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150 years and still going strong

Butteville Store celebrates anniversary with weekend of events


by: JOSH KULLA - The Historic Butteville Store and its distinctive porch still appear much as they did a century ago. The store celebrates its 150th anniversary this weekend.If there’s an epicenter for 19th century European immigration to Oregon it’s hard to find a better candidate than the historic Butteville Store.

The only original surviving commercial building from the former river town of Butteville, the store has served generations of Willamette Valley residents and visitors alike. What was once a thriving burg based around Willamette River shipping, however, all but disappeared with the construction of the Oregon and California Railroad in 1871.

Today, the store is a state parks property and a few surrounding homes are all that’s left of the town.by: JOSH KULLA - The interior of the Butteville Store is part store, part cafe and all throwback to a less frantic time, said Friends of Historic Champoeg Board President Tom Carson.

But to Friends of Historic Champoeg Board President Tom Carson, that’s reason enough to celebrate. And there’s no better time than this summer, the 150th anniversary of the store’s construction.

“It’s a throwback to a less frantic and more relaxed time,” said Carson, a retiree who moved to Oregon from Iowa with his wife nine years ago and discovered the store during a bike ride through the countryside. “It’s got some charm to it. It’s unique, it’s one of a kind. People come here from Salem and say, ‘Wow, this is neat!’”

To recognize the historic store’s 150th anniversary, Friends of Historic Champoeg and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department are honoring it this summer with a variety of events and promotions. The celebration culminates this weekend, when the Butteville Store will once again serve as a central hub of commerce and social activity.

Starting Friday, July 19, from 3 to 6 p.m., there will be a casual gathering at the store featuring a wine bar and snacks.

On Saturday, July 20, there will be cake for all comers, presentations on the history of the store, introductions of previous store owners, relatives and dignitaries, speakers from the state parks department and an opportunity for the public to share memories and personal connections to the store. In addition, kids’ activities will be provided along with live music from 4 to 6 p.m.

Finally, a special Saturday supper wraps up the day from 6 to 9 p.m., although reservations are required for this part. Tickets are $18 each and will provide the bearer with a pork loin meal and live music.

On Sunday, the popular Butteville Breakfast will bookend the celebration with homemade quiche, cinnamon rolls and other specials accompanied by live music from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Sunday and throughout the weekend, store manager Pat McGuffin’s famed homemade pies and other treats will be available with meals or to take home.by: JOSH KULLA -

“It’s been celebrated all season long,” Carson said, likening the months-long sesquicentennial to Disney’s 50th birthday, where every day featured a new party.

“We’ve been trying to do this all summer long,” Carson said. “But we also wanted to have one weekend where everything comes together, so that’s on the 19th and 20th.”

Sure, the store may have undergone renovations here and there. It now has a modern kitchen to comply with food safety and handling regulations, for example. And it had to get rid of the twin gas pumps that once stood aside the long wooden porch after an errant motorist took one of them out. The resulting fire miraculously spared the store, but left scorch marks on the front of the building that can still be seen today.

But the creak of wooden floorboards still rebounds off wooden walls when you walk over to the ice cream counter. And on your way there you can take a peek at a growing collection of old photographs featuring the store and surrounding buildings, now long-since demolished. There are other images showing local residents at the store and even snapshots with the store in the background.

It’s all kept up by Friends of Historic Champoeg, a nonprofit group now in its seventh year of operating the store under agreement with the state parks department.

“It’s a fun group to work with,” said Carson. “We have a really good working relationship with OPRD. They originally said that if the Friends wants to run it and make money to support educational programs, they could do that. The reality is it’s a lot of work and we don’t make very much money. But everyone has a lot of fun.”

At a glance

Historic Butteville Store

10767 Butte Street NE, Butteville

150th anniversary celebration

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, July 19-21

Friday: Wine Bar, 3-6 p.m.

Saturday: Cake, special presentations, 4-6 p.m.; Saturday supper with music, 6-9 p.m.

Sunday: Butteville Breakfast, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Free, open to the public, except the Saturday supper, which requires tickets, $18 each, and reservations.

Reservations: 503-678-1605

Details: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Web: champoeg.org



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