ONG, c1910 – Help Us Out!

Last week’s Help Us Out from the City Archives took the difficulty up a notch from previous mysteries; it took until the relatively late hour of 9:22am before it was identified. Bonus points to Jim for correctly identifying the Zeta Psi building. We have very little to go on today, other than that it seems to be an Oregon National Guard building being constructed sometime around 1910. Your mission: find out where this building was (or is). Good luck!

Found: Woodburn, OR

(City of Portland Archives)

24 thoughts on “ONG, c1910 – Help Us Out!

  1. Do the reflections in the windows give a clue to anyone? The windows on the left indicate a hillside.

  2. @Kathleen. I don’t think the ONG building pictured in the linked gallery is the same building as above. In the gallery photo the brickwork over the door is curved like an arch where as above it is square. Also in the other photo there is a line of lighter-colored brick trim directly under the 2nd floor windows that is absent above.

  3. I agree with you, Brian. So that seems to eliminate Camp Withycombe if that’s where the photo I mentioned was taken.

  4. Some buildings were torn down at Camp Withycombe with all the recent new buildings done there. This building may no longer exist.

  5. The old armory in NW if the window reflections Sharon points out are to be believed. Pure speculation here.

  6. It seems in all the pictures of armories and military buildings I’ve seen, the main entrances are much fancier and grandiose. Could this be a side or back entrance?

  7. It’s possible that ONG does not stand for Oregon National Guard although there is an emblem on the wall that looks military but can’t read it.

  8. I believe I may have an answer. I did a quick search on the Oregon State Library photo website under the search term “Oregon National Guard” and the second photo shows a military band playing in front of what is purported to be the old Woodburn Oregon Armory. The details of the building are identical to the one pictured here.

  9. I think Edmund is right. Here is another view of the Woodburn Armory. While the photo is small, and the side we’re looking at above appears on the side facing to the right (and is in the shade…) on my linked photo, if you look closely all the details of the window location, spacing (even the row of very small ones along the sidewalk), the brick patterns, the two protruding sections (with the “ONG” on them above) and the state seal in the middle, all match identically. Not sure why the Woodburn Armory would end up in the City of Portland archives, but assuming the Oregon State Library has the location right, it appears somehow it did.

  10. Ok, ok, one more photo, showing some context. The building is seen facing S. 1st St. (the street in the photo above) on the corner of W. Cleveland St. with S. Front St. in the foreground. It looks like at least two of the building in the photo remain (and maybe some of the houses in the background): the “Farm Implements” building and the small building on the corner of Front and Arthur. Where the armory used to be is the parking lot for City Hall.

  11. Thanks for the heads up Brian. I’m not sure how to get it to show up here. Just a small article so I’ll take the easy out and quote. 🙂

    “Salem, Or. Dec 9th
    Grant of $9000 to Salem and $7000 to Woodburn was made by the County Court today for new Armories….
    Woodburn must raise $7000 and the state $14,000 for the Woodburn Armory, the Salem building to cost $36,000 and the Woodburn building $28,000. Money from the state is assured.”

  12. Well thanks to Sharon’s observation above I still think it is a view of the west end of the old Portland Armory, the camera is pointed SW/NE. I can not recall any other building in Portland that featured firing slits on the facade. Still just a guess.

  13. Brian, Thank you for the links to additional pictures of the Woodburn Armory. I am now totally convinced that the “mystery Picture” above is indeed the Woodburn Armory. As you said, “all the details of the window location, spacing (even the row of very small ones along the sidewalk), the brick patterns, the two protruding sections (with the “ONG” on them above) and the state seal in the middle, all match identically.”

    I have seen many historical pictures of the Portland Armory from different angles, before and after its downsizing and the architecture is quite different from the mystery pic. The Portland Armory had an ashlar stone base making up the first story on all sides of the building and brick for only the second floor. The west end of the Portland armory didn’t look anything like the mystery pic.

    Funny thing, I found a picture of Portland’s long-gone Kern Mansion in the photo archives of the Clark Co. Washington historical society. It was vaguely labeled “victorian style house near Ross Island bridge”. Who knows why it was there? My suspicion is that the unidentified picture here shows a Portland based construction firm finishing work on the brand new Woodburn Armory. The picture might have accompanied a newspaper article of the time and somehow ended up in the Portland City archives.

    Cheers, Edmund

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