City Hall - Corvallis, OR
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member NW_history_buff
N 44° 33.810 W 123° 15.739
10T E 479169 N 4934496
This historical marker is located on the corner of SW Madison and SW 4th Streets in downtown Corvallis.
Waymark Code: WMFJHC
Location: Oregon, United States
Date Posted: 10/26/2012
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 2

The City Hall historical marker highlights this site where a former city hall once existed from 1892 to 1956. This site now is home to the Book Bin. The following words on this marker describe the history of this former city hall:

The Corvallis City Hall was located on the southeast corner of Fourth and Madison Streets from 1892 to 1956. This grand brick and stone building with the imposing belltower housed the City Council Chambers, and in addition, provided much of the ground floor for the horses and the horse-drawn equipment of the Volunteer Fire Department. The Volunteer Fire Department, organized in 1888, had all male members. However, the ladies of Corvallis had formed a service organization called the Ladies of the Coffee Club in 1883 to provide hot coffee and sandwiches for the weary men who fought the city's fires.

Wrap Text around Image On the second floor of the City Hall, in addition to the kitchen for the Coffee Club, there were city offices and a grand ballroom. Among other social events, there was a Mid-Summer Dance held annually as a benefit for the Volunteer Fire Department. It was sponsored by the Ladies of the Coffee Club.

On July 29, 1913, the Gazette-Times announced that all eligible young men were invited to the Mid-Summer Dance, but that the "tango, turkey trot, bunny hug, and the grizzly bear dances will be banned --- Unless the demand is insistent."

Perhaps that year was particularly successful because in November 1913, there was a newspaper description of the new sleeping quarters which had been prepared on the second floor. Nine firemen shared, "... a room, 25 x 30 feet, offering ample space for five double beds, bathroom, including shower and tub, 9 built-in lockers, and a writing table." A brass sliding pole enabled firemen to don rubber boots attached to water-proofed trousers and to get from their beds to the horse-drawn equipment in approximately 19 to 30 seconds.

Discipline for the resident firemen was strict. Lights were out by 10 p.m. No card playing or smoking were allowed, and all the men had to be up at 7 a.m.

At this time, the 5000 people of Corvallis were protected by 75 volunteers under the direction of Fire Chief Thomas Graham, and equipped with the finest horse-drawn equipment (valued at $10,000).

The City Hall was sold in 1956 and demolished to prepare the site for the department store. The city government moved to the building at the northwest corner of 5th and Madison Streets, which, during World War II, had been owned by the Federal Government and used as a U.S.O Headquarters.

The Fire Department moved to the northwest corner of 5th and Van Buran Streets where a new building was constructed for mechanized equipment, with more modern and commodious sleeping quarters on the second floor.

This historical marker was placed in 1983 by the Madison Avenue Task Force. It is comprised of a volunteer group of citizens who's mission is to provide a walking tour of downtown Corvallis for pedestrians to pause and appreciate Corvallis' history and art. Many historical markers and art objects are strategically placed throughout the walking tour. Click here to go to their website and learn more about other historical markers and works of art located downtown.

Historic Topic: Modern Age 1900 to date

Group Responsible for placement: Historical Society

Marker Type: City

Region: Willamette Valley

County: Benton

Web link to additional information: [Web Link]

State of Oregon Historical Marker "Beaver Board": Not listed

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