Weston Opera House
Historic name: Weston Opera House. Common name: Weston Memorial Hall. Date of construction: 1895-1900; moved to present site from opposite side of Main Street 1918-1920. Style: Georgian Colonial Revival Significance: Primary.
In the photo above, taken shortly after the move from its former location, that the Normal School still stands on the hill to the left, and it has not been raised to its current level requiring the large steps in the front.
Backstory and Context
Single story wood frame building, rectangular in plan with longitudinal orientation, gable roof, small rear shed addition, shiplap siding, eaveless rear gable, boxed cornices and eaves troughs side elevations, plain corner boards and water skirt. Stylistic character conveyed by tripartite banks of double hung windows with many small panes in facade and side elevations, and by stuccoed false front which is organized with strict bilateral symmetry and detailed with paired and single pilasters with Corinthian capitals, full wood entablature and balustrade, stepped parapet covering gable peak. Central, double leaf doorway sheltered by cantilevered canopy in form of classical entablature.
This building originally stood on Tax Lot 3500 on the north side of the Saling and Reese Store. Following Armistice Day in 1918, it was moved to the present site on the south side of Main Street and rededicated as a memorial to townsfolk who had served overseas during the First World War. At the time of the relocation, the building was sited on a concrete foundation and basement.
Approximate frontage on Main Street is nearly 40 feet. The building is set back from the street about 25 feet, and the area planted with lawn. The main entrance is approached by concrete steps. (When the building was moved in 1919, it was not placed over a basement. That was not added until approximately 30 years later).
In February 1919, it was suggested a log cabin—logs to be obtained from the Blue Mountains—be built to store and display pioneer relics, war relics, and pictures portraying pioneer life. Dr. Watts offered to donate a lot on Main Street. In April 1919, the Weston Memorial Association purchased the Loveridge barn property as a site for a Pioneers' and Soldiers' Memorial Hall. The opera house was obtained and Watts and Rogers (proprietors of the hardware store) moved this building at a cost of $390 in even exchange for the barn on the new site.
The Community Memorial Hall was dedicated as a "memorial to our pioneers, and as an expression of love and admiration to our soldiers who fought their country's battles in foreign lands or who eagerly awaited the call to hazardous duty overseas," as stated in the Jan. 2, 1920, issue of the Weston Leader.
Information from the Historic Commercial District National Register for Historic Places nomination documentation. Additional research by Bob Gilliland of Weston, Oregon.