Historic Hood River
This is one of those “I could swear I shared this before” images. Perhaps I used it in a talk. Anyway, these appear to be preliminary sketches for the Eliot Building (Franz Hardware Building) at Oak and Second. I previously posted a blueprint for the facade. The story I was told was Dr. T.L. Eliot ran into architect A.E. Doyle in Florence, Italy, and asked him to design this building. The blueprint says, “Albert E. Doyle, Architect, Portland Oregon. Florence, Italy, 27th Aug 1906” which seems to back up the story.
Sally Donovan’s entry for this building in the Oregon Historic Sites Database says the building was designed by the firm of P.M. Hall-Lewis in 1906, then constructed in 1908-9 with additional plans and specifications by A.E. Doyle. This is the same account as in “Building at the End of the Oregon Trail”. A 1907 article in The Hood River Glacier announcing bids for the building construction cites Hall-Lewis as the architect. Additional articles in The Hood River Glacier indicate construction was completed in 1908, not 1909, so this is all a bit muddled.
Doyle is an important architect, so it would be good to know the full extent of his connection to the design of this building. I am comfortable the blueprint of the facade puts Doyle’s fingerprints on this in 1906 in Florence. It is possible this is a sketch Doyle drew for Eliot in Florence. Since the later article announcing construction bids lists Hall-Lewis as the architect, I suspect Hall-Lewis took over the project after initial design, and not the other way around.
Note the building as constructed was modified from this drawing. I sure wish they had kept the center window with the wrought iron railing, but I suspect the needs of the building tenants got in the way of aesthetic considerations. Did Hall-Lewis make this modification? I suspect we’ll never know.
In researching this building I ran across a fascinating discussion about “moving buildings.” In March 1907 the city council was discussing an ordinance to prohibit moving buildings from location to location without permits. Apparently all over town wood frame buildings were being moved from one site to another. This caused consternation during the planning of the Eliot Building, because a confectioner was planning to move his wooden building just north of this site. Why was this a problem? Adjacency to a wood frame building increased insurance costs, so brick building owners wanted to restrict moving wood frame buildings next to their buildings so their insurance rates wouldn’t be increased.