What is the role of historic reconstruction within the field of historic preservation? In The Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring and Reconstructing Historic Buildings, the Secretary of the Interior "establishes limited opportunities to re-create a non-surviving site, landscape, building, structure or object in all new materials."
Historic reconstructions were immensely popular during the 1950s, as were many other roadside attractions, but in 1966, the Special Committee on Historic Preservation of the U.S. Conference of Mayors published a report, With Heritage So Rich, labeling them as "...expensive life-size toys, manufactured for children of all ages who have forgotten how to read." On the other hand, many historians, preservationists and cultural resource managers defend the practice as a valuable way to provide tangible, three-dimensional, site-specific representations of significant moments in history.
Reconstructions in the Astoria area include the blockhouse at Fort Astoria Park (built in 1856), the 1852 U.S. Customs House in Uppertown (built in 1994), and Fort Clatsop at Lewis & Clark National Historical Park (1955 and 2006). The reconstruction of Fort Clatsop is of particularly interest in the discussion of historic reconstruction, as the "original" reconstruction (built in the 1950s) burned to the ground in 2004. The National Park Service was then tasked with the decision of how closely they would stick to the design of the "original" reconstruction when they chose to rebuild. Would they use new information gathered over the past 50 years to improve the authenticity of the site?
Join us at the LCPS office on the evening of Wednesday, September 19th at 6:30pm to participate in a friendly and lively discussion about the role of historic reconstructions in the field of historic preservation and interpretation.
LCPS Members will receive an email invitation with links to recommended reading on the topic at least one week prior to the discussion date. Topics in Preservation discussions will be a monthly event, taking place on the 3rd Wednesday of each month. October 17th discussion topic will be demolition of historic resources.
As of August 27th, 2018, Lower Columbia Preservation Society has officially entered into a formal agreement with the City of Astoria for LCPS to maintain and improve Customs House Park for the benefit of the general public. This decision was prompted by public discussions earlier this year, in which Astoria City Council considered the possibility of selling the site (which would require that the historic reconstruction be moved). LCPS believes that the siting of this reconstruction (although 200 feet east of the original site) is important to the accurate interpretation of Astoria's history as the location of the first U.S. Customs office on the Pacific Coast.
The original customhouse in Astoria was built in late 1849 and destroyed by fire in 1852. No photographs or drawings exist of that original building and the only known description of it is that it was “very neat, plain and of course pretty.” The reconstruction, built between 1992 and 1994, is based on photographs and documents of the customhouse built in 1852.
John Adair was appointed “Collector of Customs for the District of Oregon and Inspector of Revenue for the Port of Astoria, in the Territory of Oregon” by President James K. Polk in August of 1848. His duty was “...to assume the right to collect duties and revenue from other countries on their outgoing cargoes of timber and wheat and imports of European and Oriental goods.” Originally, Adair did business from his home before building the original customhouse on his own property.
The area around the customhouse became known as “Adairsville,” and was over a mile from the more prominent Shively and McClure districts to the west. For a period of time, no road connected Adairsville to the main town of Astoria and access was only by boat. The customs service was moved to the downtown area in 1861. A new stone customshouse and post-office was built in central Astoria in 1874. The 1852 customhouse was demolished in 1901.
This fall, Clatsop Community College's historic preservation students will assess, document and restore/replace exterior siding and woodwork on the building. The reconstruction was completed using methods, tools and materials of the original construction and will provide the preservation students the opportunity to learn woodworking techniques, rot repair and facade restoration.
Join LCPS in celebrating the history of Astoria's public park sites on August 4th, 2018! Meet us at Shively Hall for food, education and activities starting at 1PM. Then visit other historic sites between 2-4PM and be greeted by interpretive guides who will illuminate the history of each park. Shively Hall will be open for refreshments and socializing from 1-4 PM. Two adult entries to the Shively Hall per LCPS membership or $5.00 per adult can be paid same-day at the hall. Kids are welcome at no additional charge.
In the 1920s (and through the 1980s), most Astoria neighborhoods had at least one small store conveniently located for nearby residents and workers. Many of these store buildings still stand. Some continue to house businesses while others have since been converted into residences, apartments or studios. Join Rachel Jensen, LCPS's new executive director, for a presentation on the history of Astoria's neighborhood grocery stores.
How many can you identify? Do you have memories or photos you would like to share? Learn about the Secretary of the Interior's recommendations for the preservation and residential conversion of historic storefront buildings.
Saturday, April 14th at 2pm
LCPS office - 389 12th Street, Astoria
Saturday, November 11, 2017
Furniture Care and Restoration Workshop at Lower Columbia Preservation Societyujjuu. Bring in a small piece of furniture to have assessed or to work on during the workshop. The workshop is from 10-Noon, Saturday, November 11th, at the LCPS office, 389 12th Street.
October 21, 2017
Meeting at 3cups Coffee
Enjoy a quick overview of the historic pubs of Uniontown, and historic maps and photos for viewing over decaf coffee and scones. The crawl will then disperse to the historic Triangle Pub, Workers Tavern, and the Portway (around 6pm). Tickets are $5 for members
$10 for non-members
The Lower Columbia Preservation Society revives the garden tour! Planned for August 12, the tour will feature gardens created from ingenuity and adaptation. From jack hammering asphalt, reimagining parking lots, terracing hillsides, applying yards of compost and mulch to completely changing a garden after losing a forest.
The tour will offer ideas for everyone and celebrates the vision of the garden creators. The tour includes:
*beer tastings at the Ft. George demonstration garden
*Clatsop County Master Gardeners consultations
The self guided tour is from 10am - 3pm. Advance tickets available: online:www.lcpsociety.org by mail: P.O. Box 1334 Astoria. 97103 (online/mail tickets held @ will call at LCPS office to pick up day of tour)
Day of tour tickets sold at LCPS office: 389 12th Street
$10 General public
$5 LCPS members
Join LCPS (or renew) at time of ticket purchase and receive tour ticket(s) w/price of membership. A great deal!!!
Membership in the organization is $15 per year for an individual or $25 per year for a household and includes lectures, workshops, tours for free or at a discount; the" Restoria " newsletter; and notices of preservation related news and events.
Membership is open to everyone!!
Check out the website www.lcpsociety.org for further information and upcoming events. Proceeds from the garden tour will be used to promote the non-profit organization's mission: to "preserve, protect and promote the historic architecture (houses and buildings) in the Lower Columbia region."
Questions about the tour? Contact Karen @503.201.3349 LCPS office @971.704.2016
Saturday, July 8 at 3:00 PM
Rachel Jensen will discuss the life and work of local architect Ebba Wicks Brown on the 75th anniversary of her being licensed as one of the first female architects in Oregon. The presentation will be held at 3pm, Saturday, July 8th, at the Lower Columbia Preservation Society office, 389 12th Street, Astoria. The presentation will be followed by a self-guided walking tours of Astoria buildings designed by Ebba Wicks. Following the tour, LCPS will also host an open house during ArtWalk, from 5-8 pm at the LCPS office.
Tickets for the garden tour are on sale now. Members tickets are $5 and non members pay $10.
Join the LCPS between now and August 11, and you'll receive one free garden tour ticket with an individual membership or two free tickets with a family membership.
The tickets will be at will call the day of the event.
Saturday, June 10, 6-7 PM
Join us on Saturday, June 10th as Katie Rathmell demonstrates how to make a restored window operable.
Katie, a local general contractor who specializes in historic restoration of windows, will host a presentation on techniques to make your double hung windows functional.
The event will be held during the Second Saturday Artwork, at the LCPS office, 389 12th Street, Astoria.
FMI: http://www.lcpsociety.org/ or 971-704-2016