Summer Road Trip Through Restoration

Summer Road Trip Through Restoration 2020

Join us for a Summer Road Trip Through Restoration, and witness Portland’s building boom in the late 1800s to early 1900s! Most years, summer brings picnics, camping, garden parties, backyard BBQs, and outdoor sports like hiking, waterskiing, or swimming. But this year, life is a bit different than the norm. Though health concerns and government restrictions might prevent us from engaging in some of the activities we enjoy right now, there are still ways to have fun right here at home.

Summer Road Trip Through Restoration
Buckle up, it’s a Road Trip Through Restoration!

Join ARCIFORM and Versatile Wood Products for a delightful drive in a vintage 1950 Mercedes 170S Cabriolet A through Portland’s architectural history!⁠ ARCIFORM and Versatile Wood Products have helped restore the buildings on this tour, all of which were constructed between the 1880s and 1910s. Here’s a map of the route. If you’d prefer to walk instead of drive, a walking tour of the first five locations takes just over an hour!

Visit the sites on our Summer Road Trip Through Restoration, take photos of yourself or your family in front of the site, post to Instagram, and tag us: @arciform and @versatile.wp.

Stop #1: Union Station

Summer Road Trip Through Restoration Union Station
First stop: Union Station

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Union Station first began operation in 1896. Designed in Queen Anne style with Romanesque detail by the Boston architectural firm Van Brunt and Howe and constructed of an elegant blend of brick, stucco, and sandstone, the station has been a central hub of transportation for the past 100 years. Between 1927 and 1930, the concourse was modernized by Pietro Belluschi, with subsequent modifications to the building and adjacent streets to suit advances in transportation. In 2010, Versatile Wood Products was hired to restore all 284 of Union Station’s wood windows, and the new entry doors. A team of specialists carefully selected both new and old wood for the replacement windows and door to ensure historic authenticity. Ornate casing and other trim elements were custom milled in Versatile Wood Products’ workshop and seamlessly integrated into the existing architecture by ARCIFORM’s restoration team.

Stop #2: Wickersham Condos

Summer Road Trip Through Restoration Wickersham Building
The Wickersham Building

Built in 1910, the Wickersham Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is notable for of its quality craftsmanship, decorative brickwork, and projecting bay windows. However, the building’s previous entry doors posed accessibility and security issues since the main door was only 27 inches wide, requiring both doors to be opened to get large items, like bikes, into the building. To solve this problem, Versatile Wood Products referenced the original look and custom built a wider door and narrower sidelite. The mahogany door integrated an electric strike plate for the fob key entry system.

The Wickersham Building has a fascinating claim to fame: movie star Clark Gable once lived here! Curious to know more about Clark Gable’s years in Oregon? Check out this link.

Stop #3: The Old Church

The Old Church

This beautiful Carpenter Gothic style building was designed by Warren H. Williams, whose Victorian-era architectural style can be seen in fifty Portland-area structures, including the Fried-Durkheimer House, which has also been restored by ARCIFORM. Built in 1882, The Old Church was restored in the late 1970s. Versatile built six redwood doors that were each 2 ¼ inches thick, duplicating the original construction of tongue and groove planks and panels. The Old Church now serves as a non-profit that hosts hundreds of artistic and cultural programs each year. The ARCIFORM team also designed a ticket booth and weather vane as their part of this important restoration.

Learn more about how you can help support this beautiful venue:

The Old Church: Better Together Benefit Series

Stop #4: Central Library

Summer Road Trip Through Restoration Central Library
Multnomah County Central Library

Opened in 1913, the Central Library was designed by architect Albert E. Doyle. The Oregon Historical Society describes some of the library’s details: “Large panels below the second-story arched windows are inscribed with the names of printers, historians, philosophers, poets, novelists, dramatists, bookbinders, educators, religious and military leaders, explorers, statesmen, painters, etchers, sculptors, architects, musicians, scientists, and inventors. At the sidewalk level are balustrade railings, relief carvings of printers’ marks and watermarks, and twenty-two benches inscribed with authors’ names.” Like most of the properties on this tour, the Central Library building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Versatile Wood Products added interior window sash to the library’s existing windows, improving the windows’ energy efficiency and reducing outside noise.

For a detailed account of the library’s history, check out this page at the Oregon Historical Society.

Stop #5: Harlow Hotel

Harlow Hotel
Harlow Hotel

The Harlow Hotel was built in 1882 by Captain John Harlow, a prominent Portland businessman. Harlow was a sea captain from Maine, who came to Oregon in 1849. As one of the founders of Troutdale, Oregon, Harlow opened up the trout farms that gave Troutdale its name. Built in brick and inspired by Italianate style, the Harlow Hotel is the second oldest commercial building remaining in NW Portland and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Years of neglect had left the structure in need of extensive repair, with ferns growing out of the masonry and rain pouring in through the roof.

ARCIFORM was hired as the primary preservation contractor and worked with Versatile Wood Products to reproduce historical elements as needed. New entryway systems, including recessed entryways that needed to fit with existing cast iron columns, were custom made by Versatile and installed by ARCIFORM. In the second phase, Versatile crafted interior doors for the guest rooms, café, and courtyard areas. Versatile also replicated the few surviving windows with insulated glass for sound and weather performance and installed new interior transom windows above the guestroom doors. The hotel was reopened for business in 2019.

Bonus Stop #6: The Walter

The Walter
The Walter

Extend your trip to the beautiful Mt. Tabor neighborhood to see The Walter, formerly known as the Jacob H. Cook House. Though the house was originally built in the Victorian Queen Anne style in the late 1800s, according to The Oregonian, Jacob H. Cook “had the home’s exterior remade in the Colonial Revival-style with classic columns and a wraparound front porch” when he purchased the house in 1904. ARCIFORM and Versatile Wood products restored all of the building’s windows, built new exterior railings, restored the paneling in the ballroom, and repaired interior doors, casings, and trim throughout.

ARCIFORM Principal Designer and Co-Owner Anne De Wolf designed the new kitchen and consulted on colors and materials.

Check out The Walter’s Instagram account for an up-close look at all the gorgeous details!

Summer Road Trip Through Restoration Portland 2020

Visit the sites on our Summer Road Trip Through Restoration, take photos of yourself or your family in front of the site, post to Instagram, and tag us: @arciform and @versatile.wp.

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