brew above 6.0% abv, but perhaps there is some regulatory wrinkle unknown to us. (Hopefully we can get more and update the story.)

The target audience for Mavericks beer seems to be fans of Tennessee sour mash more than Belgian sour ale, NASCAR more than electric car. The brand vibe, as you can probably tell, is very guy: "monster ales," "big beers," and trucks. The beers aren't brewed just with love, they're brewed with testosterone!

Good luck Mavericks. May you win, too!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

UO Students Pitch Brewpub by the Bridge

You know the Riverfront needs a brewpub, right?

You're not the only one to think this!

A reader passed along "The Growler," a project from the University of Oregon Sustainable Cities Initiative residency.

You can see the full project poster here.

It's a brewpub concept for the east side of the Union Street Railroad Bridge.

How great would that be?!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Stumptown Coffee Sold? Would Join Vitamin Water and Famous Amos

In order to finance cafe and roaster expansion, as well as grocery store sales of cold coffee in stubbies, Stumptown Coffee appears to have been sold to a investment firm with track record of flipping.

The rumors first blew up on Twitter early last week, and at first it seemed like an overreaction to an outside investment. But over the weekend enough details have emerged to make this more than rumor mongering.

If you follow coffee, you'll have seen the Esquire screed and the follow up. Here's the latest at Willamette Week. Portland Food and Drink has more.

The story continues to get play in the New York Times. It is also still developing, as Stumptown has been late to confirm details.

You could see it coming of course, with the expansion to New York.

Back in 2007 Mark Pendergrast wrote a piece for Wine Spectator about Stumptown Coffee and its special relationship to the el Injerto farm in Guatemala.

Wine Spectator, of course, is a lifestyle magazine, a manual for signalling and disposable income more than a guide to either connoisseurship or geekery.

That was probably the moment Stumptown jumped the shark.

TSG Consumer Partners is said to have a 90% stake in Stumptown. Vitamin Water and Famous Amos cookies are two of the brands Stumptown will be joining. You see where it all is going.

In the past year several Salem cafes have been brewing Stumptown. It's great coffee, an important contribution to a more lively beverage scene in town. The hipster and indie cred is going to disappear. This may not matter to Salemites, who aren't much interested in hipsters or indie-anything. What will matter is the potential loss of really good coffee.

So get to Salem's Latte, Clockworks, or the Broadway Coffeeshop before it all goes away! Support your local roaster, like the Governor's Cup. Ask for good coffee, not sugary flavor delivery systems! Carpe Diem!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Lost Glories: Bootlegger Bligh and August Schreiber

Oh, the stories long gone hotels would tell!

After Oregon had gone dry, but before Prohibition went Constitutional, theater owner T.G. Bligh was busted for booze. In February 1917 agents confiscated seven cases of beer from his home, his hotel, and his theater.

Today we remember Bligh mainly as the man behind the recently demolished Capitol Theater.

But in the late Vaudeville and early movie eras, Bligh was an emperor of entertainment, and had a large chain of Salem theaters. It cannot surprise us he was might be involved in illicit beer! And it wasn't the only time the hotel was associated with Salem's seedy side.

Empty lots, unfortunately, commemorate most of the theaters today.

Facing State Street between Liberty and High, on either side of the alley running between the McGilchrist block and the Masonic building, are two parking lots.

In mid-century Salem, however, State Street offered a continuous line of buildings and a lively streetscape.

Here you can see (L to R) the clock in front of Pomeroy building, the Gray building, the gap for Liberty, the McGilchrist block, the Bligh Hotel, the State Hotel, the Masonic Building, and the Capitol dome in the distance. Notice the two-way traffic on State Street! (Centering the word "Bligh" over the "t" in "Hotel" makes the sign read "Blight" - funny!)

The Bligh Block started construction in 1910. On November 29th, a small news item noted that Bligh had placed a $20 gold piece among the bricks by the cornerstone. A thief had vandalized the bricks and taken the gold.

A 1927 account describes the many theaters of T.G. Bligh and says he
in 1908 opened the Star Theater in Salem. This was the first ten-cent show house in the city and had a seating capacity of one hundred and ninety-seven. In 1912* he established the Bligh Hotel, provided with sixty guest rooms, and in the same year opened the Bligh Theater, which contained five hundred seats. It was closed in 1927 and the Star Theater was sold in 1912. He also owned the Mascot Theater, with seating accommodations for two hundred and fifty persons, and the Bligh, formerly known as the Klinger** Grand Theater, provided with three hundred and fifty seats. He added the Liberty to his chain of theaters, and for six years was the owner of the house, which had five hundred seats. He was one of the foremost business men of the city and left the deep impress of his individuality upon the history of its development. In November, 1925, when fifty-four years of age, he was fatally injured in an automobile accident. His widow still makes her home in Salem.
It notes that the Capitol theater was originally known as the "New Bligh Capitol Theater."

According to the downtown historic district nomination form,
Following the death of T. G. Bligh, Frank D. Bligh took over the family hotel and theater business. In 1926 he built the Bligh Building [site of the restaurant La Capitale] and the adjoining (to the east) Capitol Theater of reinforced concrete.
Across the alley from the Bligh Block was another hotel in the Schreiber Block.

Information on it is harder to find. At the top of the building are the words "Schreiber, 1902" and we recall a 1908 note about a Schreiber saloon on State Street. The void is also two separate tax lots, and the photo of the fire (below) appears to show two buildings.

The Polk directories show August Schreiber operating a saloon from at least 1889, and on State Street from 1891. In the 1905 directory, when the Schreiber block appears for the first time, he also has a saloon in the building. It seems likely that August had been a successful operator and was able to finance his own building.

As for the hotels, details are few. Around 1905 "The Keith" Hotel appears next to the Schreiber block. We were not able to determine if it had a separate name for the building and it will take more digging to learn about this building. Ads for the Keith called out "furnished rooms" and a "European plan."

The State Hotel dates from much later than this period.

One online note suggests the Schreiber Building may have burned on December 6, 1966 - but the newspaper of the 7th and 8th doesn't seem to have an article on it, and we cannot confirm it.

The fire in the Bligh Hotel was front page news. It burned on Saturday, June 8, 1975. According to the June 9th Statesman, the first alarm was called in at 12:19am and not long after it was a full three-alarm blaze. Like many old hotels in Salem and elsewhere, the Bligh operated as a boarding house (or SRO) with 40 rental units. The rooms rented for about $2.75 a night. About 58 residents, whom the paper called "the transients or winos of Salem," escaped, but two died, Arnold "Smokey" Stover, age 48, and August "Auggie" Cico, age 49. Both were farm laborers and had lived there for several years.

The paper quoted another resident, "Okie," about his night:
I had beans and cornbread for supper Saturday after working in the broccoli fields all day. Then I went to bed about 8pm because I was tired. Didn't get drunk last night. Friday, but not last night.
Other businesses in the block were Transamerica Title Insurance, Steimonts Studio, and The Jewel Box jewelry store.

Within the week, investigators determined arson was the likely cause.

Today, all three lots remain vacant, generating fees from auto parking. After both fires, it was apparently not profitable to rebuild.

The arched flying "buttress" that appears behind the Roth Building (old Jonathan's space) cannot be part of the original Bligh Theater or sit in its old footprint as a faux-vestigial proscenium. On the north side of the Masonic Building, and across the alley from the Roth Building, the 1926 Sanborn shows a large second-hand furniture and appliance store constructed with "wood posts," and it is possible the buttress was actually to stabilize that building. Anyone know what it really is?

The Bligh family members are buried in City View cemetery. The monument reproduces Bligh's signature, presumably, and is one of our favorites.

The Schreibers are mostly buried in St. Barbara's cemetery.

Photo credits:
Empty Lots: Personal CT "Archives"
Down State Street, 1941: Salem Public Library Historic Photograph Collections
Bligh Block, 1940s: Salem Public Library Historic Photograph Collections (zoom in!)
TG Bligh: Oregon State Library
State Hotel: Marion Dean Ross, University of Oregon
Firefighting, 1966: Salem Public Library Historic Photograph Collections

* The 1911 Polk directory has an ad for the Bligh Hotel and several listings for businesses in the Bligh Block. It seems possible that the 1912 date of completion is errant, a year late.

** This may be a reference to a different business operated by Maurice Klinger or one of his children! Bits on Klinger here and here.