Downtown Newberg Walking Tour

This walking tour is designed to give a deeper understanding of the history of the Newberg and the history of downtown. We hope you find its contents both educational and entertaining.

As a walking tour, it takes approximately 90 minutes to visit the locations outlined here.  No homes are included. Points of interest are concentrated in a six-block area along both sides of E. First Street. It is recommended that you begin your journey from west to east, or along the south side of the street; return via the north side.

E. First Street was the original route of U.S. 99W through downtown. For many years, it was two-way traffic.

During the early part of the 1900s, Newberg was the brick-making capital of Oregon. Many of the buildings you’ll see on this tour were made from local bricks. Willamina brick, which is white or blonde in color, was especially popular.

Be on the lookout for buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Also notice that downtown Newberg retains most of its infrastructure from before 1940. In essence, this tour shows how Newberg looked during the early half of the 20th century, a city center frozen in time. The visitor is encouraged to pause and reflect about how things used to be in small town America.

If you grew up here, get ready for a flood of memories.  Above all, have fun.

 

E. FIRST STREET…SOUTH SIDE WALKING EAST

204-208 E. First: Johnson Furniture. 1910, 1911, and 1920. Behind the wide awning of this well-known furniture business stands three historic buildings, collectively designated by the city in 2010 as a local historic landmark. At 204 E. First was E.C. Baird’s General Dry Goods Store, in business under this name from 1910-1926. Johnson’s Hardware was at 206 E. First. The building was constructed in 1920 and locals knew it as the Vincent Feed and Commission Store. The 208 E. First address was constructed in 1911 and for many years was known as Christianson-Larkin Hardware. Later, the east side of the building housed the popular Clayton’s Bakery. The Johnson family has been in business at this location since 1948.

212-214 E. First: First National Bank Building: 1910. This building anchored the east end of what used to be known as the Wilcox Block, named for Dr. F.T. Wilcox, who had his office here for many years. So did prominent dentist I.R. Root. In 1905, a small office structure occupied the corner location, later removed. Behind the building is a part of Johnson’s Furniture that was originally home to the well-known Oregon City Creamery. By 1910, the First National Bank of Newberg had moved here from the Harker Building (see next entry), where it had been established in the late 1890s. FNB of Newberg consolidated with U.S. National Bank during the Great Depression. In 1930s, an apartment hotel occupied the upper floors. Attractive American Renaissance style and heavy construction gave Newberg a “big city” look for that time.

300 E. First: Harker Building. 1895. Also known as Mason’s Building. At one time far more decorative than now, it remains one of the  most picturesque older buildings in Newberg. Continually used as a drug store for over 84 years, especially Ferguson Rexall Drugs. Ferguson served as an early fire chief for the city. Also hosted the First National Bank of Newberg in its west half before bank moved across Washington Street in 1910 to 214 E. First. This was also an early location of The Newberg Graphic newspaper. The Masons and Eastern Star used the second floor for meeting space from 1897-1932. The upstairs area hosted the teenage Tiger’s Den. The old bank quarters has also housed a restaurant, the Greyhound bus depot in 1970s, and the Owl’s Trunk, a ladies clothing store.

304 E. First: Cameo Theater. 1936. Opened for moviegoers on Aug. 20, 1937. Designed by D.W. Hilborn and built by Peter Johnson of Johnson Construction, both of Vancouver, Wash. It is of the Moderne style, the only building of its type in the city. Warner Brothers was the original owner. To the left of the main theater entrance was a separate commercial storefront that housed a fountain and later a beauty shop. Today this is part of the theater’s snack bar. Bought by local movie man Ted Francis in 1941, who also owned the Francis Theater (see Francis Square) at the corner of E. First and N. College. He later built the Twin-Cinema and the 99W Drive-In, both located east of town where Springbrook Road intersects Highway 99W. Francis also had business interests in McMinnville. Cameo, drive-in and Twin-Cinema are all still owned within the Francis family.

308 E. First: 1902.First Safeway food store in Newberg. Was also a notions and confections store, then a restaurant, later a creamery. A barbershop has been in the eastern half of the building since the 1950s.

310 E. First: 1902.For many years this was Beale’s Shoe Repair.

314 E. First: Johnson’s Food Market.

316 E. First: TheVenus Variety Store, later Newberg Variety.

E. First and Blaine: Blaine Street Railroad Spur. Early 1900s. Built by Newberg Quaker and town founder Jesse Edwards, who owned the Pacific Face Brick Company at the southern end of Blaine near present-day Ewing Young Park, and who needed this rail line to transport his product to market. Bought by the Spaulding Lumber Company in 1912. Today, it is one of the last short-line railroads in the western United States still in use.

400 E. First: Date unknown. Older residents remember this as Seifker Hardware, Anderson Hardware, Bowman’s Restaurant and Newberg Music.

406 E. First: Star Theater. 1909. Newberg’s first movie theater, showing silent movies from 1912 until 1929. Ted Francis rented the Star in 1926 and the woman he hired to play piano accompaniment to the features later became his wife. He closed the Star in 1929, but continued to operate the Baker Theater at 617 E. First, which he had bought in 1927. The “Star” location has also been a bowling alley, a pharmacy, an appliance store and a business known as Energy Expression. The original film projector from the Star is still in possession of the Francis family and is kept at the Cameo.

408 E. First: Bunn Building. 1910. Well-known downtown landmark which housed the offices of dentist E.P. Dixon on the second floor from 1910-1928. Downstairs was a tin shop and later Newberg Interiors. Eventually purchased by well-known attorney Stan Bunn and his wife Mary.

410 E. First: 1905. Early cyclery, a meat company in 1912, a print shop in 1929. Now part of City Hall. Original building at this location destroyed by fire.

414 E. First. City Hall. 1913.Known originally as George Howland Building. Howland was a local builder, whose work at one time could be seen all over town. Architecture is of the Classical Revival style. It replaced earlier building on site which housed City Hall and Fire Department. In new building, early location of Fire Department was around corner on Howard Street in back of building. Willamina brick used in construction.

502 E. First: Hollingsworth Building. 1911. Site originally occupied by a Presbyterian Church, which had constructed on this location in 1902.  Church razed by William Wesley Hollingsworth, who operated with his sons a furniture store and an undertaking business, the latter in the rear of the building. Later this  became Hollingsworth & Wilson General House Furnishing Goods.  Dent Stationary also located here.

504-506 E. First: Unknown. Home to the Newberg Drug Company until it relocated to 606 E. First. It’s the back of this building that reveals an interesting remnant of days gone by. Construction reflects a trapezoidal shape, the angle at which the old Dayton Road used to connect to E. First Street.

508 E. First: Kienle Building. 1910.  This was a piano retailer owned by Kienle and Sons beginning in 1912. They bought the building in 1925.  It was also Lloyd’s Apparel.

510 E. First: Tilden Building. 1928. Decorative Masonry structure. Original owner was Bernard Groth, a former mayor. West half was Groth Electric Company in 1930s. East half was a barbershop for many years under several different barbers, Harold Tilden being the best-known. Groth used to recharge batteries in the back of the store. Woodwork’s Unfinished Furniture also located here. Ice cream parlors under several names housed on west side.

514 E. First: 1928. Housed Columbia Foods and later Francis Supply.

516 E. First: J.C. Penny Store. 1927. Listed on National Register of Historic Places. Decorative masonry style. Penny Company vacated premises in 1980. Later home to Chehalem Mercantile and Khron’s Appliance.

518 E. First: Nottage property. 1927. Owned by William J. Nottage, who owned the Newberg Enterprise newspaper until 1921. He then became editor of  Newberg Graphic until 1936. Later, this was Gainers Food Market, which featured home delivery. Owner Russel (correct spelling) Gainer was prominent in city affairs and a founder of the Newberg Camellia Festival in 1949.

602 E. First: Morris Building. 1920. Occupied in 1929 by a confectionary and tailor. For many years it was the location of three different optometrists, including the well-known Dr. C.A. Morris. This was the first location of the Benjamin Franklin Savings and Loan and the original location of the Coast to Coast Store.

604 E. First: Baker’s TV. 1920s. Zenith radio/TV dealership and electronics repair shop. Son Richard Baker carries on the tradition today at Lewis Audio and Video. Pioneer buildings originally occupied this block.

606 E. First: Emory Hodson Drug Store. 1910. Original owners were the Hodson Brothers, Charles and Julius, who also owned a men’s clothing store next door at 608 E. First. Sold to Emory Hodson in 1912, who then opened one of three drug stores to occupy the building and one of three in town to offer a soda fountain. Julius was Newberg postmaster from 1905-1908. An earlier building occupied the site from 1903-1909, which in 1905 was used as the city’s post office.

608 E. First: Hodson Men’s Clothing Store; Imperial Hotel (addition). 1914.

610 E. First: Montgomery Wards. Was originally home to the Red and White Store.

612-616 E. First: Union Block Building. 1907.Listed on National Register of Historic Places. Also known as the Wilson Building in honor of Wilson Furniture located here for many years.Built by the Union Building Company. Bank of Newberg moved into east third of building almost right away. Newberg’s first mayor, F.A. Morris, was on the board of the bank. Changed from state to federal bank in 1909, with name change from Bank of Newberg to U.S. National Bank of Newberg. Bought by First National Bank of Portland in 1936. Imperial Hotel was in west half of building from 1907 to 1929. The 612-614 addresses made up the lobby and dining room of the hotel. Portland Gas and Coke was located in 612. Western Finance was located in 614. In 616, Miller Mercantile Clothing Store operated for many years, followed by Coast to Coast, Wilson’s Furniture and White’s Collectibles. Martin Redding’s insurance agency was located at the 612 address from 1940-1960, important because A-dec co-owner Joan Austin started her career in business with Redding. Later, the Buckley Insurance Agency bought Redding.

700 E. First: Ben Franklin Building. 1910. General store in 1912. IOOF Hall on second floor. Both remained in building until 1929. Retains original exterior walls. Colonial Revival decorative elements to the facade are later additions. For years, this was home to Portland General Electric, later the Ben Franklin Savings and Loan.

714 E. First: 1902 and 1905. Housed an army surplus store, music store and bowling alley. Others have included a paint and wallpaper store, retail furniture, and dry goods. Directly behind was the Newberg Hotel, later the Ryan Hotel.

716 E. First: Darby’s Restaurant. 1920. For many years, this was one of Newberg’s most popular eateries. Early residents knew this as the City Meat Market, under the ownership of Homer G. Moore.

804 E. First: Early 1900s. Originally a drug store, later a linoleum shop and appliance store.

806 E. First: Dan Wilson Clinic. Early 1900s. Paint and wallpaper shop, later the clinic of popular Chiropractor Dan Wilson, who was here for 33 years.

808 E. First: Sammy’s Billiards. 1902-1905. Now demolished. Originally built as a plumber’s shop, later a glove factory, then a feed and flour store. Became Sammy’s in 1949, where it had managed to retain its Western Falsefront style. Once contained a 1917 snooker table.  For many years, the second floor was the meeting place for the Newberg Junior Chamber of Commerce.

814 E. First: “Run-N-Gun Building.”1891. Also known as Ehret Building. Many remember this as the College Pharmacy, which also had a popular soda fountain. In earlier days this was a general store, millinery, and photo gallery. From 1902-1929 it was a grocery store. Prominent resident A.M. Hoskins was long-time owner.

908 E. First: Eastman’s/Phelp’s Meat Market. Date unknown. A restaurant was located next door.

 

E. FIRST STREET…NORTH SIDE WALKING WEST

915 E. First: Popular Ford dealership, Bob’s Auto Company, was located here. Destroyed in the 1980’s by one of Newberg’s more notorious fires.

817 E. First: Bank of Newberg Building. 1888. Newberg‘s second bank building, the first having been constructed in the early 1880s in a small wooden office on the east side of Center between First and Second streets. The architectural style is Italianate and includes a prominent bracketed cornice. Home to Bank of Newberg until c. 1907. Has hosted a variety of different businesses in its long history, including J.B. Mount Hardware, Garland Stove & Ranges, the Newberg Chamber of Commerce, Newberg Travel, and Robert Hurford Insurance.  At this corner, the Red Electric Train  (1914-1929) turned on to what is today E. First Street from Meridian and headed west toward toward the heart of downtown.

807 E. First: Ford Dealership. 1920s. Built as a garage for Bob’s Auto. Also, Baxter’s Antiques.

801 E. First: Berrian Station. 1925. Built by Bob and Agnes Harris. From 1925 to 1929, General Petroleum Corporation of California held the lease. In 1929 this entire block was related to auto retail and repair.

719 E. First: Old Columbia Market. 1920s. Known to long-time residents as Newberg Auto Parts, which began business at 501 E. First. Also: Beasley Furniture and Anderson Hardware.

717 E. First: Willamette Valley Telephone Company. 1896. Bank of Newberg financed construction. 1896 to 1906: WVTC, then Charles B. Wilson and John Larkin changed the name to Newberg Telephone Company until 1927. In 1912, Clarence Edwards become president of NTC. Became West Coast Telephone Company from 1927-1939. This was the location of Newberg’s first Laundromat. Became Innerman Music in 1980s.

701 E. First: Morris and Miles Dry Goods. 1890. Legendary pioneers Sarah Deskins, wife of Daniel Deskins, owned property in 1890. One of oldest surviving commercial buildings in town. It was originally a dry goods store. Morris was Newberg’s first mayor. Miles was state legislator. 1890-1920 general store. Also A.C. Smith Harness Shop, Parker Hardware in 1939, Renee Hardware and the Newberg Fitness Center in late 80s.

621 E. First: Francis Square.Original location of the Crede Market Building, which for many years housed the Newberg Packing Company or the Newberg Meat Company. Also a sausage factory. Bought by Ted Francis in 1939, who then converted building into a movie house known as the Francis Theater. In 1955, the theater had one screen and 576 seats. Francis also owned Cameo and 99W Drive-in. He also owned the Corral Drive-In in McMinnville. In later years Francis Theater reserved for children only. Torn down after building damaged by 1993 earthquake.

617 E. First: Baker Theater/Bump Building. 1912. City maps from 1912 show this to be a movie theater. By the 1920s it was known as the Baker Theater, a rival to the cross-town Star Theater. Both showed silent movies. Ted Francis bought the Baker in 1927 and in 1929 introduced Newberg’s first talkie movies at this location, on a sound system he built himself. In 1936 he changed the name to the Francis Theater, the first of two Newberg theaters to have this name. He stayed here until 1941, at which time he moved the Francis next door to the Crede Market Building, which he had bought in 1939 and had renovated into a theater with 500 seats. In 1941, Dr. C.M. Bump, a colorful medical doctor who according to local legend operated on his patients with a cigar in his mouth, moved his offices to the old Baker/Francis building and stayed for many years. The good doctor’s name can still be seen embedded in the concrete sidewalk in front of the main entrance.  If you happen into the apartment area of the building, you will note the slated floor from its theater days still remains.

613-615 E. First: Historic Red Electric Ticket Office. 1920. Second building to occupy site, the first being a fish and poultry store built c. 1902. Then it was a feed store, hardware store, plumbing and tinning shop. By 1922, it was the ticket office for the legendary Southern Pacific’s Red Electric train service, which provided passenger transportation up and down the Willamette Valley from Portland. Prominent Quaker Clarence Edwards, son of town leader Jesse Edwards, was long-time owner. Also: the Pastry Palace and North Valley Dental Center, a barber shop and beauty shop.

611 E. First: Old Post Office. 1910. Building has been seriously altered over the years. It was originally two retail locations. On the right side was Graham’s Drugs, later Hamner’s Drugs, followed by Buy Wise Drugs. This was the third location downtown to offer a soda fountain. Replaced as Post Office in 1936. The left side became a shoe store. Also: Bowman’s Restaurant. The current occupant, First Street Pub, reflects floor space done when the separation of the interior space was removed.

607 E. First St: c.1925. Former variety store. First known as Wallace’s Variety, run by Silas Wallace, another early fire chief. Later known as Rutherford’s Variety, run by the Rutherford family of McMinnville. Became the Velvet Carriage and later The Horseless Carriage, both restaurants.

515 E. First St: Date unknown. Built as U.S. National Bank of Portland. It was the original home of Pearson and Knowles Studebaker dealership. It started as a livery stable. When the bank purchased the property, Pearson and Knowles moved to 112 N. Meridian.

505-507 E. First: Restaurant. 1925.Built as a waiting terminal for passengers of the Portland, Newberg, McMinnville and Tillamook Stage, Inc. Then owned by Oregon Motor Co. In 1930 became Greyhound Lines terminal. It has also been owned by many restaurant owners. Was Louie’s Chinese Restaurant and Newberg Natural Foods.

503 E. First. C. 1920s. For a long time this was the Sunshine Cleaners.

501 E. First. 1902. Originally a plumbing and tinning business, later Newberg Auto Parts. Heavily damaged by fire in its early years.

411 E. First: Now a park area. For many years this was the location  of Butler Chevrolet.

401 E. First: Newberg Post Office. 1936. Built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression. Cast stone design.

315 E. First: Krohn’s Appliance. 1904-05. Retail sales outlet for Charles Spaulding Lumber Co., the oldest building in town associated with the former company. Spaulding was in business from 1894-1967 and sold window sash, doors and moldings from this location. Also operated a lumber yard. The structure is a rare example left in town of the “Western Falsefront” style. Dick Krohn, prominent appliance dealer in Newberg, occupied the building for 38 years starting in the 1940s.

307 E First St: Date unknown. For many years known as Frink’s Card Room and then Wright’s Grill, a 24-hour restaurant.

215 E. First: In 1913, this location was known as J.C. Porter & Company, sellers of merchandise and groceries.

209 E. First: Heinzel’s Gun Shop. 1922. Was originally built as a meat market, John and Charles Wilhelmson owners. Building today is mostly original.

 

ELSEWHERE

101 S. Main St: The site of an original hotel in west Newberg, later known as Houser Lumber Yard.

115 S. Washington St: Quonset hut style building known as Nichols’ Junk Yard and later Nichols’ Automotive, a parts store.

112 S. Blaine St: Originally known as Newberg Dairy and Lockers. Later offered custom canning and was a seafood restaurant. In later years known as Buckley’s Lockers.

115 S. Howard St: 1950’s. Home of long-time Newberg medical doctor, L.H. Peek.

707 and 711 E. St: Former location of the PGE Garage. Later a paint store and electronics store.

112 S. Edwards St: For many years a lumber yard. Started as Newberg Lumber Yard.

814 E. Second St: 1960s. Built as the Newberg Datsun dealership.

114 S. Meridian St: Former location of Herring Hut Company.

110 S. Meridian: Former location of Johnson & Hedman Blacksmith Shop.

106 S. Center St: Former location of McGrath Motors, the Kaiser/Fraser automobile dealer.

100 Block N. College St: 1950s. Originally Tilse Pontiac. Showroom faced College Street. Today First Federal Savings and Loan. It was also the second location for Safeway and later home to Commercial Bank. Safeway’s third location before leaving town for a few years is the location of the new Grocery Outlet.

115 N. College: Home to Hodson Mortuary.

115 N. Washington St: Office of Lawyer George Layman, former state representative, Newberg mayor and city attorney.

109 N. Garfield: 1950s. Built as the Newberg Buick dealership. Used car lot was across the street.

503 E. Hancock: Newberg Carnegie Library. 1912. Newberg was the first city in Yamhill County to open a public library, and the third in the Portland area after Portland itself and Forest Grove. The Newberg Public Library has antecedents that go back to 1858, when a local Sunday school class, with a possible affiliation to the Congregational Church in Portland, operated a small library for its students. By 1911, the Andrew Carnegie Foundation had approved the building plans and on March 29, 1912, the Newberg Carnegie Library was dedicated.

111 S. College: Riley’s Photo Studio. 1924. Occupied by commercial photographer Norman P. Riley from the 1930s. Mediterranean Style. Classic neon sign out front.  One of downtown’s most memorable small shops.

109 N. School: Newberg Graphic Building. 1928. Housed newspaper from 1929 until recently. Graphic owners: John C. Hiatt; E.H. Woodward in 1891; Chester A. Dimond and William J. Nottage in 1926; Nottage sold his share to King Cady in 1938, Cady and Dent (owned Newberg Scribe until merged with Graphic) in 1940, Dent sold to Robert McCain of Seattle in 1959; McCain sold paper in 1985.

1200 E. Fourth: Ryckman Apartments. 1928. Oldest apartments in Newberg.

 

HOOVER’S NEWBERG

Hoover-Minthorn House: 1881. River Road at Second Street. Originally built by Jesse Edwards in the Italian Villa architectural style.Boyhood home Herbert Clark Hoover from 1885-1888, thirty-first president of the United States and the first chief executive born west of the Mississippi. Believed to be the oldest private residence in the city. Hoover, a Republican, was born on Aug. 10, 1874, in West Branch, Iowa, the son of Quaker parents Hulda Minthorn Hoover and Jessie Clark Hoover, a blacksmith. When both parents died leaving him an orphan, young Hoover went to live with a nearby relative. In 1885 he came here to Newberg to stay with his aunt and uncle, Dr. Henry John Minthorn, a physician and superintendent of Friends Pacific Academy (the precursor to George Fox University), and Laura Minthorn, a teacher at the school. The Minthorns did this partly as a way to heal over the loss of their only son (they had three daughters) who had died in the winter of 1883. Hoover attended FPA and so did his brother Tad (Theodore Jessie), who had moved to Oregon in September 1887. Tad later became the dean of the School of Engineering at Stanford. Jesse Edwards House: 402 S. College. 1883. Stick Style architecture, rare in Newberg. Features narrow boards applied over siding. Homeof Judge Rolla Renne, 1941-51. Renne School named for when he was Superintendent of Schools. See also, Bank of Newberg Building and Minthorn Hall on GFU campus.

 

ORIGINAL TOWN PLAT

Ruddick/Wood Plat:1881. Immediately north of the railroad tracks and bounded by North Main on the east side, Morton on the west, West Illinois on the north and Sherman to the south. The five-acre parcel (bought for $125) was platted by county surveyor H.S. Maloney on Feb. 15, 1881, for owners William P. Ruddick and his wife Sarah, and David J. Wood, and his wife Maggie. This plan for a town called “Newberg” predates the more famous Jesse Edwards plat, the one which eventually led to a real town, by two years. The Ruddick/Wood plat was predicated on the quick completion of a rail line connecting Newberg to Portland along the southern border of the property. In fact, it took seven years to complete the line (1887), long enough for patience to run out and early speculators to move on.

 

LAST CIVIL WAR VETERAN

420 South Center: One of the last two of Oregon’s surviving Civil War veterans, Henry Hopkins, lived here with his daughter until his death by pneumonia on March 29, 1944, at Willamette Hospital in downtown Newberg. He was 97. This was 10 days after he had joined the state’s oldest Civil War vet, T.M. Penland, age 99 of Portland, in a drum and fife concert on First Street. Hopkins joined the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry in 1864 and participated in Sherman’s infamous “March to the Sea.” He moved to Newberg in 1910 and became a shoemaker , moving his shop at various times to McMinnville and Portland to take advantage of better business opportunities. He is buried at Friends Cemetery in the GAR section.

 

GEORGE FOX UNIVERSITY

Oldest Christian university in Oregon. Formerly known as Friends Pacific Academy (1885-1929), then as Pacific College from 1891 to 1949. Kanyon Hall/Minthorn Hall. 1887. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Only surviving building from original campus location, which was in the vicinity today of the 1892 Newberg Friends Church. Wood-Mar Hall. 1910. Constructed from monies raised by Amanda Woodward and Evangeline Martin, who went door-to-door collecting private contributions around town in a horse and buggy. U.S. President Herbert Hoover in first class.

Related: Newberg Friends Church. 1892. 307 S. College. Designed by Pearson and Tate of Des Moines, Iowa, and is unusually ornate for a Friends Church. Generally considered to be at the center of Quakerism in the Pacific Northwest.

I am thankful for the help and support given me in this project by retired Newberg Fire Chief Al Blodgett, who grew up here and who knows the history of the business district like the back of his hand. He both checked my work for accuracy and also added points of interest I overlooked.
George Edmonston Jr. – Newberg Historical Society

 

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