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Underground in Astoria

June 4, 2012

By Chrissy Curran

When the City of Astoria invited Oregon Heritage to participate in its second annual Historic Preservation Fair on May 12th, we jumped at the opportunity. Any time we can get out from behind our desks and spend some time with people who want to learn more about old buildings and do more preservation is time well spent.

One of the finds in Astoria’s underground is 1940s the bowling alley in the Elks Lodge basement.

I set up a display table in the Astoria Event Center along with two dozen or so fellow exhibitors and spent the day chatting with dozens of folks about the National Register of Historic Places, grants, incentives, and all things preservation. There are a lot of cool projects going on in our communities! Along with vendor displays, Sam Johnson with the Columbia River Maritime Museum discussed the rehabilitation of the Astoria Railroad Depot, Bergerson Cedar Windows based out of Hammond, Oregon demonstrated how they install insulated glass into original wood sash, and I gave a lecture on architectural styles.

John Goodenberger leads the group under Astoria’s sidewalks.

This great day was capped off with three “Basements of Astoria” tours — the first ever held — led by city officials and local historian and preservation consultant John Goodenberger. Tour participants viewed the finished basement of the IOOF Building, inspected the unique laminated floor construction under the Liberty Theater, spelunked among the concrete chair walls beneath the 13th Street alley, admired the former Amato’s Supper Club in the Sanborn Block, and topped off the tour in the bottom of the Astoria BPOE Lodge Building with a rare visit to a still-operable, 1940s-era bowling alley. If you ever get a chance to join John Goodenberger for a walking tour, grab it! He knows all the ghost stories and behind-the-scenes places Astoria has to offer – it was really an unforgettable experience.

Thanks for inviting us, Astoria, and we hope to join you again next year.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Sumpter Chatter permalink
    August 2, 2012 8:59 am

    Awesome guys! I used to live in Astoria and I remember these places you toured well!

  2. Jason permalink
    January 29, 2014 8:20 am

    Astoria Elks Lodge has one the few old lodge building left. Astoria has an old school Lodge Room with padded bench seating and huge office thrones a high vaulted ceiling and with a badass Exalted Ruler station. Oh yeah and kick ass chandeliers lighting the lodge room.
    They call it a banquet hall but its real meaning is a lodge room. It’s cool they have been an Elks lodge that has kept their original building in its ornate status.
    Most lodges seem to fold under the weight of keeping the awesome old buildings that have ornate rooms such as this lodge.
    I hope the future is good for the Astoria Elks Lodge! Keep that building its worth it…

  3. Ginger Marostica Ontario, Oregon permalink
    April 28, 2016 9:53 pm

    Our Elk Lodge from Ontario, Oregon came and visited and had a tour of this old Elk building. We were taken on a tour by peanuts the lady behind the bar we saw the upstairs and the basement with the bowling alley and old bar which was the upstairs original bar.We rode the elevator down but it wouldn’t go up. We had 11 in our group. It was wonderful to see, and hope they can keep in such good condition. Thank you Ginger Marostica


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