Walking history tours planned for Tigard's Main Street
Want to find out about the 19th- and 20th-century history of downtown Tigard?
Well, you're in luck as the Tigard Public Library hosts three Tigard Main Street History Tours this summer. The first one will be this Thursday, June 16, from 11 a.m. to noon.
The tours were begun years ago by Sean Garvey, a retired Tigard Public Library adult services librarian and local historian.
Librarian Annie Greenewood-Sprague has taken over Garvey's duties, leading her first tour after being fully instructed by the retired librarian.
"I went on several of the tours with him just so I could get an idea of what it would be like," said Greenewood-Sprague.
The tour starts at Symposium Coffee, under the Highway 99W overpass, where tour-takers will get a view of a recently created mural depicting an Atfalati woman fishing.
The Atfaliti, or Tualatin, were a tribe of Native Americans who were part of the Kalapuya tribe, the original inhabitants of the Tualatin Plains. Greenewood-Sprague said it's important to remember that the city still sits on Kalapuya land.
The Symposium Coffee/Tigard Chamber of Commerce building at 12345 S.W. Main St. once housed the Tigard Feed and Garden Store, which was built in 1924. Residents could purchase custom ground animal feeds, according to the interactive map. The building was razed in 1980s but was rebuilt in that same old-style construction and opened in 2013.
"If you go into Symposium Coffee, there are Tigard Feed and Garden Store signs inside of it still," said Greenewood-Sprague.
If you like old signs, look no further than in the back of the coffee shop to the railroad tracks, where one of the original "Tigard" signs still exists, put in place by the Oregon Electric Railway. That now-defunct railway began in 1908.
While the city was originally called Tigardville, Oregon Electric Railway executives shortened it to Tigard because the next stop down the line was Wilsonville, "and they didn't want people to get confused," said Greenewood-Sprague.
The oldest building on Main Street is where the Tigardville Station Pub, 12370 Main St., is now, said Greenewood-Sprague.
"It used to be called Germania Hall, and all of it's not there still because part of it burned down," she said about the building constructed in 1908 after the Oregon Electric Railway began.
Over the years, that building served as the city's first hotel/restaurant/grocery store, according to a Tigard Main Street Tour brochure.
The first brick building in Tigard was built by Harry Bonesteele at 12420 S.W Main St. in 1919. The building was made of brick because of several fires that had hit the downtown core area, said Greenewood-Sprague.
Bonesteele also built Boonesteele Garage in locations that spanned what is now 12566-12568 S.W. Main St., which became home to the first Ford automobile dealership in Washington County. The two-story building later served as a manufacturing site for Sealy mattresses, was used a cold storage facility and served as the Tigard Public Library from 1967 to 1986.
"The cool thing about Main Street history is that there's just a few players, and they did a lot of the building," said Greenwood-Sprague.
Subsequent Tigard Main Street History Tours are set from 7 to 7:45 p.m. on Tuesday, July 19, and 11 a.m. to noon on Thursday, Aug. 18.
For those who can't take the tour in person, there's an interactive map on the city's website. Visit tigard-or.gov and type "local history collection" in the search bar.
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