Albany, OR-The Riverside Community Hall is among Oregon's latest entries in the National Register of Historic Places. Oregon's State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation (SACHP) recommended the nomination at their October 2022 meeting. The National Park Service - which maintains the National Register of Historic Places - accepted this nomination in February 2023.
The Riverside Community Hall is in a rural area in the midst of prime farmland, and is approximately 3 ½ miles southwest of Albany, and six miles northeast of Corvallis. Built by community members in 1921, the community used Riverside Hall for a wide variety of uses, including social gatherings, public presentations and speeches, dramatic and musical performances, community meals, religious services, clubs, interest groups and as a Grange hall. The building expresses many of the features typically associated with the Craftsman style as applied to a public building, including open eaves supported by kneebraces, extensive use of woodwork, and built-in cabinetry and other furniture.
The first documented start of the Hall dates to a group of ladies who decided in 1908 that they needed a community center where people could meet. They formally organized in 1918 and began to look for a site. In 1920 Callamette Grange #543 (established in 1916) gave $1000 for a new community building, when a site could be procured, with the understanding they could hold their meetings in the new Hall.
To construct the community hall, the community members came together for the purpose of pooling their abilities and resources. With a lot of community support and fund raising, it was completed in five months, and the mortgage was retired in May 1923. Although most of the labor and materials were donated by community members, the value of the building was estimated to have cost the equivalent of $5,000 in labor, materials, and raised funds.
The National Register is maintained by the National Park Service under the authority of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.
This effort is in line with Oregon's Statewide Preservation Plan that seeks to increase the number of listings in the National Register. It also supports the goals to increase access to Oregon heritage that are part of the Oregon Heritage Plan.
Properties listed in the National Register are:
• Recognized as significant to the nation, state, or community;
• Considered in the planning of federal or federally-assisted projects;
• Eligible for federal and state tax benefits;
• Qualify for historic preservation grants when funds are available;
• Eligible for leniency in meeting certain building code requirements;
• Subject to local laws pertaining to the conservation and protection of historic resources.
State law in Oregon requires local governments to offer a minimal level of protection for properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places; the decisions about how to accomplish that goal reside with local governments, which also have the authority to create and regulate local historic districts and landmarks.
More information about the National Register and recent Oregon listings are online at oregonheritage.org (listed under "Designate").