City of Cottage Grove purchases a piece of history

City of Cottage Grove purchases a piece of history »Play Video

COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. - In 1931, the Oregon National Guard Unit in Cottage Grove decided it needed a new facility.  The community agreed and taxed themselves by passing a bond measure for $15,000 dollars.

"It was a pretty sizable investment from the community in 1931, with the depression and everything." says Richard Meyer, Cottage Grove City Manager

However, Cottage Grove citizens knew just how important a building like this would be for the community, and for the last 80 years the Cottage Grove Armory has been a part of that community. 

"Everything here in the building, all the wood and materials are locally produced except for the tiles in the basement," Meyer said.

In 2009, the historic building hit a bump in the time line: The local National Guard unit moved to a newer facility in Springfield and put the Cottage Grove Armory up for sale. 

"What better opportunity we have to take a historic piece of downtown and bring people back into downtown for a concert or a dance or a chamber banquet or anything like that."  Meyer told KVAL News. 

As soon as the opportunity presented itself, the city of Cottage Grove jumped on the chance to purchase the building. 

They used the community's original investment into the armory as a bargaining point: he asking price was $760,000; the city only paid $395,000.

A recent appraisal for the building put its worth at more than $1.2 million.

This functional piece of history, however, is in need of a little TLC before it becomes a community hub.

The electrical work and plumbing need to be replaced - and it has been without heat for 2 years.

"Probably the most expensive piece that we are going to be working on is the windows. There are 138 windows in this building," Meyer said. 

While repairs are necessary, one necessity is preservation. "We want to highlight the role that it did play and what it was in honor of those people that left from here and served from here from our community," Meyer said.

As the work goes on, the city is taking ideas from the community about the best possible uses for this historic building keeping it useful for another generation.  "It's a spectacular building, we've already had requests from people to use it and we haven't even fixed it yet," Meyer said. 

Take look inside the Cottage Grove Armory or find out how you can take a tour and get a firsthand look at this historic building.