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Preserving the Taylor’s Fountain Building

May 8, 2018
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Before & After Photos of the Rehabilitation of the Taylor’s Drug and Fountain Building

The Taylor’s Drug & Fountain Building sits in the heart of downtown Independence where it has been the center of the community for over 100 years. In the 1900s it was the place people would trade and barter for goods.  In the 1980s it was the place to go to for a milkshake and burger.

When Taylor’s closed after 60 years in business, local resident Bodie Bemrose purchased the building and fully rehabilitated it. Rather than proceeding with a basic restoration job, Bodie closely researched the history of the building to bring back its original features.  His attention to detail recently earned him a Heritage Excellence Award.

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Bodie Bemrose & Daughters

In honor of Preservation Month we asked Bodie to reflect on what the Taylor’s Building means to him and the community. He responded, “Every great American town has (or should have) an iconic corner building – the “hub” of the community. The Taylor’s Fountain Building was that building for all of us growing up in Independence, Oregon. I lived out in the country south of town, and the first stop in town after riding my bike 10 miles was Taylor’s. My mission was to buy comic books. I was always tempted to buy a milkshake or candy instead, but I always chose the comic books. The image of old-timers sitting at the counter on the old stools, laughing and telling stories still plays out in my mind. The sound of the old bell every time a customer came in still rings in my head. Good times and memories in this old building.”

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F.S. Wilson Dry Goods Store Circa 1899

Bodie’s research into the history of the building also spiked his curiosity about the people who used the building in the early 1900s. “How I wish I could hear the stories from those who spent time inside the building long before Taylor’s, when they parked their horse-and-buggy next to the building instead of a car. Historic photos of girls in long dresses, riding their horses in front of the building says a lot – this building was worth saving for them and their heritage.”

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