R. Veal and Sons - Albany's Furniture Manufacturer

By Cathy Ingalls, Albany Regional Museum board member

The quality of furniture constructed at a business in Albany that operated for nearly 100 years was so good that celebrities wanted to own the company’s rocking chairs, including astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Oregon Gov. Tom McCall, then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan and Vice President Nelson Rockefeller.


The company, R. Veal and Sons, was located at 553 Main St. S.E. It was forced to close in March 1982 because of mounting debt. A lien holder, the Small Business Administration, bought the company after it was placed in foreclosure and sold at a sheriff’s sale, partly because of a chain of events that began in 1978, when a trusted employee was said to have embezzled $400,000 in cash and merchandise.


Sold later at auction were 658 items, including equipment, inventory and office furniture along with a sagging 60,000-square-foot factory, a rusted wood-drying kiln and 5.5 acres.


Over time, the company that had been headed by four generations of

Veals, had gained a worldwide reputation for excellent furniture construction while specializing at first primarily in chairs.


But although the Veal company is gone, for 50 years the factory was considered to be the main source of industrial income for the community.


The history of the factory begins with Robert Veal, a Pennsylvanian and Union veteran, who after the war was employed for two years as a machinist for Chandler & Taylor in Indianapolis, Ind., before moving to Hendricks County, Ind., where he learned the uses of oak, walnut and ash lumber.


Veal worked for other companies before emigrating in 1884 to Stayton, where he operated a lumber company and later a chair factory. Because he had to haul his furniture by wagon to Turner to ship it by railroad, he chose to move to Albany, where rail service was immediately available, and in the process formed a business partnership with his two sons.


The company opened in 1888 on Water Avenue N.E. at the foot of Jackson Street.  Veal brought with him from Stayton, some “crude” machinery and 20 cords of maple.


Then in 1901, fire destroyed his operation so when Veal rebuilt on Main, he constructed three buildings so a blaze could not destroy all at once everything that he owned.


To further ensure fire safety, he built an 89-foot-tall water tower with a tank that could hold 15,000 gallons of water at a pressure of 40 pounds, while pipes were laid to every building and ample hose was on hand for any emergency.


At first, Veal produced rawhide seat chairs that were marketed as Flint Ridge Colonial Maple, with the wood coming from East Linn County.  Some of the chairs were used in Albany’s Masonic Temple.


Later, the company incorporated ash, alder and birch in its manufacturing. Over the years, the firm made rocking chairs, chairs for the classroom, and furniture for children, the kitchen, the dining room and the bedroom.


Only a few pieces were upholstered.



Once, a Louisiana county school district purchased 10,000 chairs for its kindergarteners because they were supposed to promote good posture.


According to catalogs, early chairs sold for $6 a dozen and a pre-World War II chair was offered for 95 cents.


From other information on file at the Albany Regional Museum, it appears that in 1900, Veal was crafting 500 chairs a day, and in the year 1970, the firm created more than 40,000 pieces of furniture.


To ensure that Veal got the specific lumber he needed, he operated his own sawmill and then in 1947 he added a veneer plant.


Four times daily at the factory between 1901 and 1960, a steam whistle sounded that could be heard in all directions up to 15 miles away. The whistle signaled when it was time for employees to go to and to stop work. Many in the community checked their watches and clocks when the whistle blew.


It is said that when the World War I armistice was signed on Nov. 11, 1918, the whistle blew for two hours until all of the steam from the boilers was used.


In 1960, Clarence Veal, the factory manager and grandson of the founder, remarked in a story to the Democrat-Herald that his firm was the oldest continuously operating company in the West “by far.”


He noted that when the factory was “running full blast we make about two million bucks a year.”


Veal also told the DH a looming energy crunch wasn’t going to bother him. All waste wood was recycled and used to stoke the steam boiler. The boiler, he said, provides heat for the complex and it is used to steam-bend wood and operate the dry kiln.


Veal died in 1995 at age 88.

D.E. Nebergall Meat Company

By Cathy Ingalls, Albany Regional Museum board member

Martha Dayton of Lewisburg, formerly of Salem, recalls finding the tastiest hams in Oregon after she moved here in about 1971 from New York City.


“I bought Nebergall hams from a meat market in West Salem, and they were absolutely A-1,” she recalled. “I put them in casseroles and baked them with red kidney beans with the bone in.


“A memorable flavor,” Dayton said, “and it was so sad when I could no longer get them.”


Dayton is referring to the flavor of the smoked hams packaged between 1915 and 1974 by the D.E. Nebergall Meat Co. at its plant in Albany located at Front Avenue and Waverly Drive. Nebergall’s regularly supplied retailers with a variety of meat products in an area primarily bounded to the east by the Cascades, to the west by the Pacific Ocean, to the north by Tillamook and to Ashland in the south.


Five salesmen serviced the area once a week.



Not only were the company’s hams popular, employees produced pounds of fresh pork, fresh pork sausage, salami, lard, picnic shoulders, braunschweiger, liver sausage, minced ham, lunch meat, polish sausage, bacon, bologna, German sausage and thuringer.


An advertisement in a March 1963 edition of the Albany Democrat-Herald announced that the plant’s capacity recently was increased by 50 percent and workers used the “latest humane methods for killing animals.” And the owners had installed a new type of vacuum packaging machine, one of only two found on the West Coast.


A story that ran in the newspaper on March 23, 1968, noted that the meat company was one of the largest industries in Albany, employing 115 people with an annual payroll of $950,000.


Founder Donald E. Nebergall, referred to in his June 1958 obituary as an industrialist and civic leader, was born in Cuba, Ill., on Dec. 10, 1875, and settled in Colorado and Montana before ill health forced him to move to Albany with his meat grinder in 1911.


Upon his arrival, he established a retail meat market on Lyon Street between Third and Fourth avenues, later moving to Second Avenue and Montgomery Street and then to Second and Lyon.


He later sold his Albany retail outlets, preferring to sell his products wholesale. He also operated a slaughterhouse at Linnore Park, about two miles east of Albany.


At first, meat products were sold under the Linnore brand and then packaging labels were changed to read DENCO, which utilized Nebergall’s initials and CO, that stood for the word company.


At the beginning, Nebergall employed 10 skilled butchers and sausage makers.


In 1930, Nebergall bought a slaughterhouse in Eugene, so he could better supply meat to the southern end of the state but that plant later was destroyed by fire. Also in Eugene, Nebergall operated a hotel and he was a restaurant supplier.


Then after 58 years of packaging meat, it was announced that the D.E. Nebergall Co. considered to be an Albany industrial landmark now owned by Swift and Co. of Chicago after a merger in 1966, would close its doors by March 1974.


Plant manager Roy J. Siemsen told the Democrat-Herald “for the past few years, earnings at Nebergall have been increasingly unsatisfactory and there is no indication that an improvement can be expected in the future.”


Bill Dillman, a company spokesman, told the DH that Swift had been restructuring its meat and food operations over the past four years, and the reorganization had resulted in the closure of about 250 plants and sales locations across the country.


Siemsen also said that although the Albany plant was shutting down, Nebergall-brand products would be manufactured at other Swift facilities.


It was said at the time of the plant’s closing, that had Nebergall’s daughter, the late Esther Ferguson, been in charge of the meat company, it never would have been bought out by Swift.


Nebergall did not live long enough to see his operation sold.


Before his death at age 82, Nebergall was a charter member and past president of the Albany Rotary Club, a director of the American Meat Institute of Chicago, was the first president of the Linn County Health and Tuberculosis Association, was a past president of the Albany First National Bank, was a member of the Al Kader Shrine and St. John’s Lodge No. 17 AF&AM, he was a director for 19 years of the Albany Elementary School District, he was a past president of the Albany chamber of commerce and he was active in the Methodist church.


He was survived by his wife, Lilla, who he married in 1909, six children, 11 grandchildren, 13-great-grandchildren, a sister and a niece.


He and his wife, who died in 1969, were placed in a vault at Willamette Memorial Park in Albany.


More information about the company and photographs of the meat packing plant can be found at the Albany Regional Museum, 136 Lyon St. S.

Drug Stores In Albany's Earlier Days

By Cathy Ingalls, Albany Regional Museum board member

In Albany’s earlier days, downtown boasted a number of drug stores, but they all are gone now, having relocated to the city’s fringes.


One of the first belonged to David P. Mason, however before he opened his pharmacy in a building that no longer exists west of the former J.C. Penney’s store, he founded Mason’s Drug Store in 1868 in Scio.


To get supplies for his operation there on at least one occasion he reportedly walked on a rutted trail from Scio to Salem to pick up what he needed.


In the late 1870s, Mason moved to Albany, opening a new store, according to an article that appeared in a 1956 edition of the Democrat-Herald.


By 1891, he had so much business and not enough room so he joined with John Foshay and W.C. Tweedale to construct a building on First Avenue between Broadalbin and Ferry streets that is now the Wells Fargo bank parking lot.


Soon after construction, a wholesale drug business was added. In 1903 to improve customer service, Mason’s son Rockey employed his prize-winning racehorse to transport orders around Albany.


Rockey inherited his father’s business but sold the wholesale side to a Portland firm in 1941, continuing to operate the retail portion until he sold it to Gerald and Margaret Steele.


Into the mid-1950s, customers could still buy cigar snippers, pipe cleaners, something called Abyssinian Desert Companion, which was “Good for Man or Beast,” a sealing wax kit complete with stamp, quill toothpicks and even a “Dainty, nickel-plated Baby” screwdriver.


Hurley’s Drug Store in the 200 block of Southwest First Avenue also was open in what now houses Jordan Jewelers. It also was known as a community hub and the place to meet up with friends, said Katy Hurley, the daughter of owner Vincent Hurley.


In his store, Vincent installed a bench with a leather seat and back so people could wait for the city bus in comfort and out of inclement weather.


Hurley sold his business in 1961 to Don McMorris.


Probably the best-known drug store in Albany was one of the first in the Pay Less chain, opening in 1942 at 234 W. First Ave. in a section of the Flinn Block, which originally housed the First National Bank.


Leslie Downie managed the store at first but turned the operation over to Jack Kuhn and then to Jack Lammers. Lammers later started his own pharmacy at 203 Main St., which now is the parking lot for Valley Fire Control.


The store had a total of 2,700 square feet and a full basement. It was reported that the basement was needed for storage but when the Willamette River flooded it was not uncommon to find two feet of water down there.


In 1944, Pay Less purchased the Dawson Drug Store that opened in 1894 from Dell Alexander, and later the two stores were combined and a room added for a lunch counter, bringing the total square feet to 4,100. Coffee sold for 5 cents a cup, while turkey dinners were 49 cents.


The lunch counter was too much of a hassle so it was removed and the space turned over to regular merchandise and to a larger line of toys.


In 1954, assistant manager Jimmie Engle became the victim of a holdup.  During the day, the robber secreted himself in the basement and as Jimmie placed the day’s receipts in a safe, he found himself looking down the barrel of a sawed off shotgun.


The robber locked Jimmie in a closet and then left the building with the money. Jimmie was able to kick down the door and call police.


The robber later was discovered in an Idaho penitentiary, where he was serving time for other holdups.


In the latter part of November 1959, Pay Less moved to the corner of Second Avenue and Broadalbin Street. The building had 7,000 square feet, a full basement and there was parking for 20 cars.


In 1967, the store took over an alley and a building in the back so it could add 20-foot by 125-foot garden shop and boost the parking to 73 spaces.


Pay Less would remain in that location, known today as Two Rivers Market, until moving to Waverly Drive. The chain store, which then included Thrifty Drug, was purchased by Rite Aid.

Albany's Courthouse

By Cathy Ingalls, Albany Regional Museum board member

The Linn County Courthouse has not always been where it is today at Fourth and Broadalbin nor has Albany always been the county seat.


In 1847, the provisional legislature picked Brownsville, then called Kirk’s Ferry, to be the city where the county would conduct its business. Much of that business was carried on in Spalding School or at Alexander Kirk’s house.


But by 1851, circuit-riding judges complained about having to travel that far to hold court so they petitioned the legislature to move the county seat to Albany, and it was.


Information filed at the Albany Regional Museum and research conducted by Ed Loy for his book “Gem of the Willamette Valley: A History of Albany, Oregon,” indicates that the first courthouse in Albany was octagonal in shape and patterned after a house built in 1852 for the Rev. James P. Millar at the corner of Second and Washington.


In 1853, Jeremiah Driggs and D. H. McClure built the wood-framed building on the block west of Vine between Fourth and Fifth avenues. Some of the funds used to pay the $2,800 construction cost were raised locally, with the remainder coming from the sale of several lots on 10 acres donated by the Monteith family.


At the structure’s completion, Delazon Smith, a journalist and politician, referred to the new courthouse as a “seven-sided miserable buzzard roost.”


The building’s interior remained unfinished, probably because the county seat was moved to the Sand Ridge area following an 1855 vote.


A majority of voters preferred Sand Ridge, which was on the lower, west slope of Peterson’s Butte. The site was more county-central than Albany.


Historian Floyd Mullen in his book “The Land of Linn:” noted that “the voters had chosen to move the county seat to a spot as bare as a wind-swept desert, to a town that was in name only, which had not even been platted and upon property to which the county had no title.”


County government remained only briefly in Sand Ridge, partly because members of the county’s militia balked.


At that time, all fit men were required to join the militia led by Mexican War veteran Col. Lawrence Helm. The colonel decided to hold one annual muster at the new county seat, pushing his men to exhaustion on an exceedingly hot day. There were no trees to offer shade and no water to drink.


The word got out about the lack of amenities at Sand Ridge so another vote was held, and by a small margin Albany regained its title as county seat. Other cities up for consideration were again Sand Ridge along with Brownsville and Lebanon.


Government officials moved back into the octagonal courthouse and conducted business there until it was destroyed by fire in 1861.  Some said the fire was arson-caused, but it was never proven. Until another courthouse could be built, the county transacted operations in the rented upper floor of the Foster Block on W. First Avenue.


The succeeding courthouse was not completed until 1865. The two-story masonry structure was built for $35,000 on the west side of property now containing the current courthouse.


The courthouse boasted a central cupola and four Greek columns at the entrance. The building remained in service as it was until 1899, when the structure was enlarged, based on plans developed by Albany architect Charles Burggraf.


He eliminated the columns, replacing them with two towers and a third story. The building was used until the current courthouse opened in 1940.


In the former courthouse, a clock was placed in one of the towers and installed by F.M. French, an Albany jeweler. The clock with four 10-foot faces was made by the Seth Thomas Factory in Connecticut and shipped to Albany in 1899.


Before the building was demolished, the clock workings were sold at auction to Lee Rohrbough for $50. He sold the clock in 1966 to a man in Monmouth, who stored it for five years until he sold it to a man in Springfield in 1971.


It changed hands again until the county board of commissioners bought back the clock in 1972.


Today’s courthouse, built for $309,510, was dedicated in 1940 after ground was broken in 1938. The structure was built using federal and state funds with the aid of the Works Progress Administration.


Special features commented upon at the time by the Albany Democrat-Herald were the eight-pointed star on the main floor done in pastel shades of peach, rose and green terrazzo, and the Alaskan marble walls partially covered by 8-foot tall wainscoting.


The window that looks out onto Broadalbin is about 10 feet tall and eight feet wide and is trimmed in bronze.


County offices and courtrooms filled the first three floors, while the fourth floor reached only by a self-operating elevator contained the jail and an office for a sheriff’s deputy.


As the county’s population increased, the courthouse needed to be expanded so construction began on a new wing in 1964. It was dedicated in 1965 and called the Linn County Courthouse Annex.


Attorney L.L. Swan, 1872-1963, who was the oldest practicing attorney in Oregon and an Albany resident, left the county $500,000 to build the annex.

Albany's Carnegie Library

By Cathy Ingalls, Albany Regional Museum board member

Let’s hope that patrons of Albany’s Carnegie Library are a little more respectful of the books they check out today than they were 80 years ago.


A story in the Albany Democrat-Herald dated March 13, 1935, states that books were being returned with photos and lettering missing.


One person removed an entire chapter from a book that dealt with the construction and operation of kites. Another book came back with an apology stating that the book was damaged by a puppy that thought it was his toy.


The story goes on to list a variety of items that were tucked between the pages that apparently were used as bookmarks, including nail files, cigarette stubs, combs, mirrors, quilt patches, a love letter, postcards, unpaid bills, embroidery, lace, photos and a check for $100.


Information about the history of the Carnegie Library, 302 Ferry St. S.W., that opened on June 23, 1914, is plentiful and can be found in scrapbooks kept at the library, in Democrat-Herald news files and in a cabinet at the Albany Regional Museum.


The movement to open a library in Albany began in 1907 with the Modern Travelers Club, which was the city’s first women’s literary society founded in 1898. The group still meets.

Member Sarah Adams, then president of the club, formed a committee to begin gathering books and other materials for a new library.


Minutes from a May 31, 1907, meeting at the Linn County Courthouse refer to the initial beginnings of the new library. The directors chosen to serve were H.H. Hewitt, Frank Miller, A.C. Schmidt Mrs. S.E Young, Mrs. J. K. Weatherford, Mrs. H.F. Merrill, Dr. M.J. Ellis, Miss Lucy Gard and F.P.Nutting.


A constitution and bylaws were adopted on Aug. 14, 1907, and committees were appointed later that month.


A little more than a year later, Miss Drake from the state library visited the group to assist with cataloging books. And then on Sept. 11, 1908, the library opened its doors to the public with Gard employed as librarian.


The collection took up one room in a brick building at the site of the former Albany-Magnolia Laundry at Second and Ferry streets.


The library was open Monday, Wednesday and Friday.


In 1910, the city took control of the library and applied for a Carnegie Foundation grant to help build a stand-alone library.


Albany’s Carnegie Library was among 1,689 nationwide and 31 in Oregon that Scottish-American, philanthropist and steel magnet Andrew Carnegie helped financially.  He pledged $12,500 to construct a public library in Albany if the city provided a staff and matching funds.


The S.E. Youngs offered a portion of their yard for the site, and ground was broken for the $20,000 structure in June 2013. When the building was completed, volunteers carried the then 3,200-book collection from the old facility to the new one. Mrs. Young took in the first book, a Bible. Attempts to locate that Bible have not been successful.


The 6,000-square-foot facility boasted an auditorium in the basement that could seat 200 people.


Carnegie’s wish to finance libraries on a large scale took off starting in 1899 after the Civil War, when many women’s clubs were forming, and they were the groups most responsible for organizing the construction of libraries.


Most of Carnegie’s libraries were unique in design and were built in a number of styles, including Beaux-Arts, Italian, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical Revival and Spanish Colonial.  Each community chose the style it wanted.


By the early 20th century, Carnegie’s buildings were considered to be the most imposing structures in many of the nation’s small communities.


By February 1923, the Albany library contained 8,200 books: 6,100 were in the main portion of the library, while another 2,100 were kept in a section of the building operated by the school district.


Someone got the idea in May 1923 to plant red, white and blue flowers around the outside of the building. The plants came from Miss Elizabeth Hall of the Hall Floral Shop.


Albany’s Carnegie Library ran along at a good clip until representatives of Fred Meyer volunteered to donate land in 1974 on Waverly Drive if the city would construct a new library on that site. Fred Meyer thought that people would be more willing to visit the Fred Meyer store if there were a library next door.


As people flocked to use the new library and city budgets became tight, some city councilors began to suggest that the Carnegie Library be closed. However, Councilor Dick Olsen has fought successfully to keep the downtown library open.


At one point, enough money was found to restore the interior of the building to what it looked like when it opened. Over the years, the Albany Public Library Foundation has paid for books, computers and furnishings and underwritten programs and events.


At one time the regional museum’s collection was housed in the basement’s library. The artifacts now are at the regional museum, 136 Lyon St. S. The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.


Hours at the Carnegie Library are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Albany College

By Cathy Ingalls, Albany Regional Museum board member

A college in Albany that closed its doors 76 years ago once fielded the best women’s basketball team in the Willamette Valley and employed a professor that later became the grandfather of Matt Groening, the creator of the animated sitcom, The Simpsons.

The college was first known as Albany Collegiate Institute and later as Albany College. 

The Oregon Legislature chartered the Albany Collegiate Institute in 1867 and enthusiastic residents responded by raising  $8,000 in cash and promissory notes to build a preparatory school and an institution of higher learning on land donated by the pioneer Monteith family.

The site consisted of four city blocks bounded by Ninth and 11th avenues and Ellsworth and Ferry streets. 

The first building measured 50-by 66-feet and contained two stories and was crowned with a tower. 

Presbyterian minister William Monteith was picked to lead the school. 

College officials noted that the school would be a good place for those “timid” souls who wouldn’t be at home in a larger institution, for those wanting a Christian environment, for those without funds willing to work to pay for their educations, and for those looking for a town that had a “home atmosphere and high moral and intellectual standards.”

School opened in the fall of 1867 with 40 students. The first class graduated in 1873 and was comprised of four women: Maria Irvine, Cora Irvine, Weltha Young and Mary Hannon.

By the early 1870s, college-age students studied the sciences, English, Latin, Greek, French, German, mathematics, political science, history and bookkeeping among other offerings.  

The school’s colors were orange and black, the mascot was a pirate, and the yearbook was called the “Orange Peal.” The school song was “The Orange and the Black. 

In 1892, the Presbyterian Board of Aid for Colleges wanted the school’s name changed to Albany College to better reflect the high caliber of its teaching staff and to recognize the recent inauguration of its advanced curriculum. The switch was not official, however until 1905. 

Also in 1905, the women’s basketball team won nearly every game it played even though it had only five players, allowing for no substitutions. Team members were Elsie Francis and Flo Nutting, forwards; Gertie Bussard and Wilda Starr, guards; and Rose Ficklin was the center. 

Arthur Wilson, a former high school player in Portland, was persuaded to coach the women. 

College teams in those days played against anyone available, even if it meant high school or community groups. 

Despite boasting outstanding sports teams, debt and financial problems always dogged the school. There were times teachers sometimes went two months without pay. 

The college nearly closed four or five times because of a lack of money coupled with a roller-coaster enrollment situation that left administrators wondering how much money student tuitions would bring in year to year.  Competition for students grew as similar institutions opened in Corvallis, Eugene, Salem, McMinnville, Newberg and Forest Grove. 

Also, the school found it difficult to keep accredited because there often were deficiencies in the curriculum and some facilities were ruled inadequate, such as the library and the science labs.  

Nevertheless in 1925, the school decided to sell its property to the public school district and reopen on an expanded 46-acre campus at Broadway and Queen Avenue. 

Unfortunately, the new campus did nothing to resolve the financial crises and the school’s demise began to take serious shape in the early 1930s, even when enrollment reached an all-time high of 214 students. 

In a last effort, trustees attempted to try and secure more funds during the Depression era by offering classes in Portland, but that didn’t help, and the threat of war in Europe made continuing problematic. 

The school’s doors closed forever in 1938 and operations eventually moved to the Lloyd Frank family property in Portland. In 1941, the institution became known as Lewis & Clark College. 

The Albany College property was sold in 1942 to the U.S. Bureau of Mines for $143,500. Most of the proceeds went to retire the school’s debt. 

At one of the last Albany College reunions, graduates remembered what it was like to go to school in a small town. 

They recalled enjoying tea at the homes of college professors in the afternoons and in the evenings sitting in front of their instructors’ fireplaces talking of books and the problems of the world. 

The college atmosphere was quite different back, they said.

Albany City Directory

By Cathy Ingalls, Albany Regional Museum board member

For anyone interested in Albany’s early history, there’s a gem of a book for sale at the Albany Regional Museum that is a reproduction of the city’s first business directory published in 1878.

The 200-plus-page paperback that sells for $3 contains advertisements, listings of societies and lodges, has a compilation of churches with addresses and times of services, shows names of those living in the city, and notes all of Albany’s “public servants” since the adoption of the city charter in 1865.

And that’s just the beginning of all that’s inside the facsimile.

Near the front, city officials in 1878 are mentioned: the mayor was Jason Wheeler, the recorder J.W. Baldwin, treasurer C.C. Godley, surveyor J.A. Warner, and street commissioner W.J. Mathews. Councilors were Wm. Rumbaugh, Thomas Monteith, Claib. H. Stewart, N. H. Allen, John Brush and George F. Simpson.

Proprietors of businesses are represented in another section with their addresses. They include: Harness makers, George Hobart and Thompson & Irving; druggists, Bell & Parker, John Foshay, Charles Plummer and R. Saltmarsh; and the feed stables were operated by W.R. Cannon, Ans. Marshall and Jason Wheeler.

The locations of all of Oregon’s post offices are included in the book as are the post offices in the Washington Territory.  In this part is a helpful explanation of postal rates:

Letters prepaid by stamps cost 3 cents for a “half ounce or a fraction thereof to all parts of the United States; forwarded to another post office without charge on request of the person addressed. If the stamp is omitted, the letter is forwarded to the dead-letter office and returned to the writer.”

Three public schools were operating in Albany in 1878.

Children living from Ferry Street west attended the Seventh Street School taught by Miss Maggie Irvine; those between Ferry and Railroad streets went to Central School, presided over by Professor D.V.S. Reid assisted by Miss Estella Howard and Miss Ella Hunsaker; while all of those living below Railroad went to Dixie School taught by Miss Maria G. Irvine.

Directors of the school district at this time were Dr. J.L. Hill, D.M. Thompson, and L. Flinn, while John H. Burkhart was the district clerk.

School property was valued at $7,000, funds received during the year were $3,575.14, and teachers’ wages and repairs were $1,115.67.

In another part of the book is an index of city laws, that includes the powers of the city council, the granting and collecting of licenses, the taxing of dogs, naming streets, rules relating to prisoners working on streets, the hitching of animals to shade trees, and the appointments of police and a night watchman.

The rules governing the administration of the fire department are quite precise.

For example at board of delegate sessions, the president shall preside at all meetings, shall preserve order and decorum and enforce a strict observance of the law of the department and the rules of the board.

The president shall call special meetings when requested in writing by four members or when notified by the secretary of the suspension of an officer or company, or whenever he may deem necessary.

In 1878, Joseph Webber was the fire department’s chief engineer and M.S. Monteith was the assistant engineer.

The directory brags that “our fire department though small is well regulated and very efficient, which is due in a great measure to the efforts of Joseph Webber, who has had many years of experience in fire matters.”

The section goes on to say that the city is well provided for “in the way of water for the use of the engines. Besides eight large cisterns located at different points, several races and flumes traverse our streets from Eighth to the banks of the Willamette and can be used for fire purposes at any point.”

Here are some examples of advertisements appearing in the front of the directory:

Scott & Monteith’s sportsmen’s emporium at 124 Front Street was  “importers and dealers in guns, rifles and revolvers of every description.” Also on sale were fishing tackle, fancy goods, beads, baskets, birdcages and croquet games. The business also repaired sewing machines.

W. H. Brunk, no address listed, manufactured the “very best” boots and shoes in Albany and guaranteed perfect fits and low prices.

Conrad Meyer operated the Star Bakery at Broadalbin and First streets and dealt in groceries, crockery, glassware, bread, cakes, pies, cigars and tobacco.

Ans. Marshall was the proprietor of Fashion Stables that featured “the best turn-outs in the city. When you want a good rig, be sure to call at the Fashion Stables at the corner of Second and Washington streets.”

F. S. Dunning was a wholesale and retail dealer in furniture, and undertaking was a specialty. “Rosewood caskets and coffins always on hand.”

The facsimile of the 1878 directory was printed probably in 1978 and was commissioned by Tripp & Tripp Realtors, the “pioneer real estate firm in the Willamette Valley.” It is thought that the book was used for business promotions.

Hours to purchase the book at the museum, 136 Lyon St. S. are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 541-967-7122 or visit online at www.armuseum.com.

Albany's Hotels

By Cathy Ingalls, Albany Regional Museum board member

Before there were automobiles, visitors coming to Albany to transact business or visit friends primarily arrived by railroad, riverboat or horse and carriage.

Oftentimes, they needed a place to stay and eat so they sought out Albany’s hotels that often were just glorified boarding houses. Later, the hotels began to offer more amenities and boasted more comfortable accommodations.

By 1892, Albany had six hotels from which visitors could choose.

Probably one of the best known was the beige brick, four-story St. Francis Hotel that still stands at 406 First Ave. S.W. and now serves as a print shop and storage area.

The 27,000-square-foot building was constructed in 1912 by Ebner Rhodes in what was known as a part of the E.H. Rhodes block that already contained a two-story structure that he built in 1907.

Rhodes was thought to be a fruit buyer, and he lived with his wife, Sarah, in a house he built at 238 Fifth Ave. S.W. that at one time was the Reed Hospital.

Democrat-Herald newspaper stories and paperwork on file at the Albany Regional Museum note that the high ceilings in the St. Francis lobby were covered with sheets of decorative metal, and the floor was white, inch-square ceramic tiles with black and brown tiles inserted in various places to create interest.

A door on the second floor opened into an annex so “drummers,” another word for salesmen, could display their wares for local merchants to see and perhaps purchase. The second floor also served as the employees’ living quarters.

Guests and the townspeople referred to the St. Francis as the “classiest” place in town with the possible exception of the Albany Hotel at Second Avenue and Lyon Street.

At first, the St. Francis designed by Albany architect Charles Burggraf was called the Rhodes Hotel but then the name was changed to the St. Francis, possibly because of a sign.

A 500-pound sign created by the Federal Electric Co. of Chicago in 1903 probably for the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco became available at no cost. The sign made its way to the hotel in Albany, and the name was switched to accommodate a sign that fell into the owner’s lap.

A night’s stay in the 60-room hotel when it first opened cost 50 cents, the same price as a meal in the dining room.  There was no electricity for the upper three floors.

A jitney or a bus ferried guests to and from the train station so they no longer had to walk.

When it no longer was used as a hotel starting in 1966, a number of other businesses called it home, one being the FBI.

Later, plans fell through to turn the hotel into a jazz club with apartments above and then developers thought the building would make a good boutique hotel.

In 2012, the Historic Preservation League of Oregon placed the building on the endangered list.

Here is a roundup of several of Albany’s early hotels.

In 1910  the Charles Burggraf designed Hotel Van Dran was built on the corner of Ninth Avenue and Lyon Street.  The Depot Hotel was converted into the kitchen and dining room for the Vandran Hotel.

In 1947 the Vandran closed and later became the Albany-Linn Nursing Home.  The building was once again closed in 1974 and then demolished in 1987.

The Revere House was at the corner of First Avenue and Ellsworth Street. The 42-room, wooden structure was built in 1877 by Charles Pfeiffer.

The Hotel Hammel was built in 1912 on the southwest corner of Third Avenue and Ellsworth. The six-story building later became the Hotel Albany, closing in 1967.  It has been torn down.

The Exchange Hotel was on the southwest corner of First Avenue and Washington Street.

The Franklin House was south of First between Lyon and Baker streets.

The Russ House was on the northeast corner of First and Lyon.

The St. Charles Hotel was on the northwest corner of First and Washington.

The Depot Hotel was at 10th Avenue and Lyon.

For years, Ralph R. Cronise, an editor and publisher of the Democrat-Herald, made regular rounds of Albany’s hotels to check the guest registries. Then in his columns, he would note who was visiting Albany alongside where they lived.

Many hotel guests were from Mill City, Crawfordsville and Portland.