Corvallis in Benton County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)
The Corvallis City Hall was located on the southeast corner of Fourth and Madison Streets from 1892 to 1956. This grand brick and stone building with the imposing belltower housed the City Council Chambers, and in addition, provided much of the ground floor for the horses and the horse-drawn equipment of the Volunteer Fire Department. The Volunteer Fire Department, organized in 1888, had all male members. However, the ladies of Corvallis had formed a service organization called the Ladies of the Coffee Club in 1883 to provide hot coffee and sandwiches for the weary men who fought the city's fires.
On the second floor of the City Hall, in addition to the kitchen for the Coffee Club, there were city offices and a grand ballroom. Among other social events, there was a Mid-Summer Dance held annually as a benefit for the Volunteer Fire Department. It was sponsored by the Ladies of the Coffee Club.
On July 29, 1913, the Gazette-Times announced that all eligible young men were invited to the Mid-Summer Dance, but that the "tango, turkey trot, bunny hug, and the grizzly bear dances will be banned --- Unless the demand
Perhaps that year was particularly successful because in November 1913, there was a newspaper description of the new sleeping quarters which had been prepared on the second floor. Nine firemen shared, "... a room, 25 x 30 feet, offering ample space for five double beds, bathroom, including shower and tub, 9 built-in lockers, and a writing table." A brass sliding pole enabled firemen to don rubber boots attached to water-proofed trousers and to get from their beds to the horse-drawn equipment in approximately 19 to 30 seconds.
Discipline for the resident firemen was strict. Lights were out by 10 p.m. No card playing or smoking were allowed, and all the men had to be up at 7 a.m.
At this time, the 5000 people of Corvallis were protected by 75 volunteers under the direction of Fire Chief Thomas Graham, and equipped with the finest horse-drawn equipment (valued at $10,000).
The City Hall was sold in 1956 and demolished to prepare the site for the department store. The city government moved to the building at the northwest corner of 5th and Madison Streets, which, during World War II, had been owned by the Federal Government and used as a U.S.O Headquarters.
The Fire Department moved to the northwest corner of 5th and Van Buran Streets where a new building was constructed for mechanized equipment, with more modern
Erected 1983 by Madison Avenue Task Force.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Notable Buildings. A significant historical date for this entry is July 29, 1913.
Location. 44° 33.81′ N, 123° 15.739′ W. Marker is in Corvallis, Oregon, in Benton County. Marker is at the intersection of Southwest Madison Avenue and Pacific Hwy W (U.S. 20), on the right when traveling east on Southwest Madison Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Corvallis OR 97333, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Whiteside Theatre (here, next to this marker); The Opera House (within shouting distance of this marker); L.G. Kline Building (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Benton County Courthouse (about 500 feet away); Benton County State Bank (about 600 feet away); Capitol of Territorial Oregon (approx. 0.2 miles away); Early Town Development (approx. 0.2 miles away); River Transport (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Corvallis.
More about this marker. This historical marker was placed in 2004 by the Madison Avenue Task Force. It is comprised of a volunteer group of citizens whose mission is to provide a walking tour of downtown Corvallis for pedestrians to pause and appreciate Corvallis' history and art. Many historical markers and art objects are strategically placed throughout the walking tour.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 1, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 18, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon. This page has been viewed 127 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on January 18, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.