Friday, June 3, 2011

This Place Matters

The Cottage Grove Armory (photo from the City of Cottage Grove's Picasa online photo album)

Built in 1931, the 33,000-square-foot Cottage Grove Armory has been vacant since 2009 when the National Guard left for Springfield. The City of Cottage Grove recently purchased the building from the Oregon State Military Department for $395,000 with a 10-year, no-interest loan. The City plans to restore the structure as a center of community activity and is raising funds towards this goal.

The 80 year old building is an Art Deco standout. Its noble appearance inspires awe and respect. The broad stairs spilling out onto the street corner welcome people to enter. The Armory is one of the largest buildings in downtown Cottage Grove, prominent from blocks away. It sits as a monument to the skills of the local craftsmen who built it. The structure served for decades as a physical hub for both the Military Department and the community. People of all ages frequently used the building for kindergarten classes, Cub Scout meetings, roller skating, basketball games, service club meetings, dances, or concerts.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation selected the Armory to participate in the 2011 This Place Matters Community Challenge. The Trust received over 265 entries from around the country (the Cottage Grove Historical Society submitted the Armory), selecting 100 to compete in an online voting challenge. If the Armory gets more votes than the 99 other projects on the list during the month of June, the Trust will contribute $25,000 toward its renovation.

The Cottage Grove Historical Society needs your help. Every vote is important. Last year it took over 7,000 votes for a project in Austin, Texas to win. Vote for the Armory and encourage your friends and family members to vote too. Anyone from anywhere with an email address can register and participate.
You can vote by going to the City of Cottage Grove’s webpage at and follow the link to the Armory website. You can also go directly to the voting site at:

To preserve and restore the Cottage Grove Armory to its former glory is to preserve and honor a part of Cottage Grove's history. The fact that the building is also a wonderful and rare example of Art Deco architecture here in Lane County is an added bonus. Give it your support by voting today.

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