State Forester's Office - Salem OR
The Oregon State Forester’s Office was designed by a US Forest Service architect and constructed by Works Progress Administration (WPA) workers after preparation of the site by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this structure is considered one of Oregon’s best examples of a building in the National Parks style. Timberline Lodge heads the list in this category but the Oregon State Forester’s Office, although significantly smaller, shows a remarkably high quality of workmanship as well. Linn A. Forrest, the US Forest Service Architect associated with Timberline Lodge’s floor plan and elevations, produced the design for this administrative office. Forrest was a graduate of the University of Oregon’s School of Architecture and Allied Arts and continued his education at MIT before beginning a lengthy career with the US Forest Service (1936-1950).
The rustic National Parks style draws upon aspects of the English Arts & Crafts movement, including a commitment to the use of local materials that link the building to its surrounding landscape. The Oregon State Forester’s Office is a one and a half story, L-shaped building. The short end of the L (on the north), which faces State Street, has two projecting bays. The larger bay to the east is fully clad in local basalt while the western bay is basalt to the gable area where it is decorated with board and batten siding. A large basalt chimney and its fireplace serves the main office. On the building’s eastern, western and southern facades, local basalt is used under the window frames with horizonal lap siding above. Cedar shake shingles cover the hip roof. Further Arts & Crafts detail that suits this structure dedicated to the State’s forests includes the large, hand hewn timber supports at the entrance to the building on the structure’s north side.
Works Progress Administration staff constructed the building between March and December 1938.
The Oregon State Forester’s Office continues to function as the main administrative office for the Oregon Department of Forestry.
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Fisher, James G. (1981) Oregon State Forester's Office Building, National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. Salem: Oregon State Department of Forestry.
Historic American Buildings Survey Pacific West Regional Office (2004) Oregon State Forester's Office Complex HABS OR-186: Photographs and Written Historical and Descriptive Data. https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/or0533
Ritz, R. E. (2002) "Linn Argyle Forrest, Sr." Architects of Oregon. Portland, Oregon: Lair Hill Publishing.
Project originally submitted by Judith T Kenny on January 15, 2020.
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