Historic Downtown Salem, 240-254 Commercial Street
Englischer Text kopiert am 10. Oktober 2004 von http://www.salemhistory.net/places/historic_240_commercial.htm.
This is a two-story stucco-covered, unreinforced brick building in the Italianate style, most likely designed by Wilbur F. Boothby. It has cast-iron ornamentation on its primary facade. This seven-bay building was originally the southern part of a twenty-three-bay building known as the South Eldridge Block. Most of the ornate decorative features, which serve to define its Italianate character, remain.
The predominate architectural accent of the building is the pedimented entrance that continues from the ground-floor upward to become the tower base. The cornice is canted with brackets, terminating at a bas-relief parapet that is bisected by the tower base (the tower was removed at an unknown date). Between the brackets are twelve one-foot-high sunburst or fan decorative details across the entire width of the facade. The year 1889 appears in twelve-inch-high relief numerals on the tower base.
Each of the seven second-story one-over-one, double-hung sash windows is ornately accented. Each has a transom window and above each transom window in bas-relief trim that extends across the top of the transom window and continues halfway down the side of the primary window to terminate in a decorative bracket with acanthus and ball trim. Decorative pilasters flank the windows and are on either side of the central bay and at the building’s edges.
The storefront appears to date from c.1930s-40s. Glass windows, some with steel mullions and others connected through the beveling of the glass, rest on tile bulkheads, line the recessed entryways that have scored concrete floors, and contribute to the historic character of the building, as does the metal canopy that appears to be from the same period. The transoms have been painted over. The building retains its historic integrity and contributes to the character of the downtown district.
History and Significance
The South Eldridge Block, erected in 1889, conveys a sense of historical evolution that characterizes Salem’s commercial district. This building is the southern-most seven-bay section of a twenty-three-bay building that extended to the end of the block. It has retained architectural integrity of design, window fenestration, and decorative ornamentation on the second floor, and it is associated with local noteworthy architect Wilbur F. Boothby and Salem’s Rostein and Greenbaum families, long-time Salem merchants.
Wilbur F. Boothby, a native of Maine born in 1840, was educated at Fulton College in New York, and arrived in Salem, Oregon, in 1864. He bought this property in 1890 from R.M. Wade, a Salem and Portland hardware and agricultural implement merchant. By that time, Boothby had operated a sash and door factory in Salem for many years as well as being a contractor and architect. Boothby also served as first president of the Salem waterworks. In 1872 he built the elaborate Italianate style Marion County Courthouse in Salem (now gone). He also planned and built the state mental institution and contributed to the erection of most public buildings in the state capital.
It is most likely that Boothby designed and built the entire Eldridge Block, including the remaining portion at 240 Commercial Street. The South Eldridge Block is one of several (both residential and commercial) properties owned by W.F. Boothby. With his wife Rebecca A. Dalgleish Boothby, W.F. Boothby parented six children, two of whom (Charles G. and Veva McCourt) lived to adulthood. Following W.F. Boothby’s death in the mid-1910s, his children owned the building until 1917.
In 1919 the local merchants partnership of Rostein and Greenbaum bought the Eldridge Block. This building had housed Greenbaum's, a department store since 1900, possibly even 1898. It then became Rostein & Greenbaum's in 1903 when Ed Rostein bought into the business.
About a decade after Rostein & Greenbaum became a partnership, Isadore Greenbaum's son, Adolph Greenbaum, joined the family retail business, after attending the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. At this time, Ed Rostein left the business and joined his brother-in-law, Sam Adolph, in opening an insurance and real estate company, Rostein & Adolph Insurance Company. Edward Rostein continued in this venture into his seventies. By then, after sixty years of conducting business in Salem, he had gained the sobriquet of "Dean of Commercial Street."
Isadore Greenbaum died in 1930. Adolph and his wife, Mildred Brunk, ran the store briefly until she died in the late 1920s. Adolph Greenbaum continued on, changing the department store to a fabric shop, probably between 1943 and 1948. The business became known as "Greenbaum's Fine Fabrics."
In 1943, Adolph Greenbaum and Ed Rostein sold this building to Roy Lockenour. Adolph rented space from Lockenour with the understanding that Adolph would have the first chance to buy the building if Lockenour decided to sell it. Adolph died in 1960 while on a hiking trip in Olympic National Park in Washington. His sister, Irene Depenbrock, then took over Greenbaum's Fine Fabrics. Irene's husband, Albert Depenbrock, eventually joined his wife in the Greenbaum business.
A few years later, Roy Lockenour told Albert Depenbrock that Lipman's department store wanted to buy the building and that they had agreed on a price, but he was honoring his earlier agreement with the deceased Adolph Greenbaum and offered it to the Depenbrocks first. Albert took his time before telling Irene about this, not realizing that Lipman's intended to replace the building with an enlarged parking lot. After hearing this, Irene Depenbrock immediately went to the bank and successfully obtained financing. She then called Roy Lockenour, who was in a meeting with Lipman's. On December 9, 1966, he sold the building to Albert and Irene Depenbrock, thus preserving it for their future use.
The Depenbrocks' daughter, Sylvia, and her husband, Bill Dorney, bought the business on January 1, 1978. Bill and Sylvia worked together at Greenbaum's Fine Fabrics until 1985 when Bill left to become director of the Salem Downtown Association. Sylvia specialized the shop's merchandise further, changing the fabric store into a quilting fabric shop in 1988, known as "Greenbaum's Quilted Forest." Bill and Sylvia Dorney purchased the South Eldridge Block in May of 1999. Greenbaum's Quilted Forest continues to occupy the building in 2000.