|Pietro Belluschi's 1946-8 First National Bank:|
Demolition permit issued September 1st
On September 1st, the City issued a demolition permit for the First National Bank building at 280 Liberty St NE designed by Pietro Belluschi.
It and the building next door (260 Liberty) sold for $1,775,000 and the sale looks like it closed on August 31st.
So they didn't waste any time on the demolition permit!
According to the minutes from last month's Downtown Advisory Board, Pacific Office Automation will go into the 260 building.
So that leaves the sinking queasy feeling that the 280 lot, the site of the bank building, might remain as surface parking rather than redeveloped as a new building.
It also means that the mixed-use redevelopment proposed for pretty much the whole northern half of that block, including the Old City Hall site, is probably abandoned.
|From Liberty Street: A Blank Box, unfortunately|
But we should remember that our stock of Belluschi's buildings, designed by the most important 20th century architect in Oregon, is quickly being lost:
1. Willamette University Library/ Smullin Hall, 900 State St., 1938
2. Willamette University Science Building, 1941
3. Willamette University Baxter Complex, 1943
4. Willamette University Doney Hall, 1948
5. Oregon Statesman Printing Plant, 280 Church St. NE, 1944, at risk
9. YWCA Building, 768 State St., 1946-52
10. Marion County Courthouse, 100 High St. NE, 1950
#6 and #8 are a lock now for demolition, and with the sale of the Statesman building, #5 is increasingly at risk.
That will leave us with two intact buildings off the Willamette Campus.
Consider stopping by to pay your respects and to admire the reliefs. Even though the building was completed in the 40s, Frederic Littman's art looks back to the WPA and the 1930s.
|Logging and Timber|
|Probably Hop Harvest|
Update, November 16th - Sleuthing out an Error!
This is very interesting! There is a misidentified building and errant history in our Downtown Historic District.
a revised Hearing Notice for the storefront and facade work on the building next door to the Belluschi Bank.
It strkes out language describing the building as the Elfstrom and Eyre Department Store of 1928, and calls it instead the W.T. Grant Store of 1955. A consequence is that the building's classification shifts from "historic non-contributing" to "non-historic non-contributing."
So we have a mystery!
But it is resolved. In some ways the Staff Report for the meeting on the 17th is more about a detective story:
According to the nomination documents and the historic photo, this building was constructed in 1928 as the Elfstrom and Eyre Department Store. The nomination documents note that the building has been remodeled significantly in the 1970s and the building is therefore historic non-contributing.But this also underscores that an historically significant building will be demolished, and a nothingburger will be remodeled and retained.
City of Salem staff completed additional research to confirm this assessment, and after noting that the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps state that the existing building was constructed in 1955, found an article from the Statesman on November 17, 1955 confirming the construction and official opening of the W.T. Grant Co. store in 1955. Further research confirmed that this site in fact has never housed the Elfstrom and Eyre Department Store which was actually located within Salem's downtown at 340 Court (the New Breyman Building) which is still extant. The Elfstrom and Eyre Department Store was moved to 260 Liberty St. S, which may have been the source of the original confusion....
The SHPO [State Historic Preservation Office] has confirmed that the designation should be changed to non-historic, non-contributing....While the official evaluation of the building can only be formally changed by the National Park Service in consultation with the Oregon SHPO...staff recommends that the Historic Landmarks Commission find that teh historic name of this building is the W.T. Grant Co. Building and the construction date for this building is actually 1955. Staff further recommends that the HLC find that the building is non-historic, non-contributing to the Downtown National Register District....
[And] staff recommends that the Historic Landmarks Commission approve the proposal [for the new storefront system].