Bandon History Museum, Bandon OR
Bandon’s History Museum occupies a structure built by Work Progress Administration (WPA) workers to house the community’s City Hall. After the destruction of the town in the Bandon Fire of September 26, 1936, priority was given to constructing a new base for the city’s operation. As local historians note, the City Hall was one of the first buildings to be completed after the fire – second only to a local tavern.
Construction began in October 1936 with WPA funds. It was completed in early January 1937 with a brief interruption of building activity to allow WPA workers to construct 36 temporary housing units for local residents that had been made homeless by the fire. The local newspaper announced with the opening of the city hall: “The building constitutes one of the most valuable contributions yet made toward the rehabilitation of Bandon. It is likewise a monument to the practicability and efficiency of the Works Progress Administration.”
The 60×90, one-story structure contained room for council chambers, the recorder’s office, a library room, the utilities office, city attorney’s office, and bedroom, recreational and truck storage space for the town’s fire station. The local newspaper concluded that the structure offered “ample quarters for present needs (of) city offices, the library and Fire department.” Its exterior was finished with black building paper, held down with batten strips. Its interior consisted of half-inch composition board that local historians speculate might have been plywood.
Over the years, significant improvements to the building took place. The City Hall received new siding and a cupola in 1941. After a new city hall was built in 1969, the building was renovated for use as a restaurant and then later converted to the Bandon History Museum.
Capps, Mary (2019) "Museum Memories . . . ," The Bandon Light. Publication of Bandon Historical Society, December 2019.
"Moving into WPA City Hall: City of Bandon Receives Ample Quarters for Present Needs City Offices, Library and Fire Department," Western World. January 15, 1937.
Project originally submitted by Judith T Kenny on June 7, 2022.
Additional contributions by Jim Proehl, Bandon Historical Society.
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